steel mace core exercises

Steel Mace Core Workout - 17 Killer Core Exercises (With Tips)

March 28, 2019

The Steel Mace is one of the best pieces of equipment for building core strength and stability…and as a byproduct, rock solid 6 pack abs.

Why is Steel Mace Training Great for the Core?

Steel Mace training works core strength and stability incredibly well because of the way the mace is designed. The weight is unevenly distributed, with most of the weight being at the head of the mace. This means the load is offset, requiring your core to be fully engaged so you can remain stable and upright. Because of this, virtually every exercise you perform with the steel mace will target your core. You can engage your core even more by holding the mace further down the handle, which makes the load more offset than if your hands are closer to the head of the mace.

Now, you can also perform steel mace exercises that specifically target the core, and when doing so, you get normal core work plus the added benefit of the steel maces design. This is like doubling down on core exercises. You really can’t beat that.

Furthermore, the traditional and most popular movements of the steel mace are essentially core stability exercises (they also target shoulders, forearms, upper back, lats and more). They are called 360s and 10 to 2s.

These exercises require you to swing the mace around your body, in the transverse plane, which means you need to have powerful core strength and stability to remain upright with good posture/correct form. With heavier steel maces, this becomes very apparent.

Note about 360s and 10-to-2s: Although they can be done with some rotation involved, they are typically anti-rotational exercises.

With all that being said, we believe steel maces are the ultimate training tool for core strength. You can work through all 3 planes of motion, and it is very effective for targeting the transverse plane, which many people neglect training. Your core will only be trained fully and completely if you target all three planes of motion - sagittal, frontal, and transverse (anti-rotation and rotational exercises).

Here is a video we put together which is a compilation of our favorite steel mace core exercises. Some of these are specifically steel mace core exercises while others are more compound movements which also target the core to great effect.

THE ULTIMATE & EXTREME STEEL MACE CORE WORKOUT

17 Steel Mace Core Exercises List:

  1. Rotational Side Swings
  2. Side Plank with Mace Raise
  3. Steel Mace V-ups
  4. Plank Pull Throughs
  5. Half-kneeling Offset Macebell Oblique Crunches
  6. Ab Rows with Mace
  7. Steel Mace Walk the Plank
  8. Rotational Offset Mace Walks
  9. 360
  10. Single Arm 360s
  11. Single Arm 10 to 2s
  12. Bayonet Strike Lunge
  13. Mace Heavy Bag Alternating Slams
  14. Half-kneeling Uppercut Press
  15. Overhead Steel Mace Lunges
  16. Offset Extended Mace Holds
  17. Glute Bridge with Chest Press

Tips for steel mace core exercises - anti-rotational exercises:

  • Hold the mace with your hands closer to the bottom of the handle to engage your core more.
  • Keep your core, glutes and the rest of your body tight at all times. Performing movements slowly, where you are fully engaged, is better than moving through the exercise quickly just to get the reps done. The only exception is if the movement is more dynamic. Either way, don’t cheat!
  • Keep your ribs tucked, at no point should your rib cage flare. You want your back straight and your core tight, the point is to remain stable during anti-rotation exercises.
  • Square your hips forward at all times.

Tips for steel mace rotational exercises:

When performing steel mace rotational exercises, you want to protect yourself from low back injuries by following some simple rules.

  • Always maintain a neutral spine, do not arch or round your back (your rib cage should not flare).
  • Keep your core muscles tight and engaged. You want to do this because it will help you stabilize the lumbar region. The lumbar region should not rotate more than about 12 degrees.
  • To combat a tight upper back and hips, you can increase your range of motion, thus your comfort, by adjusting your feet (turning your toes out, up to 45 degrees).
  • Rotation should be from your hips and thoracic spine (your upper and middle back). The thoracic spine can safely rotate about 40 degrees in either direction.

Benefits of training your core with a steel mace:

  • Powerful rotation (great for punching, swinging, twisting and turning - Sports 101!).
  • Better ability to control acceleration and deceleration.
  • By having more power in your rotations (torque) and better control of acceleration and deceleration, you will reduce your chance of injury tenfold.
  • Core stability (this one we already mentioned but it should be noted again, especially for athletes who may take impact for a certain side - remaining stable during spots in vital).
  • Balance
  • Coordination
  • More powerful through all of your movements, in and out of the gym and all planes of motion.

What size steel mace should I use for core exercises?

You can start light so you can get comfortable with the movements, as the mace is an awkward tool when first starting out. However, you will have the greatest results for steel mace core exercises by using a heavier mace (relative to your strength and while maintaining proper form). We typically recommend experienced mace swingers to use a 20 or 25LB mace for 360s and 10 to 2s, although a 15LB (and even a 10LB) mace can also do the job well too (more reps!). The heavier you can go while maintaining proper form, the better. That being said, some exercises will require you to use a lighter mace. Start light when testing out a new exercise. 

Battle on!

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