A few weeks back I started doing some soft tissue work on my adductors using the barbell because that’s how I get my kicks in life.
From there, I was reminded of the “Landmine” press, a staple in functional fitness. The barbell slides into a fitting that swivels allowing for all kinds of cool pressing and rotation exercises. In the absence of the official fitting you can place the end of a barbell in an old shoe or wrapped in a towel wedged into a corner. I rested the bar in the center of a bumper plate.
In MovNat we actually train a similar set up when we’re lifting logs (I did a Movement Minute on this last fall). We take advantage of the stability of having one end of the object on the ground while we position our support underneath. Lifting long objects is proof that physics can be fun as it makes lifting awkward object super efficient.
We’re still working on getting some lifting logs in at CoMotion and most average gyms frown on you bringing your own. The barbell doesn’t provide the cool contours and textures of the log but it works just fine; consider it spring training.
I used basic sitting positions as the foundation for this practice. Beginning in a bent sit and executing an overhead press being mindful to maintain spinal alignment and support. Then switching sides in a side bent sit position while supporting the barbell.
From kneeling was probably the most practical of the variations. Going from low kneeling to tall kneeling with a press overhead. Stepping out into a half kneeling position just made sense and I started to think about getting to my feet or shouldering the load. Rotation side to side in a tall kneeling position was a great drill I’ll definitely use with my clients.
Lastly, I used a posted arm in a tripod transition variation to play around with changing my orientation. Looking away from the bar offered up a nice stability challenge. Rotating and pressing the weight is what I usually see with the landmine, but it was also cool to stabilize the object and figure out how I could rotate myself.
Try this out as a warm up or as part of a mobility / light practice day. The Olympic bar weighs 20kg /45lbs which was a decent weight for these drills. I would only add more weight if I were planning on staying primarily in the sagittal plane and focused on straight pressing and getting up from the ground. To modify, you could use any long object that might be laying around your house; your 2x4 balance beam (6'-8’) would work well.
There’s a lot to play with here and plenty of opportunities to get creative. For me creating or finding new and interesting environments is a huge part of how I approach training. It’s in these environments where I adapt and figure out how to apply my skills in new places. This adds an element of problem-solving which keeps the work fresh for me. In turn, this practice helps me see problems as opportunities to devise creative strategies. We are truly creatures of habit but we are endowed with amazing abilities to adapt to new situations. We’re only limited by the boxes we confine ourselves to. Embracing curiosity and taking a moment to ask “I wonder what would happen if…” could make a world a difference in your perception.