Mace training is awesome.
Do you want strong arms? Or incredible core strength? How about greater mobility and stability in your shoulders? If so, then mace training is for you.
Firstly, it’s an incredible exercise that works your body in ways you’d never expect, and leaves you with spectacular results. Secondly, it’s a mobile, versatile, form of training that you can do at home or in the gym. Thirdly, it’s a fantastic way of shaking up your old routines with something new.
I was introduced to it through some friends on Instagram, and I fell in love with it immediately. I found that I couldn’t get enough of it, especially as I started growing in confidence and seeing results.
In fact, I love mace training so much that I’ve decided to bring it to Hobart. So, if you’re in Hobart, Tasmania, you can learn the fine art of swinging a heavy stick around!
Mace, eh? Tell me more!
Mace training's a form of fitness development, with roots in the warrior and wrestling traditions of ancient India and Persia. Originally, the mace was a weapon (often seen being held by Hanuman the Hindu god of strength). Over time, it was seen that swinging a heavy mace around made for great fitness training. For the last couple thousand years, the gada (mace) has been a staple in Akhara (wrestling gyms) all over India.
On one hand we have "organic" maces, like the 'gada' from the Indian tradition. These are as simple as a large rock attached to a bamboo handle. On the other hand, the modern style of mace (or “macebell”) typically made of steel, or another form of metal.
Additionally, they can also be hybridised from other materials! You can make your own gada with bamboo from a garden centre and some concrete (check the video below). Or that mace in this post's header picture? Well, it's literally a bowling ball on a stick!
Whatever you call them – gada, mace, macebell, big heavy stick – they all offer the same overall benefits of training your body in an unconventional (and undeniably badass) way.
Swingin’ the heavy stick
When you swing a mace the whole body stabilises, from your toes to your neck.
The long handle on a mace allows you to use leverage to create a functionally heavier weight (you can make 5kg feel like 20kg). Once you tip the weight over your shoulder, the mace-head sits well outside your centre of gravity. Then, as gravity hurls the weight towards the ground, your core and hips will work extra hard to keep you standing and to control the movement of the mace.
As the weight hits free-fall and you get the pendulum effect, the mace quickly whips to the other side of your body, requiring your core to quickly tighten on the opposite side. And then, to return the mace to its starting position, you perform a pull through your lats and abdominal muscles. During all of this, the shoulders need to maintain control and hold the mace, and your grip strength works overtime to make sure it doesn't go flying across the room.
These are some of the reasons that training with a mace is an excellent tool for all of the office workers out there (train all the areas that become short and weak from sitting at a desk).
Circling the globe
It used to be that you’d only find maces in remote wrestling and BJJ gyms. Nowadays, however, they’re growing in popularity and can be found in many other places.
Steel Mace training is taking over the fitness world. International fitness companies like IronEdge and Onnit are promoting steel mace training through their services. You also have legends like Rik Brown (AKA Mr. Maceman) and the Unconventional Training Academy who have created certifications for steel mace training available across the world. Just check out all the hits on #steelmace. You can find this ancient tool in use from Jakarta to New York.
The mace is on fire, and it's circling the globe!
Come and swing the stick with me!
If you’re a resident of Hobart, Tasmania and want to learn how to swing a mace, I have some good news for you. I’m offering Hobartians the chance to learn how to swing a mace in the traditional fashion.
It will amaze you how taking a heavy stick and swinging it around your head will help develop a crushing grip, make your shoulders bulletproof, and give you an iron core.
For those who aren’t in Hobart (or willing to drive from elsewhere in Tasmania) – watch this space. I’m currently developing an online training variant for those who want to swing a mace at home.
Get involved: shoot me an email today!
Coach Josh Wood is a personal trainer, backpacking coach, steel mace instructor who lives in Hobart, Tasmania. Working as a Wilderness Guide in Tasmania, he noticed the amount of injuries received by guides and hikers that were completely preventable! Using his years of practical experience and knowledge he focuses on helping people have injury-free adventures that give them stories to last a lifetime.