Before we get into this article, make sure to register to attend The Brolando Experience 2018 where Alan Aragon and I with both be premiering ALL Brand New, never before seen presentations. And, to prevent any confusion from the name of the event: The Brolando Experience is open to women, as last year some people mistakenly thought “Brolando” meant it was only for Bros (i.e., Men).

This event won’t be recored on video, so you’ve got to attend it live to get The Brolando Experience! If you register before Nov 19th, 2017 you’ll save $100!

Sure it’s helpful to have a landmine device – a device originally invented by Bert Sorin and Sorinex Exercise Equipment, but you don’t need one to do these exercises, or the exercises featured in my The Ultimate Guide to Landmine Presses article. Simply insert one end of a barbell inside of an old shoe or in a folded-up towel that you place in the corner. This will save both your wall and your bar

In this article I’m first going to highlight an important, but often overlooked point about performing landmine rotations and improving rotational strength in general. Then I’m also going to share how to perform five variations of landmine rotations that you can immediately apply to get more out of using this modality.

As the guy who coined the term “angled barbell training” and produced the first-ever comprehensive (downloadable) course on it (along with Bert Sorin) in 2011, you can bet your butt that I’m more than qualified to give you the black-belt course on the exercise. Let’s talk shop!

The Truth About Landmine Rotations

Most people are already familiar with how to perform landmine rotations. That said, although it’s a great total-body exercise, just because it involves rotating your torso doesn’t mean it’s that great of a rotational training movement.

In other words, despite being commonly called Landmine “Rotations,” this really isn’t that great of a rotational training exercise. Watch the video for a detailed explanation on this.

As I’ve often said before, resistance exercises are just ways to place force across joints, across tissues. So, we need to avoid getting caught up in the what an given exercise is called or who likes to use it, and instead focus on how it puts force across joints.

With this reality in mind, there is some element of rotation when performing this exercise. However, due to the force vectors involved in this movement, along with applying the principle of specificity, I’d also include another rotational movement that creates a more horizontal force vector to load you in a way this particular exercise doesn’t.

1. Landmine Half Rotation

As the name implies, instead of alternating sides, this version of the landmine rotation exercise allows you to focus on one-side at a time. Doing so allows you to really emphasize exploding into driving the barbell up to start each rep. And, it also forces you to stop the barbell dead in its tracks at the top. These are two elements that make it unique to the conventional version discussed above.

Also, the tempo of this exercise is very different than performing the conventional version. In that, the conventional landmine rainbow (when you’re moving from side to side) is performed in very rhythmic fashion, whereas half rainbows are performed in a segmented fashion that allows you to go a bit heavier.

Coaching Tips:

  • If you’re starting with the barbell on your right side, you’ll hold the barbell with your right hand above your left hand.
  • Begin each repetition with your weight shifted slightly to the same side as the barbell.
  • Explode into each rep.
  • As you perform each repetition, your weight should shift to the center, and you should finish each rep with barbell at the mid-line of your body and equal weight on both feet.
  • Lower the barbell with deliberate control. Use your entire body, simultaneously bending your knees (slightly) and arms to absorb the fall and keep the egg from breaking.
  • Perform all reps on the same side before switching sides.

General set and rep recommendations: 3-5 sets x 3-6 reps per side.

2. Landmine Rainbow

This version of landmine rotations involves moving the barbell from side to side in a rainbow-like arc from one shoulder level to another without allowing any rotation or movement at your torso. Hence the name Landmine rainbows.

This exercises can be thought off or classified as an anti-lateral flexion exercise because you’re resisting bending your spine laterally each time the barbell is outside your shoulder.

You can also perform this exercise from your knees. It’s important to note that doing so lowers the angle of the barbell, which gives you less of a mechanical advantage over the barbell. Therefore, you might have to use a lower-load when performing the kneeling variation in order to be able to perform the same amount of reps per set as you’re able to complete when standing.

Coaching Tips

  • Maintain a straight spine.
  • Avoid any rotation at your torso; as you move the barbell from side to side, your torso should remain facing the barbell’s anchored end.
  • Maintain a slight bend in your elbows throughout.
  • The movement of the barbell should come from your shoulders, not your elbows.

General set and rep recommendations: 3-4 sets x 8-15 reps per side.

