Why the Landmine Row?
The importance of a strong back:
The back, the second-largest muscular area after the legs, is critical to your overall strength and build. While growing and strengthening your back may appear simple, it's a more complex process that includes targeting multiple muscles for total development. The back is a complicated network of muscles that includes the deltoids, rhomboids, traps, and lats.
Each muscle group is important in developing a fit and muscular back. The deltoids help with shoulder stability, the rhomboids help with posture and scapular movement, and the lats, as the largest back muscle, have an impact on overall back width and thickness. Training the back effectively requires a planned approach that ensures each muscle group is appropriately engaged for a balanced and shaped physique.
Because of its unique technique and versatility, the Landmine Row stands out as an ideal exercise for targeting multiple muscles in the back. Unlike other common back workouts, the landmine row engages many muscles at the same time, including the deltoids, rhomboids, and lats. The Landmine Row's anchored setup leads the barbell across a restricted range of motion, successfully activating a specific set of muscles. This targeted activation helps to strengthen an entire back, addressing the complexity of shoulder stability, proper posture, and back aesthetics. Additionally, the Landmine Row's accessibility makes it available to people of all fitness levels. The Landmine Row offers flexible resistance, whether you're a fitness expert or just starting in the gym.
Landmine Row: How To
Setting up: One end of a barbell should be anchored in a corner (wall, bench, rack) or a landmine attachment.
1. Load a suitable weight onto the free end, turn aside from the anchor side, and stand roughly a foot away from the racked weight.
2. Stand with one foot on each side of the barbell, somewhat wider than shoulder width.
3. Bend forward and place both hands on the barbell (or V-Grip/T/Grip accessory).
4. Hinge at your waist as you drop your upper body to a comfortable position for complete row extension. (Stay in this position for the duration of the exercise.)
5. Brace your core and pull with your elbows as you draw the barbell to your chest.
6. As you raise the bar, concentrate on drawing your shoulder blades back.
7. At the top of the movement, hold and contract your lats.
8. Return to the initial position with a steady motion.
9. Repeated for a preferred amount of reps.
Landmine Row Muscles Worked:
Landmine Row Variations
Landmine T Bar Row:
The Landmine T-Bar Row adds a fresh variation to the standard landmine row. The landmine attachment is recommended but in my experience is not a necessity for completing the lift. The T-Bar setup maximizes muscle engagement, focusing on the lats, traps, and rhomboids in particular. The decreased strain on the lower back is a significant benefit, making it an excellent option for people with lower back issues. The alternate grip of the landmine T-Bar row lets you customize your workout and focus on strengthening different sections of your back.
Landmine V Bar Row:
The V-bar grip, emphasizes a neutral hand position, which provides a similar and typically more comfortable grip than the standard landmine row. Unlike wider grips, the V-bar encourages mid-back development which will improve posture and scapular strength and build. Controlled motions are recommended to execute the V-Bar Row successfully. Begin with a reasonable weight to maintain appropriate form and to avoid overcompensated shrugging.
Single-Arm Landmine Row:
The Single Arm Landmine Row is a great alternative to up your back workout by focusing on only one arm at a time. This variation supports balanced muscle growth and correcting any imbalances between your left and right sides. Being one arm at a time, combined with the angle of the lift, the single-arm landmine row stresses your core, improving general stability. Another benefit the single-arm landmine offers is a fuller range of motion. The movement allows the user to feel a stretch in the upper back and lats before contracting. It's a simple yet effective way to add variety and focused muscle activation to your back training schedule.
What grip is best for the landmine row?
Hands-on the Barbell (Standard Grip):
Activates the lats, rhomboids, traps, and posterior delt muscles.
The mid-upper back muscles, especially the rhomboids, and mid-trapezius, are emphasized. It provides a neutral grip, reducing strain on the shoulders.
Targets the lats, back delts, and rhomboids. Similar to the standard grip.
While all grips target the general upper back muscles, the choice is based on personal preferences, comfort, and the precise parts of the back that one wishes to work during Landmine Rows. Testing out different grips can help you find the one that best suits your preferences.
Landmine Row Alternatives:
There are a variety of alternatives to the landmine row that can provide similar benefits. The most similar is the bent-over row.
The bent-over row is a popular free-weight exercise that engages the entire back, using a similar motion as the landmine row. Bring the barbell or dumbbells into your lower ribcage and try to squeeze your upper back for maximum results.
The gorilla row is a fun alternative that uses kettlebells. Unlike the barbell bent-over row, you’re working one side at a time, which makes the gorilla row a unilateral movement. The combination of using one kettlebell to stabilize yourself while simultaneously rowing the other kettlebell up has a ton of benefits, such as core stability and hip mobility.
Cable rows on a cable machine are great because they provide consistent tension throughout the exercise.
Pull-ups are a simple bodyweight exercise that focuses on the upper back and lats. This is a great exercise for beginners and young people, making it a challenging but effective alternative for the landmine row.
Furthermore, lat pull-downs may assure a well-rounded and exciting approach to improving your back strength and aesthetics.
Back Pain from Landmine Rows:
Back pain from landmine rows can be prevented by understanding the possible causes. A few common causes include poor form, extra weight, or pre-existing issues.
Fixing Form and Technique:
With an exercise like landmine rows, losing proper form is common. The jerking motion can hurt your surrounding spine and hip muscles, along with affecting your posture, lumbar extension, and scapular retraction. To prevent this, a gradual progression in weight and an emphasis on form is key.
The importance of the Posterior chain:
The posterior chain, which includes the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back, is crucial in the function of landmine rows. A well-engaged posterior chain, offers hip stability throughout the exercise, reducing stress on the lower back. The erector spinae muscles in the lower back help to keep the spine neutral during the exercise. Landmine rows effectively activate the posterior chain when performed with good form and technique, promoting overall back development. However, if the posterior chain is overloaded, problems such as back pain may appear.
Lower Back Relief:
A simple and beneficial method that includes stretching and massaging for trigger points relieves lower back discomfort. A versatile and easy-to-use tool for achieving trigger point release is the QL Claw. The QL Claw was designed to massage and release muscles that directly impact lower back pain. These muscles include; the Quadratus Lumborum, Gluteus Medius, Piriformis, Iliacus, and Psoas.
Landmine Row FAQ:
What is the difference between a Landmine Row and a bent-over row?
The Landmine Row has a set path of motion, which reduces stress on the lower back and allows for a more natural movement. The Bent Over Row has a similar posture, however, it is a free-weight exercise that requires more stabilization and a wider grip.
Does the landmine row work the lats?
Yes, landmine rows function well for working the latissimus dorsi (lats), especially with the V-bar grip, with your palms facing each other.
How do you set up a Landmine Row?
If available, anchor the barbell with a Landmine Row attachment to create a landmine row. Alternatively, place the barbell in a gym corner on the ground, or a cross section of a bench or rack.
 Donnelly, Joseph M. Travell, Simons & Simons Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: the Trigger Point Manual. 3rd ed., Wolters Kluwer Health, 2019. Davies, Clair, and Amber Davies. The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief. 3rd ed., New Harbinger Publications, Inc., 2013.