October 21, 2019
With all the various brands of resistance bands online, it can be hard to make a decision on which resistance bands to buy.
Now, assuming you are looking for the best resistance bands in the online market, not just the cheapest, we have the answer for you, and we are also going to tell you exactly why.
So, without further ado…the Best Resistance Bands goes to SET FOR SET.
…Yes, that’s us.
Of course, we’d say that we have the best resistance bands, right?
Well, we actually stand by this with full conviction, and here is why…
Quality + Price = Value.
For our high-quality loop resistance bands, you won’t find better value for the price.
Our bands are made to last a long time, unlike many brands of resistance bands that tear and break after they get put to work for some time.
We have customers that have had their SET FOR SET resistance bands for years, and they are still in perfect working condition.
This is just one of many aspects that make certain resistance bands (and brands) “the best”.
Below we are going to talk more in-depth about what to look for when shopping for resistance bands.
In this post, we are going to cover the following:
There are continuous loop resistance bands, resistance bands with handles, booty bands, therapy bands, and various other types of bands.
We’ve already done a post on the different kinds of resistance bands and which are best, so we won’t go into this much here.
However, we will say the essential conclusion, which is, “loop resistance bands are best, and they are best because they have the best ratio of versatility and effectiveness.”
The Most Versatile Type of Resistance Bands
With heavy-duty loop resistance bands, which is what we sell, you can do literally everything you can with all the other types of bands plus much more.
Note: Bands with handles are good for upper body pressing and pulling exercises, maybe more so than loop bands, but if you know what you are doing with loop bands, you can get the same effect and effectiveness. Plus, you’ll have the ability to do so much more with the loop bands beyond just pressing and pulling exercises. As we will run through quickly now…
Loop resistance bands are used for warm-up, mobility, stretching, workout, recovery, and they are the only bands you will want to use with barbell lifts (like banded barbell heavy squats) AND for assistance exercises (like pull up assistance). What’s more, we find loop resistance bands to be the most effective for building muscle, burning fat, gaining mobility and flexibility, and boosting strength.
Now that we have established that loop resistance bands are the best in terms of overall versatility and effectiveness, here is what you should look for when buying resistance bands.
1. Continuous Layering
You want to make sure the bands you are buying have continuous layering (at least 5 layers).
The process for continuous layering is similar to that of a car tire.
If the bands in question are single layer, they will be much, much easier to break, tear, and wear out.
Some brands and manufacturers don’t use continuous layering, as to save on production costs and to get a cheaper product to market.
However, in the end, it doesn’t make sense because those bands won’t last long.
For 15-20% more in production cost, you can get 300x more durability and resilience with continuous layering bands. The value is well worth it.
Another thing to look out for is molded bands. Molded bands are also less durable than layered bands.
If you aren’t sure, ask the brand if they have layered bands or molded bands. If they aren’t sure, don’t bother with that company. If they truly care about the quality of their resistance bands, they will know, and moreover, they will have layered bands, not molded or single layer bands.
2. Natural latex
Some resistance bands use synthetic latex. Synthetic latex gives off a much stronger odor (either chemical or rubber) than natural latex as there are different ingredients involved in the manufacturing process for the two.
Moreover, synthetic latex is typically less resilient and elastic than natural latex.
Natural latex comes from the milky sap of rubber trees in South East Asia. Overall, it is more comfortable, durable, elastic and less smelly than synthetic latex.
If you have both continuous layering and natural latex, your bands should be able to stretch up to 2 times their length. See if the manufacturer/brand can tell you how much the bands can stretch. If it’s less than 2 times the length, then steer clear of those bands as they will be much more likely to break, since some exercises with bands end up stretching the band to around 2 times the length. Ideally, you want more than 2 times just to play it safe, so you never reach maximum stretchability. If you continually reach max stretch, it will slowly wear down the resistance band.
That said, if you follow point number 1 and 2, you should be good here on point 3.
4. 41 Inches Length
The loop resistance bands will vary in width, depending on the resistance level. But the length should be 41 inches in length. 41" Resistance bands will allow you to have the most versatility in uses.
At SET FOR SET, we take great pride in providing the highest quality resistance bands at an affordable price.
Our bands are made from all natural Malaysian latex, so the smell of rubber is very minimal and after some time non-existent.
Our bands are made with a continuous layering process to ensure they are durable, elastic, the right tension, and very long lasting.
Our bands are 41” in length and due to our stringent production process and top notch quality, they can stretch up to 2 1/2 times their original resting length of 41 inches.
We’ve had hundreds and hundreds of customers and we have 0 returns, and we've also never had anyone report a breakage yet. We’ve been in business and selling bands for close to 3 years as of writing this (2019).
As a warning, to prevent any breakage that isn’t a manufacturing issue, be careful of how you anchor the bands. If you are continually anchoring them on abrasive surfaces, we believe it is likely they would break. It’s similar to rubbing a rope on something abrasive, with enough friction and time, it’ll snap.
All of our bands are 41” in length.
Here are the widths and resistance levels:
Samuel Wright said: Great value and quality.
Love these bands. They are build to last. Perfect for the home gym. I'm able to get a full body workout with these. I alternate between the bands in the macebell and feel my resistance training workouts are compete.
James B said: Great quality bands
I bought set for set bands last year and again a couple of weeks ago. My set for set bands from last year are still in perfect condition. These are some of the best bands I've used. They are definitely made to last.
david boyce said: Great Bands
I love these bands ...top quality and a fair price.
David Robertson said: Power Bands bundle
Great set of bands. Excellent quality. Nice feel to these bands when performing exercises.
Shawn A. said: Great quality, great price, amazing customer service!
Been searching for quality bands that won't break the bank for a long time. Came across Set for Set and really glad I chose them. My order was short when I received it so I sent an email and got an immediate response and apology. They shipped out my missing items the next day and included a free gift. That's amazing customer service that you do not see anymore today. I will continue to support the company! Great quality, great price, amazing customer service!
Audrey M. said: Love these!
The bands are amazing. I bring them to the gym with me everyday to work on pull-ups (I'm currently awful at them, but now getting better!). They are so well made, I never worry about them while doing the exercises. Super easy to put in my bag. Highly recommend!
Anthony Sims-Hall said: Great
I am always skeptical about exercise equipment because I am 250 lbs. and I was afraid I may break these bands. They are awesome and can take my body weight with no problem.
Definitely a quality item.
See the rest of our resistance band reviews.
Another important thing to considering when choosing a resistance band company to buy from is if they provide education and resources for learning how to use the resistance bands.
At SET FOR SET, we have tons of education and videos on resistance band training. And we plan to continue pumping out resistance band training and rehabilitation content, we have some awesome stuff in the pipeline.
Here is what we have released thus far:
Here is our Youtube Channel where we pump out resistance band videos as often as we can, among other training modalities.
At SET FOR SET, it’s not just about great quality and a good price, it is also about providing the best customer service in the game…and that is exactly what we do.
Get yourself some bands! We appreciate your support in our young and growing business.
October 16, 2019 3 Comments
Resistance bands vs Free Weights?
Peanut Butter vs Jelly?
…that’s exactly what it’s like comparing the two. You get the point…they complement each other!
Nevertheless, this is a common question and a debate that we would like to address.
So, in this post, we are going to breakdown the two types of training tools and discuss which is better for specific purposes and goals…
To start this evaluation of “resistance bands vs free weights”, we must fully understand how “resistance” works for both bands and free weights. There are some important differences, which we are about to explain.
The way resistance is transferred to our muscles is different for free weights than it is for resistance bands. Here is a simple explanation of how force is generated using both.
With free weights, resistance is created by gravity.
Because of this, free weights can only provide resistance in a vertical plane (the direction of gravity - down!).
So, because gravity only pulls the weight down, you must position yourself correctly to work the desired muscle.
With resistance bands, resistance is created by elastic force.
You aren’t relying on gravity to create resistance, you simple need tension. Force is created in the direction you are stretching the band.
Because of this, resistance bands can provide resistance in both horizontal and vertical planes, and in any direction and at any angle.
Let’s say you are training chest with free weights (i.e. dumbbells). For this, you must lie down on a bench and use your muscles to press up as gravity tries to force the weight down. You would never be able to create resistance on your chest by pressing the dumbbells from a standing position.
Now, with resistance bands, you could lie down on a flat bench and you could stand (as pictured above), and both ways would create the same resistance for your chest, as you are creating tension through tensile force rather than gravity which is only in the direction of down.
So, this makes bands more versatile in terms of how you can create resistance.
If you think about different free weight exercises, you can imagine how you could do the same exercise with resistance bands in both a vertical and horizontal plane.
Another quick example, and one that a lot of people seem to get wrong:
If you were to hold a dumbbell with your arm at 90 degrees and to your side body, and you move the dumbbell in a horizontal motion (external and internal rotations), you won’t actually be creating and resistance in that horizontal motion. You literally will only have downward resistance, which would be you holding the dumbbell with your arm at 90 degrees. This makes an internal and external rotation useless with a dumbbell from the standing position. To make this movement effective with a dumbbell, you’d have to get yourself into a position that the external/internal rotation is happening in a vertical plane.
With resistance bands, on the other hand, you can anchor it to your side and do this movement standing up, as the resistance will be there in the horizontal plane.
This statement is true. It is science. But, this fact is not something we are going to use to claim resistance bands are superior to free weights. Both have advantages and disadvantages. All of which we are going to get into.
As we’ve already gone into detail on the point about vertical/horizontal plane, here are the other key differences in how resistance training works for resistance bands vs free weights.
1. Strength Curve
Free weights have something called a strength curve. In a nutshell, a strength curve refers to how much force is being produced at joint angles throughout the range of motion. Ascending strength curves typically feel easier when the weight is reaching full extension. Essentially, the muscle tension required to move the weight decreases at this point in the range of motion. Exercises like bench press and squat have an ascending strength curve. Conversely, a descending strength curve feels hardest when the movement is near full flexion. Exercises like rows and chin-ups have a descending strength curve.
An example being a dumbbell curl. When the dumbbell reaches above halfway, the movement becomes easier. This is the part of the descending strength curve that doesn’t produce as much resistance. All thanks to gravity.
On the other hand, resistance bands don’t have a strength curve. Resistance band exercises, so long as you begin the movement with the band taut, have a much more consistent force throughout the entire movement, and they create more resistance as the band gets stretched. Moreover, when doing the eccentric part of the movement, the band will also have the same resistance strength path. So, essentially, you will be under tension for the entire duration of the exercise. And as well all know, more time under tension leads to greater results.
That said, we still aren’t stating that resistance bands are better for working out... we will get to this further below.
Free weight exercises can be performed with the use of momentum, which causes certain portions of the exercise to have almost no resistance.
This is a common mistake you will see in the gym.
i.e. people during curls using a good amount of momentum.
Resistance bands, as we mentioned, provide constant tension and progressive resistance throughout the movement, no matter how quickly you move through the range of motion. There is no way to use momentum to “cheat” on a resistance band exercise.
What’s more, because resistance bands maintain the same tension whether you perform an exercise fast or slow, so they are great for training for speed, and explosiveness.
