Today’s question comes from Norm, and it is about Mace Swinging.
- “Hi Jedd
I picked up your Home Made Strength Online DVD. I’m very happy with the product. My only question is whether the exercise where you swing the mace around your head should be used as a warmup, main strength move, or finisher? -Norm-“
Thanks for the note, Norm. Mace Swinging is a lot of fun, plus is is very versatile, so I put together a quick article for you.
In addition, I just talked with Ryan Pitts, and he just set up a special discount code just for my subscribers.
From Ryan Pitts at Stronger Grip Enterprises:
- “I have been making the handles on some of the maces loadable at request of customer. I will give this upgrade to anyone who uses your diesel5 code. They get 5% off and a bonus $25 value of loadable handle, giving the mace an extra 10-16 lb capacity depending on what kind of media and length of mace they order. -Ryan Pitts-“
To get your own Mace with the custom adjustable-weight handle, use this link:
Be sure to use the code => diesel5 <= when you check out to get 5% off and get a cool adjustable handle.
The Benefits of Mace Swinging
Maces: Multi-Purpose Tools, Perfect for Warm-up, Strength Work, or Finishers
Is the Mace best used as a Warm-up device, a Strength Movement, or as a Finisher?
The Mace can actually be used for all three of these purposes. Allow me to detail each one…
Mace Training as a Warm-up
When done with a light weight, Mace Training can be a great warm-up for the upper body.
The shoulders, biceps, triceps, and the lower arms get used under light loads very fluidly with Mace Swinging, and this promotes blood flow to the area, lubricating the joints, making them feel good, especially after a long day where you are stuck in a chair or something like that.
In addition, the over the shoulder and behind the head movements of Mace Swinging open up the thoracic region of the torso, which can help you lift heavier later on in the workout.
Maces as a Strength Movement
You can also test your strength and coordination with heavy mace swinging.
I had a giant mace / club made several years ago that I call the Demolition Club.
Here’s a post on the Demolition Club.
It’s literally a giant artillery shell with a handle and it weighs 89lbs. The handle is super thick and there is no ball at the end of the handle, you not only must get your core, torso, and shoulders ready to go in order to swing this thing, but you grip must be ON too.
So, you can load a mace up heavy, especially shot-loadable ones like Ryan Pitts makes here, and keep the repetitions lower for a very challenging strength movement.
Maces as a Finisher
I, generally, use my mace training as a “finisher” of sorts the majority of the time.
During periods where I have no contests to train for, or if I am looking to burn some extra calories, I use Mace Swinging as “Upper Body Cardio,” at the end of the workout, doing a handful of sets for maximum repetitions.
Generally, I will wear some kind of gloves with these, in order to prevent blisters. Plus, my hands have to work a bit harder, so I get a good Grip Strength Challenge out of it.
I even like to do some “Sprint-Style” Mace Swinging, where I try to rip off 20 repetitions as fast as possible for 4 to 6 sets.
So, really, depending on what you want to go for, Mace Swinging can be a great multi-purpose form of training.
I like the shot-loadable Mace that I have, and you can also buy plate loadable ones too.
Good luck with your Mace Training, Norm.
P.S. Don’t have a Mace? I gotcha covered:
You can buy a sweet shot-loadable mace here.<= Use code Diesel5 to get 5% off
Mace and Club Swinging
Originally posted March 21, 2012
One type of strength and endurance training that almost no one practices anymore, but certainly should is Mace and Club Swinging. This sort of training has many names from macebell training, to circular training, but really what it comes down to is swinging either a mace or a club around your head and down past your back with either one or two hands.
What is a Mace?
I first heard the term mace as a teenager, studying medieval weaponry. In that context, the term mace is used to describe a medieval weapon that was a ball with spikes on it that the warrior would swing and hit his adversary with. These days, the mace is a ball on the end of a long handle, usually about 4 feet long or even longer. In fact, Indian Wrestlers would swing a mace, or gada as they would call them, for their strength training and conditioning.
One type of Battle Mace
What is a Club?
Originally, clubs were weapons of old as well. They were really any sort of blunt object used to hit someone or something in order to hurt, maim, or kill it. This was usually done with one hand. These days, clubs are used in a swinging style in order to bring about the same types of benefits as mace swinging for people such as wrestlers, baseball player, football players, firemen, police, etc.
A Medieval Ball-Headed Club – Beat some asses with this piece!
