Landmine Row vs Barbell Row

Landmine Row vs Barbell Row (Is One Better for Strength?)

When it comes to building a strong back, the Barbell Row is a staple exercise that many lifters swear by. However, more recently, an alternative exercise has gained popularity for its similar benefits and unique challenges: the Landmine Row.

Both exercises target the muscles of the back, but they differ in their setup and mechanics. While the Barbell Row requires a stable base and a strong grip to execute properly, the Landmine Row can allow for more freedom of movement and can be more accessible to beginners.

In this article, I’ll compare the two exercises in depth, exploring their benefits, drawbacks, and which might be the best fit for your training goals and abilities.

Landmine Rows

Equipment Needed

  • Barbell
  • Weight Plates
  • Landmine Attachment

Muscles Worked

  • Lats
  • Upper and lower back
  • Biceps
  • Abdominal muscles (Stabilizing the horizontal lifting position)

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Setup your landmine attachment.
  • Load the open end of the barbell with the desired amount of plates.
  • Grab the barbell toward the plate side using your hands or a cable attachment.
  • Use a shoulder-width stance, bend the knees, braced core and flat back.
  • Pull the plates up off the floor and begin rowing by pulling the bar toward you.
  • Most often you will be able to row until the weight plates touch your chest.
  • Control the eccentric portion of the lift back to arms extended and repeat.

Coaching Points

Using a cable attachment for Landmine Rows has its pro and cons. It makes the setup more comfortable and convenient to row, but if you place metal straight on your barbell it can scratch it up. Keep that in mind if you’re planning on using one.

Benefits of Landmine Rows

Landmine Rows have many of the same strength gain benefits you’ll find in other rowing variations like Bent Over Barbell Rows and Dumbbell One Arm Rows.

However, Landmine Rows really shine in their versatility. You can do Landmine Rows with both hands, one arm at a time or with numerous attachments like a V Bar or even by looping a towel around the bar.

Combine that with the fact that they’re already an ‘out-of-the-box’ exercise for many people and Landmine Rows can do a great job of simply adding variety to a strength program and keep your workouts from getting stale.

RELATED –> Don’t have a landmine attachment? Check out these 10 best Landmine Row alternatives.

Bent Over Barbell Row

Bent Over Barbell Row Vertical

Equipment Needed

Step-by-Step Instruction

  • Approach the barbell and take a shoulder-width stance. Your shins should be almost touching the barbell.
  • Hinge at the waist and bend the knee until you can grab the barbell. Use a pronated grip (Knuckles facing the floor). I will talk later about the supinated grip (palms up) in this movement.
  • Always keep a flat back, and a neutral spine, and keep your eyes focused slightly down about 1 foot in front of you.
  • Take a deep breath, brace the abdomen, and pull the bar in until it makes contact right about the belly button.
  • Pause for about 1 second. Squeeze the shoulder blades and lock in the rep.
  • Slowly return the barbell back to the starting position (weights about 1-2 inches off the ground).

Coaching Points

The initial setup and stance for this movement should be specific to the lifters deadlifting and Olympic lifting goals. Having identical setups and grips will be great for the lifts to carry over to the compound movements.

I would highly recommend this movement to any lifter or athlete. It develops strength in the posterior chain and can be overloaded over time easily. However, if you do need an alternative, here are 11 Barbell Row alternatives.

I typically recommend the pronated grip here for athletes. Especially athletes that are cleaning and snatching as the pronated grip will carry over to cleans and pulls.

However, there is some benefit to the supinated grip for general lifters and bodybuilders. The supinated grip will engage more of the biceps and can be a great time under tension movement for hypertrophy.

Common Mistakes

The setup here is very similar to the Deadlift. With that in mind, always remember to keep a nice neutral spine. DO NOT ROUND YOUR BACK.

Another common mistake is I have seen lifters go too heavy and therefore need to “hitch or yank” into a lock in position. Never sacrifice your form for more weight. You will get hurt eventually.


Some potential benefits of Barbell Bent Over Rows include:

  1. Building hypertrophy and strength in the upper and lower back and arms.
  2. Improving posture by strengthening the muscles that support the spine.
  3. Increasing grip strength, which can be useful for many sports or activities like rock climbing.
  4. Improving athletic performance, such as in sports that require upper body strength and power.

Landmine Rows vs Barbell Rows: Which is Better?

Now, let’s take a look at the two exercises side-by-side and discuss if one may be better than the other for some common lifting goals.

Better For Developing Size and Strength: Toss Up

Both exercises are excellent at developing strength and building muscle mass. To say one is necessarily better than the other would really be splitting hairs.

Both movements utilize a barbell. Both movements can be loaded pretty much as heavy as needed (if you’re able to fully load a Landmine Row up, kudos to you). Finally, both movements involve the same basic movement pattern.

This is why I think incorporating both rowing movements into your strength training program can be a great way to add variety without having to sacrifice effectiveness.

Better For Beginners: Landmine Rows

The versatility of Landmine Rows makes them just a touch more beginner-friendly.

You can turn Landmine Rows into a One-Arm Row variation and use the opposite arm to brace yourself. This can take some of the strain off the low back. Also, because you’re not rowing the entire weight of the barbell, you can start the exercise a bit lighter which can also make it more suitable for beginners.

Either way, if you’re going to do either exercise, make sure to focus on proper technique first. This means learning how to get into a proper flat-back position and maintain a braced core throughout the movement. Then, once you’ve established your technique, then you can start to gradually increase in weight.

Final Thoughts

I just spend the back half of this article comparing if Landmine Rows or Barbell Rows are better than the other. The truth is, assuming you have the proper equipment and technique, there is no reason you can’t have both exercises in your strength training program.

Both exercises are extremely effective and actually can complement each other well. Plus, by utilizing both exercises you can add variety to your workouts and keep them from getting stale.

So, my final suggestion is to figure out how you can incorporate both Landmine Rows and Barbell Rows into your training.

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