Who Invented the Landmine?

Who invented the Landmine? No. I’m not talking about the explosives! What I am talking about is the landmine attachment that is found in gyms all over the world. Many of us are now firm devotees to the landmine. Over lock down, and in my small but beloved home gym, my landmine attachment was a god send.

I’m not kidding. For several months I’ve been training with a barbell, plates and my landmine attachment. Before lock down my gym was an Aladdin’s cave of specialized machines. I lost my machines and, I thought, went back to the dark ages of barbells. During my time of need, the landmine became my savior. I could do lunges, squats, rows, chest presses, shoulder presses and everything I could think of. Heck, at one point I even rigged my landmine so I could do single leg hamstring curls.

Before you ask, the curls were not pretty, but they worked! In any case, this is my long winded way of saying that the landmine attachment is super versatile, clever and one of my now favorite pieces of equipment. Luckily I’m not alone. To quote Arrested Development, 

there are dozens of us … dozens

With that in mind, let’s turn to today’s post. Specifically, let’s figure out who invented this wonderful piece of equipment?

The Pre-History

The first thing to note when discussing the invention of the landmine is that precursors did exist. T-Bar Rows and variations of this exercise were certainly used during the golden age of bodybuilding. It is thus possible to find advice from this period to stick a barbell in a corner, anchor it with some plates and then row to your heart’s content.

It wasn’t always the prettiest but it still helped build some of the best backs in bodybuilding.

So one, perhaps unfair, argument is that the T-Bar Row was an obvious precursor to the landmine attachment. It was widely used and several machines were in existence by the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Being fair to the landmine press, we should put out that the T-Bar machine is limited to just a handful of exercises. The Landmine, on the other hand, can be used in a variety of ways. The T-Bar Row is a precursor to the Landmine in much the same way that bicycles per-dated cars. We find arguably similar outcomes but the methods are drastically different.

An Athlete’s Dream

If you’re new to this website, now is the time to note my love of innovation in the fitness industry. Nothing makes me happier than coaches and athletes devising new ways to train the body. The Reverse Hyper Extension was created to solve a very specific issue. Squat racks helped to transform the way people squat while something as simple as the protein shaker changed the way we ate.

Not every innovation has lasted the test of time, things like the Iron Boot or the Swingbell are proof, but this should not discourage the dreamers. Bert Sorin would certainly fall into this category. With the proviso that this is not a sponsored post – I am a huge Sorin fanboy.

Sorin is the brainchild behind Sorinex, one of America’s most innovative and highly regarded fitness manufacturers. Aside from making quality barbells, including one with the slogan Nobody Cares. Work Hard imprinted on it, Sorinex creates very clever solutions to a variety of problems.

Previously I mentioned my forays into training at home thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. Anyone with a home gym will encounter issues like how to isolate hamstrings, the lower back etc. Sorinex (and I promise this is my last unpaid plug*) created pieces of equipment like the hamstring roller to solve these obstacles.

The Birth of the Landmine

This creativity underlies the creation of the landmine. As retold by Bert Sorin in a great interview with the Art of Manliness

Brett McKay: Sorinex is known for just their awesome squat racks, benches. It’s just high quality stuff. Colleges, training facilities across the country use them, but are there any other pieces of equipment that are unique that have come out of y’alls factories?

Bert Sorin: Sure. The two that are probably the most seen that people may or may not ever know that we came up with, one is called Landmine and it’s a universal joint with somewhat of a pipe on there, you shove a bar into it and you do a ton of different multi planner modalities, different movements. A lot of companies make them now. A lot of them hacked off the idea, and the reason why is it’s a great piece. The funny part about it was it was never even intended to be a product.

I built it myself with the help of my dad’s inventive mind back in 1999 as a way to help my hammer throw training. When I was training for the 2000 Olympic Trials I needed something that would bridge the gap between a really good squat and bridge the gap into a rotary torso motion that the hammer throw was needing. The Landmine is probably one of our most favorite. The second would be what you would consider a cross fit rig that multiple uprights connected in a thousand different configurations. That was also another invention of ours for the cross fit community as well as other tactical communities and even colleges that just saw a problem. That’s really what we’re about.

From Sorinex to the World

Eventually Sorin began to market his angled barbell attachment (‘the Landmine’) to the wider fitness community. Knowing a good thing when they saw it, many popular writers began to praise the landmine and its various exercises.

As early as 2009, names like Lorne Goldberg and Stuart McGill, were using it in their practice. Likewise a generation of young, and impressive, trainers featured the Landmine in their training videos. Check out a young Nick Tumminello showing off the Landmine

Fitness writers, and their accessibility thanks to the internet, pushed the Landmine to the masses. Since the 2010s it has become a staple in the fitness industry and, in my case, something that saved my home gym!

As always … Happy Lifting.

For Those Searching For Even More Information …

Art of Manliness Podcast #97: Physically Cultured With Bert Sorin

The Sorinex Website

* Yes I am well aware I need to stop promoting things for free. I’m a fitness geek, I can’t help it.

2 thoughts on “Who Invented the Landmine?

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  1. I practiced yoga regularly for many years prior to ever lifting a weight. I’ve been playing the iron game for more than four years now, and I’ve found that yoga is the perfect active recovery exercise. Together, they make a lovely pair.

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