Updated: Oct 19, 2022
Get an impressive near total body functional movement with just 4 simple steps to nail the Steel Mace Uppercut. It's also a movement that's difficult to replicate with other alternative training methods like clubbells and kettlebells. So if you want an exercise that's pretty exclusive to Macebell workouts, the Uppercut is just one of many great options.
The Steel Mace, similar in feeling to swinging a sledgehammer, consists of a long levered pole attached with a heavy globe fixed at one end and can be used for functional conditioning using heavy blows and choreographed flow routines. Historically you can find uses as a weapon or as a trophy and sign of authority. The mace has its origins from a Gada used by Indian Hindu Wrestlers but is used by fitness enthusiasts worldwide today.
Of all the exercises to choose from, we are going to cover some basic steps to get you into that uppercut position. The uppercut is going to tax you shoulders, biceps and upper back using a coordination of push and pull to hit almost all of your muscles from the waist up. The weight may not be high but the total demand from muscles makes this a blood pumper. It's an easy enough move to replicate but remember to keep that forward arm bent to feel the contraction in your bicep and allow your torso to move so that your hand hits the imaginary target to the front.
You may also be interested in
Step 1. Make a start by standing feet shoulder width distance apart and offset, similar to a fighters stance. With an inward thumb grip, the mace handle should be beside your lead hip with the mace head currently behind you. Maintain a firm grip from here and throughout the exercise. Your first action is going to be bringing the whole mace forwards.
Step 2. Bring both arms outstretched to the front so that the mace is near vertical with head pointing towards the floor. Generally this is done in an arcing fashion like a canoe paddle stroke but in reverse. During this arm movement you'll want to begin the rotation of your torso to face your imaginary target whilst loosening your feet to let the legs pivot as much as is needed to suit your current mobility. Keep that tight grip with locked wrists and for added reality keep your eyes on the 'target'.
Step 3. From your vertical positioning bring your opposite hand high over the same shoulder it is attached to. That's your opposite shoulder. This step is important to get correct as it's also the beginning of bringing the upper back into play. Think about pulling you elbow along with the mace behind you or alternatively squeeze an imaginary apple between your shoulder blades. You'll notice from the picture the torso has also twisted around a little more. This helps with the final positioning and activates the obliques.
Step 4. Bring the lead fist up to at least level with your chin or eye line. Keep a straight line running from your knuckles down the back of your hand and wrist like a real boxing uppercut would require. This is where you take a deep exhalation on contact with the imaginary punching of the target. Your opposite hand should still be high for this variation at or above your shoulder height. Your hands should finish equidistant from your head enabling a 90 degree bend in your lead elbow. If you're short or find a full length grip uncomfortable, try having a closer grip by choking the opposite hand further up the mace.
To make the movement harder you can add in more leverage. Simply hold your lead hand about a fist width further away from the mace head (choke) and harder still add a 2 nd or even 3 rd fist width to give you some progressive overload. Another option you can do, which will also test your balance, is to incorporate a forward lunge with the opposite leg as the uppercut takes place.
Unlike the Steel Mace 360, this won't challenge your posture so much but it feels powerful and offensive to the point it really boosts your confidence to know you can land a solid uppercut in a pinch. It really helps to have a pretend target to aid your kinesthesia, which teaches you to feel how your limbs are moving, allowing you to react without thinking about the height of your target.
To see more of this unconventional health and fitness exercise in action, take a look at one of our older social media posts that adds a little more detail to the Uppercut and introduces the lunge variation.