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Strength Training with The Ancient Macebell

Updated on February 15, 2012

Maintaining a high level of fitness is one of the keys to a long and healthy life, and with the right tools and training, we can continue to get stronger and develop greater endurance.

Your body needs new and diverse stimulation to continue to progress. Fortunately, finding and trying new exercises or activities to shock your muscles is part of the fun of staying in shape. One way of doing this is to increase the weight you use, change exercises frequently, and participate in sports or activities your body hasn't been previously conditioned to.

Another method is to take traditional exercises and do them with 'odd objects.' Odd object lifting, such as sandbag lifting, is when the center of mass is not in balance throughout the lift. This forces the smaller supporting muscle groups, particularly the core musculature, to work harder. Because no lift is ever identical, the body is constantly stimulated.

I've incorporated some items from the hardware store to use in my odd object lifting routines, and each time it brings an exciting element to my training. Some great odd objects to use for lifting and throwing include sandbags, boulders, and kettle bells.

However, nothing could have prepared me for the challenge of the mace, also known as the gaza in India.

I had experimented with making home made indian clubs, a recipe including the following:

-Galvanized steel pipe and caps, 1 1/2" around, 24" long, and filled with 7/8" gravel.

This felt heavy, even at about 10 pounds, but to make it more difficult, I decided to add a five pound plate to one end. What a difference, however, what I had actually made was closer to a mace bell, and just like that, I had my new favorite exercise tool.

After doing some research on macebells, I decided to make one. Here's my simple recipe:

-5' galvanized steel rod, 1" around, capped off at one end.
-2 flanges, 1"
-1 1" connector, threaded on both ends.

With this I was able to thread the flanges and connecting pipe together, and slip an olympic plate between the flanges. To keep it from rattling, I cut some exercise mat foam and wrapped it in the gaps, but you could also add another weight plate.

The first macebell was made with only a five pound weight at one end (plus the weight of the flanges and pipe,) and it was brutal. I thought I was strong, but this is an entirely different approach to resistance training.

To see if this was just difficult because it was a new form of exercise, I added a 2.5 pound plate on top of the five. No, it's not just new, it's really difficult. Having the weight so far off on a lever creates a serious disadvantage. And it's hard to overcome. I know I'll be working with this weight for weeks before my muscles can adapt to the load.

Now whenever I see people swinging around a long stick with a weighted ball at one end, I just shake my head in wonder. As with all great feats of strength, wielding a heavy macebell is definitely an impressive feat.

For more information on circular strength training using Clubbells, visit: RMax

See the macebell in action below.

Make your own clubbell

A12 kg mace in action


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