Tuesday, October 19, 2021
The Best Muscle Workouts

Mace Workouts for Beginners  – Fitness Volt

When most people think of the word “mace,” the thing that usually comes to mind is a type of self-defense…

By admint10m , in Arms , at June 23, 2021


When most people think of the word “mace,” the thing that usually comes to mind is a type of self-defense spray. Also known as pepper spray, a shot of mace can be very debilitating, affecting the skin, eyes, and breathing. Having been maced myself (as part of my Royal Marines riot training), I can tell you firsthand that a face full of mace is no one’s idea of fun!

Mace is also the name of a medieval weapon that is even more dangerous than the namesake self-protection spray. Maces were a type of war club used by knights to smash through armor and shields. Some had spiked heads to increase the damage inflicted. These things were BRUTAL!

Medieval Maces
Medieval Maces

Thankfully, combat maces and armored warfare are a thing of the past, but you can still use a mace to build strength, burn fat, and get fit.

In this article, we reveal the benefits of mace training and provide you with a workout to try. Don’t have a mace? No problem! We’ve also got a couple of practical alternatives you can use.

What Is A Mace?

What Is A Mace

A mace (the workout kind, and not the weapon!) is a hollow metal bar with a rounded weight at one end, which is called the globe. Typically, 90% of the weight of a mace is at the end, which creates an offset load

Also known as steel maces, the weight of a mace can vary from five to 50+ lbs., however the most common weight for mace training is 10 lbs. That might not sound like a lot but, because of leverage, even a light mace can deliver a powerful workout.

While maces were originally weapons of war, they have been used for over 2000 years for physical training. Hindu wrestlers used maces to build strength, and the soldiers of Alexander the Great’s all-conquering armies are reported to have used maces.

The Great Gama
The Great Gama

Mace training is highly functional, and these workout devices can be lifted and swung in a variety of ways.

Here you can find the best steel mace.

The Benefits of Mace Training

Like any form of resistance training, working out with a mace will build muscle strength, size, power, or endurance. It all depends on how many reps you do and the amount of weight you lift. However, mace training offers a few additional benefits and advantages:

Improved grip strength – most maces have thicker than average handles, which makes them harder to grip. Needless to say, your muscles will soon adapt to this increased demand, and your grip will get stronger. Your forearms will probably grow, too.

Increased stabilizer strength – the unbalanced load in mace training increases stabilizer muscle strength. Stabilizer muscles prevent unwanted movement by fixing your joints in place. This gives your main muscles a solid base from which to work, making your movements more efficient, and protecting you from injury.

Stronger core muscles – with most of the weight situated at the end of a mace, you’ll have to brace your core harder than usual to keep your torso upright. As such, most mace exercises are also effective core exercises, even when they target your legs or arms.

Stronger, more mobile shoulders – many mace exercises involve large, swinging motions, taking your shoulders through a larger range of movement than most standard barbell, dumbbell, and bodyweight exercises. Tight muscles are a common source of shoulder pain, but training with a mace could free up your joints, making them more mobile and building 360-degree strength.

Metabolic conditioning – the long handle means you can transition quickly and easily from one mace exercise to the next. This makes mace training ideal for endurance and cardio-type workouts, such as high-intensity interval training and circuit training. Using a mace could help you burn fat and get lean while preserving or even increasing muscle mass.

Easy to change the weight – change the difficulty of your mace workout instantly by moving your hands up or down the handle. The closer your hands are to the globe, the lighter the weight will feel. But, if you move your hands to the end of the handle, even a light mace feels much heavier.

Versatile – you can use a mace for standard strength training exercises like squats, curls, presses, and rows, but there are also many mace-specific exercises that you can’t do any other way. You can use a mace to train your upper body, lower body, and core, as well as build all-around strength and fitness. It is a very versatile training tool.

Mace Alternatives

If mace training has a downside, it is that maces are expensive, and not all gyms have them. Because of this, working out with a mace is still something of a fringe activity. However, just because you don’t have a mace doesn’t mean you can’t do some mace training exercises.

Mace alternatives include:


Like a mace, most of the weight of a sledgehammer is at the end. Sledgehammers are relatively cheap, readily available, and can be used for most mace exercises.


Adjustable barbell

Barbells usually have a weight at both ends. However, if you’ve got an adjustable barbell, there is nothing to stop you from putting weight on just one end to make a mace-like training device. Secure the weight using several collars to ensure that it won’t fly off during your workout.

On the downside, the load won’t be as unbalanced as it would be with a mace, but this option is better than nothing. You might be able to get around this problem by using a lightweight, hollow barbell or using a solid wooden pole instead. However, you’ll need to find a way to secure your weight plates, such as a plumber’s jubilee clips.

Adjustable Barbell
Adjustable Barbell

Clay pot DIY Mace

For this mace alternative, fill a clay pot, such as a plant pot, with concrete, and then put a handle in the center, such as a thick curtain rod or sledgehammer handle. Leave the concrete to harden and then break the outer clay pot.

Mace Workout for Beginners

Not sure where to start with mace training? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. This workout contains some basic mace exercises and works your entire body. You can do this workout using standard sets, doing 2-4 of each one before moving on, or as a circuit as preferred.

Start each workout with a warm-up to prepare your body for what you’re about to do. A few minutes of light cardio, such as jump rope, followed by some dynamic stretches and joint mobility exercises should suffice.