3. Targeting Muscles
With resistance bands, you can target/emphasize certain muscles during exercises by simply anchoring the band at a different angle.
For example, performing a normal squat, but with the band at a different angle, you will have changed how the resistance targets your muscles. You can place emphasis on your hamstrings, quads or glutes this way.
To do something similar with free weights, you have to change your position, such as a low bar squat, which places more emphasis on your hamstrings than a normal/high bar squat.
All in all, the ability to change how you target your muscles is great for aesthetics and sport-specific reasons...such as, doing it for safety to prevent injuries and joint pain or to better work a lagging muscle.
4. Progressive Overload
Progressive overload is essential for hypertrophy and strength gains.
It is a principle that states in order to keep making improvements and gains from an exercise program, you must make the workouts increasingly difficult.
i.e. more sets, reps and most importantly, heavier weight.
With free weights, this is very straight forward. You know exactly what you are lifting. Thus, you can easily train progressively.
With resistance bands, it is more difficult to train progressively as the resistance level of the band is somewhat ambiguous.
For example, a .5” loop resistance band offers 5-20lbs of resistance. The more you stretch it, and the further you begin the exercise away from the anchor, the more resistance there will be (i.e. the furthest point would be 20lbs of resistance for a .5" band).
Because of this, it is hard to know exactly what kind of load you are working with, and in turn, it’s hard to train progressively.
Of course, you can do more reps and sets, but still, you would have to know exactly how far away you are starting the exercise from the anchor point to make sure the resistance level is not less than your previous workout.
Overall, it is so much easier to do progressive overloading with free weights.
We can’t answer that yet, we still have more to discuss.
At this point, it might seem like we are leaning toward resistance bands, but that isn’t the case. To determine whether resistance bands or free weights are best for you [or maybe both ;)], we must look at this with a few different criteria.
To really decide which is better, resistance bands or free weights, and when to use one or the other, we must look at fitness as a whole, not just hypertrophy and strength aspects.
So, we will be using the following criteria to make our judgment on which is best (or better yet, which one to use for specific purposes):
We are going to discuss “resistance band vs free weights” based on each individual criterion now, so you can see which is better for different areas of fitness.
Although resistance bands are capable of building muscle, especially for beginners, if you are looking to build serious muscle mass, free weights are a must.
As mentioned, free weights offer an easy way to do progressive overloading. Resistance bands, however, have a certain threshold, that once you reach, you need to switch over to free weights for continued muscle growth.
Winner: Free weights
As with building muscle, free weights are king for building muscular strength. Resistance bands simply won’t be able to challenge you in the same way that free weights can.
The effect of gravity is not to be underestimated when it comes to developing serious muscular strength. Nor is the perfectly balanced design of a barbell and dumbbell.
That said, if you are a beginner, resistance bands are a good place to start your fitness journey. You will be able to see some strength gains and you won’t have nearly the same risk that comes with lifting free weights.
Winner: Free weights
Related: What Barbell Should I Buy?
This is a tough one to choose a winner, as both resistance bands and free weights can help you develop good muscular endurance.
However, because resistance bands provide constant tension, and muscular endurance exercises don’t require heavy weights (they require lighter weights with higher volume), we are going to give it to resistance bands.
With resistance bands, you will have constant tension for the entire exercise, and that is great for maximizing muscular endurance.
Winner: Resistance bands (but almost a tie)
When it comes to burning fat, this is more about your training protocol than the tool itself. You can burn all the fat you’d ever want to burn with bodyweight exercises. So, both resistance bands and free weights will do the job.
To burn fat, with resistance bands or free weights, all you have to do is make sure your heart rate up for an entire 20-30 minute workout. The exercises should be intense enough to challenge you, but not too heavy where you can’t continue with the exercises as you need to rest. That said, a little rest is ok for a fat burning workout, however, you can’t allow your heart rate to drop below a certain level, which depends on your age and max heart rate. Fat burning heart rate is usually around 60-70% of your max heart rate.
HIIT and Metabolic Workouts are great for burning fat, and both can be done with free weights or resistance bands to the same effect.
Winner: Tie - Free weights or resistance bands
This is an easy one, resistance bands are the tool you will want to use for mobility and flexibility training.
With resistance bands, you can get deeper stretches and you can get into positions for joint mobilization and to increase your range of motion.
There are a few ways to increase mobility with free weights, but there are countless ways to do it with bands. Bands are especially effective for shoulder and hip mobility.
So, if you want to improve in these areas, resistance bands are essential.
Winner: Resistance Bands
It's not something people think about often, but balance training is one of the main pillars of fitness. Balance is key to life, in all respects.
When it comes to free weights vs resistance bands, we believe free weights to be the better of the two. With free weights, you can load one side (unilateral training) and do exercises to really improve your balance.
It's even more effective when you use an offset training tool like the steel mace.
Nevertheless, you can also train balance with resistance bands by anchoring the bands so tension is pulling you to one side.
So, all that said, we choose free weights for balance training because it is much simpler to train balance than it is with resistance bands. Resistance bands will require a little more "thinking" to be able to train balance as effectively as free weight unilateral exercises can.
Winner: Free weights
For rehab and prehab, bands are king.
Go to any rehab facility and you will see people using bands left and right.
This is because bands are a safe way to start building strength and range of motion after an injury.
Resistance bands put significantly less pressure on your joints. Moreover, because you can produce elastic force in any direction, you can target stabilizer muscles more effectively, which is crucial for rehabbing joint injuries. This also applies to prehab, as getting those stabilizer muscles up to par will be very important for preventing injury when performing heavy lifts or playing sports.
Winner: Resistance Bands
You can warm up with both free weights and resistance bands. With free weights, you just need a light weight to get your blood flowing and body temperature up.
However, resistance bands are definitely best for warm-ups. They can get your blood flowing to your joints and muscles and your body temperature up just like free weights, PLUS they can also be used for mobility exercises to make sure your range of motion is normalized for the exercises to come.
So, all in all, bands are more versatile for warm-ups and equally as effective for anything that free weights can do during warm-ups. This is why you will see tons of people using resistance bands before they start their weight lifting session.
Winner: Resistance Bands
There are three planes of motion: Sagittal, Frontal, and Transverse.
Although free weights are an easy winner for the sagittal and frontal plane, resistance bands are able to work the transverse plane much more effectively.
This is because of what we talked about earlier in this post, elastic force vs gravitational force. With resistance bands, you can anchor the band in a way that allows you to produce rotational force or resist rotation. With free weights, you need to get into certain positions to be able to achieve this (i.e. high hinge offset position).
So, when looking at all planes of motion, resistance bands are way more versatile. And if we want real-world strength, we can’t neglect the transverse plane. We constantly turn and twist and rotate every day, especially if you are an athlete, so transverse plane exercises are a must, and resistance bands are a great tool for that.
Winner: Resistance Bands
Resistance bands are a lot safer to use than free weights. There is no question. Gravity can be a very dangerous beast.
Free weights offer the most reward in terms of building muscle and strength, but the risk is much higher than with bands.
Bands are great if you aren’t worried about putting on serious size and you just want to be fit. They will achieve this perfectly well, and the risk to reward ratio will be significantly better.
Winner: Resistance Bands
We will keep this one short and sweet. Resistance bands are more versatile. You can use them for warm-up, workout, and recovery. They can be used for everything free weights can (albeit not as effective in some areas), plus much more.
So, if you are looking for the most versatile training tool, bands are the one.
Winner: Resistance Bands
This is a no brainer, resistance bands are portable, free weights are meant to be situated in a gym (or garage). It’s that simple.
A set of loop resistance bands will weigh around 5lbs, and that offers up to 170lbs of resistance, whereas a 5lb dumbbell offers, well, 5lbs of resistance.
This is why resistance bands are a favorite for people who frequently travel. They are easy to take on the road. They take up about as much space as a pair of jeans.
Resistance bands are also popular with weightlifters too, because sometimes people just want to do an outdoor workout, and with bands, you can throw them in your bag and hit the park for a good high-intensity workout and pump, with the added benefit of vitamin D!
Winner: Resistance Bands
Resistance bands are not only a portable and space-saving option, but they are also the most cost-effective.
For up to 170lbs of resistance, you will need to spend around $65 (full set of 5 loop resistance band).
With free weights, for that same amount of resistance levels, you will need to spend significantly more, unless you can somehow find free weights at a tag sale or on craigslist for a sick deal.
Winner: Resistance Bands
Out of 13 categories, we have resistance bands taking the W on 8 of them, free weights for 3 easy wins, and a tie for 2.
So, in this case, resistance bands are the winner, simply because they are more versatile.
However, we shouldn’t look at it this way.
We need to base “resistance bands vs free weights, which is better?” on your needs.
So, here's when you should choose resistance bands and when you should choose free weights…
If your goal is to be fit (i.e. lean, ripped, tone, move good, feel good), then resistance bands can achieve that.
Resistance bands are versatile, so you will be able to do so many things with them, from warm-up to workout to recovery. They are truly an all in one tool. So if that is something that appeals to you, definitely get yourself a set of bands.
Other uses for resistance bands:
If your goal is to put on serious mass and build brute power and strength, free weights are the best bet bar none.
Best of Both Worlds!
If you want to be the most well-rounded athlete and fitness enthusiast, your best bet is to utilize both free weights and resistance bands.
Use resistance bands for HIIT days, explosive bodyweight exercises, assistance for pull-ups to get more reps in, mobility work, warming up, and so on.
Use free weights for strength and hypertrophy days.
You can do three free weight days and two resistance band high-intensity fat-burning days each week…or you can use both in the same workout.
One great way to use both resistance bands and free weights in a workout is to superset heavy free weight exercises with light resistance band exercises. This will give you an unrivaled burn/pump.
What’s more, you can use resistance bands and free weights at the same time!
By adding resistance bands to barbell or dumbbells (or kettlebells and steel maces), you can change the strength curve, adding more resistance to big lifts to maximize results. This is also a great way to challenge your muscles in a new way, which is crucial for breaking through plateaus. Moreover, adding bands to free weight lifts will help you to build more explosion in those exercises.
You can also use bands with barbells to train stability during big lifts. For example, you place a band with a weight plate tied to the end of it and hang it on each end of the barbell. This will completely change the dynamics of the exercise as the bands (hanging with a weight at the end) bounce as you move, thus working your core to keep you stable.
Shameless plug - We sell the highest quality Resistance Bands (our reviews speak to this) at a great price. Get a set of resistance bands from us. We appreciate the support!
Still aren't sure if you should choose us? Here's why our resistance bands are best.
Other resistance band resources:
August 24, 2019
The mace (or battle mace, bludgeon, club) is an ancient weapon. It has a long handle with a heavy head at the end, which made it great for swinging and smashing. Thus, inflicting serious damage on opponents during battle...
Nowadays, the mace is known for more than its bloody past. It is known as an incredibly awesome unconventional fitness tool...still made to swing around and smash things...but instead of heads, we smash tires now.
Before we talk about the modern, workout mace in detail, let's discuss the history of the mace. From its humble beginnings on the battlefield, to its connection with the Gods, to its first use as a fitness training tool.
