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Natural Awakenings South Jersey

Creative Movement with the Steel Mace

Aug 31, 2021 04:05PM ● By Shae Marcus

Our modern age finds us living in a linear fashion. Most of our physical requirements demand only one plane of motion throughout the day. The most utilized modern-day posture is seated with arms stretched forward. When we set out to move after a day of work, we most likely find ourselves yet again utilizing that same plane of motion. Our bodies never really have a chance to move outside of the “box” we have built for it. Long ago, humans used every part of the body in all planes of motion for hard labor, fighting, hunting, staying on the move, etc. Bodies were rarely sedentary and moved in ways that we now see are a struggle for so many. Movements such as bending, twisting, deep squatting, stabilizing, and endurance in all movement are now goals that we try to achieve in the gym.

This is where creative movement comes into play. Rather than taking the body through the same sagittal plane demands of the workday, it is beneficial to find something that maximizes movement from all planes of motion and asks the body to perform the movements that were so commonplace long ago. Unconventional training is a rapidly growing trend in the fitness industry, one that will not be going anywhere for the foreseeable future. The steel mace as a fitness tool is gaining in popularity thanks to many trailblazers in the fitness world. When one hears the word steel mace, the visualization of a weapon used to bludgeon someone comes to mind. It is true that the steel mace of today takes after this ancient weapon, but it is now modernized and modified to be used solely for fitness purposes.

It can be traced back to India well over 2,000 years ago. The mace is referred to as a Gada in India and was used as a weapon for Hindu warriors.  It was also the first piece of strength equipment of its time. Warriors would use it as a training tool to increase their battle skills. Swinging the Gada increased a warrior’s fighting proficiency and accuracy. Today, we find ourselves once again looking to ancient ways as a different and unique approach to training with a modern twist. A Gada is very different from a steel mace as they are usually a long bamboo stick attached to a block of concrete.  A steel mace is a cast iron globe welded onto a hollow steel handle.

Working with the steel mace can enhance any recreational exerciser’s weekly routine, bringing a new flavor and way of moving into a program for any level. Because conventional gym routines usually find us stuck in the same patterns most of the time, incorporating the steel mace into any plan brings with it many physical and mental benefits.

Training with the steel mace is a functional movement staple. Because of the offset and uneven nature of it, when held in any position it automatically requires stability and fluidity in the body. It also helps to strengthen the body unilaterally and supports balanced strength on both sides.

The steel mace develops shoulder strength and mobility like no other fitness tool. The small muscles of the shoulder that make up what’s called the rotator cuff are typically very weak in most people. This area is highly prone to injuries. The steel mace strengthens every small muscle of the rotator cuff, thereby increasing strength for any sport and reducing chances of shoulder injury.

Moving with the steel mace promotes creativity in movement in all planes of motion. The possibilities of where one can go with the mace are endless. Instead of moving just forward and backward, one moves in all possible directions. It develops a fluidity and openness to the joints, increasing range of motion and allowing for deep engagement and utilization of all muscles rather than just focusing on one group of muscles at a time. This facilitates a very full-body experience.

Because of the comprehensive nature of moving with the mace, we benefit from both a cardiovascular and strength standpoint. Moving with the mace for timed durations can increase cardiovascular endurance and give those that love a good sweat a great workout punch in a short amount of time

The benefits far outweigh any downfalls in this unconventional way of training. Keep in mind when wanting to try steel mace training is to select an appropriate weight. Because of the unevenness of the weight, a 10-pound mace will feel much heavier and different than a regular 10-pound weight. There is no ego in mace training. To begin mace training, it’s suggested to stay within the seven- to-10-pound range, then work your way up from there.

Cheryl Natusch is a certified fitness trainer and owner of Laughing Hearts Yoga & Movement, that offers two, weekly, steel mace training classes, at 912 W. Kings Hwy., in Haddon Heights. For more information or to register for a session, visit your article here...