steel mace leg workout and exercises

Steel Mace Leg Workout with the 5 Best Lower Body Mace Exercises

February 03, 2021

Although the steel mace is likely not the first implement that comes to mind when it is time for a leg workout, it is actually a very effective training tool for targeting the lower body. The steel mace can be used to build a strong, mobile lower body, and it does so in a very unique manner. Don’t believe us? Well, we have a steel mace lower body workout for you that involves 5 of the best steel mace leg exercises and we guarantee it will change the way you think of “leg day”.

Steel mace leg workout


With just a steel mace, you can absolutely get a great workout in for your legs, which means your glutes, quads and hamstrings. We are talking about workouts that, if done consistently, will build muscle, strength and endurance in your entire lower body. Not only that, but due to the nature of the steel mace and the leg exercises it entails, your hip mobility will improve tenfold as well.

All you have to do to make a steel mace leg workout effective is move with intention on tension and have the right workout protocol and rep scheme. If you keep focused and really emphasize the contractions (which includes your upper body, as you are holding the mace after all), you will feel the burn and the pump. Couple that with supersets and the right exercises, as well as a heavy steel macebell relative to your strength level, and you are on your way to bigger, stronger, more mobile and enduring legs.

steel mace lower body exercises

Need help maximizing the efficaciousness of your steel mace leg workouts?

Below we have a full length steel mace leg workout by Scott Viala that you can follow along to. If you pay attention and follow his routine, form tips, and techniques, we promise your legs are going to be on fire. You are going to learn a lot about how to make the steel mace more effective, and not just for your legs, but your entire body. He does a really fantastic job of showing you how to engage the muscles properly. Not to mention, the 5 steel mace leg exercises he employed are great (and by great we mean killer).

Before we get into it, let’s go over a few things that make the steel mace special for leg workouts and just in general.


best steel mace leg exercises

With most of the weight is in the head of the mace at the end of the handle, it feels much heavier than the poundage would suggest. This makes the steel mace considerably more difficult than other training tools. Moreover, the long-handled offset weight lends itself to very dynamic exercises that emphasize large ranges of motion and multiplanar movements. It will train your lower body in a more athletic way. It moves you like humans are supposed to be moved, through various planes of motion, rather than robotic, like machine based leg exercises (sorry leg presses and smith machines, while you do have your place in fitness, strength is much more than just pushing or pulling heavy, perfectly-balanced weight up and down).

In our opinion, the steel mace is a great tool to be used in tandem with barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells. We would throw it into a workout with barbell squats, single leg Romanian deadlifts, kettlebell swings, and so on. We’d just skip most of if not all of the machines. After all, anything in the gym that involves us sitting is an overkill. Why go to the gym and sit when most of us are sitting for the vast majority of they day already.

Now, let’s say you don’t have or want to use other training tools and do big lifts…no worries, with just a steel mace, we promise you can train your legs effectively, and with ego aside! And if you use progressive overload techniques, you can build muscle and strength in your lower body over time. 

We are ready to prove just how effective a steel mace leg workout can be. So, get your steel mace ready and do this 30-minute steel mace lower body workout!

Note: Scott throws on a fabric hip band for one of the steel mace exercises in this leg workout. It’s a great way to increase the difficulty (without needing a heavier mace) and it will help engage your glutes even more. If you have one, use it as he does in the workout, and if you don't, you can get one from us. 

fabric band with steel mace exercises

Equipment: Steel Mace & Fabric Hip Band (the fabric band is optional)
Goal: Lower Body Muscular Strength, Endurance, and Hypertrophy
Muscles Worked: Glutes, Hamstrings, Quads, Hips, Calves, and Core (as well as some upper body muscles on certain exercises, after all, you need to hold the steel mace with your arms!).
Time: 30 Minutes


Workout Details:

Exercise 1: Ballistic Curl Squat x 20 reps x 3 sets

Exercise 2: Superset x 3 sets

  • Reverse Lunge x 9 each side
  • Offset Stiff-Legged Deadlift x 9 each side

Exercise 3: Superset x 3 sets

  • Barbarian Squat x 9 reps
  • Alternating Lateral Lunge x 18 reps (9 to each side)

Note: Feel free to pause the video if you need a rest!

For those who are interested or don’t want to follow along to this workout, we will break down the above exercises with some how to’s and tips for you.


These are the 5 leg exercises Scott used in this steel mace workout. They are some of our favorite macebell leg exercises as they hit the legs beautifully and they involve large ranges of motion and multi joints so you’ll also be burning a ton of fat simultaneously (well, calories to be specific but you get the point).

1. Ballistic Curl Squat (0:10)

macebell leg exercises

How to:

  1. Grab the mace with an underhand/overhand grip (under for the hand near the head of the mace). The mace head should be up near the shoulder with your arm bent into a curl position.
  2. Get into a squat stance. Brace your core and keep everything tight. Create more tension and focus by pulling your hands away from each other like you are trying to rip the head off the mace.
  3. Squat down, deep as you can, then press up. As you come to the top, do a hand switch so that you send the mace head to the other side.
  4. Hold the mace just like you did from the starting position (but, of course, on the opposite side). Then squat down and press up, switch the mace and repeat.

For a little extra tension and difficulty, if you have hip band, wrap around your legs just above your knee when doing the Ballistic Curl Squat. You will feel your glutes working overtime!