A weapon used by warriors, wrestlers and gods; the Gada A.K.A the Mace has been used in various forms for over 2,000 years. Most notably, The Gada was the go-to weapon of choice for Hindu warriors...as well as Hindu deities.
It was the main weapon of Hanuman, the monkey-like deity who was so strong he could lift a mountain with one hand.
In fact, Five Hindu deities have been directly tied to the use of the Gada. That's how special the mace is in Hindu culture.
The Gada was used by Hindu warriors for centuries because of the damage it could inflict on opponents. It’s no wonder that the most feared Indian empires existed when the Gada was in its heyday.
To increase a warrior’s battle skills, the Gada was also employed as a training tool off the battlefield. The swinging motion when using it transferred directly to their battlefield prowess.
Now that’s what we call functional training!
Maces were one of the first weight training tools ever used. EVER.
They are still used as an essential piece of equipment by Pelhwani wrestlers on the subcontinent of India.
We will call them Gadas in this respect as that is what Indians call them and they were the first to use them solely for fitness purposes.
Moreover, Gadas and steel maces (or macebells) are not exactly the same. A Gada is made with a long bamboo stick attached to a block of concrete. A modern mace, aka steel mace, is made of cast-iron and the head is welded onto the end of the hollow steel handle. The function is essentially the same, although steel maces are used in a more versatile way, but a gada typically has a longer handle and a bigger "head".
The above picture is a "Gada". And below is a steel mace (aka macebell).
The most famous Pelhwani wrestler, The Great Gama who went undefeated in his 50 year wrestling career used the mace religiously during his workouts. Even Bruce Lee idolized the training methods and physical abilities of The Great Gama.
Today, if you travel to an akhara (gym) in northern India; expect to see a bunch of Gadas being put to use. After all, it is and always has been one of the most popular training tools for Pelwhani wrestlers.
Although some people in western countries (and across the world) have been using a form of the mace for decades, it wasn't until about a decade ago that fitness enthusiasts from the West took inspiration from the Gada to create the modern steel mace, eventually popularizing it across the globe in a very short span of time.
The steel mace is a more versatile, easier to mass-produce version of the Gada. And actually, it resembles the historical "weapon mace" more than a Gada does.
After many years of penetrating the fitness culture in the West, it is clear that the Steel Mace is here to stay thanks to popular trainers, fitness professional and athletes advocating its benefits. The steel mace community is very strong and tight-knit, welcoming all newcomers to the world of the mace with open arms (that includes maces of any shape, size and style)...
Steel Maces are the perfect tool for functional training and natural movement proponents because it provides one of the best full body workouts around.
Here are some of the main benefits...
One of the most frequently injured areas of the body is the shoulder area. The reason being is that the shoulder girdle is the weakest joint in the entire human body. Many of us have suffered through shoulder injuries that make it difficult to perform daily tasks let alone get a good workout in at the gym.
When exercising with the Mace PROPER FORM is KING. In order to avoid any potential injuries make sure you start with a light weight first to master the movement before going up in weights.
The 360 is an exercise that requires you to swing the Mace through a full range of motion. These types of exercises will increase flexibility while simultaneously improving the strength of the muscles and connective tissue surrounding the shoulder joint.
Grip Strength Enhanced
When was the last time you focused on building your grip strength? Do you dedicate enough time to working on your forearms and grip?
Perhaps one of the most useful things you can do that will impact your entire life is to improve your grip strength. Grip strength is a combination of finger, hand and forearm strength. You use your grip every single day from picking anything up, to opening that jar of pickles to carrying your groceries inside.
The non-proportional weight distribution of the Mace combined with swinging motions requires an extra strong grip. Since Mace training often is comprised of repetitive movements your grip strength will continue to improve as the weeks and months pass.
By swinging the Mace or performing other movements during a set period of time will boost your heart rate dramatically resulting in improved cardiovascular output. Just like the kettlebell, you can incorporate the Mace into HIIT training.
Total Body Strengthening
Exercises and movements using the Mace are almost entirely compound movements that engage multiple muscle groups within the same movement. While swinging the Mace you will be working out your whole upper body including your grip strength.
Increased Core Rotational Strength
The uneven weight distribution of the Mace activates your core in order to keep the Mace under control while performing swinging motions. Many Mace movements entail cross-body swinging movements that activate and engage the core especially the obliques.
People looking to supplement their normal workout routines with an ancient time-tested method of full body training. Also, the Mace is great for people who love functional training as well as athletes that can transfer their training into their sport.
When using the Mace to exercise make sure that you’re using proper form and a weight that you can completely control. Swinging a steel bar with a heavy steel ball at the end can be dangerous if not done correctly or if performed in an area that contains innocent bystanders.
More Steel Mace Resources:
Start small and continue progressing towards heavier weights as your form is perfected with strong joints and muscles. We recommend a 7, 10 or 15-pound mace.
Even the 20lb Mace can challenge some of the manliest of men. So, if you’re not the aforementioned strongman then you should start with a lower weight until you feel comfortable to jump to the next size.
Related: What size mace should I buy?
Yes, we know there are tons of DIY Mace videos and blogs out there. We STRONGLY recommend buying a solid, welded Steel Mace that was manufactured for the purpose of rugged exercise programs.
Mace training is an amazing addition to your normal workouts or you could run through a circuit workout using only the Mace while performing over a dozen different movements. The Mace is a specialty tool but we believe it can be used for so much more. Be sure to follow us to see what’s possible to do using the Mace.
Get your Steel Mace now to be #WarReady.
Now you have a little history of the Mace and why we believe it’s one of the best training tools available. This time-tested piece of equipment will give you a workout like you’ve never felt before. After your first few movements using the Mace you will see why this tool is perfect for functional training; it will make you feel Human again. Get ready to be the envy of your workout buddies, Maces are on the way. Make sure to check your inbox and follow us on social media to reserve your Mace, limited stock available.
Want more fitness history? Check out the history of old-school fitness equipment by Jan Libourel.
August 23, 2019
To answer this question, we first have to go back in history to the macebell's origins…
The macebell derives from an ancient weapon known simply as a “mace”.
A mace is a bludgeon, which is a type of blunt weapon that uses a heavy head attached to the end of a handle.
The use of maces in warfare dates back thousands of years, and was used all the way up to as recent as World War I. Many ancient civilizations throughout history had maces in their arsenal.
Maces came in various sizes and styles, depending on the culture and its use. There were battle maces with long handles and short handles, the head of the maces were round, spiked, pear shaped, or flanged shape. Eventually, maces even became a symbol for ceremonial use. These ceremonial maces were richly ornamented and made from silver.
Most notably, Hindu and Persian warriors wielded maces during battle due to the serious damage it could inflict on their opponents.
In India, clubs or blunt maces are known as Gadas.
Maces were also used as a training tool for warriors because the swimming motion directly transferred to their battlefield prowess - rotational strength and power! Essentially, it was functional training at its finest.
Maces eventually became one of the first weight training tools known to man. And in this sense, we are talking specifically for fitness and sport, not just battle.
Pelhwani wrestlers on the subcontinent of India started employing the mace as an essential piece of equipment for their training regimen around 100 years ago.
Now, let’s call it a Gada when referring to the mace's fitness origins as that is what it is called in India and since they were the first to use it as a fitness tool it is only right...
Gadas are still one of the main tools used for the wresters of North India.
The Great Gama is easily the most famous Pelhwani wrestler, having gone undefeated during his 50 year career. The Great Gama is widely known for routinely and systematically using Gadas during his workouts.
Although Gadas have been a popular fitness tool in the North of India for a hundred years or so, they didn’t gain traction in the West until this past decade.
In recent years, “Gadas” have gained a lot of popularity in the western world.
But here, we don't call them Gadas, we call them MACEBELLS (or Steel Maces).
Martial artists, functional fitness trainers, athletes and workout enthusiasts have begun incorporating macebells into their training as they provide dynamic, high-intensity full body workouts that build rotational power, core strength, cardiovascular health, and more.
Now, let's be clear - macebells aren’t exactly the same as Gadas, as they are made differently. Nevertheless, the function and nature of the design are essentially the same. They are long handles with a heavy head at the end, just like battle maces. This means its an offset weight with the majority of the weight being in the head.
Let’s talk about the features of a macebell...
Unlike Gadas, which are made using a bamboo stick and concrete, macebells are made from cast-iron and steel.
Macebells have a metal head (or bell) that is welded to a strong hollow metal handle. The handles are typically not as long as Gadas but they are thicker and knurled for better grip. The thicker handles also work grip strength more.
Gadas have bigger heads than macebells too, as cast iron is heavy so it requires less volume to get the same weight.
Gadas weight sizes typically range from 15lbs all the way up to 100lbs (which is ridiculously heavy).
Macebells normally weigh 7, 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30lbs. But there are some companies that make even heavier macebells. That said, even advanced athletes will never go above 25-30lbs.
Due to the change in material and design, Macebells are actually a lot more versatile than Gadas. They can be used in many new, useful ways that the Gada can't. Gadas are solely made for swinging.
Macebells have an uneven weight distribution with most of the weight being in the head of the mace. The weight displacement activates the vital yet often overlooked stabilizer muscles surrounding our joints. This makes the macebell one of the most efficacious tools for building balance, coordination, and core and shoulder strength & stability.
Moreover, the offset weight of the macebell makes for extremely dynamic movements patterns with an ability to produce torque, which ultimately leads to ferocious rotational power. For many athletes, rotational power is the key to success in their sport.
The best and most traditional macebell exercises are the 360 and 10-to-2. Here are videos of these two exercises…
These are what the Gada was made for. Macebell swings like the 360 and 10-to-2 will give you all of the benefits mentioned above - core strength, shoulder strength, rotational power, PLUS, it will work your grip strength and endurance like crazy and give your shoulders more mobility and fluidity, which is great for athletes, MMA fighters, Yogis and anyone who does overhead lifts with barbells.
Although we’ve explained some of the benefits of the mace, there’s much more…
Macebells are very versatile in their uses and benefits.
Here are some of the main benefits and uses…
Macebells combine mobility training with strength training, so this is a fantastic implement for weightlifters and athletes alike.
We won’t go too in-depth on the benefits and uses in this post because we have already written about those two topics exclusively.
We sell macebells ranging from 7 to 30 pounds. We take great pride in the craftsmanship of our macebells, so we are confident that you will be thrilled when our macebell arrives at your doorstep.
More Steel Mace Resources:
This is a very common question...
When it comes to macebells, due to the uneven load, a 10-15lb mace is not going to feel the same as a 10-15lb dumbbell which has an even load and balanced proportions.
So, we highly recommend that you don’t overestimate your strength when it comes to macebell training. It’s a whole different beast.
For most men and women, we recommend starting with a 10lb mace. For men who are bigger and stronger, a 15lb mace is a good starter, but you will be limited in your ability to whip it around if you are looking to “flow”. For women who are new to unconventional training and/or fitness, we recommend a 7lb mace.
All in all, if you want to learn how to use the mace safely and effectively, you need to start with a considerably lighter weight than you may expect. But don’t worry, it will still be very challenging! You’d never imagine 10lbs being so difficult to manage. However, a macebell is an awkward training tool, so it is!
