Last updated on July 3rd, 2023 at 10:04 am
A landmine attachment is one of the most versatile and least expensive pieces of gear you can add to your garage or basement gym. So much so that it doesn’t make sense not to have one!
I get a lot of questions about landmines here at GymCrafter, but the most common one is, “Will a landmine damage my barbell?”. A very close second is, “How can I keep my landmine attachment from damaging my barbell?”.
So I put together an article to answer both questions.
Will a Landmine Attachment Damage Your Barbell?
A landmine attachment will not damage your barbell. If your barbell has a low-quality finish, you may see some aesthetic wear, but no functional damage will occur. Improper use of a landmine, on the other hand, will cause damage, and using it correctly is important for preserving your barbells.
Two Types of Possible Damage When Using a Landmine Attachment
When people ask me if a landmine attachment will damage their barbell, they are usually asking if the attachment will scratch their bar. An important thing to remember:
Aesthetic blemishes will happen to your bar whether you use a landmine or not.
Functional damage, damage that breaks your bar, should be the real concern. Your bar will collect aesthetic damage through use, but that doesn’t prevent you from using it.
If you break your bar, that can be a huge problem. And improper use of a landmine attachment is one of the fastest ways to break a barbell!!!
When we buy our first quality barbell, most garage gym owners get overly protective of it. I know I certainly was! After all, most of us didn’t think we would end up spending $300-$500 or more on a bar!
Who wouldn’t want to ensure their bar is cared for with that size investment? Proper barbell storage and regular maintenance are two subjects I’ve covered in depth here on GymCrafter for just this reason.
But what about normal wear and tear? You bought the bar to train with it, right? That means that scratches, nicks, dings, and other aesthetic “damage” are bound to occur across the life of your bar.
I want to stress that this is normal! In fact, in my opinion, it adds character to your gym! I love the nicks and scratches on my cage. I like that you can tell my favorite barbell simply by looking at how much more wear it has than the other bars on my wall.
That doesn’t mean we should treat our bars like crap, but we should have realistic expectations about how they will wear over time. And that means that your barbell’s sleeves will show wear. There’s simply no way around it.
The part of your weight plates that touch the bar is metal. Sliding those plates on and off of your bar means metal-on-metal contact. And that means scratches, nicks, and scuffs over time. NO different than sliding your barbel in and out of a landmine attachment.
How quickly this wear shows is determined by the finish on the sleeves of your bar. Hard chrome, bare steel, and stainless steel will all hold up nicely over time. Fancy finishes like Cerakote, black oxide, or black zinc will wear much more quickly.
This is one of many reasons I highly recommend getting an end-to-end stainless steel barbell for your garage gym.
When I think of the word “damage,” I think of a piece of equipment that has been broken and needs repair before being used again.
And that’s precisely what you can do to your barbell if you misuse a landmine attachment.
Barbells are designed to take a lot of abuse. They hold hundreds of pounds. They get lifted overhead and dropped repeatedly. With proper maintenance, they are designed to last a lifetime.
But they are also designed to be used in a particular way. They are intended to be kept horizontal (and should even be stored that way if possible). They are also designed only to be dropped when loaded with bumper plates.
Break any of those rules, and you might be surprised at how easily you can damage your barbell.
Never drop an unloaded barbell to the ground. This will damage the bearings or bushings in the sleeves. And please never drop an unloaded bar to the floor if one end is in a landmine attachment!
If you do this, one end of the bar is held in the landmine and typically raised above floor level at least a little. If you drop the other end, the full force of that drop will be taken by the very end of the barbell. That’s a surefire way to damage the bearings or bushings significantly.
Another rule to follow is always to ensure the end of your bar is fully seated in the landmine. If not, you put undue angular force on the sleeve at that end. The same type of bearing or bushing damage is possible.
Lastly, many people try to do landmine exercises without a landmine attachment. Some folks do this with an unprotected bar, and others stick a tennis ball on the end for protection.
I don’t advise this at all. Here you have a loaded bar being supported at one end by only the very tip of the bar. One of the purposes of the sleeve on a landmine is to move the force of the load inward, away from the bar’s tip. This relieves stress on the bearings/bushings, so they don’t break.
What My Landmine Bar Looks Like
When I built my garage gym, I started with two barbells. One was my main bar, and the other was a factory second “beater bar.” This was specifically because I didn’t want to put my “nice” bar into my landmine attachment.
I wouldn’t do it that way again. As you can see from the images below, after three years of regularly using the landmine, there are no issues with the bar. If I were to start all over, I would buy one bar and use it for everything.
