Landmine RDL: Awesome RDL/Pull Through Hybrid

Posted on by Ben Bruno

Today I want to share a very simple but very good exercise to work the posterior chain and help teach a good hip hinge: the landmine RDL.

Set up just like you would for an old-school t-bar row. Facing away from the landmine, straddle the barbell and hook a V-handle or rope attachment underneath the bar to give you something to hold. From there, stand up with the bar and take a small step bar so that you’re leaning back slightly—emphasis on slightly. Then just do a hip hinge as if you were doing a Romanian deadlift, focusing on pushing the hips back on the eccentric and bringing the hips through and squeezing the glutes hard at the top.

Like this. I normally do higher reps but just did a few here to keep your boredom level to a minimum 🙂

It feels like a cross between a regular RDL and a pull through and absolutely blasts the glutes and hamstrings.

I like pull throughs, but they’re hard to load heavily enough for stronger lifters, and it can be a struggle to get into position without getting pulled off balance, especially for lighter lifters. You don’t have that problem with the landmine, but it gives you a very similar feeling in your glutes as you bring your hips through at the top.

The arc of the landmine is such that you’re reaching slightly out on the eccentric, which in turn allows for an even deeper hip hinge to help counterbalance the load. That’s not only great if you’re trying to teach someone a good hip hinge pattern because it essentially forces them to drive their hips back—which is the main problem most people have in learning the hip hinge—but it also makes for a great way to load the hamstrings and glutes even more than you can in a regular RDL.

The key to a good hip hinge is to maximal hip bend with minimal knee bend. You can cue that all day long, but people still screw it up on the regular. This drill teaches you that reflexively though because if you don’t keep your weight back you’ll get pulled forward by the bar.

It’s important here not to lower down too low on the eccentric or else the arc of the barbell will make it so that the weight is out in front of your body quite a bit, thereby putting undue stress on the lower back. To keep that from happening, don’t worry about going down until the plates hit the floor and just go down until the hands are even or just slightly below the knees, or even a bit higher if you find you’re feeling it too much in the lower back. Trust me, even with a smallish range of motion you’ll still feel a huge stretch on the hamstrings.

This could be used with little to no weight to help teach the hip hinge pattern, or as a great standalone exercise to blast the posterior chain. I’ve tried both lower and higher reps and find it feels best in higher rep ranges (12-25), similar to what you’d do with a pull through. And in fact, I actually feel these more when I lighten up the load a little bit and really focusing on squeezing the glutes hard on each rep. Warning: your glutes will be on fire!

Give it a shot and let me know what you think.

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  • Jarid

    I’ve been doing these with my clients for a while. . .it is an AWESOME lift and is a really good way to reinforce the hip hinge. So cool to see it on here (and that I’m not crazy 🙂 ) Thanks!!!

    • Ben Bruno

      Awesome!

  • Chris

    I was just thinking wouldn’t we be able to get more of a shoulder blade with retraction by using the rope attachent.

    • Ben Bruno

      Hi Chris. The rope works too, but I find that it’s a bit uncomfortable the top becuase the hands run hard against the plates.

  • Cliff

    Thanks for posting this. I like the part about how it teaches a client to hinge at the hip.

    • Ben Bruno

      Thanks Cliff! Let me know how it works for you.

  • Colin

    Ben

    As always you come up with great ideas. Could the issue of not being able to go too low on the ecentric be resolved by simply standing a bit closer to the plates which would mimic a regular deadlift position. I haven’t tried this move yet so this is just an armchair observation.Thanks again.

    Colin

  • Tom

    Really want to try this but I do not have access to a landmine, do you think just putting a barbell in the corner of the room to hold it in place would work?

  • Tom

    And also ben, if I am to invest in a landmine is it better to get one that holds the bar at or above floor level, or does it not make any noticable difference? Thanks. also i think you may have invented more exercises than anyone else on the planet!

  • Tom

    Put the barbell in the corner with some old pyjamas between it and the wall, works perfect for this exercise. Only done a few sets but appears to be the best glute exercise i have ever tried, far superior to the hip thrust and regular RDL in my opinion. Thanks ben.

  • Karbon

    I tried it and it’s great.

    Another variation: I like to stand with both feet in the loop of a resistance band that goes above the bar. That gives a nice additional load at the top half of the movement.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dominyk.wolferam Dominyk Wolferam

    Would this work with a split stance? Per Ben’s article on T-Nation.