They say fitness industry is evolving… enthusiasts of fitness now tend to choose alternative methods of training. That is true indeed and we are should be glad. We gained a chance to offer our clients much more than thoughtless joggling the iron – we can make a training an endless adventure, experience for a lifetime.
Variety of tools and techniques is the key for creating environment that offers a client a full range of stimuli, what is required not only to build and maintain the shape, but – what’s more important – to motivate to further training.
Myself being a ”weekend knight” and history reenactor, I’m quite familiar with training with mace and bulava (short mace). During knight meet-ups we always used sledges to train wrists, grip and rotation strength, and then grabbed battle axes and shields for real fighting. Today, I still apply some of these exercises as a part of my own training, but also include them into programs for clients.
Mace is a perfect ballistic tool – what we all know by now – but why? Me and my clients especially value the fact that mace introduces important elements which traditional fitness lacks, i.e. rotation and torque, and apart from providing better shape, what’s obvious, it also helps to train stability, balance and movement quality.
Another advantage of this type of equipment is that it doesn’t limit whole training to mere 7-10 repeated exercises. Working with mace is perfect when you plan group training including timesets, as it enables clients to master the technique in their own flow.
Timesets at my classes last from 2,4,5 to as much as 10 minutes, hence offering training of high volume at minimal load for nervous system – let alone the whole fun my clients have while learning new techniques with such a „barbarian” tool. What’s interesting – women are 70% of my clients 😉
Art of Functional Movement Academy I’m the head coach of, uses many tools – clubs, sandbags, medballs, rings, trx, kettlebells, dumbbells or barbells, but when designing my classes routines, I’m often finding myself using mace and bulava (short mace) to achieve certain stimuli. Some of our classes which we call FIRE are based on simple movements with the use of those tools: flag presses, rack squats, casts and presses, type of exercises my client can perform at high intensity with submax puls. During another type of trainings called EARTH we still work over technique, but the load is increased – that´s where we build foundation. AIR classes are all about sophisticated movement with relatively light load (women – 5 to 7 kg mace and men- 7-10 kg mace). WATER classes are mostly focused on bodyweight, yoga based movement flow aimed restoration and decompression.
There is one particular routine/drill that my clients respond to really well: combination of upper architecture rotational movement with lower architecture moves. That challenges not only their stability and strength, but also coordination and balance. Great example of such combo exercises would be something we call Sumo Warrior 360 routine – used primarily in the course of our Art of Functional Movement AIR workouts.
Students start in Rack position, then push the mace over the left shoulder, swing it to the right shoulder, pull it over that shoulder to the rack position and let it fall down to horizontal position where the mace is caught with opposite hand. When the mace is falling down, students drop down to sumo squat and catch the weight not only using the arm strength, but also the legs in the sumo squat. When reaching the bottom of the Sumo squat position, they explode up, moving the mace to diagonal position on the other side of the body and continuing the drill, moving the mace over the right shoulder. This type of routine is perfect for long- 4-5 minutes timesets in which my students can find their own pace, master and feel the movement. Sumo Warrior 360 routine is really sophisticated and it has to be taught by deconstructing the drill to: 360, hand to hand toss and sumo squat. It takes time to master all elements yet judging it by response of my students it seems it’s really worth that time.
another variation of the drill – you can find here: Mace Dragon Squat- you find on the Ask The trainer Youtube Channel – attached to the top of the post;)
It doesn’t really matter whether you are an old knight, train martial arts, prefer body-building or just want to do something for your health while having some fun (rotating, twisting, winding and definitely sweating) – mace and bulava seem to be perfect tools to achieve your goals. In addition to is uncomplicated design and relatively low cost (if compared to fitness machines) provides you with a possibility to train your entire body in the angles you can never hit using the traditional methods of training. So don’t wait- grab the mace, start swinging and fall in love, like many of us.
Head Coach- Art of Functional Movement