Plus, the great thing about the mace is, you can increase the difficulty/resistance by moving your hands closer to the end of the handle. Essentially you can control how offset it is by how you position your hands. So if a weight is too difficult for one movement, you can change your grip, and vice versa.
Related: What Size Macebell Should I Get?
Get our 84-page Macebell Training Guide (digital download). Our training guide will teach you everything you need to know about the mace, including hand placements, starting positions, and grip orientation. It has tons of video exercises, and it will teach you how to do macebell flows/complexes and create macebell workouts. So, you can become a pro mace athlete/trainer in no time.
We also have a lot of free resources for you to learn from…
Macebell competitions are growing. They are similar to kettlebell competitions (and are often done at the same events). You get on stage with other competitors and perform 360s or 10 to 2s for as many reps as possible in 5 minutes.
Related: How to Join a Macebell Competition
We go over the different competitions available across the globe, the rules, what maces they use, and everything else you’ll need to know to join a macebell competition.
We reached out to the mace community and those who’ve bought maces from us to get some feedback on how their training is going for themselves and their clients.
Here are 9 Macebell Reviews from real trainers and fitness enthusiasts like yourself.
More Macebell Resources:
May 18, 2019 6 Comments
Are you looking to buy resistance bands but you aren’t sure what size you should get? We are about to discuss everything you need to know about resistance bands. That way, you know how to choose both the right kind of resistance band and the right size for you. This is without a doubt the most complete guide to buying resistance bands.
In this resistance band buyer's guide, we cover the following:
We’ve talked about this in a previous post - 5 Types of Resistance Bands and Which is Best - but just to sum it up, we strongly believe the best type of resistance band is the 41 inch loop power resistance bands. Without a doubt. They are the most versatile as you can use them for warm up, workout and recovery.
What length resistance band do I need?
Just to be clear, the heavy duty loop resistance bands that are great for warming up, mobility, stretching, working out, and pull up assistance are 41 inches in length. No matter what size band it is (i.e. what resistance level), they will all be 41 inches in length. The size/resistance level is determined by the width of the band.
Besides the name "resistance bands", there are a few terms for them - pull up assist bands, 41 inch loop bands, heavy duty bands, and power resistance bands.
We will use bullet points to express the main benefits of resistance bands:
This is also something that we’ve gone over in-depth in a previous post. So if you want to learn more about resistance band benefits, check this post out: Top 7 Benefits of Power Resistance Bands.
To give you a better understanding of how resistance bands work, let's quickly discuss elastic tension (the kind of resistance cause by resistance band exercises) vs gravitational force (the kind of resistance caused by free weight exercises)...
When training with free weights like a dumbbell, the resistance is created by the force of gravitation. With resistance bands, the resistance is generated by elastic force. The more we stretch the band, the great the tension is. Thus, our muscles must generate force to overcome this elastic tension.
When using free weights the direction is always downward, yet with bands, we can create force in any direction by pushing or pulling the band in the opposite direction. This is why bands are especially great for the transverse plane. When using dumbbells, the weight will be pulling you down as you are rotating or resisting rotation. With bands, the force will be towards where the band is anchored. So, if it is anchored to the left or right of you, the force will be in that direction, which makes for perfect rotational or anti-rotational exercises.
Another example of how the elastic force can be useful over gravitational force is that you can position yourself however you want. With dumbbells, you will only be able to train your chest if you are laying on the bench (flat or inclined), as the force of gravity is downward. And to hit your back, you'd need to hinge and bend forward.
With bands, you can train your chest standing up straight by wrapping the band around your back and pressing forward horizontally (you can also tie the band to an anchor directly behind you to create more elastic force, which means more resistance).
There are more advantages of resistance bands when comparing them to free weights, such as:
Related: Resistance Bands vs Free Weights
THAT BEING SAID…
We don’t think of bands necessarily as an alternative, with the exception of the use of bands by beginners, children, seniors, or anyone with joint issues.
We think of bands as a supplemental training tool for your fitness arsenal. A good fitness program is one that is well-rounded, and we feel that bands are an essential tool, just like a barbell, dumbbell or kettlebell is.
Nevertheless, if you only wanted to train with bands, as maybe your joints are painful, you travel all the time, or you like to workout outside and don’t want to deal with a bunch of equipment, you absolutely can achieve great fitness results from using bands only.
Bands are such a versatile tool that you can literally target every aspect of fitness and get into great shape with them. We just think that if you have the opportunity to use more kinds of equipment, that's ideal, as there are some fitness tools that are better for certain things. For example, there is no better way to build muscle mass than with free weights, even though resistance bands can build muscle if used correctly. Similarly, there are no better exercises for HIIT than explosive movements like burpees and sprints.
BUT again, working out with just resistance bands and your bodyweight is enough to get into great shape, and there are many people out there who do so.
What are your fitness GOALS?
Ask yourself what your goals are and what other kinds of equipment you will be using, as that will help you determine the best resistance bands to get.
For example, if you want to do calisthenics, a full set of resistance bands is best, but if you only want to use resistance bands for pull assistance or for squats, deadlifts, and so on, then you can get a resistance band size that matches your specific need.
Below are the typical sizes of heavy duty 41" loop resistance bands.
Note: the color of the resistance band is often different depending on the brand that sells the resistance bands. So, the colors below are for SET FOR SET's resistance bands. The actual sizes/dimensions and pounds of resistance work for any band of the same size and of the same high-quality layering. Thus, you should pay attention to the dimensions (more specifically the width as they will all be the same length and thickness).
RESISTANCE BAND SIZES & DIMENSIONS with Free Weight Conversion (Resistance Levels in LBS):
#1 Yellow- 5 to 30 pounds of resistance (1/2” - 41" x 0.5" x 0.18")
#2 Black - 20 to 55 pounds of resistance (7/8" - 41" x 0.85" x 0.18")
#3 Blue- 35 to 70 pounds of resistance (1 1/4" - 41" x 1.25" x 0.18")
#4 Green - 45 to 115 pounds of resistance (1 3/4" - 41" x 1.75" x 0.18")
#5 Gray - 60 to 170 pounds of resistance (2 1/2" - 41" x 2.5" x 0.18")
Note: the resistance band dimensions in parenthesis are length x width x height/thickness in inches.
Pay attention to the resistance bands quality!
Our bands are made from all natural Malaysian latex and we use a continuous layering process that helps to prevent any type of breakage or tearing. Our bands have a long life thanks to this technique. Moreover, because of the high quality latex and manufacturing process that we use, our resistance bands can stretch up to 2 ½ times their original length.
Yellow Band (Lowest resistance) - 1/2 inch wide
Black Band - 0.85 inches wide
Blue Band - 1.25 inches wide
Green Band - 1.75 inches wide
Gray Band - 2.5 inches wide
Well, the answer can be simple. Ideally, you want a full set of 5 resistance bands, as every band is useful in different ways, so you can put them all to work. Some people even get two bands of the same size for exercises like banded barbell squats. If money is not a concern, this is great as there are so many ways you can pair bands of the same size together, both with free weights and bodyweight exercises.
That said, if you don’t want to buy a full set of 5 bands, then you get a set of 3 bands, which is also good.
Best Option: Full Set of 5 Bands
Buying Tip: By combining 2 smaller bands together, you can get the same resistance as a larger band (i.e. the yellow band paired with the blue band equals the same resistance as a green band).
But, I only want to buy one band!
If you only want to buy one band, or certain bands based on your specific fitness goal, your choice will depend on what you want to use the resistance band for and your current conditioning level and how strong you are.
We will do our best to help you determine which size resistance band is right for you by answering the following...
What size band for:
When it comes to stretching with resistance bands, the best resistance band sizes are the two smaller ones (yellow and black - 1/2” and 7/8”). The blue band could be useful for certain stretches that require more tension. That being said, you can work with the smaller sizes by wrapping them or grabbing them differently to get adequate tension for essentially every stretch.
Stretching with bands is great because it allows you to get a deeper stretch, and get into positions that you would otherwise have troubles with.
You want a band that has enough tension so you can pull at your joint to create normalcy. This is called mobilization. So for the hips, as it is a bigger joint, the blue band will be best. For shoulders, some mobility exercises will be best with the black or blue band, but some mobility exercises that require movement - more of a dynamic mobility exercise - the yellow band is the safest and best option.
If you want an alternative to free weights for full body muscle building and strength training, or losing weight and getting lean, a set of bands will do the job. It would be best to get a Set of 5 bands for this.
This will allow you to target each muscle group effectively.
What size resistance band is best for arms?
For arms, the yellow and/or black resistance band will be the best. This includes shoulders, biceps, triceps and forearms.
What size resistance band is best for chest?
For chest, all three sizes will be useful. The yellow will allow you to be more explosive when doing resisted push ups. The black and blue will be great as an alternative to DB chest press, and you can do this by anchoring the band or simply wrapping the band around your back. If you want to just get one, you will need to determine your strength level.
What size resistance band is best for back?
For your back, you can do all the variations of rows and the best size of the three would be the blue band for an average person. To make it harder, all you need to do is create more tension by wrapping the band differently, providing more tension from the starting position.
What size resistance band is best for glutes and legs?
This really depends on the type of exercise you do. If you are doing a compound movement like a Thruster, a smaller band will be challenging enough at high reps. If you want to do a form of squats, where you wrap the band around the back of your neck, just above your traps, and stand on the bottom of the band, then the blue band is good. If you have a set of 5, you can work up to the green and gray band as well for this type of exercise. The same applies to deadlifts with bands.
Related: Resistance Band Exercises for Glutes
All in all, a Set of 5 resistance bands is best, as you can technically get up to 170 pounds of resistance, and with this, you can grow muscles and stronger. But a Set of 3 would be more than enough if you are a beginner to intermediate lifter.
All that being said, if you are an advanced lifter, or close to it, you really can’t replace free weights in terms of building muscle without doing tons of reps. But, bands will challenge your muscles differently, and bands are said to grow tighter, denser muscles. In any case, if you are an advanced lifter looking to take a break from free weights and get toned, then the set of 3 or 5 would be perfect for you too, plus you can use them for so many other things as well.
When it comes to pull up assistance, if you haven’t used bands yet, then it might be confusing for you to determine which size is best to start with, as the pounds of resistance ranges we listed are for free weight conversion (tension) so its hard to apply it to pull up assistance.
Nonetheless, we will try our best to help you decide which size is best for you. It shouldn’t be too difficult.
Based on the above, you can choose a band that suits you. That being said, we have an important tip for you to consider.
TIP FOR BUYING PULL UP ASSIST BANDS
If you get a set of 3 bands - yellow, black and blue bands - you can combine them to get the resistance of all three added up. So combining these 3 bands will give you the same resistance as a band of the same width as the total of the three - 1/2” + 7/8” + 1 1/4” = 2 3/5”. Therefore you would have even more assistance than one gray band.
Plus, you can combine them in any fashion to meet your assistance needs. The best part is, as you get stronger, you can change the bands you use, remove bands, until you can do high reps without any bands. So, if you are thinking of getting a green or gray, then get the set of 3 resistance bands. if you are thinking to get the blue band, you can get the yellow and black instead.
