how to run a steel mace class

How to Start & Run Successful Steel Mace Classes and Group Training

September 20, 2019

Are you ready to start running steel mace classes and group training? 

Do you want to know how to set up, structure and program a steel mace class?

Great! This article will tell you everything you need to know about successfully starting a steel mace (aka macebell) class. 

Table of Contents:

  1. What you'll need to start a steel mace class.
  2. What size steel maces are good for steel mace classes/group training and where to get them?
  3. How many clients and trainers per class.
  4. Choosing a venue.
  5. How to find clients and get people to join your class.
  6. Course/Class time and length.
  7. How much to charge (per course/per class).
  8. Ways to charge them (i.e. per class or per course).
  9. Managing different skill levels.
  10. Programming and structuring your steel mace classes, with examples of classes.
  11. Workout Methods & Formats.
  12. Preparing for classes.
  13. Precautions.

How to Run Steel Mace Classes

steel mace classes

We always approach steel mace classes as education and acquiring new skills rather than a fat loss session. This is because the steel mace is a specialty tool. This approach has proven to create better client retention. So, keep this in mind.

What you’ll need to start steel mace classes

macebell class

Although you can work steel maces into a boot camp style class where many different training tools are involved, let’s assume we are strictly running steel mace classes. Meaning steel maces and bodyweight only.

For this, you’ll need just a few things. 

  1. Steel Maces
  2. White Board/Marker
  3. Timer 

What size steel mace for group training and classes?

There won’t be a lot of rest time during a steel mace class

Your clients will be keeping the mace in their hands for pretty much the entire duration of the workout. Because of this, a lighter steel mace is best.

Moreover, a lighter steel mace is safer and more effective for learning new skills efficiently AND they are more versatile in what skills you can teach them and protocols you can run.

A 10LB steel mace is the best weight for steel mace classes. This goes for both men and women. However, some women may need a 7lb mace while some men may want a bigger challenge with a 15lb mace. To make sure you are meeting the needs of everyone who may walk into your class, it is best to have enough 7, 10, and 15lb maces. There will definitely be no need for anything heavier.

If you are on a tight budget, get only 10lb maces. You should teach your clients how to make a movement easier or more difficult by simply changing hand positioning on the mace handle.

Providing Steel Maces vs Selling Members Steel Maces

If you have a set venue, like your own gym, it makes sense to stock up with all the maces you’ll need.

However, if you change locations each class or even every few classes or weeks/months, a good option is to add a steel mace into the program package. So, a client signs up for your class, you add in the cost of a mace to your total package, then the mace is delivered to your client and each class they bring their own mace.

SET FOR SET works with trainers who run steel mace classes to provide their students with steel maces. Simply contact us and we will give you special pricing. We can deliver the maces to your clients home or directly to your venue. 

This is a cool option as you won’t have to deal with moving around a lot of steel maces, making sure you have enough, etc. And, your clients will be able to practice what they learn at home, reinforcing the skills they are acquiring from you.

Note: It will always be good to have a few extra maces on hand in case you get some random, last-minute members who want to join and so you can allow for some flexibility. Maybe a class member wants to bring a friend for a trial, or they want to try a heavier or lighter mace for a workout to see how it goes before making a purchase on their next mace. 

How Many Clients and Trainers Per Class?

starting steel mace classes

This is really going to depend on your venue and how much space you have. Most people think a lot of space is needed for a steel mace workout, with the swinging and all. However, even when doing flows, a 2 meter squared space for each member of the class is enough.

That said, let’s not only think about this in terms of space and number of students. Let’s work this out by looking at the ratio of coaches to students.

As the steel mace is a specialty tool, it's very technical. So, it requires a lot of attention. Because of this, we recommend no more than 10 clients for every 1 coach. You could probably get away with 12 to 1, but 10 is definitely the sweet spot. It will allow you to give each member of the class the attention they need to succeed. By doing this, you will ensure the safety of each member, that your class is fostering a good learning environment, and also, your clients will feel they are getting the proper education to develop their skills, which ultimately justifies paying for your class.

Choosing a Venue

how to run a steel mace class

If you have your own gym, this part is already done.

But let’s say you don’t have a gym. Then, choosing the right venue or place to run your classes is crucial.

Outdoors

Outside is a great option, typically it’s easy to get a permit to use a park. If you like this idea, get in touch with your city’s Parks and Recreation department to apply for a permit that allows you to host outdoor steel mace classes in a legal and sanctioned way.

