post 9 Best Steel Mace Workouts (Improved Mobility & Strength)

9 Best Steel Mace Workouts (Improved Mobility & Strength)

Connor Sellers
Published by Connor Sellers | Senior Coach
Last updated: December 28, 2023
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A steel mace is one of the most functional pieces of equipment due to its unique design.

It is built to allow for a great range of motion at the shoulder. It also challenges the muscles supporting the same joint due to its heaviness and structure.

Based on my research and observations from my personal trainer career, I compiled a list of the nine best steel mace workout exercises to achieve mobility, strength, and more.

My team and I tested all the exercises on the list and ensured most of them were beginner friendly.

Quick Summary

  • The best steel mace exercises include mace 360, 10-to-2, joust with a lunge, dynamic lunge, single arm 360, half-kneeling uppercut press, lunge with uppercut press, and more.
  • Working out with steel maces will enhance shoulder mobility and strengthen surrounding muscles to achieve dynamic stability and avoid injuries.
  • According to the National Institute of Health, using a steel mace in workouts can help in achieving full range of motion, crucial for injury prevention and strength building.
  • In my view, you should start exercising with a mace to make your workouts more versatile and to achieve mobility and strength at your shoulder joints.

9 Best Steel Mace Exercises

A person holding a steel mace for working out

Mace training, which originated years ago, involves performing traditional steel mace exercises using a size steel mace to build bullet proof shoulders and improve mobility and strength.

We tested all steel mace exercises on the list to ensure they are safe to perform and will produce maximum benefits mobility and strength-wise.

New steel mace workouts arise daily, and if you happen to make a new one, don’t hesitate to implement and test it.

However, we advise sticking to these ten essential mace exercises for some time if you are a beginner before experimenting.

This is because most mace exercises require significant core strength and grip strength to hold the mace.

"The mace is a great fitness tool that will allow you to switch up and expand your training. It will give you skills that most traditional weight training is lacking - stability, coordination, balance, mobility."

- Kirsten Yovino, Certified Personal Trainer

1. Mace 360

Mace 360 has been used for over a century to develop dynamic stability at the shoulder joint and increase its range of motion.

The whole movement happens in the transverse plane and will activate your lats, shoulder, wrist, and thoracic spine muscles.

How to Perform a Mace 360

  1. Assume a stacked position with your hands near your navel and start with the mace at the vertical front.
  2. In addition, assume feet shoulder-width apart stance with a proper form (neutral spine).
  3. Start the exercises by swinging the mace over your left shoulder at the ten or the 2.
  4. This will depend on how your hands are stacked.
  5. With hands right over left, you must swing to the left.
  6. During the whole movement, keep your ribs tucked, never flare the elbows, and keep your hands behind your head on the swing's back part as low as possible.
  7. When the mace reaches behind your back, pull it back to the starting position using momentum, bringing it over your right shoulder.

2. 10-To-2

A person doing a 10 to 2 with a steel mace

The 10-to-2 is another basic steel mace exercise used by Gada swingers since the tool's creation.

It will activate muscles similar to the mace 360 exercises while following the same movement pattern.

How to Perform the 10-To-2

  1. Start by stacking your hands near your navel.
  2. The mace should be kept at the vertical front.
  3. Assume a feet hip-width stance with your hips and keep your back flat.
  4. Start the exercise by swinging the mace over your shoulder at 10 o'clock with your hands right over the left.
  5. Don't flare your elbows while also keeping your ribs tucked.
  6. Keep your hands low behind your head on the swing's back part.
  7. Pull the mace over your right shoulder when it reaches the opposite side, and use momentum to help you.
  8. Pause the mace when it reaches the 2 o'clock position and swing it back to the starting position.

3. Joust With Lunge

I've found that incorporating the joust with lunge into my clients' routines is an excellent way to combine upper and lower body movements.

This exercise teaches the body to utilize forward momentum effectively, which in turn strengthens the jousting motion.

