The answer gets deep, though.
It really depends on what you are looking to achieve. What are your goals?
Steel mace training has tons of benefits, which you can read all about in that link. But for the purpose of this article, we are going to assume you are intending to find out if it works to get Shredded and Build Muscle - Hypertrophy. Mass. Beastly.
The short answer is an unequivocal YES.
That being said, it all depends on how you use the mace. Just like conventional bodybuilding, if you aren’t doing the exercises properly, not eating or sleeping well, and you aren’t training consistently, you will lack results.
If you train hard and smart, the steel mace can get you in incredible shape.
In fact, you can get all the fitness benefits you dream of with steel mace alone ( bodyweight exercises included).
Note: For best physique results, it would be advantageous to use other unconventional tools as well. You could get yourself a mace or two (or three) and a couple kettlebells, battle ropes, and a sandbags, and you’d have everything you need for amazing physique results...if you can, some conventional strength training (squats, deadlifts, and bench) would be great to add to the mix on a regular basis too…Not only would you be able to build muscle and get shredded, your all-around performance in both sports and daily life would boot tenfold.
Now, we are going to discuss everything below as if you plan to only train with steel maces (however, the same applies when you have other unconventional training equipment in your arsenal too, of course).
We are going to answer only two questions (and put aside all the other great benefits of training with a mace):
Can a steel mace help me build muscle?
Can a steel mace get me shredded?
Not only are we going to answer these questions succinctly, we are going to show you real-life examples of people on Instagram who use steel maces to get ripped and build muscle.
When it comes to conventional bodybuilding, doing 60-70% of your 1RM for 6-10 reps is proven to be the most beneficial for building muscle mass. That being said, this doesn’t apply to steel mace exercises as you have nothing to gauge what your 1RM would be and it doesn't even make sense in terms of mace training. Steel mace training, and unconventional training in general, is a totally different beast of fitness.
Building muscle requires time under tension.
So, can you build muscle using a steel mace. Yes, you can. With a heavy steel mace and an understanding of muscle tension, you absolutely can. You won’t become super huge like you can if bodybuilding properly, but you surely can put on some mass.
Related: Should I buy a heavy macebell?
Think about bodyweight training and calisthenics, do those guys have muscles? YES they do. They have those tight dense type muscles. If bodyweight exercises can build muscle, then surely a weighted tool (i.e. a steel mace) can too.
If you are skinny or skinny fat, you will see some serious results with steel mace training.
If you are already quite muscular from years of conventional training, you will be able to maintain that mass, and your muscles will become more solid. The type of training that takes place when using a steel mace differs from conventional bodybuilding. It makes you more solid and dense rather than blowing you up.
What's more, due to the nature of mace exercises, and how they differ so much from what you've likely been doing, you will build muscles. When you change up your routines, methods, exercises, etc. you shock your body, which triggers muscle growth. We all know this, and the mace does this particularly well.
Muscles you don't often think about...
It will also help build muscles that are typically not targeted adequately with conventional training, like obliques and forearms. Your forearms and obliques will be worked like it's nobody's business when training with a steel mace.
Your shoulders are going to pop like crazy if you train with the mace week in and week out.
You’ll want to use a heavier mace (20-30LB mace) and instead of counting reps, count time. Perform exercises at a moderate intensity, meaning you should rest in between movements/exercises/sets - 1 minute rest is ideal.
Hold the mace firm, engage all your muscles, keep that mind to muscle active. Move slowly through the exercises with maximum tension.
Best Upper Body Fitness Equipment
Steel mace are fantastic tools to build upper body strength and muscle, but what about legs? Yes, legs will be a bit more difficult, but they can be built with a steel mace (Effective Steel Mace Lower Body Workout). You just need to put in that time under tension and use a heavier mace. Do explosive exercises too, mace plyometrics are great for building leg muscles if you only have a light weight mace.
There is no doubt that you can get shredded with a mace. The mace is designed as a full body conditioning tool. Essentially it was made for HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), which burns fat like crazy and is much more efficient way of working out.
If you have any question about this, get your hands on a 10LB mace, pick it up, and don’t stop moving and don’t put it down for 20 minutes, you’ll understand quickly why this is the ultimate metabolic conditioning tool.
Mace Complexes for HIIT
Perform sequences of mace exercises, also known as complexes - So this will be around 3-5 movements combined into one large movement. Perform 1 complex for 20 minutes, with minimal rest, or you can do 4 different complexes, broken up into 5 minute segments (or 2 complexes, each for 10 minutes...you get the point). Each complex should be a combination of upper and lower body compound movements so that you are getting a full body workout in.
Related: 6 Steel Mace Complex Workouts
Steel Mace vs Jump Rope for burning fat
Some people ask, what’s better a Steel Mace or a Speed Rope for burning fat….
A steel mace is the better choice in our opinion. Swinging around and moving with a mace for 20 minutes non-stop will get your heart rate up high and the movements are so varied that it never gets boring. Moreover, you can burn more calories with a steady increased heart rate when using a steel mace.
That being said, if you are looking for footwork, the speed rope is a better option.
Steel Mace FTW
If you want to burn fat, the steel mace is fantastic and we'd chose it over a speed rope any day of the week. For us, it's really not even a comparison, but since people ask quite often, we thought we'd address it. Now we have...moving on.
In our honest, unbiased opinion, if you are looking to build muscle, it would be best to do a combination of mace and kettlebell training. Furthermore, some traditional lifting, like the big 3 if you have access to it too. Mace and kettlebell training is enough, though. That being said, if you don’t have a lot of muscle mass, the mace alone will do the job perfectly well.
In terms of burning fat and metabolic conditioning, we truly believe there is no better tool. The mace is fun and there are so many movements to learn. One single steel mace can keep you busy year in and year out.
When training becomes fun, that’s when the results come, because you want to do it all the time. With the mace, you’ll be tempted to pick it up and swing it every time you see it. Your fat will hate you, but the rest of your body will love you for it.
Let's start with the CEO of SET FOR SET - Sam Coleman
The man LEO SAVAGE.
"Muscles either shrink or grow. Steel Mace training will not only help build lean muscle but it offers many additional benefits that "traditional" exercise may not offer. Grip strength, full shoulder range of motion, and plasticity to name a few.
Physics shows us that swinging a top loaded object makes it way heavier than it actually is. When you create force you then have to deal with that force eccentrically. So when you see people flowing and switching between exercises especially with speed, they are training all phases of motion in seconds when many forms of traditional exercise will focus on one phase at a time."
- Dylan L. Edwards CFSC (@the_hybrid_movement_guy)
Related: 20+ Steel Mace Instagrams To Follow
The beauty of steel mace training, and unconventional training in general, is that the workouts are much more efficient. You don't need to spend so much time in the gym if you train smart and train hard.
Of course, staying fit requires more than just steel mace training, like the people featured in this article, you need a well-rounded program, a healthy diet, and good sleep. The steel mace is just one tool to achieve this. It's a piece of the puzzle. That said, it can be a big piece. If you know how to incorporate it into your training and use it right, you can reap incredible benefits from steel mace training.
All in all, the steel mace is an incredible tool that offers so many benefits. Don’t limit your thinking to only getting shredded and/or building muscle. Steel mace training can do that and so much more. You can also improve your balance, coordination, core stability, mobility, grip strength, rotational power, and the list goes on. This is all functional, real world stuff. Steel mace training will improve your all around performance. The result - making you a better human.
More Steel Mace Resources:
Where to Buy a Steel Mace?
Related: What size mace should I buy?
If you are looking for more unconventional training equipment to supplement your mace training, check out our Top 7 unconventional training tools.
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