What are possible safety risks when doing heavy landmine exercises like variations of squats, presses or thrusters and how to avoid them? Since you are standing at the end of the barbell and because one end is partially fixed, it seems pretty safe, but if you train alone with heavy weights, you should always think twice. So I am interested in a safety analysis and maybe not so obvious risks and how to avoid them.

I particular am thinking of two sources of risks:

  1. Accident/Injury:

This may be because you just stumble during exercise or because you have a sudden pain (for example because you pull a muscle or dislocate a joint), and then let the barbell suddenly go.

  1. Fatigue:

For example if you are in bottom squat position and not able to stand up anymore because the muscles are fatigued.

For other more traditional lifts the safety is well analyzed, so for example if you do heavy bench presses alone you should use safety straps in a power rack. This would safe you in both cases mentioned above.

Olympic lifts or just military presses are (if done heavy) much more dangerous. The second concern maybe managed by using a good floor protection and bumper plates and good technique to drop the barbell in this case.

In your answer you might also include the possible risks or profit concerning safety if you use some landmine training accessories like squat attachments or viking attachments.

  • the bar is in front of you so if you drop it, it shouldnt even scratch you. The presses go up at an angle away from you, so even if you drop those, they are safe. You could always angle a barbell within a safety rack and as long as the weight plate will go over the safety bar you can set the safety bar to prevent it from falling and hitting the floor. youll work from outside the safety rack. Bumper plates work too. But Ithink you shoukd be safe to so this alone.
    – user32213
    Dec 10, 2019 at 17:51
  • 1
    I've never understood why people consider overhead presses (NOT the Olympic lifts) more dangerous than the bench press. If I want to bail on an overhead press, I'll drop it forward. If I want to bail on a bench, there's a risk of trapping myself under the bar (look at the videos of people unracking for a bench press and dropping the bar on themselves, they're quite scary).
    – Dark Hippo
    Dec 11, 2019 at 9:28
  • I have to agree with @DarkHippo , there is no reason to consider overhead presses more dangerous than bench pressing. If you just learn how to get away from the bar should you fail your lift, it is not at all dangerous.
    – MJB
    Dec 11, 2019 at 10:18

1 Answer 1


As mentioned in the comments, landmines exercises are about as safe as anything. Having said that, there are some precautions worth taking if you're concerned:

  • Make sure your base is secure. If you're using a plate post, make sure it's heavy enough, and doesn't slide. Bumper plates are great, as they stick to the floor to prevent sliding (got that tip from Dean over at Black Widow Training). In my gym at home, I normally use a cheap 10 lbs bumper with a 45 on top (if I'm driving hard, I may throw on an additional 45 for good measure). If you're using a rack mounted landmine, or a safety pipe pivot system (more on that in a moment), you're in good shape (I've been using the Hammer Strength HD Elite landmines lately, and they're bomb proof.

  • As mentioned, landmines are relatively easy to dump if things get hairy, but doesn't hurt to be more prudent. Set up a bench underneath the bar. Place it so it's high enough to catch during a failed rep, but low enough as to not interfere with full range of motion. Just make sure the bench isn't set so low that the post pops outs of the plate stack (e.g., doing heavy Viking presses). If you have a safety pipe pivot attachment for your power rack (I've used both Black Widow's and Titan's on my Rogue R4 rack with great success...they're relatively inexpensive; around $15), you can really dial in the safety. Set the pivot on one end of the rack, and the opposite side safety pipe on the other. You can dial in your range of motion within 2" (1" with Westside holes).

  • Of course there's the matter of losing control in the transverse plane...ability to work in the transverse plane is what makes landmines so unique (i.e., oblique twists), but if you're doing a sagittal movement (e.g., press, squat), you can, once again, use the pivot system to ensure it's locked into a path and doesn't veer off to the left or right. If you don't have a rack, just make sure your bench is long enough, and you're being responsible with your weight selection (do that anyway).

  • Lastly, grip can be an issue for unilateral work, considering the diameter of the barbell sleeves. Personally, I prefer the fat grip of the sleeves (seems to help with elbow pain to a degree), but if it's becoming a matter of safety, there's no shortage of cheap landmine attachments you can use to fit the bill (I'll mention Titan again; I don't love them for everything, but most of their landmine attachments are solid enough for the price).

Black Widow Training Gear safety pin pipe pivot.  Screenshot from my Youtube review of the product Black Widow Training Gear safety pin pipe pivot set up for Viking press configuration.  Screenshot from my Youtube review of the product

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