With the popularity of garage gyms becoming apart of the new normal it’s no surprise steel mace training are interesting more people to a popular level. The steel mace is a simple tool, but that doesn’t mean you should confuse simple with easy. The steel mace gives you instant feedback and this is what throws off many because they didn’t expect 10-15lb weight to be challenging. This reigns true especially when trying 360s for the first time because that supposed “little weight” accelerates into the pendulum and now feel feels 5x heavier. While this exercise is great for grip strength, shoulder resilience, and keeping your posture strong . . . it will do damage if you don’t have any guidance.
So after years of coaching steel mace 360s to others I came up with a mental cue system to make each rep of pure quality and call them the Four P’s of The Steel Mace 360s: Push, Pendulum, Pull, and Pause. Every one of these positions has something that can be worked on to enforce proper strength techniques. All too often I see many online rushing 360s to the point they look robotic (when it’s meant to be smooth and fluid). I believe in this coaching concept so much I made it into an entire chapter in my new book, Enter The Steel Mace: Beginner Guide For Steel Mace Training. So the high definition photos you’re seeing breaking down these four phases are one of hundreds featured in this book that go beyond two handed 360s.
PUSH: Set up in the vertical stack position and point with the base hand signaling the direction you’re going in. From here you want to push the mace AROUND your shoulders to set up the pendulum phase. Pushing it over the shoulders enforces you to shrug and lose space in your neck.
PENDULUM: Practicing this alone can help build the thoracic extension and fluid like grip needed to make your 360s smoother and not jagged looking. Since you can’t see the mace once it’s behind you many fear of it hitting their butt and death grip thinking this will prevent it. First, if it hits your butt (it really doesn’t hurt) this means your hyperextending your low back. So view it as tactical feedback from the steel mace saying “STOP using your low back to swing me!” The pendulum needs uninterrupted acceleration to build a smooth arc and the trick is to grip with your index & thumb. Just like with kettlebell cleans — your hands need to relax for a split second so the bell can rotate around the wrist or else it slams against your forearm from death gripping.
PULL: This is where the lats need to take over the accelerated force from the pendulum. With that said, I’ve never been a fan of shouldering the mace handle because it puts more emphasis on loading your spine with excessively rounded torso rotation. For classic Gada training, this shouldering technique works better because smooth handled wood/bamboo is more forgiving than the knurled steel gliding across your clavicle’s skin. To enforce this needed lat contraction and to challenge your vertical plank I came up with the Banded 10 & 2:
PAUSE: The biggest mistake beginners make with 360s is going too fast and this, in turn, causes shoulder impingement and elbow pain for doing too many reps this fast. This also takes away the centrifugal force needed to maintain the 360 degree motion smoothly and sends it into more jagged directions (bottom). All you have to do is PAUSE in the vertical stack position for a slight second before you repeat the process. This gets your grip stronger and resets your shoulders to make sure they’re not elevating up toward the neck. As Bruce Lee famously states: “if you can’t do it slow . . . then you can’t do it fast.”
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: Watch this video tutorial breaking all Four P’s in detail
So what you just got was a preview of only 6 pages from Enter The Steel Mace— out the 100+ pages with loads of experienced tips. The book also has 40 more exercises far beyond typical 2 handed 360s and a special QR code to download the steel mace beginner workout program in PDF file format (with all the exercises hyperlinked to video demos). You can get the book in paperback or ebook format on Amazon linked HERE: