steel mace stork walk

Take A Stork Walk: Military Exercise Turned Effective Steel Mace Movement

February 29, 2020

Here's one exercise--an old one--that seems made-to-order for macebellers, yet I have never seen it recommended in any on-line expositions of mace training. It was recommended to me by my trainer and friend Jeff Lewis, proprietor of the 4th Street Gym in Long Beach. He described seeing a video of a man performing it holding a 135-pound barbell overhead--a man among men that lad was! Somehow, from the deep recesses of subconscious memory I realized that it was what is called a "Stork Walk." To clarify matters, there are actually two exercises called "stork walks." One is a Tai Chi exercise. The other is an old military exercise, and that's what I'll be discussing.

stork walk exercise

How to do the Steel Mace Stork Walk

It is really a simple exercise: It involves walking by raising one knee to the point where the thigh is at a right angle to the torso while the other leg is kept stiff. Some online videos suggest holding the arms out front, others with the arms overhead, empty-handed. I suspect the military variant involved holding a rifle overhead. This exercise would have been more efficacious in the old days when our military rifles were made of American walnut and machined steel and weighed about nine pounds. You may not have an'03 Springfield or an M1 Garand, but it lends itself wonderfully well to the use of a macebell.

What size macebell for the Stork Walk Exercise?

I have found a 15-pounder to be a good starting weight. The 25-pounder was do-able but a little much for an old boy like me, at least at this point in my training, and the 20-pounder is just about right.

new steel mace exercise

What muscles does the Stork Walk work?

The traversable portion of my backyard is about 45 feet, and I find that carrying the mace overhead will affect my arms, shoulders and the whole "posterior chain." (My erector spinae muscles felt like they were on fire after crossing the backyard twice when I used my 25-pounder!) It is also good for balance and works the glutes and upper thighs. When I reach one side of the yard, I do a series of behind-the-neck presses with the macebell, switch hands so that the other hand is closest to the weighted end, recross the yard and repeat the presses. I like to begin and conclude my mace workouts with stork walks.

I'll admit, the stork walk does look a little silly, and I'd feel self-conscious performing it in a public park. However, if you give it a try with a mace of sufficient weight, I'm sure you will find it a tough, challenging and very beneficial exercise.

Author: Jan Libourel 

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