Have you ever heard of the Mace? No, I’m not talking about the spray you can use to protect yourself from an attacker. The Mace is a long pole with a weight at the end (often a sphere) that was used over 1,000 years ago as a war weapon in several countries. Those fighting in wars trained with the Mace increased their proficiency with swords when going into battles. The Mace was later adapted by groups looking to train to get stronger and improve their fighting techniques. Today it is used by athletes and the general population for strength and conditioning.
You might be wondering, “With it being such a unique tool, how would the Mace benefit me or my workouts?” Here are five main benefits you can gain from training with the Mace!
1. The Mace allows you to work different rotational angles that normal weight lifting can’t achieve. One of the main exercises with the Mace, the 360, helps work the muscles in the back and shoulders in a rotational fashion, as the mace swings around behind your back and is pulled over the shoulder back in front of the body.
Those looking to increase their strength and increase their range of motion in the shoulders benefit quite a bit from working with the Mace because of its design and ability to work different rotational angles.
2. Due to the design of the Mace (it is a long pole with a weighted sphere at the end), it works multiple muscle groups at once. Because the heaviest part of the Mace is at the very top, this tool becomes very versatile to train with and challenges the body in a unique way, as the weight is not evenly distributed like other traditional forms of weight lifting tools are. This requires multiple muscle groups to be engaged at once, increasing overall strength and power throughout the entire body. The Mace squat variation, for example, recruits more abdominal and upper body strength than a standard squat would, as the Mace is held toward the bottom of the pole with the arms extended out in front of the body. This requires your abdominals muscles to activate in order for you to maintain the balance of something with uneven weight distribution as it is held away from the body. It also requires the muscles in the shoulders and lats to engage in order to hold the weight of the mace straight out away from the body.
3. Mace training (when done properly) helps increase your functional strength and mobility, and can reduce your risk of common injuries. As I mentioned in the previous two points, the Mace works different rotational angles that normal weight lifting can’t, and the design of the Mace requires multiple muscle groups to engage at once.
This helps carry over into your day to day life, making every day tasks even easier. For those of us with young kids, for example, we often find that we have to quickly grab ahold of our child to stop them from doing something unsafe, like running into the street. Your child may not be standing directly in front of you as you need to grab ahold of them - they may be behind you or off at a diagonal angle from you. Having the strength and mobility to be able to grab them from an obscure angle can keep you safe from pulling a muscle and your child safe from running out into the street.
4. Training with a Mace allows you to cut down on the number of other training tools you need to have available. The Mace can be used for tons of various exercises, from it’s own exercises like the 360 to common exercises you can perform with dumbbells or barbells, such as squats, pressing variations, and even plank positions.
Check out Rik Brown, dubbed ‘Mr. Maceman’ and some of his online content - there are tons of exercises you can use the Mace for, allowing you to cut down on the number of pieces of equipment you need at home to get a full body workout (Instagram: @Mr.Maceman).
5. The Mace can get you a great full body workout in a short amount of time. If you’re in a rush to get in a workout, the Mace can be used to get you a great full body workout in under 20 minutes. The 360 for example works all of the bid muscles in the back and arms and will get the heart rate up. Working this exercise in an interval fashion or performing it for a set amount of time without rest will work those muscles and also increase the cardiovascular conditioning. Pair it with a squat variation, a plank variation, and the Mace grave digger and you’ve now gotten your heart rate up, and worked your arms, back, legs, and abs in a short amount of time.
The Mace is a great tool that, when used appropriately, can benefit your training and your health immensely. Some movements, however, do require a solid foundation of strength and mobility in the shoulders, so please make sure you consult with a certified trainer and your doctor before performing some of the upper body movements.
The Mace is still very new to the general population, but those looking to train with it can reach out to Rik Brown, one of the leading experts in the U.S. for Mace training. Rik Brown hosts workshops all across the world and teaches students about the benefits of Mace training and how to incorporate it into your weekly (or even daily) practice.
Lauren Weiss is a personal trainer and group fitness instructor based out of Long Beach, CA. She specializes in kettlebell training and unconventional workouts and has been working with both types of fitness for over a year. Lauren has her BOLT Kettlebell Sport Certification through the USA Kettlebell League and has expertise working with kettlebells, barbells, dumbbells and several unconventional fitness tools. Lauren received her BA in Journalism and uses her writing expertise to craft thought-provoking articles about trending fitness, health & wellness topics. Follow Lauren on her website, Facebook, and Instagram.