Over the last few weeks, I’ve blogged on different equipment that you may not be familiar with: Kettlebells, Club Bells, Indian Clubs, and Mace. Each one of these tools has a unique value and can work your body in different ways. However, they also work very effectively together to help you achieve maximum results and provide a progressive path for increasing strength and flexibility.
As I’ve talked about before, shoulder joints are one of the most common areas prone to injuries in the gym. Working this area with different techniques and equipment will get you better results and keep your workouts fresh as well as challenging. For example, start working with the Indian Clubs on basic movements to get your shoulders warmed up and the blood flowing. I’d recommend about a 2-3 minute warm-up cycle. You may want to add a few sets of Kettlebell “slingshots” in as well. Once you have completed this, move on to the Club Bells doing similar exercises but increases the weight. You’ll begin to really feel the muscles work in the shoulders. Finally, finish off your shoulder routine with the Mace. This will really open up your shoulder joints and maximize your flexibility. For clarity, here is a short video that demonstrates these progressive movements:
So, when I’m asked what equipment is better to use, I would look at all of them and find a routine that works for you to maximize your results. However, the first step to work with each of the different equipment separately and get familiar with the basic moves and form. Think of it as a progressing of collecting different tools in your “toolbox” to use for your workouts. Once you’ve have a basic level of expertise, them begin to branch out and start incorporating different equipment in a progressive manner to target a specific area.
Remember, you have several resources available to you. I will be putting together group classes in the fall as well as you may want to consider a personal trainer session to get some 1-on-1 support on how to use each of these tools. Give me call or email if you have any questions.
Remember, a missed workout is one that you can never make up...
While Mace equipment and workout routines may be something you haven’t heard of, they are nothing new. In fact, the Mace dates back to Upper Paleolithic (or Late Stone Age) period. It was primarily used as a weapon. It began to show up as exercise equipment in the 8th century for training warriors in Indian akharas (i.e. combat training gymnasiums).
The Mace (or Gada) is essentially a weight on the end of a shaft. The longer the shaft, the more resistance you’ll encounter. The basic movement (an around the head swing with a push-pull movement) will train the entire upper body. If the weight is too heavy, chocking up on the shaft will reduce the weight dynamics. Conversely, holding the Mace at the bottom will be more difficult to manage and require more upper body strength.
The three key benefits I’ve seen working with this equipment are:
A weak grip will show up on any pulling movement. For example, your pull-up reps will be limited if you have a weak grip. Circular strength improvement will tighten up your core and give you better stability. Additionally, increasing strength in the hands and lower arms will have a major impact on increasing your upper body endurance, allowing you to reach new heights. As I’ve blogged before about the topic of Injury Corrective Strategy (ICS), Mace workouts are excellent for strengthen muscles and connective tissues to help prevent injuries.
The Mace design forces you to use gravity while also working against it due to its lack of counterbalance. The disproportionate weight dramatically increases the difficulty of the movement stressing all the muscles in the hands and forearms. The Mace not only increases your grip strength, but also works your shoulders, arms, and core.
Here is an example of basic exercise movements that I start my clients with:
Having an array of exercises in your “toolbox” will ultimately help you achieve your fitness goals. At Dallas Workout The Gym, we offer personal trainers and a group workshop (Club Bells & Mace Workshop) to learn the basics and incorporate Mace exercises into your workouts.
I encourage you to explore the Mace and find your inner warrior.