The only downfall to outdoor classes is that you will have to deal with the weather. It can get pretty messy rescheduling around bad weather. You may be forced to give refunds. In the end, the situation is heavily controlled by Mother Nature.

You could say “come rain or shine, the session is on” but with steel maces, having a slippery handle can be a big problem. 

Because of this, indoor venues are likely a better option. However, these will likely require payment.

Some indoor venue options are:

  • Partner with a local gym (crossfit boxes are usually open for this during times when they aren’t running their own classes)
  • Sports halls
  • Studios (Yoga studios may be interested in having you host a steel mace class)
  • Recreation clubs
  • Old churches
  • Town halls
  • Corporate venues (one of the best options)* 

Ask some local trainers and yoga teachers what they do, then work to strike up a deal with the venue of your choosing.

All in all, choose your venue wisely. Try to work out a long term deal, say 6 months. Maybe you can get a discount for booking long term in set blocks. If you get a really good venue, they might even help you promote. 

Also, one very important thing to consider is the cost of the venue. This going to be vital for pricing your classes; i.e. How many classes and how many clients do you need to at least break even. Lay everything out on the table so you can see exactly what you’ll need to make a worthwhile profit.

Keeping venue costs as low as possible is going to be very important as venue costs can make or break your efforts to run a successful steel mace class. 

Moreover, location is key. As they say, "location, location, location".

How to find clients and get people to join your class?

how to get more clients for steel mace classes

One of the most important questions you need answered is how do you get enough clients?

Once you have your location in order, you can start targeting people in the area to join. 

One of the best ways to break the ice with people is by offering a free session. Working with the venue and utilizing social media can be a great way to gain awareness.

Other things you can do to find are:

  • Create flyers and drop them in mailboxes, public locations, windshield wipers.
  • Reach out to local businesses and offer their employees a special discount.
  • Facebook and Google Ads - Create a website and promote it through paid advertising.
  • Create a website and add it to Google My Business.
  • Join local community markets/fairs.

All of these options are worth a try. Start with the lowest-cost marketing ideas and see if they work before you start spending money.

Always promote the free class. Most people sign up after they see what a steel mace class is all about.

Course & Class Time/Length:

how long should a steel mace class be

Timing is everything.

The best days to run classes are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. This will allow you to avoid long weekends, busy Monday’s, lazy Friday’s and weekends. Tuesday-Thursday are proven to be the best days to run group training and classes in terms of keeping clients accountable. 

How many days per week?  

We believe 2 days a week is perfect. People are much more likely to commit to 2 days per week than 3 days.

A Tuesday and Thursday class would be the ideal scenario. 

How long should my course be?

This is really up to you and how you plan to charge your clients. 

Are you charging per class or per course? 

Assuming you are creating a course, 6, 8 or 12 weeks works best. People are not likely going to commit to anything longer, and shorter will give the impression of not being long enough to develop any real skills. 

So, if you are doing a 12 week course with 2 classes per week, that’s a total of 24 classes. That’s plenty of time to take your clients from beginner steel mace users to adept steel mace athletes. 

How long should each class be? 

Including intros, warm up, workout, and cool down, 40-60 minutes is the ideal class length. 

We will break down a structured class below so you can see how it looks on timing.

But for now, let’s just make it clear that any longer than 60 minutes with a steel mace is just too much. You could even keep your classes as short as 30 minutes. That way you can do 2 classes per hour, saving you on costs if you are paying for a venue.

In our opinion, 45 minutes is the sweet spot, and that’s not only for running classes, but that’s also workouts in general. Especially metabolic workouts, which most steel mace classes will be.

No matter what time length you choose, make sure you stay on schedule and be strict to your times.

How much to charge each client?

how much to charge a client for group training

There is no exact number to give you for this, but we can say what has shown to be the sweet spot for getting clients to join.

Around $10-15 per class per client seems to get people on the hook without much hesitation, so long as they are actually interested.

If you charge $10 per client per class, and you have 10 clients in a class, that’s $100 for the allotted time. In terms of the entire course, that’s $2400 for a 10 student 12 week course. You should be able to have a couple different groups. So, say you run 3 different groups each at a 12 week course, you could pull in $7200 in that 3 months for a total of 54 hours (if each class is 45 minutes).