How to Perform Joust With a Lunge

  1. The starting position is with your mace sideloaded to your right side.
  2. The hand close to your head should face up, and the other should be further down the handle facing down.
  3. Start the exercise by lunging forward with the left foot, all while keeping your back flat as with the normal forward lunge.
  4. Finish the movement by jousting the mace forward and returning to the starting position.
  5. Repeat with the other leg or do one leg for a certain amount of reps before switching to the other leg.

Also Read: How To Do A Curtsy Lunge Correctly

4. Dynamic Lunge

A person doing a dynamic lunge workout with a steel mace

The dynamic lunge is an excellent exercise to make your lower body steel mace training more versatile and less boring.

It will activate muscles such as your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and necessary wrist and arm muscles to turn the mace around.

How to Perform a Dynamic Lunge

  1. Assume a standing position where your hips are shoulder-width apart and mace hanging from your hands.
  2. Start the exercises by horizontal rotation of the mace so its upper end finishes on the opposite side, looking horizontally.
  3. After the rotation of the mace is complete, proceed with the forward lunge with the right leg.
  4. Return to the start by pushing your left foot off the ground.
  5. Again, rotate the mace on the opposite side and proceed with the lunge with your left leg.

Read More: 6 Side Lunges Stretches

5. Single Arm 360

Single arm 360 is a unilateral version of the basic mace 360 exercises. It will make the whole movement more challenging by requiring your trunk to stabilize the whole body without rotating or twisting to the side to compensate for the movement.

How to Perform a Single-Arm 360

  1. Start by stacking hands at the level of your navel, the same you would do with Mace 360.
  2. Remove your top hand from the mace and keep the mace vertical and centered at the navel level.
  3. Start the exercise by performing a 360 with the same cues you would go with both hands.
  4. Pause and repeat once you reach the starting exercise position.
  5. Do the desired reps with one hand before switching to the other.

6. Half-Kneeling Uppercut Press

A person doing a half kneeling uppercut press with a steel mace

Half-kneeling uppercut press uses the same movement pattern as the cable lift exercise.

The muscles working are also almost the same, but the activation with the mace is slightly different due to the nature of free weight.

How to Perform a Half-Kneeling Uppercut Press

  1. Assume a half-kneeling position.
  2. During the whole movement, keep your back flat in the physiological position.
  3. Side-load the mace and ensure its head is facing backward. Your hands should be facing in.
  4. Keep the hand near the mace head in the linear part while pressing it up.
  5. This causes the effect of your opposite hand being in alignment with your ear.
  6. Press the hand near the mace head towards the sky and ensure your bicep is aligned with your ear on the working side.
  7. Repeat on the same side after returning slowly to the starting position.

Also Read: Half-knee Quad Stretch for Tight Muscles

7. Lunge With Uppercut Press

Lunge with uppercut press is an ideal combination of upper and lower body movements that will activate the muscles of your whole body.

The main muscles working in the lower body are the gluteus, hamstrings, and quadriceps, while the upper body primarily works to produce movement using bodyweight.

How to Perform a Lunge With an Uppercut Press

  1. Assume a stance where your feet are hip-width apart.
  2. Put the mace in the side loaded-position with its head facing backward.
  3. Your hands must be facing in.
  4. Start the exercise by stepping forward into a lunge with the foot opposite the side of the mace loaded.
  5. This is followed by stepping forward into a lunge with the alternating leg while pressing the mace up at the same time.
  6. Press the hand near the mace and head towards the sky.
  7. Press the biceps near your ear on the working side too.
  8. Step forward, and so you alternate the forward leg, and return the mace to the starting position.

8. Single Arm 10-To-2

A person doing a single arm 10 to 2 workout with a steel mace

I've found that introducing the single-arm 10-to-2 exercise to my clients' routines is an effective unilateral variation that engages their stabilizer muscles.

This exercise not only enhances their shoulder's range of motion but also develops the strength needed for efficient circumduction movements, allowing them to perform these actions without expending excessive energy.

