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February 03, 2020
If you want to step up the intensity of a steel mace workout, incorporating resistance bands with steel mace exercises is a great way to do so. Resistance Bands and Steel Maces (and free weights in general) make for the perfect combination. Not only for workouts, but individual exercises too!
When we say “combining” steel maces with resistance bands, we aren’t talking about supersetting exercises using the implements separately (although that is great too for a number of reasons)….We are talking about performing exercises that literally integrate the two implements into one. This means you will be using both a resistance band and a steel mace at the same time (hence the name “Banded Mace Workout”).
This is a form of variable resistance training.
It sounds complicated, but it really isn’t. Essentially, it just means the resistance changes as you move through the exercise. i.e. when the band stretches, resistance increases. It’s a type of training used by powerlifters (bands + barbell lifts), as it is great for increasing strength and power.
Here’s how it works…
With free weights, which applies to mace training, there is a strength curve. It refers to how much force you produce at different joint angles throughout your range of motion for any given exercise. During free weight pressing exercises, there are certain parts of the lift that are easier than others. For example, during an overhead press, the beginning of the movement is the most difficult and as you reach full extension it becomes easier. This is an example of an ascending strength curve.
For the bicep curl, which Paulina demonstrates in the video below, there is a bell-shaped curve (easiest during the middle part of the movement).
We won’t get into strength curves too much, if you are interested in learning more about strength curves read our strength training 101 post.
The point is, during free weight exercises, you will only require full power through a small range of motion. Just think about any free weight exercise and you can discern the strength curve.
Conversely, with bands, it is easier in the beginning and the resistance increases as you stretch the band. There isn't a strength curve with resistance band exercises, it is simply variable training. The actual resistance changes as you move through the exercise, unlike free weight strength curves where the resistance is the same, it's simply how the joint angle affects your force/power/strength.
The difference between the two comes down to “tension resistance” vs “gravity resistance”.
First, combining bands with maces is a great way to add resistance to a lighter steel mace. That is obvious.
However, what we are looking at here is how integrating the two makes up for inherent shortcomings of both types of resistance. Essentially one compensates for the other. This is because free weights (the steel mace) provide the greatest mechanical overload at the beginning or inner range of the concentric phase, while resistance bands provide overload at the end or outer range of the concentric phase. The same applies to the eccentric phase of the movement. Thus, the two implements complement each other beautifully.
The main benefit of this is that you are providing constant tension and you are overloading the working muscles, allowing yourself to develop more strength and power in areas that are weaker.
Now, let’s get into the workout provided to us by Paulina Kairys.
After we run through this Banded Steel Mace Workout template, we will get into some tips for this workout and performing these exercises, and then we will go over more benefits of combining bands and steel maces.
WORKOUT PROTOCOL - Circuit:
5 Exercises x 5 Reps x 5 Rounds
Exercise 1: Front Rack Squat x 5 reps each side
Exercise 2: Overhead Press x 5 reps each side
Exercise 3: Deadlift to Row x 5 reps each side
Exercise 4: Biceps Curl x 5 reps each side
Exercise 5: Reverse Battle Lunge x 5 reps each side
Rest in-between rounds (as much as needed but keep it to a minimum)
Repeat 5 times
Tips for these exercises:
Why the 5 rep range?
You can perform various banded mace exercises using any workout format, not only circuits. You can do a traditional sets x reps format, Every Minute on the Minute, and so on - 5 Steel Mace Workout Formats.
Note: You’ll notice Paulina anchored the band at the center and almost all the exercises had it the same way. This enabled her to move through the rounds quickly. If you create similar workouts with this circuit format, try to do exercises that combine the band and mace in a way that makes it easy to transition from one exercise to the next, so you are not resting too long in-between exercises.
Here are some of the main benefits that banded mace exercises and workouts provide:
1. Maximum & Constant Tension
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, you will be overloading your working muscles due to the resistance bands taking over during the easiest part of the mace’s strength curve.
Even for the exercises that don’t have an ascending strength curve (bicep curls have a bell-shaped curve - meaning it’s easiest at the middle part of the movement), you will be adding resistance there as well, as the band stretches).
Moreover, you have added tension on the eccentric part of the lift, not only the concentric. For a lot of people, they engage their muscles less during the eccentric portion of certain exercises, especially with steel maces. The bands can keep that muscle engagement in check.
All in all, this improves strength and power, and it allows for maximum hypertrophy potential. With just bands or just maces, building muscle can be a challenge. However, when combining the two and having your muscles fully engaged through the full range of motion and for the entire rep count, you will be breaking those muscles down!
2. Makes a Lighter Mace More Challenging
This one is very obvious. If you have a lighter mace and you want it to be more challenging without using a heavier mace, you can add a resistance band to the movement for extra resistance. This is great for those minimalist who don’t want to have too many maces lying around or for those traveling or doing an outdoor workout and they only want to take one mace.
What’s more, it works well for workouts where a light mace is great for some of the exercises but too easier for others. So, if you have a resistance band on deck, strap it up to make those curls, squats or presses harder!
3. Improves Steel Mace Complexes/Flows
Here us out on this one…
It makes you more powerful in your steel mace flow abilities - it’s like swinging a heavy bat and then going back to a normal baseball bat when you are up to the plate. You will be strengthening certain muscles that aren't being targeted as well without the band, so when it comes time to flow, you will have more strength and power in your movements.
4. Increases Core Strength & Stability
This one is plain and simple. Offset movements plus added resistance equals some serious core strength and stability improvements.
The same applies to your stabilizer muscles.
41’ Loop Resistance Bands are what you need for this.
We recommend starting with a yellow band (0.5” width), but those who are stronger can opt for a black band.
That said, certain exercises like a banded mace deadlift would be good with a wider loop resistance band, such as our blue or green band.
If you aren’t sure, the good news is, resistance bands are super affordable. You can get a set and test them out to see what works for you. But if you want to spend as little as possible, just start with the yellow .5” band.
Other band and mace combination resources:
Other ways to add bands into your steel mace workouts
SET FOR SET! We sell the highest quality loop resistance bands on the market. See our reviews as they speak to this.
All of the bands are 41” in length and they are the same thickness, the sizes vary based on the width of the bands. See all band sizes and bundles.
Our company was founded on steel mace training. We can confidently say we also have the best cast iron steel maces in the game. They range from 7-30lbs. Check out our reviews if you want to see what people have to say about our maces.
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