That said, each trainer's situation is unique. You need to consider the following points when pricing: 

  • Maybe you are very well known, pro trainer. You can charge more than a new trainer just getting their name out.
  • How much are you paying for the venue/location, or your own gym?
  • What skills will you be teaching them? Is this an advanced course or is it a basic steel mace course with the main intention of getting people to simply workout in a fun, highly accountable environment?
  • Are you going to need to pay other coaches to help you run the class?

There are likely more things to consider, so really write everything down so you have a clear picture of what you’ll need to charge to make it worth your while. Trainers can charge more or less depending on many different variables. The most important thing is you charge a price that allows your steel mace classes and business to be viable and sustainable. 

How to charge them? 

Option 1: One-off classes

If you are charging per class, you will need to be very flexible. Some days you might get just a few people, while other days you get around 20 students. Of course, you can cap the class, but it will be hard to turn down people or get them to wait for the next class.

In any case, if you charge per class, be ready to make adjustments to your programming each day. You will also need to make sure you have enough steel maces. 

Option 2: Pay for a Course

Because the above method requires a lot more flexibility in how you run your class, we think it’s best to create a course and have people sign up for the entire course. 

Once you fill up a course (i.e. 12 people sign up for 12 weeks), you can create another group if more people want in. If you are doing Tuesday and Thursday classes, with a total working time of 3 hours for both days, you could run 3-5 different groups of 12 people. 

Policy

Make a strict policy. This is a business and you need to make sure you live up to your policy. We recommend not offering refunds for people who miss certain days. They signed up, they need to be accountable. You can’t be giving refunds to people who sign up but end up not going. You’ve already paid for the venue time, and you are taking your time to be there. Plus, by not offering refunds and making your policy clear, people will need to push themselves to actually make it to class, and that’s good for their fitness. 

Option 3: Class Package

If you have a gym, offering packages where people pay X amount of money and they get X amount of classes works well. This way they can use their classes when they have time and refunds no longer become an issue. 

Say someone pays $100, and they get 10 classes. They can come whenever they have time during the times you are running classes. 

This is ideal for the client, but for you, it will require you to be flexible. Somedays you may have more students or less, so you will need to be ready for that. 

If you choose this method, you can also accept people paying per class. Of course, if they pay for the package, they can get a discount on what each class would cost individually.

Tip: Put an expiration date on the class packages. i.e. Good for 6 months.

Also, require people to sign up to the class. That way you have advanced notice on who will be joining you each class. 

So, for example, a client wants to join a class in the evening and they have 10 classes left in their package, they can sign up anytime before the class gets full - that same day, days before, or even weeks before.

Using an app for this works best, but you can also do it manually or on your website. 

This is how most spinning studios do it and it works well. 

Managing Different Skill Levels of Clients

steel mace skill levels

As your classes progress, you will be confronted with a good problem, but a problem nonetheless. 

It’s likely that new people will want to join your existing class. 

This poses a problem as your current class will be more advanced than the newcomer.

While you could give the newcomer regression exercises, you will have trouble organizing the class because of this, and you will likely not give the newcomer the attention he/she needs to succeed in your class. It will be hard to manage the different levels all in one class.

There are two solutions to this: 

  1. Offer them one-on-one training before the class. This may work if your current group isn’t too far ahead. If they are, though, this is still going to be a challenge as the new client can’t learn everything so quickly.
  2. The best option - start a new class. This is truly the only solution.

Arranging your classes by skill levels

Each class can have a theme, such as metabolic workout day, speed day, cardio day, warrior day, etc. (the options are only limited by your creativity), however, you should always break the groups and courses into skill levels.

Have beginner, intermediate and advanced courses/classes. 

So, let’s say you run classes Tuesday and Thursday, you could have 3 classes each day, beginner, intermediate and advanced (depending if you have enough students for each). 

Either way, label your courses by levels. The steel mace is a specialty tool, so people’s steel mace skill levels will vary greatly and it really doesn’t even have to do with their fitness level. It’s about their comprehension and ability with this specific tool. Moreover, it's not even about the workout. You can make each workout equally as intense even at different skill levels.

The point is, make sure you arrange your classes around skill levels as this is how you will have the smoothest running class possible and you won’t have to bounce around the class giving regression or progression exercises to certain clients. 

Remember, having a successful steel mace class isn't just about how much money you are making, it's also about people getting the most they can from it and their satisfaction.

What if you don’t have enough clients to break your classes down by skill levels yet?

From our experience, this isn't a big issue. If people are more advanced, they are still usually happy to join a beginner class. If not, they can wait until a more advanced class opens up. 