Are you looking to combine bands during lifts like bench, squat, deadlift, leg press, and military barbell press?
For combining resistance bands with free weights, like banded barbell squats, even if you are an advanced lifter, you should start light. It’s a completely different dynamic and even the yellow and black will challenge you. You can eventually move up when ready.
Note: You will have to use less free weights for this as you need to calculate the extra force from the band, on top of the weight on the bar or press machine.
FOR this, it’s best to have a pair of bands of each size you plan to use. As the set up is better when you have two bands.
So, if you are just starting out with combining resistance bands with free weights, a pair of yellow bands or black bands is best. Furthermore, you can increase the tension by wrapping the band more when setting up so there will be more tension from the start. With more tension, you will calculate the added resistance at the high end of the range - so for the yellow it would be around 30LB each side and the black band around 55LB.
For more advanced lifters, you can use a blue band and you will likely quickly work up to a green band, and for those who are very strong and understand how to properly set up the bands for these kinds of lifts, the gray band.
Read about the benefits, purpose and how to use bands during strength training and bodybuilding with free weights and leg press machine - Strength Training 101 - How to use resistance bands for quick gains.
Stability Training using Bands During Barbell Lifts.
Also, you can use them for stability purposes if you have two by tying two bands around each end of the barbell with kettlebells or plates attached to the bands. This will challenge your stability. You will have to go much lighter when starting out with this as the stability completely changes the game.
A yellow band or black band is all you need for this. A black is best as the weight attached to the band will not pull the band all the way to the ground. Although a yellow will work as long as you wrap it around the bar enough.
Check out this article for how we do stability exercises using bands on Chest Day - 4 chest exercises with bands
If you want to do explosive exercises like banded sprints and bear crawls, the blue and green band is best.
For explosive exercises like banded box jumps, the yellow or black band will be better.
For seniors, the yellow band will be best. You’d be able to get a full body workout in with the yellow band and it will be challenging even for larger muscle groups so long as you keep your muscles engaged throughout the movement.
If you are a senior, definitely start with a yellow band, if you are feeling advantageous, you can get a yellow and black band.
For physical therapy, the yellow band is also the best option. It will give you the right resistance to strengthen your muscles, joints and tendons.
In fact, you don’t want any more tension for many physical therapy exercises, as they are not intended to build big muscle, but more so create normalcy in your joints and muscles.
Check out these two articles to see how we use the yellow band to strengthen our rotator cuffs and knees.
So when it comes down to what size resistance band is best to buy, It’s always best to buy multiple sizes as they offer you a wider range of uses. Plus, most bands are sold in sets and come at a cheaper price this way. If you want to buy bands, you can get them from SET FOR SET. We have the highest quality bands at a very good price. Shop by following the link below.
May 02, 2019
The answer gets deep, though.
It really depends on what you are looking to achieve. What are your goals?
Steel mace training has tons of benefits, which you can read all about in that link. But for the purpose of this article, we are going to assume you are intending to find out if it works to get Shredded and Build Muscle - Hypertrophy. Mass. Beastly.
The short answer is an unequivocal YES.
That being said, it all depends on how you use the mace. Just like conventional bodybuilding, if you aren’t doing the exercises properly, not eating or sleeping well, and you aren’t training consistently, you will lack results.
If you train hard and smart, the steel mace can get you in incredible shape.
In fact, you can get all the fitness benefits you dream of with steel mace alone ( bodyweight exercises included).
Note: For best physique results, it would be advantageous to use other unconventional tools as well. You could get yourself a mace or two (or three) and a couple kettlebells, battle ropes, and a sandbag, and you’d have everything you need for amazing physique results...if you can, some conventional strength training (squats, deadlifts, and bench) would be great to add to the mix on a regular basis too…Not only would you be able to build muscle and get shredded, your all-around performance in both sports and daily life would boot tenfold.
Now, we are going to discuss everything below as if you plan to only train with steel maces (however, the same applies when you have other unconventional training equipment in your arsenal too, of course).
We are going to answer only two questions (and put aside all the other great benefits of training with a mace):
Can a steel mace help me build muscle?
Can a steel mace get me shredded?
Not only are we going to answer these questions succinctly, we are going to show you real-life examples of people on Instagram who use steel maces to get ripped and build muscle.
When it comes to conventional bodybuilding, doing 60-70% of your 1RM for 6-10 reps is proven to be the most beneficial for building muscle mass. That being said, this doesn’t apply to steel mace exercises as you have nothing to gauge what your 1RM would be and it doesn't even make sense in terms of mace training. Steel mace training, and unconventional training in general, is a totally different beast of fitness.
Building muscle requires time under tension.
So, can you build muscle using a steel mace. Yes, you can. With a heavy steel mace and an understanding of muscle tension, you absolutely can. You won’t become super huge like you can if bodybuilding properly, but you surely can put on some mass.
Related: Should I buy a heavy macebell?
Think about bodyweight training and calisthenics, do those guys have muscles? YES they do. They have those tight dense type muscles. If bodyweight exercises can build muscle, then surely a weighted tool (i.e. a steel mace) can too.
Related: Skinny fat
If you are skinny or skinny fat, you will see some serious results with steel mace training.
If you are already quite muscular from years of conventional training, you will be able to maintain that mass, and your muscles will become more solid. The type of training that takes place when using a steel mace differs from conventional bodybuilding. It makes you more solid and dense rather than blowing you up.
What's more, due to the nature of mace exercises, and how they differ so much from what you've likely been doing, you will build muscles. When you change up your routines, methods, exercises, etc. you shock your body, which triggers muscle growth. We all know this, and the mace does this particularly well.
Muscles you don't often think about...
It will also help build muscles that are typically not targeted adequately with conventional training, like obliques and forearms. Your forearms and obliques will be worked like it's nobody's business when training with a steel mace.
Your shoulders are going to pop like crazy if you train with the mace week in and week out.
You’ll want to use a heavier mace (20-30LB mace) and instead of counting reps, count time. Perform exercises at a moderate intensity, meaning you should rest in between movements/exercises/sets - 1 minute rest is ideal.
Hold the mace firm, engage all your muscles, keep that mind to muscle active. Move slowly through the exercises with maximum tension.
Best Upper Body Fitness Equipment
Steel mace are fantastic tools to build upper body strength and muscle, but what about legs? Yes, legs will be a bit more difficult, but they can be built with a steel mace (Effective Steel Mace Lower Body Workout). You just need to put in that time under tension and use a heavier mace. Do explosive exercises too, mace plyometrics are great for building leg muscles if you only have a light weight mace.
There is no doubt that you can get shredded with a mace. The mace is designed as a full body conditioning tool. Essentially it was made for HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), which burns fat like crazy and is much more efficient way of working out.
If you have any question about this, get your hands on a 10LB mace, pick it up, and don’t stop moving and don’t put it down for 20 minutes, you’ll understand quickly why this is the ultimate metabolic conditioning tool.
Mace Complexes for HIIT
Perform sequences of mace exercises, also known as complexes - So this will be around 3-5 movements combined into one large movement. Perform 1 complex for 20 minutes, with minimal rest, or you can do 4 different complexes, broken up into 5 minute segments (or 2 complexes, each for 10 minutes...you get the point). Each complex should be a combination of upper and lower body compound movements so that you are getting a full body workout in.
Related: 6 Steel Mace Complex Workouts
Steel Mace vs Jump Rope for burning fat
Some people ask, what’s better a Steel Mace or a Speed Rope for burning fat….
A steel mace is the better choice in our opinion. Swinging around and moving with a mace for 20 minutes non-stop will get your heart rate up high and the movements are so varied that it never gets boring. Moreover, you can burn more calories with a steady increased heart rate when using a steel mace.
That being said, if you are looking for footwork, the speed rope is a better option.
Steel Mace FTW
If you want to burn fat, the steel mace is fantastic and we'd chose it over a speed rope any day of the week. For us, it's really not even a comparison, but since people ask quite often, we thought we'd address it. Now we have...moving on.
In our honest, unbiased opinion, if you are looking to build muscle, it would be best to do a combination of mace and kettlebell training. Furthermore, some traditional lifting, like the big 3 if you have access to it too. Mace and kettlebell training is enough, though. That being said, if you don’t have a lot of muscle mass, the mace alone will do the job perfectly well.
In terms of burning fat and metabolic conditioning, we truly believe there is no better tool. The mace is fun and there are so many movements to learn. One single steel mace can keep you busy year in and year out.
When training becomes fun, that’s when the results come, because you want to do it all the time. With the mace, you’ll be tempted to pick it up and swing it every time you see it. Your fat will hate you, but the rest of your body will love you for it.
Let's start with the CEO of SET FOR SET - Sam Coleman
The man LEO SAVAGE.
"Muscles either shrink or grow. Steel Mace training will not only help build lean muscle but it offers many additional benefits that "traditional" exercise may not offer. Grip strength, full shoulder range of motion, and plasticity to name a few.
Physics shows us that swinging a top loaded object makes it way heavier than it actually is. When you create force you then have to deal with that force eccentrically. So when you see people flowing and switching between exercises especially with speed, they are training all phases of motion in seconds when many forms of traditional exercise will focus on one phase at a time."
- Dylan L. Edwards CFSC (@the_hybrid_movement_guy)
Related: 20+ Steel Mace Instagrams To Follow
The beauty of steel mace training, and unconventional training in general, is that the workouts are much more efficient. You don't need to spend so much time in the gym if you train smart and train hard.
Of course, staying fit requires more than just steel mace training, like the people featured in this article, you need a well-rounded program, a healthy diet, and good sleep. The steel mace is just one tool to achieve this. It's a piece of the puzzle. That said, it can be a big piece. If you know how to incorporate it into your training and use it right, you can reap incredible benefits from steel mace training.
All in all, the steel mace is an incredible tool that offers so many benefits. Don’t limit your thinking to only getting shredded and/or building muscle. Steel mace training can do that and so much more. You can also improve your balance, coordination, core stability, mobility, grip strength, rotational power, and the list goes on. This is all functional, real world stuff. Steel mace training will improve your all around performance. The result - making you a better human.
More Steel Mace Resources:
Where to Buy a Steel Mace?
Related: What size mace should I buy?
If you are looking for more unconventional training equipment to supplement your mace training, check out our Top 7 unconventional training tools.
February 14, 2019
Steel clubs (aka heavy clubs, Indian clubs, and clubbells ™) - an ancient weapon turned fantastic functional fitness training tool.
The steel club has an incredible history that dates back thousands of years. Clubs were used as weapons in ancient wars and as hunting tools as far back as caveman times. It became a training tool for warriors and wrestlers in Ancient Peria. It has been a popular training tool for wrestlers in India for over a century.
Now, in 2019, it is touted as one of the best functional training tools for boosting sports performance and developing resilient shoulders, elbows, and wrists.
In this article, we take you through the top 8 benefits of steel club training. We hope this inspires you to start training with steel clubs, so you can enhance your athletic prowess and protect your shoulders from the common shoulder injuries we all face as humans.
