I feel like I’ve been a bit lost at sea lately in the blog world — lacking focus and a plan, I’ve kind of just been bobbing about on the surface, without giving too much in the way of quality content. Well, I think it’s time I change that, no?
In hopes of starting a new Wednesday series, I’m giving it a whirl today. This hopefully will entail either workouts or descriptions of different lifts each and every Wednesday, in the hopes of giving you all some new ideas for your workouts or important tips on form.
Well then, let’s just get right into it, shall we?
Today I want to describe one of my favorite lifts to you, although one that is not done very often. It takes a classic strength movement (the squat) and adds the forces from a slightly different direction, allowing you to work on different areas that may need a little work. I showed a quick clip of this on my Instagram page last week, and it’s something that I try to incorporate into my lifts at least once per week. Honestly, I use the landmine set up a lot, but the only equipment you really need for this is a barbell. The “fancy” landmine attachment is just a bonus.
The Set Up:
If your gym has a landmine attachment, place one end of a barbell into it and add weight to the other end. If you have never done this before, or if you are new to front-loaded squatting, start out with a lighter weight until you get the form down. If you don’t have the landmine attachment, simply place one end of the barbell on the floor in a corner of the room (so it doesn’t roll side to side). Remember, the weight of the bar will be added to your total, so don’t be discouraged if you can only do these with “only” 10 lb or so added to the bar (or even just the bar itself!)
See the attachment that’s holding the un-weighted end of the barbell? Many gyms have these, and they are great. But you don’t NEED one at all to do landmine work!
Stand facing the weighted end of the bar, pick it up slowly with a good hip-hinge and flat back to protect your back. Position yourself so that you are standing with the end of the bar held at your chest, grasping the end of the barbell with both hands, feet shoulder width apart. You may have to play around with your foot position a little bit, but you can do this throughout the first few reps to find your zone.
Keeping the barbell held firmly at your chest, brace your core and sit your hips back into a squat. The most important part of this lift is sitting the hips back, not pushing the knees forward. Continue bracing your core throughout the entire movement, just as you would with a front squat or goblet squat. Sit down between your knees, making sure that your knees stay facing forward (not caving in towards each other). Explode through the glutes and quads to return to your standing position. When you reach the top, press the barbell up and forward (in it’s natural arc), and return to chest position. This is one rep.
Just a reminder — brace that core, sit the hips back, and focus on activating your glutes to keep those knees facing forward. If you can do this in front of a mirror, do so — this is the best way to ensure that your knees aren’t caving in at the bottom of your range, or on your return to standing. If the press at the top causes pain in your shoulders, simply eliminate that from your lift. The squat is extremely beneficial on it’s own, and that is just a bonus movement for those who are able to complete it. Also important to remember: Don’t arch your back when going into the forward press; keep that core braced throughout the entire movement to protect your spine.
Why should you do this lift?
This is an excellent accessory lift for those who are looking to improve their front squat, and also for those who are just getting into weight lifting in general. Building anterior core strength and mastering the “sit back” movement of squatting is essential before loading up a heavy barbell on your back, and this is a perfect exercise to practice and achieve both of these things. Nervous about “wrecking your knees” with squats? Practicing the motion of sitting back with your hips is a great way to protect them, and a very important part of a proper squat movement. One of the great things about this lift is that it can be useful for people at any weight-lifting level — beginners and experts alike. And as an added bonus? You get a little shoulder action in there as well.
Readers: What do you think of a Workout Wednesday regular series? Would you be more interested in specific lifts or mini-workouts — or both? Do you ever do landmine work in your routine?