Presenting an advanced, heavy Steel Mace and Kettlebell Workout by Scott Viala of Viala Training in Kelowna, Canada.
You'll find all of the workout details below for this Steel Mace and Kettlebell Workout, including the benefits of each exercise. We will also go into why we believe the steel mace complements kettlebell training so well and the importance of listening to your body during a workout.
Workout protocol: Sets & Reps
Equipment: Steel Maces & Kettlebells
Time: 30-45 mins
Target: Strength Training, Explosive Power, Hypertrophy, Fat Loss
The aim of this warm up is to get your blood flowing to your joints and muscles, get your body temperature up, and overall to just get ready for the workout to come by getting your body moving and feeling good.
Warm Up #1: Dynamic warm up
- 5 mins, targeting each joint complex
Warm Up #2: Single Arm 360s to Underhand Toss & Snatch
- 3-5 mins
- 10LB Mace (Viala is using a 15LB mace)
Warm Up #3: Single Arm 360 to Underhand Reverse Swing (a.k.a. Figure 8)
- 3-5 mins
- 10LB Mace (Viala is using a 15LB mace)
As Scott Viala says in the intro of the video, see how your body feels when increasing weight with each set for Exercise 1. Listening to your body is a crucial aspect of training. By training with this mindset, you can achieve the best results and avoid overtraining and injuries.
Exercise 1: Single Arm Kettlebell Dead Snatch
- 5 sets x 10 reps each side
- Increase weight with each set
Exercise 2: Double Heavy Kettlebell Cleans
- 5 sets x 10-15 reps
- Go heavy with this one on every set (relative to your strength).
- Remember, listen to your body.
Exercise 3: Heavy Steel Mace 360s
- 4 sets x 20-25 reps (switch which hand is stacked on with each set)
- Go heavy with this one (relative to your strength and mace experience)
1. Kettlebell Flow
- 5 mins
- Lighter Kettlebell
- Follow Viala's flow or create your own. The point is to keep moving and FLOW.
2. Steel Mace Flow
- 5 mins
- Lighter Macebell
- Follow Viala's flow or create your own flow. The point is to keep moving and FLOW.
Here are the benefits of each exercise performed in this workout.
Kettlebell Dead Snatch
The single arm kettlebell snatch is a phenomenal full body explosive exercise that works the hamstrings, quads, back, and shoulders. It’s also great for burning immense calories, improving core stability and balance, and increasing the mobility of the shoulders.
Double Heavy Kettlebell Cleans
The Kettlebell Clean is often overlooked by those new to kettlebell training, which is a shame because it is a fantastic exercise.
Double Kettlebell Cleans will work your hamstrings, glutes, and even quads, as well as your hip flexors, abs, traps, delts, rhomboid muscles, and even biceps. All in all, it’s a total body exercise that will not only help you build power and explosion from the hips, but it will also improve your cardiovascular health and burn tons fat. Moreover, it will boost your hormonal response when done with heavier kettlebells as seen here.
Note: When starting out with this exercise, as a beginner, use lighter kettlebells. Don’t get ahead of yourself.
Heavy Mace 360s
The Heavy Steel Mace 360 is a powerful upper body exercise that targets everything from your forearms, shoulders, and upper chest to your upper back and lats. Moreover, it is an outstanding exercise for improving core strength and stability.
If you are beginner, you will definitely need to master a lighter mace before going heavy. The last thing you want to do is injure yourself. And if you jump right into a heavy mace without experience behind you, this is likely what’s going to happen, whether it’s your shoulder, elbow or wrist or even your lower or upper back. So be careful and train smart.
A kettlebell flow is a continuous flow of movements and exercises. It is a great way to elevate your heart rate and get your muscles firing on all cylinders.
Kettlebell flows provide many benefits thanks to it combining full body movements that move you through multiple planes of motion.
Here are the main benefits of kettlebell flows:
Steel Mace Flow
As with kettlebell flows, steel mace flows are a continuous flow of movements and exercises. These sequences make for a total body workout that moves you through multiple planes of motion.
Here are the major benefits of steel mace flows:
Steel mace flows are the ultimate expression movement freedom. However, they do take a lot of skill and practice to master.