I recently found this old video clip of the greatest Persian Club swinger ever to grace the wrestling ring, the Iron Sheik, swinging his “70+ Lb” clubs and allowing other wrestlers and bystanders to try the $10,000 Persian Club Challenge. You’ll see that this form of Club, with a much different shape, is more in line with the Persian style of Club, with much more mass to wield than other thinner forms of Indian Clubs.
From the video you can tell that Club Swinging requires a different form of strength to be developed in order to be able to just get the clubs into position, let alone to be able to swing them with authority like the Iron Sheik, especially the obvious time spent in the weight room by the guys in the video who failed miserably to swing the clubs, one of them a young Jim Hellwig who would later become the Ultimate Warrior.
I thought it was so cool watching the Iron Sheik swing clubs as a youngster, that I always wanted to try it. That was the reason I first gave it a try, but now after doing it for several years, I have found that there are many benefits to be gotten from club swinging.
Benefits of Club and Mace Swinging
The benefits of Club and Mace Swinging are numerous, including:
- Grip Strength and Endurance – This movement requires you to flex and adjust the hand dynamically throughout the range of motion which tires out the entire hand as well as the full length of the forearm
- Shoulder Flexibility / Mobility – The relatively light weight of the implement is enough to stretch out the musculature slightly, improving range of motion. This is also effective as an upper body warm-up
- Core Training – Maintaining a stable core while swinging the club or mace-style implement dynamically works the abs, lats, and muscles of the back as well, again, excellent for a warm-up method or finisher for your workouts.
What is the difference between Maces and Clubs?
There are a few differences between maces and clubs. First off, Maces are usually much longer than clubs, and produce more leverage when they are being swung, even if their heads are roughly the same size and weight.
Another difference between maces and clubs are the number of hands used. Generally a mace is swung using two hands while a club is swung using only one hand. Of course if the mace is extremely light it can be used with just one hand. Conversely if a club is extremely heavy, then it may be necessary to use two hands in order to swing it.
Regardless of the weight, length of the handle, or the number of hands used to swing the club or mace, it is a very beneficial form of training for anyone who needs to have strong hands and solid grip in order to be successful at what they do.
Stronger Grip Enterprises – Mace and Club Training Tools
There are lots of places where you can get Club and Mace training tools, but one of the best I have found is Stronger Grip. I have many different training tools from Stronger Grip and I love all of them.
Stronger Grip has several different types of tools that are used for this sort of training. Many are shot loadable, which means you will have the benefit of starting out with lighter weights and gradually working up over time. Shot loadable implements are also fun to train on because they make such a cool noise when you swing them around.
Like I said, I own several pieces of Stronger Grip equipment, but by far, the ones I use most often are the clubs and maces, and I use the maces more routinely because they are a two handed implement and I am able to do more weight with them. I guess I just enjoy Mace training more.
Some quick links to the Stronger Grip equipment line of Clubs and Maces:
- Indian Clubs – The Stronger Grip Indian Clubs are the perfect size to reap all the benefits, plus, they are shot loadable making it even easier for you to maximize the benefits.
- Plate Loadable Clubs – Some people don’t like Shot because they have to have a place to keep it and it requires a bit more concentration to change weights. The Plate Loadable Clubs get you around that very easily and work just as well.
- Loadable Maces / Core Club – This is the type of Mace I have owned for several years. This piece looks great and feels even better. Get ready to not only build your Grip but also to improve your shoulder mobility at the same time.
- Monster Mace – If you are looking to really move a lot of weight around, then you want the Monster Mace. Once you start manhandling this piece of beauty around, you will be ready to challenge the Iron Sheik himself.
- Plate Loadable Mace – If you are not into shot-loadable instruments, Ryan Pitts also carries plate-loadable maces which you can use with those extra plates you have sitting around.
- The Starter Mace – If you would like to start out with something a little more manageable, the Starter Mace is perfect.
Those are just a small selection of the variety of Clubs and Maces available from Stronger Grip. Once you go to the links, check out the full spectrum of tools. You can even pick up pairs and sets at a discount!
Club and Mace Swinging Technique
Once you pick up your Clubs and Maces, come back to this page in order to practice your technique.
When it comes to swinging a Club or Mace, you must start out with the basics. If you just stay with the basics, you will be able to readily enjoy and benefit from this type of training. Of course, course there are dozens, if not more, of other ways to swing Clubs and Maces once you master the basic training.
Basic Club Swinging Technique Demonstration
This video shows the beginning techniques for Club Swinging. Take note, that other instructors may use slightly different terminology from what I use. I am not a certified Club training specialist, but I do know how to properly perform the basics of Club swinging.