This is my “beater bar” and this is the end I’ve inserted into my landmine attachment for 3 straight years of use. I’ve never cleaned or even wiped down this end. As you can see, it looks used, but it’s fully functional.
Here is the same end after wiping it down with a microfibre cloth. The rings you see are part of the sleeve and not caused by the landmine. Upon close inspection, there aren’t any real scratches or dings after three years of use!
Sure, there are a couple of extra marks on the end I put into the landmine, but it’s nothing that affects the functionality of the bar. And, to be honest, I’ve put similar marks on my “nice” bar simply by sliding weight plates on and off.
Ten ways to protect your barbell while using your landmine attachment
With all that said, I know people out there want to protect their barbells from aesthetic and functional damage wherever possible. I’ve been using landmines for quite a few years and have discovered ten things that will help you keep your barbell in great shape while using a landmine attachment.
- Don’t buy bars with weak finishes on the sleeves. Sure, black oxide and Cerakote coatings can make your barbell look cool. But they will also wear off quickly. Stick with hard chrome, bare steel, or stainless steel for a finish that won’t wear easily or even at all!
- Buy a quality landmine attachment. There is a massive difference between a quality landmine and a cheap one. If the inside of the landmine is scuffed, has metal burs, or is poorly powder coated, you will for sure scratch your bar. Quality landmine attachments have none of these issues.
- Fix the edge of your landmine if you went cheap. If you did happen to go cheap, smooth out the inside of the landmine’s sleeve before using it.
- Put a sock around the end of your bar. Have a quality landmine but are still worried? Put an old, thin sock around the end of your bar. That’s a cheap and easy way to limit cosmetic damage.
- Buy a landmine attachment with a plastic insert. Get a landmine attachment with a UHMW insert if you want to go high-end. This plastic is used in j-cups and other attachments to protect your barbell from scratches.
- Never drop your bar while in a landmine if it is unloaded. Never drop an unloaded bar in any circumstance, but this one is especially hard on your bars!
- Make sure the landmine attachment is secure and doesn’t move. I use a post mount landmine, but you can also get them as rack/cage attachments. In either case, make sure the landmine cannot move while in use. If it does, you could not only damage your bar, but it can also result in injury.
- Make sure your barbell is inserted fully into the sleeve. One of the ways a landmine protects your bar from damage is by moving the load up from the very end of the bar. If you don’t fully seat your bar in the sleeve, you are placing undue stress on the bearings/bushings in your barbell. Over time, this will damage your bar.
- Don’t use a tennis ball on the end of a bar and shove it in a corner. I used to work out in commercial gyms that didn’t have landmine attachments. The solution was to slide the end of a barbell into a corner and work that way. That’s fine if it’s not your barbell. But I saw multiple bars break this way. Even if you put a cut tennis ball over the end, the stress of resting on the outer end of the bar will cause damage over time. Please, they aren’t expensive. Bite the bullet and get an actual landmine instead of using this shortcut!
- For those still concerned, buy a “beater” bar. Either a cheap one like this from Amazon or a factory second like you see listed here on American Barbell.
So, there you have it. Rule number one, stop worrying about your barbell looking like you actually use it! It’s going to show wear over time no matter what!
Rule number two, make sure you have a quality landmine attachment. It doesn’t need to be crazy, but it shouldn’t be the cheapest one you can find.
Follow those two rules, and you’ll be training successfully with a landmine attachment for years to come!
What landmine do you recommend for a home gym?
I use and recommend the post/bumper plate-mounted landmine by Fringe Sport. It’s less expensive than most and still of the highest quality. It’s also much more versatile for people training with limited space (like garage and basement gyms).
Instead of mounting it to your rack, you take two bumper plates, lay them down, and insert the post into the hole in the bumper plates. This allows you to use your landmine anywhere. Rack-mounted landmines only allow you to use your landmine near your rack. For me and many other home gym owners, that will not work.
Another benefit of this type of landmine is that you don’t need a rack to use it. Many people training at home don’t have a cage/rack but still train with a barbell. This type of landmine is perfect for anyone in that situation!
How many exercises can you do with a landmine?
You can do hundreds of different exercises with a landmine attachment. There are also many landmine accessories that expand the functionality of your landmine almost exponentially. I firmly believe that a landmine is one of the single most versatile barbell training devices available today!
Are Landmine Attachments Safe to Use Without a Spotter?
Yes! You do not need a spotter for most landmine exercises. This is one of the many reasons a landmine attachment is perfect for a garage or basement gym!