If you are reading this, you likely saw someone using a steel mace and you thought it looked badass and seemed like a whole lot of fun, but you might be wondering, “what exactly are the benefits of using this unconventional fitness tool”?
The mace was used by warriors and wrestlers for centuries and has been used in various forms for over 2,000 years. There must be a reason it has stuck around and is making a major comeback.
What makes steel mace workouts so special?
Steel mace workouts are the epitome of functional training. The Steel Mace was made to improve sports performance.
Functional (athletic) training purposely demands balance and body awareness during training through the use of unilateral exercises.
Functional training should require controlled amounts of instability so that the athlete must react in order to regain their own stability.
By design, functional training makes use of single leg and arm movements that demand balance to properly develop muscles.
It’s the same concept and effect when training with the steel mace due to its uneven weight distribution.
The steel mace won’t allow you to cheat like many other tools. It won’t give you the option to move your upper body in a rigid fashion. Instead, you'll move in a relaxed fashion with your upper body as you begin to do things like trunk rotation or foot pivots. The steel mace is great for developing good rhythmic movement, needed for actions like throwing a ball or sprinting.
The ability to alter the difficulty:
The beauty of the steel mace is that you can increase the difficulty by moving your hands closer together towards the end of the handle or make it easier by using a spread-out grip with one hand closer to the head while the other remains towards the bottom of the handle.
The ability to change the difficulty of a movement by simply altering your hand placement makes the Steel Mace an extremely dynamic and versatile training tool.
Note: If you are looking for the most versatile size go with a 10LB or 15LB mace. Another size may be better for you, take your current conditioning and strength into consideration when choosing your mace.
The design of the mace allows for the possibility to create hundreds of different movements.
Who should use a steel mace?
Athletes and anyone looking to improve their sports performance would do very well using the mace.
Also, people looking to supplement their normal workout routines to improve their overall performance and physical capabilities.
Put simply, the steel mace is great for anyone who wants a full-body conditioning tool that is cost-effective, physically effective, and a lot of fun (albeit, a lot of the workouts are so brutal they sometimes can’t be considered as that fun, until you are done and realized what you just accomplished).
Steel Mace Training e-Guide
When using the Mace to exercise make sure that you’re using proper form and a weight that you can completely control. Swinging a steel bar with a heavy steel ball at the end can be dangerous if not done correctly or if performed in an area that contains innocent bystanders.
One of the most frequently injured areas of the body is the shoulder area. The reason being is that the shoulder girdle is the weakest joint in the entire human body. Many of us have suffered through shoulder injuries that make it difficult to perform daily tasks let alone get a good workout at the gym.
The 360 is an exercise that requires you to swing the Mace through a full range of motion. These types of exercises will increase flexibility and mobility while simultaneously improving the strength of the muscles and connective tissue surrounding the shoulder joint.
360s and 10-to-2s will give you the shoulder mobility you thought you would never have. After months/years of practice, you will have the mobility in your shoulders that most overhead sports or MMA professionals strive for day in and day out. Injury prevention is key, and this is one of the most effective tools to prevent shoulder injury.
Stabilizer muscles distribute the work of training and movement throughout our bodies instead of placing all the stress on one or two primary movers/joints.
If stabilizers are weak, you risk creating muscle imbalances and increase the chance of injury.
Also, stabilizing muscles provide a solid foundation that your body needs for postural support. This is crucial for sports performance and ability to take pressure on joints (think pretty much every full-contact sport).
When was the last time you focused on building your grip strength? Do you dedicate enough time to working on your forearms and grip?
Perhaps one of the most useful things you can do that will impact your entire life is to improve your grip strength. Grip strength is a combination of finger, hand and forearm strength. You use your grip every single day from picking anything up, to opening that jar of pickles to carrying your groceries inside.
The non-proportional weight distribution of the Mace combined with swinging motions requires an extra strong grip. Since Mace training often is comprised of repetitive movements your grip strength will continue to improve as the weeks and months pass.
The steel mace engages forces and activates new ones through purposeful multi-planar movement. This is one of few tools that can work you through all 3 planes of motion in one exercise or complete movement.
The ability to effectively channel and absorb force is what healthy, performance-based movement is all about. Without a focus on all three dimensions of the body, this skill is incomplete.
Tire slams ~
One of the exceptional benefits of tire slams is the ability to train explosively through multiple planes of motion. The shock effect of slamming a training tool into a tire also aids in strengthening of tendons and joints. Training explosiveness and power in multi-planes like this will directly correlate to an improved performance in a variety of athletic activities.
The uneven weight distribution of the Steel Macebell activates your core in order to keep the Mace under control while performing swinging motions. Many Steel Mace movements entail cross-body swinging movements that activate and engage the core, especially the obliques.
One of the key factors in transverse training is that you will be more resilient to injury. Your core is your foundation and is the most crucial component of sports performance at it’s highest level.
Plus, a strong core = longevity.
Just as it’s good for rotational work. it’s an amazing tool for anti-rotational work. Which can directly apply to sports in terms of stability and the ability to be hit or take force from one side while maintaining balance.
The offset weight, again similar to unilateral training, will drastically improve your balance and coordination, something many conventional weightlifting athletes are missing as they mostly train in the sagittal and frontal plane with an even weight distribution (squats, deadlifts and bench). However, that’s not to say most conventional athletes don’t do moves like split squats or lunges, however, using an unconventional tool like the steel mace will really challenge and take your balance and coordination to the next level.
By swinging the Mace or performing other movements during a set period of time will boost your heart rate dramatically resulting in improved cardiovascular output. Just like the kettlebell, you can incorporate the Mace into HIIT training.
Exercises and movements using the Mace are almost entirely compound movements that engage multiple muscle groups within the same movement.
Here is the perfect example and it’s not a movement that most would consider “full-body” but it is when you are using a weight like and form like that.
The video below is of a GADA which is what the Steel Mace was designed after.
“I was so confused by his technique. Once I started looking at the small details I started realizing all of the "crazy" looking things were super purposeful and all adding to his swing. I have never seen anyone get that kind of quad engagement in a mace swing before! This cat is definitely at on a whole different level than anyone I've seen”
- Franken Legs
In reply to that comment Coach Rich Thurman said…
“There’s no other way than to engage the entire body. The notion that motion stops at the hips is only for specific objectives with specific loads. We harness power from the ground... Earth supplies us with power. We just need to learn how to harness it safely and effectively through our kinetic chain.”
In regards to muscle endurance, pick up a light mace, even a 7LB mace, and perform exercises for 10 minutes straight and tell us how you feel. We guarantee you will be testing your muscle endurance tremendously.
The steel mace can help fix any imbalances you might have.
Training with a unilateral weight like the macebell will keep your dominant side from assisting your weaker side. That is the purpose of functional training and what athletes focus on day in and day out.
Workouts and Exercises:
If you’ve got yourself a steel mace, first things first, you need to learn the essentials. The two main movements for the steel mace, arguably the most fun and effective as well, are the 10-to-2 and 360. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are many more steel mace exercises. As we said, there are endless possibilities for exercises.
The mace 360 and 10-to-2, a.k.a. Gada Swings, and are what the mace is really known for. These two movements (with variations of the two, such as one-handed, or switch-hand) are the main focus for how Pelwani wrestlers used the mace in their training.
Think you can’t hit legs? Steel Mace lower body circuit workout.
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