If you've been thinking about buying a heavy macebell (i.e. 20-, 25-, 30-pound steel maces), but you aren't sure if it will be useful for you, read Jan Libourel's "The Case For The Heavier Mace" below, as it will give you some confirmation if and why you should buy a heavy mace.
By Jan Libourel
Stupid me! Although I am often considered a pretty bright guy (to which I always reply, "If I'm so smart, why aren't I rich?"), sometimes I do some foolish things, and the following is one of them:
In discussions on mace training in some strength and fitness forums, I have heard the claim that while the traditional mace exercises--the 360s and 10-2s--are challenging and beneficial, most of the other mace exercises--grave diggers, uppercuts, bayonet strikes, etc.--have been contrived by companies that sell maces to push the mace as an all-around exercise implement and in reality are of comparatively little value. My mace swinging neighbor, who had been training with maces several years before I started, was also of this opinion. Anyway, when I acquired 10- and 15-pound maces about 16 months ago, I found mastering the traditional exercises with the 10-pounder fairly easy and the 15-pounder considerably more challenging. However, when I tried some of the other popular mace exercises with the 15-pound mace, they simply weren't very challenging. I went through the motions and then dismissed the exercises as not being worthwhile. In brief, I regarded the mace as a good exercise tool of finite utility--good for grip and forearms, shoulders and upper back, and that was about it.
Consider the folly of this attitude: If a man or woman bought a pair of lightweight dumbbells and then found "heavy" exercises like squats, power cleans or bench work to be too easy, the obvious solution would be to go to heavier weights. Anyone who didn't and dismissed the value of the exercises would be regarded as the real "dumbbell"! The principle is so obvious: If a resistance exercise isn't providing enough resistance, increase the resistance, and that's that.
So why is this bit of common sense seemingly lacking among some otherwise intelligent mace enthusiasts?
My best conjecture is that because they still find the traditional exercises fairly tough with a 15 pounder, they somehow have the feeling that all exercises ought to be challenging for them with that weight. Also, because of the leverage involved in mace work, a five-pound weight increase, which would be nothing to a kettlebeller, is a real quantum jump, as anyone who has segued from using a 15- to a 20-pound mace, as I did not too long ago, can tell you. However, with each step up in weight, the percentage of increase decreases and the transition becomes less radical. Thus, segueing from a 10- to a 15-pound macebell, there is a 50% increase in the resistance. However, when one goes from a 15 to a 20 pounder, the percentage is only 33%, 20 to 25 pounds, 25%, and from 25 to 30, only 20%. Briefly put, the heavier you go, the less noticeable the increase.
My acquisition of a 20-pound mace suddenly transformed many exercises I had previously dismissed into challenging, enjoyable, and obviously beneficial ones. I had previously entertained a suspicion that heavier maces might make worthwhile the exercises I had held in disdain because of my experiments with my 15-pounder, and when I made the transition to the heavier mace, that certainly proved to be the case.
Shortly thereafter, I acquired a 25-pound mace. Exercises I had found challenging and enjoyable with the 20-pound mace suddenly became very demanding, brutal and exhausting. At first, I could only grind out a few repetitions. However, their "brutality" soon abated, and my new 25 pounder became the preferred mace for a number of exercises.
When I learned that SET FOR SET had 30-pound macebells in stock, I decided to take a chance with one of these brutes. Again, after a little habituation, I found that I could use the 30-pounder for a number of the exercises I had been performing with the 25, and for a couple of exercises I am using the 30-pound macebell exclusively. Bear in mind that I am enjoying my 79th ride around the sun on this planet of ours, so if I can put a 25- or 30-pound macebell to good use, you probably can too...or will be able to with a bit of diligent macebell training.
Before bringing this to a close, I'd like to share my current macebell workout. After starting with a warm-up of about 12 minutes of swinging Indian clubs, I perform the following exercises:
I then repeat this cycle with high-repetition 10-2s with the 10# with the same follow-up exercises as before, then lower reps with 15# for the 360s and 10-2s, each with the same follow-up exercises, except that I use the 15# for the overhead squats. I conclude with a modest number of 360s with the 20# (confession: I don't hold the handle all the way at the bottom for these), followed by another stork walk and more behind the neck presses. This amounts to about 37 sets and takes about 75 minutes.
I have now come to the conclusion that the macebell is very probably the single best and most versatile fitness tool out there. SET FOR SET's e-Book provides a veritable cornucopia of exercises--enough to provide varied and interesting workouts for years to come. Give the heavier maces a try. They may open all manner of new vistas on your fitness journey.
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