A light steel mace is a great tool for warming up. It will get your blood and oxygen flowing to your joints and muscles, it will improve your range of motion, it will get your body temperature up, and it will prepare you mentally and physically for the workout to come.
Can you do this with other training tools or simple bodyweight exercises? Yes, BUT due to the design of the steel mace and the nature of mace movements, it’s one of the best tools for improving range of motion and joint stability. Plus, it’s a really fun way to warm up, and because of that, you will make it a priority.
Steel maces without a doubt complement kettlebell training. They go together like peanut butter and jelly...or...more like dumbbells and Olympic bars ;)
Both steel maces and kettlebells are unconventional training tools that are great for ballistic movements. They are designed for compound movements that utilize movement patterns, rather than isolation exercises that target one single muscle group.
Steel maces are beneficial for improving mobility while also building strength of the shoulder girdle. This is essential for overhead lifts which are what makes up a large majority of kettlebell exercises.
If you ask any kettlebell athlete that does jerks or snatches regularly, and who uses steel maces, they will concur that steel maces are the perfect complement to kettlebell training. This is because the steel mace promotes shoulder health, which is key in kettlebell sport.
What’s more, steel maces are an incredible implement for developing formidable grip strength. Heavy steel mace 360s and 10-to-2s will greatly improve your grip strength. This is because the weight of the mace is offset and you are swinging it while holding a long lever. Thus, your grip is going to be worked like crazy, and a strong grip is extremely important for kettlebell workouts.
But, of course, that’s not all. Mace training is an incredible implement for kettlebell strength and conditioning as it increases your ability to generate force from varied and arbitrary angles.
In fact, the steel mace is great for powerlifting, bodybuilding, and strongman training too, as it can strengthen, stabilize, rehabilitate, and increase the range of motion in the shoulder joint. Moreover, it strengthens and mobilizes the upper back.
AND, all of this isn’t even considering how the steel mace on its own is an effective tool for building powerful shoulders, a strong upper back, and incredible core strength, not to mention various other strength and conditioning benefits.
So, not only do we like to use the mace for warming up and accessory work, but we also like to implement it during the workout. Just like Scott Viala did in the featured workout.
Heavy Steel Mace 360s and 10-to-2s are our go-to exercise during unconventional workouts, side by side with kettlebell snatches, cleans, presses, and swings. Then, for a finisher, we love doing kettlebell flows and steel mace flows, thus finishing the workout with a bang, maximizing growth and burning tons of calories.
PLUS, when it comes down to it, training needs to be fun, and training with both steel maces and kettlebells is our idea of a great time. It makes for extremely dynamic training that never gets boring or stale.
You'll notice in the intro of the video, Scott Viala mentions he is going to see how he feels during the workout, and take it from there. So, we want to touch on why listening to your body during workouts is so vital for fitness success...
Listening to your body is a skill in itself, and an incredibly important one at that. It’s something that can be developed and honed in on. With more training experience, you will naturally understand what your body is telling you.
Exercise with the right amount of intensity is essential if you want to continue to develop your fitness level. However, you need to know when to take things down a notch. By pushing yourself too hard when your body is telling you “NO”, you can produce negative results, thus setting yourself back. The biggest example of this is overtraining and injuries.
Now, it’s one thing if you are pushing yourself through the burn, but it’s another when you are pushing yourself through pain. It is pretty obvious what kind of pain is good pain or bad pain. For example, if your joints are hurting (bad pain), that’s a sign that you need to stop and reassess.
Listen to what your body is telling you.
If you are doing an exercise, and it’s feeling more difficult than usual, that is likely a sign that you don’t have the energy, whether that is from a lack of sleep, not eating enough, overtraining (sympathetic nervous system isn’t fully recovered from previous training), or all of the above.
There is new tech out there that can monitor your stress level, so you know if you should do a light workout or an intense one. However, not many people are going to cough up money to buy something like this. So, the best thing you can do is see how you feel during the day and during your workout. If you are feeling strong and energized, then push yourself for an intense workout. If you aren’t feeling 100%, pump the brakes.
Note: Your warm up will tell you a lot about how you are feeling on any particular day.
All in all, listening to your body and going off that, not a designed program that you must follow, is how you will excel in fitness, and reap all the benefits that are to be had.
Longevity is key.
Buy steel maces for your next kettlebell and steel mace workout
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