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.