Steel club training is incredible for enhancing grip strength. By design, the weight of a steel club is unevenly distributed, which displaces the weight away from your grip. This causes your grip to be challenged in ways that most fitness tools can’t replicate. Ultimately, your grip strength will increase tenfold.
When performing steel club exercises, you will be working your fingers, hands, forearms and shoulders to maintain the steel club in the correct position, so it is tremendously effective for grip endurance and dexterity too.
Steel clubs have proven to be extremely beneficial for improving grip strength for those who are recovering from injuries and have a weak grip. Of course, it’s not only beneficial for those who are rehabbing their grip strength. Not by a long shot.
People who want to increase their grip strength for sports like MMA (think grappling), baseball, lacrosse, tennis, cricket, weightlifters (i.e. deadlifts), and rock climbers (this is the tool every rock climber needs) can achieve serious dexterity and grip strength & endurance benefits by implementing heavy steel club training into their weekly routine.
Most people only train their shoulders through a push and lateral motion. Steel club training works the shoulders in a completely unique manner. The steel club trains the shoulder through rotational movements, although they can also be used in traditional weightlifting manners (albeit with a distinctly different approach due to a displaced center of mass and offset weight).
Steel club training incorporates a variety of pullover, rotational and swinging exercises through multiple planes of motion. Working your shoulders using rotational applications will not only build strength in your shoulders, but it will also increase mobility by moving them through a wider range of motion. This, in turn, works your rotator cuff, stabilizer muscles, and core muscles, all of which will greatly improve your rotational power, shoulder stability, and core stability when handling heavy objects or swinging a bat, club, racquet, throwing a FIST, or throwing a person over your shoulder.
All in all, steel club training can be superbly helpful for athletes of all high impact sports, from baseball to football to boxers and MMA fighters. Not only will they enhance their sports performance by having powerful and flexible shoulders, but they will also be much less likely to develop injuries in their shoulders thanks to increased shoulder stability and range of motion.
By training through a large range of motion via rotational exercises, you are creating a tractional force in your joints rather than compressive force. Compressive exercises, like squats, bench press, and deadlifts, compress your joints and shorten your connective tissue, while tractional exercises decompress your joints and length your connective tissue.
In fact, many things we do in our daily life compress our joints. So, implementing exercises that use tractional force, as most steel club exercises do, will curb and oppose connective tissue and joint degeneration.
Furthermore, for those who have been plagued by rotator cuff injuries, steel club training is an exceptional tool to rehabilitate.
And for those who currently have healthy shoulders, elbows, and wrists, but are at high risk (i.e. athletes and weightlifters), steel club training is the perfect tool for prehab. Use them before warming up for compressive exercises and you will have a much lower risk of injury.
Many steel club exercises incorporate swinging exercise which moves through various planes of motion. Although you could theoretically do this with other fitness tools, the steel club was designed for this purpose so it is much safer by comparison. The design of a steel club makes for a more natural and seamless swinging movement.
Note: The steel mace is another tool by design that offers multi-planar strength development. However, the steel mace offers a different kind of swing and movement potential due to the long lover.
The potential for multi-planar exercises is where the steel club and steel mace really separates themselves from traditional fitness equipment, which typically only works you through the sagittal and frontal planes. Steel Club Training can work you through all three planes of motion within one exercise. The three planes of motion being the sagittal, frontal and transverse planes.
The transverse plane of motion, being the swinging, rotational, and twisting movements, is the one plane that most people ignore.
Our natural movement patterns move us through all three planes of motion. Think about it, how often do you twist? Every day! So, it makes sense to train for strength through the transverse plane, doesn’t it?
Here are some exercise examples of how steel clubs incorporate multi-planar movements, thus developing strength and mobility in all three planes of motion (note: these exercises are more complex, use progressions to build up to these types of exercises, especially if you are using a heavy club):
Branching off from the previous benefit, if you are training in the transverse plane of motion, you are therefore building rotational strength and force. Performing rotational movements will develop a rotational force which is known as torque.
As mentioned further above, rotational movements will create tractional force, which is great for your joints. It’s also excellent for improving core strength.
Not only will you be able to swing harder than ever, but you will also decrease any chance of an injury resulting from twisting. Twisting is a natural movement pattern so this is essential, especially for athletes.
Which leads us to ask, why do so many people neglect the transverse plane of motion (i.e. rotational exercise)?
If you think about it, most powerlifters and weightlifters don’t bother performing exercises in the transverse plane because no competition lifts move them through that plane of motion. Thus, most people who train follow these weightlifting professional’s regimens without thinking things through fully. If you are an athlete of any kind, or even a strongman, you will be twisting and turning all the time. Therefore, it is absolutely crucial to add transverse plane exercises to your training plan. This is sports performance training 101.
To end this without any controversy, if you are one of those people who train split squats or lunges, you are ahead of the game, as those do train the transverse plane. A big reason you see athletes doing a lot of unilateral training. With that being said, steel club training takes the transverse plane to the next level.
With rotational exercises comes deceleration training by default. When slowing the momentum of a rotational swinging movement with a steel club, you will be developing declarative strength. This is exactly what athletes need to minimize the risk of injury caused by decelerating or changing directions, which is quite a common occurrence in sports.
Keep in mind, It’s not only important for sports, real world situations can lead to a need for decelerating or changing directions in an instant, and it’s best to be prepared for this. In fact, many injuries are not even result of contact, they are caused by an inability to decelerate or change directions quickly.
Kinesthetic training is essentially training for body awareness, i.e. balance and coordination.
Due to the offset weight of a steel club, steel club exercises are very similar to unilateral training. Unilateral training (like split squats, lunges, one arm presses) is essential for increasing balance, coordination and core stability.
By performing a single arm exercise with a steel club, you are combining unilateral training and offset training, which is like a double whammy for improving balance, coordination and core stability.
The steel club will greatly improve sports performance as most sports require exceptional balance and coordination. This is why you see a lot of unilateral training in athletic programs, and a big reason the athletic community is taking to the steel club like no other.
This benefit essentially goes hand in hand with kinesthetic training. By training for balance and coordination, you are increasing core stability. Core stability is best trained through anti-rotational exercises. Powerful core stability will allow you to take force from one side while maintaining balance. Football, basketball and soccer players will greatly understand the importance of this.
It’s always good to try something new in life, it’s even better when that new thing is proven to be effective and it’s a lot of fun. Steel clubs release our inner warrior and innate being. They are also therapeutic and meditative in a sense. This may seem like a pseudo-benefit, but you should never underestimate fun.
Steel clubs range in size from 5 to 45 pounds. Clubbells made for rehab typically weigh around 1-3lbs. Clubs ranging from 1-25lbs are usually sold in pairs as many exercises involve doubles.
If you are interested in heavy club training, the following sizes will be good for men and women who are well-conditioned and experienced in the weight room but are new to steel club training.
For men who are new to steel club training, we suggest getting a pair of 10LB Steel Clubs for double drills (15lbs at a maximum, even if you are very well conditioned), and a 25-30lb Steel Club for single, two-handed drills.
For women, we recommend buying a pair of 5lb Steel Clubs (10lb max) and a 15-20lb Steel Club for single, two-handed exercises.
If you don’t want to buy 3 different clubs at once, you can easily get away with either a pair of lighter steel clubs or a singly heavier club for two-handed work. This all depends on your goals…
With that being said, if you can afford a range of sizes, then definitely go for it. You will be able to explore a wider variety of drills, both strength and high volume training.
If you are still having doubts about which size, here is a good rule of thumb:
When in doubt, go for one size smaller than what you think is “probably good for you but challenging”. For example, if you are thinking about a pair of 15lb clubs for doubles, consider 10s instead, because if you choose the heavier option, you might not be able to perform the exercise properly or you will be limited in some capacity when it comes to learning everything from A to Z. You’ll be surprised how challenging steel clubs are compared to what they actually weigh.
It’s always better to start light. Plus, simply performing more repetitions will get you to where you want to be in terms of a challenge.
If you have a “big ego” in the weight room, throw that away when it’s time for steel club training. Even a lightweight clubbell will offer all of the benefits we’ve listed in this article.
For rehab drills:
When it comes to super lightweight clubs, it’s not the size that matters, it’s how you use them. So a pair of 1lb or 2lb clubbells will be perfect for rehab benefits.
Trust us, no matter how strong you are, or how flexible you are, 1lb or 2lb Indian Clubs ARE enough for you. Once you are comfortable with 1lb clubs, you can move up in weight accordingly.
SEEK PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE
The final note we want to make is that you should always consider existing injuries and the capability of your low back, and wrist, elbow and shoulder joints. If you’ve had any issues in the past with joint injuries or pain, be careful and consult a professional before exploring steel club training.
**Below are affiliate links where we will receive a small commission if you purchase at no additional cost to you. Thank you!**
February 03, 2019
Although Steel Clubs (also known as clubbells) and Indian Clubs have been used in the East, more specifically India and Ancient Persia, for hundreds of years, they are fairly new training tools in the Western world.
They’ve been gaining a lot of popularity among many subsets of fitness, such as weightlifting, functional training for athletes, and unconventional training in general.
Influential pro trainers and doctors understand the benefits that Steel Clubs and Indian Clubs provide, so they’ve been pushing them on clients, and in turn, the mass accordingly.
With any new fitness training tool and equipment comes questions. One common question, which we are addressing in this post, is “what size Steel Club should I start with?”
This is a great question, and although it could possibly be answered in one run-on sentence or a paragraph, it’s best to break this down for you thoroughly so you can make a smart, informed purchase, and most importantly, keep yourself injury-free while training.
Here is a quick briefing on both Steel Clubs and Indian Clubs and the differences between the two.
Club training is considered one of the oldest types of training. And we are talking the dawn of humans old. It makes sense if you think about it. A club is a tool you’d imagine a caveman walking around with on a daily basis.
Moreover, we know warriors wielded clubs in battle as far back as 2,000 years ago, thanks to depictions of ancient wars. Also, gladiators fought each other with clubs, amongst other weapons.
During the Bronze and Iron era, heavy clubs were used to develop strength for swordsmanship. This is when heavy clubs really became a training tool rather than a weapon.
Because of this, many club movements and exercises are derived from sword combat training.
The Clubs we see today, and many of the moves associated with them originate from Ancient Persia. Wrestlers of the time used them as a conditioning tool for their shoulders, core and grip strength. They’ve been used in India in a similar fashion since the 18th century, and they are still one of the most popular tools there.
Club training found its way to England during the Victorian-era when health and fitness became mainstream.
Many soldiers from the British, Indian, Australian and US militaries trained with clubs up until the beginning of World War I.
Sometime during the late 90s, club training reappeared and it has been going strong, gaining more popularity each year ever since.
Here's a more in-depth history of Indian clubs.
Steel clubs, often referred to as heavy clubs or clubbells, are made of steel (obviously) and they kind of look like a bowling pin.
Steel clubs weigh anywhere from 5 to 45 pounds and are 18 to 28 inches long.
They are incredible tools for building grip, forearm, shoulder, and core strength.