Basic Mace Swinging technique Demonstration
Just like with Club Swinging, there are many different styles and varieties you can try, but you definitely need to start out with the basics. Below I get you started on the right track, and if you are feeling frisky, after you get some practice, I’ve got a couple of other Advanced Mace Swinging Techniques for you to try as well.
Advanced Mace Swinging with Modified Speed Demand
With this technique, you will attempt to get the Mace moving and keep it going as fast as possible. I chose a total of 20 reps, but you can choose any number you wish. You will see that when you put this speed demand on yourself, in order to keep improving you must focus on your rhythm and strive to get your entire body to work together. Focus on getting as much of the musculature involved as you can in order to make each repetition smooth and fast.
Advanced Mace Swinging with Modified Range of Motion
This variation I liked quite a bit, because it took some of the focus away from the lats and torso and put more of it on the arms, forearms, and hands. My hands were pumped and burning up after trying this.
Once again, start out with the basic maneuvers with your Clubs and Maces and then start adding in slight variations until you are confident and can control the tools throughout the entire range of motion.
I hope you enjoy your Club and Mace training, and if you have any questions, do not hesitate to leave a comment below.
All the best in your training.
Tags: club, club swinging, club training, indian clubs, mace, mace swinging, mace training, persian clubs
Posted in club swinging, grip strength, hand strength, home made strength equipment, how to buid wrist strength, how to improve fitness and conditioning, how to perfrom mace and club swinging, mace swinging | 2 Comments »
I have an awesome story to share with everybody in the Diesel Universe.
So, my driver’s license is going to expire on like December 4th, and every time this happens I wait too long and usually my license expires and I drive around illegal for a couple weeks before I finally go to the DMV and get it updated.
I decided that I would make this year different and went today to get it done, roughly 6 weeks before it expired. It was about 10:00 AM when I left.
So, I get in my car and my GPS is in there, so I figured I’d see what the truly shortest route is to the DMV from my house. I live in the countryside of Pennsylvania, and there are lots of back-roads I am not aware of, and it is always nice to know multiple routes, so I followed the GPS lead and got there about 10:30AM, because I had to follow a bunch of Natural Gas trucks through the mountains.
I get out of my Exploder and look at my license card and I see that it says I have Hazel eyes. “That’s not right,” I say to myself. So when I go inside and walk up to the desk, I point it out to the attendant, and she tells me to take a number. Five seconds into what would be a 45-minute wait, I realize that I have made a serious tactical error, so I pull out my Blackberry and proceed to get a new Personal Record in Word Mole…I rake at Word Mole.
Finally, it is my turn to go back and get my card corrected and I finally get my picture taken. I was becoming very frustrated with the delay that was building in this whole process, but when I saw how great my new license card came out, “relief washes over me in an awesome wave.”
So, I get in my car a little after 11 AM and I begin to realize how extremely hungry I am. It then pops into my mind that I will have to drive past the Chinese place in order to get home, and with it being lunch time, the price is cheaper, so I head that way to get my eat on.
When I get there, the place is packed and I lose interest in seating down to put my feedbag on, so instead I grab a carry-out container, load it with the Greatest Hits, pay for it, and head out.
Now, what happens next is the most important part, so please don’t hate me for dragging you through all this.
Before I get to that part, keep in mind that until this point, I have done roughly a half dozen things that I did not need to do. I did what I felt like doing, or what I felt would be good. I wasn’t going by a routine or a schedule. I was just going with the flow.
When I get to the door, there are at least ten people there wanting to come in, so I hold the door open for them. As I hold the door I look out to my car at how bad the back of it sags from carrying around Inch Dumbbells and Blobs, and other grip equipment all over the countryside for the first couple of years I owned it, and as I am looking, I see this huge figure cross between my eyes and my Exploder.
“Man that dude is a big son of a gun,” I thought to myself.
I looked again, and to my surprise, the gigantic figure that was blocking my view to my car was none other than Phil Pfister.
If you don’t know who Phil Pfister is, I will tell you. Phil Pfister won the World’s Strongest Man championship in 2006, becoming the first American to do so since 1982. At 6 feet, 6 inches and around 350lbs, the guy casts a pretty substantial shadow.
So, I stand there holding the door and introduce myself and it turns out he is in town for the night having just done a speaking engagement at the high school I attended as a teenager. “You need a place to train tonight, brother,” I say. “You should come over to my place tonight. I’ve got everything.”
“How’s 4 PM sound,” says Phil. “It sounds great!” Phil takes my number and I rush home to straighten up my garage a bit for the workout.
