Bottom Line Up Front: This Onnit Steel Mace review captures my experience and recommendations on how to use it. Onnit.com continues its streak of providing high-quality and innovative fitness products with one for the advanced athlete.
I am always looking for new strength and conditioning ideas, concepts, philosophies and specific pieces of equipment. I found a great one recently that is my new favorite thing in my gym: The Steel Mace! If you are a little taken aback, I understand. This is a old school weapon that we are using to enhance physical fitness. I immediately found the utility in it once I saw a few ideas on what to do with it.
Onnit.com sells these in 7, 10, 15, 20, and 25lb varieties. They get progressively longer, have thicker handles, and have a larger iron ball at the end. Just like a dumbbell or kettlebell, this is just a way to add resistance. And just like those other tools, certain weights are right at certain times for certain people. Long story short, as much as you’d like to, you can’t do everything with this with just one weight. I will get to it below, but basically you need one heavy and one light one to maximize this excellent tool.
How Can You Use It?
Because as its heaviest it isn’t that heavy for the kind of person who would purchase this beast, it is a conditioning tool. Let’s be precise in our definition of terms: I am defining a conditioning tool as something primarily used for the purpose of enhancing muscular endurance (ability to do repeated movements over time), cardiorespiratory endurance (ability to continue to perform with your heart beating at a high rate), and mobility (ability to get into good positions with your body). I am realizing as I write this I am opening a whole new can of worms here, but without getting too far into the rabbit role, the steel mace isn’t something you use for 5 heavy sets of 1-5 reps with 5 minutes of rest in between. It is the kind of thing you do all in a row, at a rapid rate, explosively, with varied movements that may or may not require some athletic ability and flexibility. A beginner’s tool it is not.
I have found more than enough free information from Onnit to use this with a little imagination of my own. Once you start to see some ideas, your mind can wander. I am sure you could list 100 good exercises to do with this thing in less than 5 minutes in a brainstorming session. Watch these videos from the Onnit Academy to get your mind going:
[embedyt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KKR8Rk5Rz4[/embedyt] [embedyt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sn6scJJP36g[/embedyt] [embedyt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWJMZ3sEZyQ[/embedyt] [embedyt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxKeGHxISTw[/embedyt]
How Do I Use It?
Right now I use it now as warm-up, opportunity and fun training. That means I routinely spend 5-10 minutes with my light mace (10lbs) before I do something of a higher intensity. I pick a few movements and go at it, nothing too prescriptive. Something like 20 360s each way, 20 barbarian squats, 20 ballistic curls, 20 tire slams, rinse, repeat.
I also have used just the mace in a giant conditioning workout. I purchased the Onnit Ultimate Steel Mace Workout DVD (digital download version) for less than $5. FYI: you get a 12% off military discount at Onnit! This gave me a lot of ideas on exercises. The workout itself is fun and Aubrey Marcus is a good host. It is well worth the $5.
I have incorporated the Steel Mace into my existing programmed conditioning workouts too. Something like 1 kettlebell (KB) swing, 2 tire slams, 2 KB swings, 4 tire slams, etc. until 10 & 20, then go back down (9 & 18, 8 & 16, etc.).
I have grabbed the mace at the end of another workout while I was completely warm for 10-15 more minutes of added fun, just because.
So…Should You Get One?
If you already in good condition and looking to get advanced, yes, get one. You will love it. If you are new to exercise, no. I would recommend being used to bodyweight, barbells, and kettlebells first and building a base before getting this.
If you get one, I recommend you start with a light one and move up based on that. I did the opposite and got the 25lb, used it then realized a light one would be useful too. If I had to get just one, I think I would get the 20lb, maybe 25lber. Better though is a 10 or 15 and a 20 or 25 I think. For a fairly fit male of normal height and weight (175-195 lbs), I recommend a 15lb to start. Adjust from there based on your size. For a woman, a 7lb is good. Once you play around with that, you will have an idea how much more to add. I got a 25lb then a 10. I should have gotten the 15lb instead of the 10. I can get work done with the 10, but I think for the movements that a lighter mace requires or for higher volume, a 15lb would have been better for me. Ideally you’d have all of them from 7-25lbs and would choose based on the movements and your energy/strength level at that time. But it is probably OK to have a heavy and light one. Again, if you get one, get a 10 or 15lb then debate moving up.
Onnit has a Quad Mace they make that is a much nicer, more expensive wooden 25lb mace. Would be used identically, but it’s not worth the extra money to me. You can also buy maces other places. I didn’t even shop around once I decided to try it. Onnit is one of the best companies I have used.
You may be thinking you could do the same movements with a sledge hammer. Let me assure you that it isn’t the same although it is similar. I couldn’t find a sledge anywhere near 25lbs. The asymmetrical head is kind of awkward (and kind of cool at the same time). You could definitely try a lot of these with a sledge hammer. I would still buy the mace again even if I had a sledge laying around (which I didn’t).
At the Onnit site, they have a ton of great gear and supplements. You will enjoy looking around if you haven’t been there. You can apply for a military discount on the site on the top navigation bar. Their customer service is outstanding. I had a delay on receiving a kettlebell I ordered and they refunded the whole shipping quickly ($40) and gave me a one-time 20% coupon too (used it on my first steel mace!).
QUESTION: Have you tried the steel mace? Do you recommend it or not? How about another unique fitness implement? Post thoughts to comments.
References & Further Reading