Steel club training often involves swinging motions and is a great way to train kinesthetically (balance and body awareness). When swinging a club, the weight of the club and the speed at which it is swung develops a rotational force. There is no other training tool that you can swing with one hand and produce the kind of rotational force that a steel club can.
The rotational force will open up your joints - wrist, elbow and shoulder joints - thus creating much more strength, stability, and mobility. Shoulder health and power is one of the greatest benefits of the training with a steel club.
Steel clubs are often sold in singles and as pairs. They are sold in pairs because many steel club exercises involve the use of two clubs, one in each hand.
Very heavy clubs are used two-handed. As steel clubs can weigh up to 45 pounds, they can also be used as a lower body training tool. You can perform squats (with out all the pressure that comes with a barbell) and front and side swings (similar to a kettlebell), among other exercises.
Now, most heavy clubs in India are made of wood, but they still function as “heavy clubs” as they are, well, HEAVY.
There are also wooden clubs that weight much less than steel clubs, they have a different purpose. These are called Indian Clubs.
Indian clubs are essentially the same design as steel clubs, but much lighter and made of wood. They can also be made from a hard type of plastic.
Indian clubs typically weigh from 1-3lbs, and they are sold in pairs. A good Indian Club will be around 18 inches long.
Light clubs like this are made for rehab, prehab and warming up. In fact, many doctors prescribe Indian Clubs for patients with shoulder and elbow issues, as they are great for injury rehabilitation.
People use lightweight clubs in a smooth and rhythmic manner, both open and closed arm style.
If used on a regular basis, they can prevent many types of injuries by creating fluidity in the joints, and by increasing range of motion and mobility.
Furthermore, they are fantastic tools for warming up before any overhead pressing exercise and for athletes who repetitively throw or swing a football, baseball, bat, or golf club.
Although one Indian club would do the job, it's best to get a pair. Two is just more effective, efficient and FUN.
Indian club exercises involve rotational swinging patterns and multi-planar movements. By performing the exercises, you reap a number of benefits...
Having both Indian Clubs and Steel Clubs makes sense for most athletes and weightlifters.
For example, you could warm up with Indian clubs then incorporate the steel clubs into a barbell overhead should press workout by supersetting the heavy clubs after OHPs to further hammer down on your muscles.
You could also simply use Indian clubs to warm up then use steel clubs for an entire workout. If you know what you are doing, you can get a killer workout in, and most importantly, in a safe manner in regards to joint health.
First off, many people are surprised how much heavier clubs feel than they actually are.
Here’s why they feel heavier than the actual poundage reads.
Unlike a dumbbell or barbell, the weight in a clubbell is not evenly distributed. This is the reason the tool is so fantastic and can be used in so many uniquely beneficial ways. By nature of design, Steel Clubs and Indian Clubs place the center of mass away from your grip. Having the weight displaced far from your hand makes it very awkward to handle for beginners, and this kind of training completely changes the dynamics of what traditional lifters are used to. It also works muscles that usually aren’t being engaged.
Here is the best place to start for those who are experienced with weightlifting and athletics but new to this kind of unconventional training.
For men who are new to steel club training, we suggest getting a pair of 10LB Steel Clubs for double drills (15lbs at a maximum, even if you are well conditioned), and a 25-30lb Steel Club for single, two-handed drills.
For women, we recommend buying a pair of 5lb Steel Clubs (10lb max) and a 15-20lb Steel Club for single, two-handed exercises.
If you have a “big ego” in the weight room, throw that away when it’s time for steel club training. Even a 25lb clubbell is going to be very difficult to use for a beginner. And, although it seems like a lightweight, the strength, power, endurance and muscle development you receive from this kind of training is quite “heavy”.
Now, if you don’t want to drop that much money straight away to be able to purchase 3 different clubs, you can easily get away with either a pair of lighter steel clubs or a heavier one for two-handed work. This all depends on your goals.
If you are an athlete looking for coordination, agility, and strength-endurance benefits, choose two 15LB steel clubs.
If you are looking for explosive/ballistic strength, a 25-30LB single club would do the job.
However, if you can afford a range of sizes, then you can explore a wide variety of drills, combining strength and volume training.
When in doubt:
We like to tell people that when in doubt, go one size smaller than what you think will be good for you. So if you think a pair of 15lb clubs would be good for you for doubles, consider going 10. If you choose the heavier option, you might not be able to perform the exercise properly. It’s always better to start light. Plus, simply performing more repetitions will get you to where you want to be in terms of a challenge.
When it comes to Indian Clubs, it’s not the size that matters, it’s how you use them ;)
As we already mentioned the benefits of the Indian Clubs above, we’ll get straight to the point here. Indian Clubs are made for warming up and combating battered shoulders and maintaining shoulder health, so a pair of 1lb or 2lb Indian Clubs is perfect to reach the desired effects.
No matter how strong you are, or how flexible you are, 1lb or 2lb Indian Clubs ARE enough for you.
If you want us to make the choice between a 1 or 2-pound Indian Club simple for you, just go for a pair of 1lb clubs. Work on the movements properly, and once you’ve mastered the drills, go up to 2lb clubs, then 3lbs.
You’ll be super surprised how demanding these are due to the kind of drills you'll be performing, especially for those with any kind of shoulder issues.
***There are affiliate ads above where we will receive a small commission on any purchase you make.***
Seek professional medical advice
The final note we want to make is that you should always consider existing injuries and the capability of your back, and wrist, elbow and shoulder joints. If you’ve had any issues in the past with joint injuries or pain, be careful and consult a professional before exploring steel club training.
January 21, 2019
Are you looking for abdominal exercise equipment that will really tone up and strengthen your core?
Do you want to lose that belly fat and finally achieve a flat, rock hard stomach?
Are your abs good but obliques lacking? Still handling those difficult to remove love handles?
In this article, we will teach you about the best tool (and exercises) to achieve six pack abs while improving core stability.
This training tool is called the Steel Mace.
The best tool for your core is always the one that has multiple functions. Training the core alone isn’t necessarily the best way to get a powerful core and rock hard abs. Exercises like squats, bench and deadlifts are amazing exercises for the core, and they aren’t exactly “core” exercises. With that in mind, training functionally, with full body movements, will do much more for your core than doing endless sit-ups, crunches or leg raises (although we are big advocates for hanging leg raises).
If you want a flat stomach, you need to lose fat. To lose fat, you need to do HIIT workouts, or in any case, just make sure you keep your heart rate up while training.
You also need to eat right. Of course.
Now, to have a sexy midsection and good core stability, you need to train unilaterally...and even better, unilaterally with offset weight loads.
By doing this, you will be put to the challenge of staying upright and center, therefore blasting your core to maintain stability.
You also need to do heavy (relative to your strength ability), compound movements, which will require you to have a strong and tight core throughout the movements. If you don't have adequate core strength, you’ll have poor form and you'll risk injury.
As long as you are doing your compound lifts at the gym, additionally you'll only need is one tool and one tool only to be able to get an amazing core, six pack abs and obliques that pop, and again, this tool is a steel mace.
Trust us when we say, using the steel mace for months will not only improve your core, it will also enhance your balance and coordination, which is a win-win, especially for athletes.
The steel mace, or macebell as it is also known, is actually not a new type of workout equipment. In fact, it dates back centuries.
Originally, it was used by wrestlers from fighting cultures in ancient Persia and India. It was, and still is, called a Gada in India. It is still one of the main training tools used by Pehlwani Wrestlers.
The Gada was introduced into the Western world about a decade ago, in a slightly different form. The steel mace is the new form of the Gada.
By making it from steel and altering the design slightly, it is easily be produced, safer and more secure, and it can be used in numerous ways (rather than just the traditional movements that people in India perform).
In regards to it being used in many different ways, functional fitness trainers found serious benefits for the steel mace by performing all types of typical exercises but in offset form (due to the nature of the design of the mace, every exercise is offset as most of the weight is in the ball of the mace).
The steel mace has been making waves in the functional fitness industry, especially the last couple of years. This isn’t a trend, this is a proven tool that has withstood the test of time, so it’s not going anywhere, and we can guarantee you will find this in every single gym across the nation sooner than later.
As you probably already know, the mace was originally a weapon that was used in many different ancient armies, such as Romans, Vikings, Ancient Persians and probably most others as you can imagine, it looks like a brutal weapon after all. So, in fact, the Gada took inspiration from warriors who used a mace in war and training for war, and the steel mace took inspiration from the Gada and the weapon. Full circle in full effect.
One of the biggest benefits of macebell training is that it is very core intensive. Something many people are lacking in their fitness.
Why is it core intensive? Because, by nature of design, the steel mace carries most of the weight in the ball. This creates an offset load when training. The offset weight challenges core stability during every single movement as you need to keep your body upright and center throughout the movement. You'll see what we mean when watching the exercise videos below.
All in all, the more you use the mace, the stronger your core will be, especially your external and internal obliques muscles.
Imagine holding a mace, doing sequences of exercises, similar to a yoga routine, for thirty minutes straight. Your muscles strength and endurance will be tested, your balance and coordination will be challenged, and you will be burning fat like crazy, allowing your abs to poke through.
This is how you get a six pack, amazing obliques, and good core stability - it’s more than just looking good, it’s also functional. Sit-ups or ab rollers have nothing on this.
The Steel Mace is highly effective at improving sports performance. Athletic training focuses on balance and body awareness through the use of unilateral exercises. The steel mace, with its uneven weight distribution, works perfectly for this type of training, as doing exercises with an offset load is very similar to unilateral training. And, if you combine offset loads with unilateral movements, you have a super double whammy on balance, coordination and body awareness, which ultimately improves core stability tenfold. It's also amazing in that you will be working your whole body and seriously challenging your core at the same time.
Let's start with the traditional swinging movements - This is where it all started in ancient fighting cultures.
As we mentioned, every steel mace exercise is good for the core, but thes following exercises aren't typical “core” exercises. Nonetheless, they WILL work your core and stability to great effect.
The Dynamic Lunge isn’t a core exercise per say, but since you are holding the macebell in a position where most of the weight is to one side, you need to use your core to maintain an upright position, therefore working your abs and challenging your stability, coordination and balance.
Now, these are exercises using the mace that are specifically targetting the core:
Overhead Oblique Side Crunch
The steel mace comes in various sizes - usually, it’s 5 or 7LBs minimum, and it goes all the way up in increments of 5 to as high as 40LBs.
At SET FOR SET, we sell 7, 10, 15, 20, and 25-pound maces. You might think that this weight isn’t very much, but if you have never tried a mace before, you’d be fooled. A 10LB and 15LB mace are extremely challenging for most well-conditioned athletes. 20 and 25LB maces should only be used by those with experience in macebell training. It feels A LOT heavier than it sounds.
If you aren’t sure about which weight to start with, you can read this article on which steel mace size is right for you.
Also, the lighter maces will have a slightly shorter handle than the bigger ones, and the handles will be slightly thinner. With that being said, all sizes should have an adequate handle length, as if they aren't long enough, it defeats the purpose of the mace since it will be hard to swing properly and with the right momentum.