So, I meet Phil about 4 PM and he follows me to my house and we train for about 2.5 hours.
I show him around my gym, and he falls in love with my Stronger Grip equipment, especially the Stronger Grip Club and Mace, so we take them along with my Demolition Club out to the concrete pad in my yard and get warmed up with it. I PR’d on the Demolition Club, getting two sets of two gama casts – Awesome.
Demolition Club – 89lbs of SICK!
Then we move on to Tire Flips. Phil was just getting warmed up still and hit a couple doubles on the tire with ease. I did a few singles. It’s cold out, so we go back into the garage for some log press.
We manage to hold off for about an hour, and then the Grip Feat onslaught takes place. Here’s a run-down of everything we tried…
Two Hands Pinch: Phil gets roughly 230lbs on it, which puts him near the top 10 in the world first time touching it. I’m fairly certain with an additional 10-mil insert in there he could add another 20lbs if not more. I have two cut up thumbs, but was able to get 243 roughly 6 inches off the floor and controlled it on the way down.
Wrist Developer: This thing is a serious bastard to work with. I think the first time I worked on it I got level 4 or something like that. Phil proceeds to hit Level 3, 4, 5, and 6 with ease. He takes two tries to get Level 7. I work up to either a good attempt at 8 or it was damn close. I know it felt like I had solid contact, but I couldn’t hear it click and it was shaking so bad I couldn’t see it. That matches my best ever. I did not try level 9.
Blobs: Phil deadlifted it with ease the hard way and then made it look even easier the easy way. He wasn’t able to lift it by the face, but that is a very hard way to lift it the first time you try, even with hands the size of Phil’s. I got it by the face pretty easy, as I have most recently been training to lift the Fatboy Blob by the face, which is much harder.
Anvils: I have two anvils here right now. One is the standard 55lb anvil and the other is a big gruesome 120lber on loan from Rick Walker. We started out with the big 120, trying to pinch lift it by the top. In all the months I have been training to do this, I have managed to break it off the floor only once and it was roughly one inch. I hit hard with some good chalk and managed to pop it off the floor on my first try. Phil then proceeded to air lift it at least 6 inches off the floor. I let out this big scream because I thought he was going to deadlift it. I then get it about 4 inches off the floor for a nice partial PR.
Vertical Bar: We set up the 2″ Vertical Bar and worked up to a max lift. Phil gets 280lbs with one of his hands and misses with the other. I was able to get 260lbs. This was pretty late in the game. I think he can probably get 300lbs fresh.
Rolling Thunder: I set a new PR on the new handle, with a lift of 190lbs with each hand. 200lbs was welded to the floor. I forget what Phil got with the new handle, but he got about 230 with the old handle. By this point his grip was completely wasted.
All told, I hit like 6 PR’s and had a very memorable workout with one of the most famous strongman competitors in United States History. It was an incredible experience.
And none of it would have happened if I hadn’t decided to hold the door for those people, or get Chinese, or take a new route to the DMV, or decided to even get my license card updated today.
What does this all mean?
Don’t be bound to a schedule all the time. Have a plan but don’t be a slave to it.
Do something different for a change. Expand your boundaries. Continue to stretch yourself with your life, your training, your relationships, and who knows what come about from it.
I had the best training session I’ve had since August, because I looked down in my center console and saw my GPS laying there…
Here’s a couple pictures I got with Phil after the session was over.
Here, you can see that Phil is saying I am number 1,
as in the #1 best story teller in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Phil shows off his monster Pinky Pad
while I try to pry his big meaty hand off of mine.
We compare thumbs. I think I’ve got him by a bit. What do you guys think?
All kidding aside, I had a great time tonight. It was awesome having Phil push me and I fed off his intensity for some solid PR’s. I really need a full-time partner.
Phil, you’re invited back anytime, brother.
All the best in your training.
Tags: anvil, blob pinch, club, feats of strength, grip strength, hand strength, log, mace, strongman
Posted in feats of strength, grip strength, grip strength blob, grip strength competition contest, how to improve grip strength, strongman feats | 34 Comments »
I’ve just got to show you this piece that I recently added to my training equipment collection.
The Demolition Club
CHECK OUT THIS POST AFTER THE JUMP (more…)
Tags: club, club swinging, clubs, core training, core workouts, grip strength, mace, mace swinging, maces, strength training, wrist strength
Posted in athletic strength training lift odd objects, core training workouts, core workouts for athletes, create your own garage gym, feats of strength bending, grip strength competition contest, home made strength equipment, how to build strength equipment, old strongman feats of strength | 8 Comments »
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