About half the people I see online performing heavy mace swings…have no business doing so. Their shoulders shrug up into their neck, face turns red from not breathing, unstable feet rocking, and twisting the torso into their low back (rounding the thoracic spine) because they’re not bracing enough. A key training principle I’ve learned from StrongFirst is if you wouldn’t do it with a 48KG/106LB kettlebell…you shouldn’t do it with a 24KG/53LB kettlebell. The same applies swinging heavier maces (that’s a 16KG/35LB mace pictured below). Now, I’m not saying by any degree you need to go from lifting a 15LB to a 35LB mace overnight. More so, to just lift 5-10LBS heavier than your medium sized steel mace to get to the next level. So I’ve put together some solid tips I’ve learned over the years swinging heavier steel maces.
Push & Pull Heavy Maces — BEFORE Doing 360’s:
I never teach beginners steel mace 360’s right off the bat and the same goes for HEAVY mace 360’s as well. It’s completely false that you need to do hundreds of reps in order to get good at them in each workout. It’s more so what you NEED to engage and not using. Activating the lats (the big muscle wings of your back) is what stabilizes the steel mace in the vertical stack position or else you start death gripping the mace handle to the point your spine rounds and traps shrug into it. So HEAVY Mace Squat Pressouts help correct this as you see demoed below:
Root Your Feet With Good Technique
A big strength component with grip training is NOT just with your hands, but with your feet. When I assess ANY type of swing being performed…the first thing I look at is the feet. Usually the issue is wearing cushy soled shoes and it’s instantly resolved when they’re taken off. If the feet are cramped inside a small toe box or elevated in the heel of the shoe —there’s always instability from the ground up. So this is where I use a 9FT balance beam to expose any of these imbalances and makes your medium sized mace feel heavy again. Simply swing and THEN step each rep barefoot on the balance beam demoed below:
PAUSE After Each Rep
The faster you 360 a HEAVY steel mace…the more heavy it gets. To better explain this, no one but Pavel tells it best on how speed & velocity equals more load:“If I put a 16KG kettlebell on your foot you’d be annoyed. If I then dropped it from your knee height…it might break. If I dropped it from your head down…you will need a whole new foot.” So if the mace spins around you faster & faster…your ligaments and tendons are taking the beating and is why I see many steel mace enthusiasts have jacked up elbows and wear compression sleeves to avoid the issue. However, when I swing heavier…I simply take my time adding a slight PAUSE in the vertical stack position so I keep the gained velocity in check.
As you see in the demo, you can swing a solid 2 reps in 8 seconds or 4 bad reps in the same time. Progressively swinging faster looks uglier, uncoordinated, and are unsustainable in a long term program. So think of the Four P’s when performing HEAVY mace 360’s: “Push, Pendulum, Pull, Pause” each rep.
Get Flexible After With The Stick Mobility Bow & Arrow
Recently, I added Stick Mobility drills to latest ebook, GADA Swing Volume 2, because HEAVY Mace is training is apart of the progressive program. Like many, when I first heard of Stick Mobility, I instantly disregarded it because I thought you could use any other wooden stick instead of a “overrated orange stick”. Little did I know, I was thinking just like a Fitness McGuyver: thinking a sledgehammer is just the same as a steel mace (article HERE).
Why these resilient sticks work better is because they root into the ground with the rubber ends to increase surface friction. They also can greatly bend and go back to their natural straight shape as you see here in the Bow & Arrow position. If you use any other bendable material it will become more curved after each use until it breaks in half dangerously.
So I hope you got some good tips out of this article on how to go heavier with your steel mace safely. If you want to see more, be sure to check out GADA Swing Volume 2: Guide for Kettlebell Doubles & Heavy Mace Strength Training. It features Stick Mobility Drills with bonus Steel Club substituting in the workout programs and has over 300+ hyperlinked demos for every exercise. You also get MORE critical skills on how to properly lift heavier maces and add balance beam drills to better prime stability from the ground and up. Use code: GS210 to save at checkout — CLICK HERE to go the next level. You also can bundle it with the first volume saving 25% HERE