Honestly, most people will be new to the steel mace, so they will be beginners. This means they will start a course as a beginner and then progress to intermediate by the end. At which time they can sign up for the next course which is intermediate (or however you want to label it).

When you open up the new class, you can contact anyone who wanted to join when there wasn't a more advanced class available to see if they are still interested. 

If you do it this way, you keep things simple, every new group starts as a beginner. If someone is more advanced (which you can find out during a consultation with them), place them into your advanced class and catch them up on what they missed from the beginner course that they will need to know for the advanced course. 

Tip: No matter how you choose to organize your classes, make sure you keep the levels of people similar. It’s not worth making more money for a specific class if you are going to bring down the quality for everyone else because you have to give one person more help than the others. Simply get the new client to join a new class, even if they have to wait a week or so until more people sign up. It’s hard to make everyone happy, but the main thing is the classes you do run, you run well and smoothly. 

Example:

Level 1 - Beginner Course
Level 2 - Intermediate Course
Level 3 - Advanced Course

Once these fill up, you begin the 6-12 week course. It’s really that simple. If someone new wants to join, don’t throw them into the middle of a course, start a new one and wait for the class to fill up before commencing with the course.

This will eliminate any issues that were mentioned regarding skill levels and it will keep pricing simple. 

Programming Your Steel Mace Class & Class Structures

programming steel mace class and workouts

Every trainer will add their own flair and style to their training, not to mention, the type of steel mace skills they teach. That said, we are going to go over a basic template that you can follow to run a steel mace class. 

There are two main types of steel mace classes you can run. 

  • Steel Mace Workout (HIIT, Metabolic Workout Style - similar to a HIIT class or a full body pump class)
  • Steel Mace Flow Class

Teaching a flow class will be much more technical, but we will do our best to show you how to break it down into a class format. 

Steel Mace Class Structure for Full Body Workout

The following will apply to beginner, intermediate and advanced classes.

We are going to base this on a 45 minute class.

  1. Intro (2-3 mins)
  2. Mobility warm up (5 mins)
  3. Teaching Progression - new skills for the class (5-10 mins)
  4. Primary Workout (15 mins)
  5. Secondary Workout (10 mins)
  6. Cool down - stretching and decompression (5 mins)

Note: The 'teaching progression/new skills' section will essentially be part of the workout for beginner classes and for the first few weeks of your course as there will be a lot to learn.

For example, you will need to teach basic hand positions/grip orientation and hand switches for the movements you will be performing during the workout section. This can be time-consuming and it will require effort on their part, so the workout really starts there. 

For intermediate and advanced classes, the teaching section will become quicker, as you will be incorporating just a move or few moves into new classes. Have them practice the move after demonstrating, while you walk around and form check. Make sure your cues are good so you can streamline the process.

Sample Steel Mace Class 45 Minute Workouts

This is a good sample of a first-ever class...

1. Intro (5 mins)

  • Explain to the class what they will be learning today and what the workout entails.
  • Ask if anyone has questions (keep it quick).

2. Mobility/Warm up (5 mins)

3. Teaching Progression/New Skills (10 mins)

  • Teach grips (over/over, under/under, over/under)
  • Mace position (vertical, horizontal - note: the following weeks you can teach other mace positions such as side load, so for this week only incorporate exercises in the workout that use these two mace positions)
  • Hand switches (front switch)

4. Primary Workout (15 mins)

Teach the movements in this workout (5 mins)

  • Demonstrate and have them practice a few reps. During the workout you will be going around correcting form where necessary, so don’t worry too much about perfection.

Circuit workout - 5 exercises, 2 rounds (10 mins)

Protocol:
- 40 seconds work, 20 seconds rest, then move to the next exercise.
- If you work one side for an exercise in round one, work the other side during round two.

Exercise 1: Switch Squats
Exercise 2: Grave Diggers
Exercise 3: Offset Rows
Exercise 4: On the Ball Push Ups
Exercise 5: Vertical Mace Front Presses

5. Secondary Workout (5 mins)

Ladder workout - 2 exercises (ascending/descending ladder) 

Protocol:
- Have students try to complete this without any rest. 