  Exercise Sets Reps Recovery
1 Mace 360 2-4 sets
per exercise
8-20 reps per exercise,
depending on the weight
of your mace
60-90 seconds
between sets
2 Barbarian squat
3 Gravedigger
4 Glute bridge floor press
5 Lunge and joust
6 Dynamic curl
7 Pendulum

Exercise Descriptions

Get the most from our beginner mace workout by doing each exercise correctly. Follow the step-by-step instructions, and do not use too much weight or do too many reps too soon. Stop your set if you feel your form starting to deteriorate.

Note: With all exercises, you should adjust your hands according to your strength and the weight of your mace. The closer your hands are to the globe, the easier the exercise will be.

1. Mace 360

The mace 360 is an excellent way to warm up and mobilize your shoulders and thoracic spine while strengthening your deltoids, chest, and forearms. This exercise is very similar to kettlebell halos. 

How to do it:

  1. Hold your mace vertically in front of you and stand with your feet roughly shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees slightly for balance and brace your abs.
  2. Circle the head of the mace behind and around your body. Pause for a second when you return to the starting position.
  3. Do all your reps in the same direction and then switch or alternate directions rep-by-rep as preferred.

2. Barbarian squat

The barbarian squat is a true total body exercise. It works your quads, glutes, hamstrings, shoulders, lats, core, biceps, triceps, and forearms. This is a great conditioning exercise and fat burner, especially when done for high reps.

How to do it:

  1. Hold your mace vertically in front of you and stand with your feet roughly shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees slightly for balance and brace your abs.
  2. Lift and then lower your mace over your head and behind your back.
  3. Next, bend your knees and descend into a squat.
  4. Simultaneously swing the mace over your hand and hold it vertically in front of your body. 
  5. Stand up and repeat.

3. Gravedigger

The gravedigger is an upper body and rotational core exercise. It’s very similar to the shovel lift, which you can read about here.

How to do it:

  1. Hold your mace with a mixed, shoulder-width grip. Stand in a split stance, with one foot forward and one foot back. The globe should be pointing forward.
  2. Pull the mace back, bend your legs, and then drive it forward. Lift the mace, push off your front leg, and return to the starting position. Imagine you are digging a hole.
  3. Do all your reps and then switch sides. It’s normal for one side to feel more natural/coordinated than the other.
  4. This exercise can also be done using a walking action, moving forward step by step.


4. Glute bridge floor press

This exercise works your hamstrings, glutes, core, pecs, deltoids, and triceps. It’s an excellent alternative to bench presses, and you can use this exercise to fix left-to-right strength imbalances.

How to do it:

  1. Lie on your back and hold your mace over your chest, arms straight. Bend your legs and put your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Drive your feet into the floor and lift your hips up to the ceiling. Hold this position for the duration of your set.
  3. Bend your arms and lower the mace down until your upper arms lightly touch the floor. Keep the mace levels and your hips and shoulders square.
  4. Press the mace back up and repeat.
  5. Hold your mace the other way around for your next set.

5. Lunge and joust

Lunges are one of the best unilateral leg exercises around. Doing them with a mace increases upper body and core activation. This lunge variation will also improve your balance and coordination.

How to do it:

  1. Stand with your feet together. Hold your mace, so the globe is pointing forward.
  2. Step forward with your left leg and drive the mace put in front of you, leading with your left arm. Bend your back leg and lower your knee down to within an inch of the floor.
  3. Push off your front leg and return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat on the same side.
  5. Do all your reps and then swap sides.
  6. The closer your hands are together, the harder this exercise becomes.


6. Dynamic curl

The dynamic curl works your biceps, forearms, and core. It also introduces you to the skill of switching your grip on your mace. 

How to do it:

  1. Hold the mace with a mixed grip so that the hand nearest the globe is palms up.
  2. Lift the hand closest to the globe. As the handle reaches vertical, switch your grip by sliding the hand closest to the ball down to the end of the handle and bringing your hand up. Your grip should now be reversed.
  3. Swing the mace back up and switch hands again.
  4. Continue alternating sides for the duration of your set.


7. Pendulum

The pendulum is another shoulder mobility workout and a good way to bring your mace workout to an end. If you’ve spent the day hunched over your computer, this exercise is the perfect antidote.

How to do it:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent for balance. Brace your core.
  2. Hold your mace vertically behind your back, so the globe is lowermost, and your hands are behind your neck.
  3. Gently swing the mace from side to side while keeping your upper arms as close to your ears as you can.
  4. The rhythmic motion should help relax your shoulders, maximizing shoulder mobility.

Mace Workouts – Wrapping Up

Mace training has been around for centuries. This low-tech training method works your entire body, especially your shoulders, forearms, and core. You can use a mace to build strength, endurance, or general fitness, and it’s also helpful in increasing joint mobility and stability.

You don’t even need a mace to enjoy the benefits of this type of workout; you could use a sledgehammer or a barbell with one plate at the end. If you’re especially industrious, you could even make a perfectly serviceable mace from a suitable handle and a pot of concrete.

There is nothing wrong with barbell, dumbbell, and bodyweight exercises, but it’s always nice to have extra tools in your workout arsenal. If you want to add some new variety to your workouts, mace training could be just what you’re looking for. Try it; you might like it!


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