How to Perform a Single Arm 10-To-2

  1. Repeat the starting position from a single arm 360 exercise.
  2. Remove your top hand from the mace.
  3. Holding the mace in your right hand, you must swing it over your left shoulder at 10 o'clock.
  4. When the mace reaches behind your back, use the momentum to pull the mace over at 2 o'clock.
  5. Grab the mace with the other hand and repeat the whole process.

9. Lateral Lunge

Lateral lunge coupled with the rotation of the mace will build dynamic stabilization in the frontal plane and make the regular lunge more challenging.

How to Perform a Lateral Lunge

  1. Assume a wider stance than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Start the exercises by performing a lateral lunge to the opposite side of the mace head.
  3. Extend your arm toward the ground during the lateral lunge.
  4. Curl the mace in a straight motion back to the horizontal bottom when returning to the starting position.
  5. Lastly, perform a front switch and repeat the movement on the other side.

Why Should You Use the Steel Mace?

A person working out with a steel mace

The dangerously fit steel maces, also known as mace bell, are solid steel training tools that can be used for a variety of exercises.

With feet hip-width apart, they provide a great training tool for movements like the barbarian squat with light weight.

Mobility and Strength

You should use the steel mace to develop mobility and strength at your shoulder joint.

However, the core plays a major part in improving and stabilizing the whole movement, so the exercises for mass that target the glute muscles, abdominal and back, will also be developed.

Even though the steel mace isn't the best equipment for hypertrophy training, according to a study by the National Institute of Health (NIH), you can get ahead by implementing the principles of progressive overload [1].

It means changing the overall volume by reps, sets, or external resistance by every following steel mace workout session.

According to NIH, you should aim to complete every exercise through the full range of motion to avoid injuries and build strength in the whole movement [2]. 

Later, you can experiment with a partial range of motion.

Steel mace makes a category of free weight, making it much better than machines for developing your stabilizer muscles.

Finally, steel maces are excellent for developing the mobility and strength of your upper limbs, strengthening your core and stabilizer muscles.

"Steel mace training will make you a better mover without it’s not confining you to a fixed space or predetermined range of motion. Second, it’s an offset load with 80 to 90 percent of the weight in the head. You’re also constantly having to resist rotation, which creates greater core engagement."

- Jesse Grund, Elite Personal Trainer & Owner of Unconventional Strength Training Studio in Orlando

Benefits of Steel Maces in Free Weight Training

  1. Enhanced Core Stability: Steel mace training inherently requires a high degree of core engagement. The uneven weight distribution of the mace challenges the core muscles to stabilize the body during exercises, leading to improved core strength and stability.
  2. Increased Shoulder Mobility and Strength: The unique design of steel maces allows for a wide range of shoulder movements, promoting both mobility and strength in the shoulder joints. This is particularly beneficial for exercises that involve swinging or rotational movements, which are common in steel mace workouts.
  3. Improved Grip Strength: Handling a steel mace effectively requires a strong grip due to its uneven weight distribution and the length of the handle. Regular training with a steel mace can significantly enhance grip strength, which is beneficial for other aspects of fitness and daily activities.
  4. Full Body Conditioning: Steel mace exercises often engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, providing a comprehensive full-body workout. This holistic approach to training ensures balanced muscle development and overall body conditioning.
  5. Better Functional Fitness and Coordination: Training with steel maces closely mimics real-world movements and scenarios, improving functional fitness. It also enhances coordination and body awareness, as it requires precise control of the mace during dynamic and often complex movement patterns.

FAQs

Is a Steel Mace a Good Workout?

Yes, steel mace is a good workout. Steel mace will activate your dynamic stabilizers and build rotational strength and power in your trunk necessary for many sports and to prevent injuries.

Can You Build Muscle With a Steel Mace?

Yes, you can build muscle with a steel mace. However, a steel mace workout routine isn’t the best option regarding hypertrophy training due to the inability to load the movements heavily.

What Muscles Do Steel Mace Work?

Steel mace works all upper body and core muscles. Depending on the exercises, steel mace will mostly activate shoulder muscles, but the trunk and lower body muscles are used too.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4215195/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6977096/
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