7 Mace Pull Throughs / 1 Mace Burpee (no jump or 360, just press mace up overhead)
6 Mace Pull Throughs / 2 Mace Burpees
5 Mace Pull Throughs / 3 Mace Burpees
4 Mace Pull Throughs / 4 Mace Burpees
3 Mace Pull Throughs / 5 Mace Burpees
2 Mace Pull Throughs / 6 Mace Burpees
1 Mace Pull Throughs / 7 Mace Burpees 

6. Stretching/Decompression (5 mins)

Do a stretching cool down that targets all the joint complexes with at least one exercise. Place extra emphasis on the wrists, elbows, shoulders and hips.

Steel Mace Basics - What Every Mace Athlete Needs To Know

Moving forward with your course programming.

With each class, you can teach new skills, ready positions, and hand switches.

As you get deeper into the course, you will need to spend less time on the 'teaching progressions' segment of the class. 

You will be able to spend 5 minutes or so showing new progressions and having your class practice them before beginning the workout. 

For example, if they already learned how to do Switch Squats and 360s, they will be able to quickly learn how to do 360s to Switch Squats, and this simple progression will allow them to continue to progress with their mace skills, which is what they will expect from taking your course.

Sample of Steel Mace Flow Class Structure

Here is a quick outline of a steel mace flow class 

  1. Intro
  2. Warm up/mobility
  3. Teaching progressions (hand placements, grip orientations, ready positions, switches, piecing together exercises, etc.)
  4. Practicing the flow/piecing it together
  5. 10 minute flow session (non stop) this is the workout
  6. Decompression
  7. Q/A 

How to create a steel mace flow

Teaching the 360 and 10 to 2

There are a couple of good ways to go about teaching 360s and 10 to 2s.

You can dedicate a whole class or two to 360s and 10 to 2s.

You can also teach them regression/practice moves before you actually get into the full swing movements. 

Practice moves include:

You can learn all about teaching 360s and 10 to 2s here.

We recommend that they should have the 360 and 10 to 2 down so they can start using the mace in all of its glory by week 2 or 3.

A class for teaching 360s and 10 to 2s could look like this.

Prerequisite:

They should already have been practicing pendulums and metronomes in previous classes, so they have a feeling for parts of the 360 movement.

1. Intro (3 mins)

2. Warm up (5 mins) 

3. Teaching progressions (20 mins) 

Practice the following exercises:

Make sure you are moving around the class correcting any issues they may be having with these 360 practice movements.

4. Practice 360s (5 mins)

5. Practice 10 to 2s (5 mins) 

Note: When teaching the 360s, make sure you have good cues ready. This is essential.

Good cues include:

  • Don’t use the grip of death
  • Keep your elbows tucked
  • Don’t flare your ribs

And so on..

6. Workout (7 mins)

Option 1: AMRAP in 7 mins
Option 2: 5 minutes of 360s non stop.
Option 3: 3 minutes of 360s non stop followed by a 1 minute rest, then 3 minutes of 10 to 2s non stop 

7. Cool down/Decompression (5 mins)

Focus on shoulders, elbows and wrist joints here.

Check out a steel mace class near you to see how other trainers run their class.

Workout method formats that are great for steel mace classes

steel mace class template

  • EMOM (every minute on the minute)
  • Circuits
  • Ladder Circuits
  • AMRAP

Preparing for your Steel Mace Classes:

  • Arrive early
  • Clear space
  • Adjust lighting
  • Choose good music
  • Ask important questions for clients beforehand

Note: It's your professional duty to make everyone understands what's expected of them, the details of the workout, how long they will have to finish different class segments, and what space is theirs within the class.

Precaution:

steel mace group training

Vet each client before they start your class or course. Have them complete a PARQ (health questionnaire) before starting. If you have any doubts, you can ask them to provide a letter from their doctor stating they can participate in the course. Lastly, make sure you have insurance to cover the sessions. We've never had an issue with this but it's better to be safe than sorry. 

SET FOR SET Training Guide 

steel mace class and group training guide

Use our steel mace guide to get all different types of steel mace exercises, progressions, hand/grip placement, hand switches, flow education, workout programming ideas and more. This guide was made for trainers. It will teach you how to cue your clients, what muscles are being worked, and much more. It has everything you need to take a client from beginner to well-adept mace athlete. 

Steel Maces

wholesale steel maces for classes, workshops and group training

If you need steel maces for your class, SET FOR SET can set you up with a nice discount on bulk orders.

Please contact us for more information on supplying your class with Steel Maces

Note: If you choose to include a mace in their course package, we can deliver the maces directly to your member's homes or to your gym/venue.

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