3. Landmine Tight Rainbow

This version of the landmine rainbow involves moving the barbell rapidly back and forth in a short range of motion. This exercise takes some athleticism to perform properly, as it mimics the fast, tight motions that you see over and over again in life and in athletics such as combat sports and sprinting.

Coaching Tips:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, back straight.
  • Keeping your palms pressed together and your hips facing forward, rapidly move the barbell in a very small range of motion from left and right so that your hands oscillate as fast as possible between the two imaginary walls at your sides.
  • Imagine you are standing between two walls that almost touch your shoulders. Your goal is to avoid touching the walls as you perform each rep.
  • Moving quickly is important here. So, keep the load light! Don’t use so much weight that it slows you down significantly.

General set and rep recommendations: 1-3 rounds x 8-12 second bursts for 2-4 sets.

So, you’d do two to three rounds of 10 seconds on and 20 seconds off. That would be one set.

4. Landmine Hang Clean to Rotary Press

This exercise is a pretty much a combination of a barbell clean and press mixed with landmine half rotations.

It’s another great angled barbell exercise variation that allows you to focus on training one-side at a time. Since this variation involves keeping the barbell closer to the midline of your body as you lift it, you’ll be able to use heavier loads than you can when performing conventional landmine half rotations.

Coaching tips:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart over the weighted end of the barbell (with the weight plates loaded on the end of the barbell) closest to the inside of your left foot.
  • Pick up the barbell by holding the end of the barbell using a mixed grip, taking an overhand grip with your right hand and an underhand grip with your left hand.
  • Hinge slightly forward at your hips, keeping the bar against your back thigh.
  • Explode your hips forward into the bar and use your arms to pull the bar to your left shoulder so that the end of the barbell is in front of your chest and your elbows are underneath it.
  • With the bar at your chest. Rotate your body (hips and torso) toward the where the barbell is anchored as you push it away from you by extending both arms straight.
  • Slowly reverse the motions to complete 1 rep. Perform all reps on the same side before switching sides.

General set and rep recommendations: 3-5 sets x 3-6 reps per side.

5. Landmine Deadlift to Clean and Rotary Press

Out of the multitude of exercises featured in my Strength Training for Fat Loss book, this exercises has become one of the most popular among personal trainers and exercise enthusiasts.

The addition of the deadlift makes this a more complex and more metabolically demanding version of the previous exercise. So, this exercise can be considered a more advanced version of the Landmine hang glean to rotary press.

Keep in mind the goal here is not to maximize deadlift strength – that’s what more conventional deadlift variations are much better suited for. The deadlift action is simply used here to bring more muscle into the game to increase the overall total-body demand of the exercise. So, this exercise would be best suited to use towards the end of a comprehensive workout, as part of the conditioning component, following the strength component using more conventional lifts and heavier loads.

Coaching tips:

  • With your feet shoulder-width apart, stand over the weighted end of the barbell with the weight plates that are loaded onto the end of the barbell closest to the inside of your right foot.
  • Grasp the end of the barbell using a mixed grip, taking an overhand grip with your right hand and an underhand grip with your left hand. Lower your body into a deadlift position by bending your knees and hinging forward at your hips while keeping your back straight.
  • Stand up, lifting the bar off the floor while simultaneously exploding your hips forward into the bar and using your arms to pull the bar to your right shoulder so that the end of the barbell ends up in front of your chest and your elbows are underneath it.
  • With the bar at your chest. Rotate your body (hips and torso) toward the where the barbell is anchored as you push it away from you by extending both arms straight.
  • Slowly reverse the motions to complete 1 rep. Perform all reps on the same side before switching sides.

General set and rep recommendations: 3-5 sets x 4-7 reps per side.

Nick’s Upcoming Live Events

In Reston, VA teaching (sponsored by Power Systems) at the SCW DC Mania convention on October 27-29, 2017

In Danvers, MA teaching (sponsored by Power Systems) at the SCW Boston Mania convention on November 10-12, 2017

In Aston, PA teaching at the NSCA Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference on December 1-2, 2017

In Orlando, FL teaching at The Brolando Experience (with Alan Aragon) on Feb 10-11, 2018

In Brokane, Wa teaching at the Inland Empire Fitness Conference on April 6-7, 2018