January 11, 2019 2 Comments
As macebell training continues to grow in popularity, the number of companies selling macebells is going to rise as well. Where there is demand, there will be supply.
Nevertheless, at the current time, there aren’t that many companies selling macebells. However, there are still enough sellers for people to ask “what is the best macebell?” and “where should I buy a macebell?”
The answer can be as simple as, "buy your maces from SET FOR SET or ONNIT", but if you want to make an informed decision, there are a lot of factors to consider because macebells come in different varieties. Not to mention, it depends on where you live.
Apart from materials, one should consider the size of the mace - total length and handle diameter are important factors. The length of the mace handle and how the weight is proportioned in the mace ball (aka mace head) plays a crucial role in how well the mace swings for swinging movements, like the 360 and 10 to 2. The diameter of the handle is a necessary point of consideration, with thicker handles being more grip oriented and thinner handles most resembling a traditional Gada.
In any case, a macebell should be proportioned correctly, meaning uneven weight distribution, with most of the weight being in the ball. If not, well, it’s not exactly a mace and it defeats the intended purpose and beauty of this unconventional fitness tool, which is offset training.
In this article, we are going to cover all of the above in more depth while discussing where you can buy different kinds of macebells. Additionally, we will give you our opinion on what is the best macebell in the bunch.
For the sake of keeping things simple, we are going to assume you live in the USA.
When doing a simple Google search for macebells, you will notice the top results are steel maces. This is the most popular kind of macebell as it is the most versatile, plus it is easy to produce.
Unlike the other kinds of macebells listed above, the steel mace is extremely durable and can be used in a variety of ways. You can slam it, press it, pull it, swing it.
A Steel Mace is extremely durable. In fact, it’s virtually indestructible. It is made of steel after all.
You can use a steel mace for essentially any exercise imaginable. For example you can do a curl with it as you would a barbell, except it will create an offset movement, which is amazing for boosting core stability, balance and coordination - that’s the beauty of the steel mace and its intended purpose, along with other incredible benefits, such as developing Thor like shoulders and grip.
Non-steel macebells are mostly limited to a few movements, like 360s, 10 to 2s, and gravediggers.
With that being said, the steel mace was based on the Gada and the Gada is only used for 360s and 10 to 2s...to incredible results. So, it's not that big of a deal for some people. Furthermore, those two swinging movements can be done in many ways (single hands, reverse, kneeling, half-kneeling, etc.). If we had to only do two exercises with the mace, those would be it. Thankfully we don’t have to though.
Personally, we love the all-around training the steel mace provides, not just the swinging movements - Our Youtube channel has tons of steel mace exercises and we love each and every one of them.
Now, you might be thinking that the steel mace isn’t entirely safe, as you are swinging heavy steel around. I mean, it’s only normal that you would think that. However, as long as you know what you are doing and you aren’t compensating your form (throwing out your shoulder, elbow or back would suck), you will be one hundred percent safe. We bring up injuries because that would be our only concern. There is definitely nothing to worry about in regards to the mace ball falling off. A well-manufactured steel mace can take a ton of abuse. You could even slam them on concrete (definitely not recommended, and if you do this you risk concrete flying all around and hitting you), as the head of a steel mace is welded on with the utmost integrity...at least this holds true for the brands we are about to list.
SET FOR SET (that’s us) Steel Maces are in our opinion the perfect length. Iterations have been made over time as feedback from the community was taken into deep consideration (we've sold thousands of maces since first launching).
We now have, what we believe to be, the best length and handle diameter that you could ask for in a steel mace.
When creating the mace, we kept in mind the importance of handle length and thickness for swing movements, while also not taking away from all the other cool exercises you can do with them, such as Offset Overhead Presses, Steel Mace Slams, Switch Squats, and the list goes on. SET FOR SET maces swing beautifully and will feel great in your hands for all movements, challenging your grip like no other.
Furthermore, we paid a lot of attention to the knurled gripping. The mace is knurled at the top and center of the mace handle. We’ve used a lot of different maces and have had a lot of feedback so we can conclude that SET FOR SET Steel Maces has some of the best knurling in the game.
Lastly, our most recent iteration was of the steel mace end cap. We use to have a removable end cap at the end of the handle. We changed that to a perfectly welded steel cap at the end, making our steel maces completely indestructible, top to bottom.
SET FOR SET Steel Maces range from 7-25LBS. We typically deliver orders in 3 business days, sometimes quicker depending on where you are in the states. Regarding pricing, are maces are priced extremely fairly (we also do discount wholesale pricing for those who own gyms or want to place large orders for occasions like steel mace workshops).
We have no issue talking about, and even complimenting, our competition. Onnit is an amazing, innovative, trendsetting company and we think their maces are of great quality, just as our SET FOR SET steel maces are.
If you are to choose between SET FOR SET and ONNIT, you will be choosing based on the brand, not the quality of the mace. That is fact.
Onnit Steel Maces range from 7-25LBS. They also have a Quad Mace with a really cool head design and a wooden handle, however, the integrity of that mace isn’t the same as the steel maces and we wouldn’t recommend slamming it.
Note: Pricing is slightly higher for Onnit Maces than SET FOR SET.
Their steel mace is well built and will also take a beating. However, the welding seems to be a little sloppy (something we have corrected over the years, so we understand this quite well). Nonetheless, as stated, it will withstand abuse just like the rest.
What we really don’t love about Incline Fit maces, something that helped us in our design is their slippery gloss finish and lightly knurled grip on the handle. When you are swinging around the mace for minutes on end, you will notice the difference in grip. Furthermore, their smallest mace doesn’t have any knurling at all (again something we had done originally but since changed to add the knurling on our lightest mace).
Also, Incline Fit uses a plastic end cap at the top of the handle, which can be popped off. This has proven to be a bit of a nuisance as if you aren’t careful you can drop it and either damage it or pop it off (another thing we "corrected"). It will not, however, affect the mace's functionality in any way.
Incline Fits most redeeming qualities are that they have a wider range of maces - 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30-pound steel maces - and the fact that they focus on Amazon Prime so the price is low and the shipping is quick.
We won’t go into details on this one as we have never used or seen it in person, BUT it looks super badass. However, it is MUCH more expensive. Like over $100 more for a 15LB mace (they use KGs to determine weight, though).
A loadable mace has a hollow ball so it can be filled to increase the weight. Most loadable maces use either lead shot or sand, although some use water (plastic loadable maces), which is pretty interesting if you ask us.
Here are a couple companies that sell loadable maces.
Titan’s Loadable Mace is fairly new to the market. When it is empty, it is 15lbs and it is fillable with lead shot, sand, or something of the like. It’s a solid mace and a cool option if you want an all in one mace. And honestly, the price point is good.
With that being said, we have a few concerns with it. Firstly, if you are just starting out with macebell training, 15lbs is quite a lot. We know it doesn’t sound like a lot but you’d be surprised by how heavy a 15lb mace actually feels, and for most movements, you’d be compromising form and risking injury at that weight if you are inexperienced with mace training.
Another issue we have is that the handle isn’t that long and the grip is quite large. This isn’t a problem for most movements, but it is for the two main movements the mace was actually designed for – the 360 and 10 to 2. If you want to perform swing movements properly, you need an adequate handle length. 40+ inches is ideal.
On a more positive note, the cool thing about this mace is that it is made of steel, so it is able to take a beating on most surfaces like the formerly discussed steel maces.
You may have seen Mr. Maceman sporting one of these super long hard plastic maces. The ball of the mace is super big and the handles are very long. They make for fantastic maces to swing 360s and 10 to 2s. What’s really cool is they offer customization like handle length and width, mace ball size, and color of the mace. I believe most of their maces are waterproof. Water seems like a really cool filling option as the movement would create an even more off-balanced feeling which is great for stability.
Besides that, though, their maces aren’t as versatile as steel maces. You are limited to certain movements, and you really don’t want to slam these around. Plus they aren't easy to take on the road as they are sooo long.
Moreover, they can’t be ordered quickly and easily, you need to get a quote and go through a less user-friendly, slower process to get one in your hands. Nonetheless, for the uniqueness of it, it could be worth the wait for some. Plus, they have a badass brand name. Look them up if you are interested in this type of mace.
Adjustable Macebells are similar to loadable maces - where with a single mace you can increase or decrease the weight, however, adjustable maces come in increments as you are adding or removing pieces of the mace to make it heavier. So you can't add just a couple of pounds like you can with a loadable mace.
The only adjustable mace that we know of that’s worth mentioning is by Adex.
Not going to lie, they are pretty damn cool and made very well. This is the only macebell mentioned in this article that doesn’t have a round head at the bottom.
The handle is 40 inches and they have 10 pieces, which means 10 different weight settings (7.5, 10, 12.5, 15, 17.5, 20, 22.5, 25, 27.5 & 30lbs).
Adex Mace isn’t cheap. It will run you around $200.
If you are really only looking to focus on 360s and 10 to 2s, Adex is a good option. But if you want a more versatile macebell that you can train with in various ways, go for a steel mace. For around $100-120 you can get multiple steel mace at different sizes, which will keep you busy for a long time. And, in all honesty, you really only need to start with a 10lb or 15lb mace, depending on your conditioning and body size. It will take time to master that one macebell.
Update: See the comment section below for a note on Adex maces by Adex themselves.
You can DIY a mace. If you are a skilled craftsman, this could be a fun project and it can save you some money (if you have some or most of the items needed handy).
The issue we have with recommending people to DIY a mace is that it can be dangerous if not done properly. You wouldn’t want to be swinging a mace and have the head fly off of it and hit someone or yourself.
Personally, if we were to DIY a mace, we’d make one just as the Pelwani Wrestlers do. We’d make an official GADA.
Here is a video of how to do so (this isn’t the exact method they use in India, but it’s damn near the same. The overall integrity and style are as close as it’s going to get.
The winner goes to…the SET FOR SET Steel Mace.
Now, it may seem like a bias opinion, and maybe it is slightly. Nevertheless, we are extremely confident that this is a good recommendation. We honestly have been thoroughly unbiased about all the other options.
Our steel maces are made extremely well, and macebell training is our sole focus at the moment. Therefore we have taken immense pride in continually fixing and creating the best mace on the market. We have the right length to weight ratio, price to value ratio, customer service to customer satisfaction ratio ;) and, we pump out a lot of free education - and one very in-depth paid e-guide with videos, which we get tons of positive reviews on - to help you along your mace training journey.
If you don’t believe us, here are some reviews from our customers. There are plenty more on our steel mace page.
If you are like me when making purchases, you take reviews seriously. The more reviews, the more you will know about the quality and overall experience. Most mace companies only have a few reviews. Only SET FOR SET, ONNIT, and INCLINE FIT have enough reviews to make a truly informed decision. Although we hope you will take our word on the rest as well. All the maces in this post are worthy, now the choice is yours.
You can also read a thorough comparison of Adjustable vs Fixed Weight Maces by long-time mace enthusiast Jan Libourel.
Already have a mace? Be sure to pick up our extensive steel mace training e-guide to take your (or your clients) mace training to the next level.
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March 06, 2017
If you've got a speed rope and you want to size it to your height then we made this video for you.