Drawing the Mace down into the ‘Catch’ Position at the navel or lower.

Whether you are a seasoned veteran of Rotational Power Training or a complete newb, add these principles into your training for better gains.

One of the biggest issues when training with clubs and maces is trying to jump into a heavier weight without knowing what you’re doing. Sure it is cool to do a 360 or an Inside Mill with a weight that makes others gasp but it isn’t worth it if you’re doing it wrong.

1. Progressions/Regressions;
A good way to progress to quality full compound exercises such as a mill or a 10 to 2 is by beginning with (or reverting back to) the base fundamental exercises. These include Side Swings to Side Cleans, Side Strikes, and Front Swings to Cleans for clubs. With a mace, practice Tip Tip Drill, Pulling the Carpet Out, and Reverse Pendulums or 9-3s. Base exercises give the trainee practice in balancing, catching, and a more controlled movement of the tool.

If you already have good compound exercises, you can always make them a bit better by practicing regressive drills. Regressive drills are the same as the base exercises but used to ‘tighten up’ a portion of an established compound exercise by isolating it. Think of it in the way that a powerlifter would train in their sticking point during an exercise. Isolate that portion of the movement, go a bit lighter than you’re used to, now perform reps in that small area. One of the most notorious areas for an inside mill to become a dangerous flail is upon the transition of the Side Swing to Clean into the Side Strike position. That area identifies many trainees with weak wrists. The cure for that is in the description of the mistake itself, by performing both Side Strikes and Side Swings into Side Cleans. Take the time to learn the base exercise moves that comprise the compound exercises.

2. Periodization;
Step 1) The second tip is to train with a long term goal and breaking down that time of training into smaller sections with specific purposes. This is another borrowed weight training principle called periodization. Let’s use a mace competition that will be held a year from today as a scenario. The idea is to swing the heaviest mace for a particular exercise for 5 minutes in the 10 to 2. The first 6 to 10 weeks of training would be to establish a solid, non stop 6 minute swing with no chance of getting no repped by the judges – so the bulk of the training should include proper training for form, i.e; proper depth in the ‘catch’, hands passing deep when the mace is in the rear position, and recovering from wobbly swings. You are training for 6 minutes instead of the event’s 5 minutes to have gas in the tank, trust me on this one. Once the form is established, practice those excellent 6 minute sets a few (3 – 8) times in each training session, remembering not to begin training at full weight capacity. The job at hand is to move a fairly challenging weight for the allotted time while maintaining great form. Again, practicing for what the judges will be looking for. It is important to keep a detailed journal of this training for progress to base future workouts on the weights and times done during the first rounds.

steelclub women

Training for a life of strength


Step 2) The next 6 – 10 week portion of the periodization training should focus on building strength by adding weight to the swing. Practice progressions/regressions with heavier weights for 5 to 8 reps, using timed rests between sets. These will build strength, and since they’re not compound movements, the opportunity to develop poor technique is greatly reduced Think like a powerlifter trying to get a bigger a bench press. Finish up these workouts with a 6 minute set using the weight you finished your first portion of the periodization scheme. Periodization also works to build patience.

Step 3) The last periodization portion would have you doing the work to build endurance. Begin with a lighter mace than what was used for the first portion of training. Set a clock and start counting reps. The idea is to get to a weight that is closer to what was used during the power phase of training. Try to swing the mace or club non-stop for the set time. Each time you train, set the time cap longer and longer. Try to get in 2 sets per workout. A minute is a long time and it’s an easy way to remember what was done in prior workouts. Keep in mind, this is like jogging but for the upper body. Your times may get near 15 or more minutes by the time you’ve finished this portion of the training program. Go back to step 1 and go through all 3 steps again, but be sure to progress by adding more weight or reps to the original when appropriate.

3. Rest, Recuperation, Nutrition;
This is the big one! Rest is another important factor in athletic performance. get 6 – 8 hours of good sleep a night. Try to calm down before bedtime, and let go of the stresses of the day. Take supplements that agree with your body and lifestyle which could help you get more rest. Nap if you feel the need to. It’s during sleep when our bodies recharge and regenerate. Give it time to do it’s job!

When was the last time you had gotten a massage, gone to a float tank, or sat in a spa? Take the time to treat yourself from all the hard work you put your body through. It feels good and it will help your body to recover much faster. Recovering faster means more work can be done. More work being done means hitting your goals faster.

Establish a sound nutritional program. The information is out there to do your own meal plans or consult a professional. Either way, good things won’t happen if you put poor performing foods in your body. Eat clean, minimally processed foods, and try to prepare as much as possible in your own kitchen. It isn’t hard to cook, so make friends with that stove and stop using it as a planter.

There you have it.

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