The fabric “booty” band is also great as it forces you to create tension on the knees, which will prevent them from buckling in (a common mistake for those who lack strength). By eliminating this issue, you will ensure you are getting maximum tension on your glutes and quads.  You never want your knees buckling in on squats, it makes the exercises much less effective and if you were using heavy weight it puts your joints at risk of injury.

Related: Benefits of Fabric Hip Resistance Bands

2. Reverse Lunge to Uppercut (6:05)

steel mace lunges

How to:

  1. Hold the mace with a double overhand grip.
  2. Bring it over to your left side (side load position). Make sure your shoulder blades are set back and your lats are engaged. Keep everything tight and your core braced.
  3. Lunge back with your right leg in a controlled manner. Go as low as you can while maintaining a good form with your back straight. Find your range of motion.
  4. Step forward with your right leg so that it is in front of your left leg while simultaneously punching the mace up. The left leg will maintain its position the whole time. Be sure to keep it contracted and strong in its position.
  5. As you punch up, the working arm will be moving in a straight path up, like an upper cut. You will not be extending your arm at the elbow, so keep a bend in it. The opposite hand at the end of the mace handle is the stabilizing hand. Keep your hips squared forward as best as possible as you punch up.
  6. Once your hand reaches just above your head, you will bring it back down while stepping back into a reverse lunge. Then step forward again while uppercutting the mace and continue for the desired reps.

After you do the desired reps, you need to repeat on the opposite side, as this is a one-sided exercise.

3. Offset Stiff-Legged Deadlift (8:12)

steel mace hamstring exercise

How to:

  1. Grip the mace with a double overhand grip. If you want to make it more difficult, position your hands further from the head of the mace, and easier by putting your hands closer to the head of the mace. Your hands should be about shoulder width apart in either case.
  2. Stand with your feet about hip-to-shoulder width apart, feet forward with a little bend in your knee. Keep everything tight, shoulders retracted, lats packed, core braced.
  3. Bring the mace down as you push your hips back (hinge). The mace will be moving straight down while remaining horizontal and parallel with the floor.
  4. Reach down as far as you can without rolling your back. Find your range of motion. You want to feel a stretch in the hamstrings but you don’t want to roll your back forward. Some people will be able to go lower than others, it really depends on mobility. If you can’t go too low, don’t worry, your mobility will improve over time and you will be able to go lower.
  5. In the same pattern, pull the mace up to the standing position and really squeeze the glutes at the top. Repeat.

For this exercise, you should be slow and controlled on the way down and explosive on the way up. Be sure to squeeze your legs and glutes at the top and really feel the stretch as you go down.

As this is a single sided exercise, you will be doing the same reps on the opposite side right after you do a set on one side.

4. Barbarian Squat (18:54)

steel mace exercises for quads

How to:

  1. Hold the mace at your centerline in front of your body. It should be perfectly vertical with the mace head to the sky. For beginners, start with your hands stacked about halfway up the handle. This will make the exercise easier as you will have more control of the mace. As you get comfortable with the Barbarian Squat, you can bring your hands further down the handle
  2. Get into a squat stance. Toes can point slightly outward so you can get good depth in the squat.
  3. Pack your lats and keep your shoulders down. Really keep tight. By trying to “break the handle in half” by pushing your hands towards where the knuckles are pointing, you will maximize tension, which will also give you more control over the mace.
  4. Bring the mace up over your head and behind your back. Your elbows will maintain a bend. Keep your core braced and try to keep your rib cage tucked (don’t flare it).
  5. When your hands reach just behind your head, the mace head will be pointing to the floor and your elbows to the sky. From there, pull it back over your head and as you do that, squat down. The mace should reach vertical again when you are basically at the bottom of the squat.
  6. As you squat back up, you will be bring the mace up and over your head. It’s all one smooth motion.

5. Alternating Lateral Lunge (22:32)

steel mace exercises for glutes

How to:

  1. Grab the mace with an underhand/overhand grip (under for the hand near the head of the mace). The overhand should be at the end of the mace handle.
  2. Bring the knee opposite to the mace head up and step out and plant your foot. You should bring it out pretty far, but make sure it’s a comfortable distance. You may need to take your time to get a feel for this exercise. It does require good hip mobility, which again, will improve over time.
  3. Bend the knee of the foot that stepped out and bring your hips back at the same time so you can squat down to that side. The opposite leg will not have moved and as you lunge down, it will keep straight, making a diagonal line towards the contralateral shoulder.
  4. As you do this, bring the mace head straight down towards the floor. Your arm will simply extend straight down. Tap the floor then press back up from the lunge and step to the center.
  5. When your feet are back at the center (shoulder width apart), do a hand switch so that the mace head is on the opposite side. Then repeat to the other side using the same form we just went over.

If you have any questions about these exercises, feel free to reach out to us.

Should I buy a heavier mace for leg workouts?

macebell lower body workout

If you want to hit legs properly, you’ll need a heavy mace relative to your strength. Scott uses a 20LB steel mace in this lower body workout and it hit his legs effectively. For you, that may be a lighter or possibly heavier mace. Use your judgement.

If you only have a light mace (I.e. 7-10lbs), then do more reps and really focus on creating maximum tension.

Buy a Steel Mace from SET FOR SET

steel mace workout

Buy a Fabric Resistance Band from SET FOR SET

fabric resistance bands

Steel Mace Training e-Guide to Improve Your Mace Skills

steel mace training guide

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