There's a lot of instruction out there for learning the Steel Mace grip positions. Seasoned or novice alike may like this small breakdown on easy ways to remember mace grip positions. Super handy for when you follow along with any of our Steel Mace training videos (find them here) to understand what we are talking about. Likewise, some descriptions like pronated and supinated can be odd to decipher when under physical stressors. This method of description has sunk in best with our clients and can be easily checked by referencing the hands to the mace head.
The Steel Mace, similar to a sledgehammer, consists of a long levered club attached with a heavy sphere fixed at one end used to deliver heavy blows, and is typically made of strong heavy metals or wood. It was historically used as a weapon, a trophy or sign of authority but today used as an alternative fitness method.
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Overhand, Underhand, Over under, Under Over, Over Over, Under Under, Pronated, Supinated; are all probably descriptions you've come across before of how to hold the mace. Some training providers like to use a code to crack to understand where they want you to hold your mace like 'position 1' or 'step 4'. Now these may work but we think there's a better way, especially compared to the teaching methods that require you to buy into their course to understand anything.
The previous descriptors also have a common flaw! They are all in reference to the ground or your body. As the mace is always moving, technically, your hand position can change despite your hands not actually moving anywhere. Take the "under over" descriptor. Holding the mace horizontally, one hand is over the top and the other is underneath. Flip the mace 180 degrees without letting go and your hands have changed to an "over under" grip....so which is it? For many it's not an issue but for some Steel Mace beginners trying to decipher how this training system works it can add unnecessary confusion.
At Armoured Muscle we use the following grip naming methods as they relate to the position of the mace thus do not change with rotation.
Steel Mace Inward Thumb Grip
A very common grip in Steel Mace complex and Steel Mace flow alike is the Inward Thumb Grip. Grasp the mace with both thumbs pointing towards each other. You can wrap your thumbs around the handle or leave as they are in preference to your comfort for the movement.
AKA - Pronated Grip, Overhand Grip, Over Over Grip.
Steel Mace Outward Thumb Grip
The Outward Thumb Grip where the thumbs point away from each other is less commonly used for macebell exercises though you'd probably use this grip to do a Bicep Curl. If you are in this position in a flow it's usually not for very long.
AKA - Supinated Grip, Underhand Grip, Under Under Grip.
Steel Mace Upward Thumb Grip
Potentially the most common grip you'll find yourself in for both mace flow training and mace complex style workouts. It's got great functionality, think holding a spade, broom....spear! Both thumbs point towards the mace head, no matter where the mace is in space and time, if you're holding it with one hard or two, the thumb(s) point towards the globe of the mace.
AKA - One hand Supinated one hand Pronated Grip, One hand Underhand one hand Overhand Grip, Under Over Grip. (notice how descriptors start to get a bit long)
Steel Mace Downward Thumb Grip
By no means the last grip you'll come across but the last we will cover. Point your thumb(s) away from the mace head to give you the downward grip regardless of if the mace head is up or down in relation to you or the ground.
AKA - One hand Pronated one hand Supinated Grip, One hand Overhand one hand Underhand Grip, Over Under Grip. (notice how descriptors start to get a bit long)
Lead / Opposite & Choke
Some more important things to remember that will help you with tutorials is learning about lead, opposite and choke. Despite the various grip name descriptions, we've found these tend to be the same across the board with Steel Mace.
Your lead hand is simply the hand that is closest to the mace head. Whether that hand is upward or downward thumb, the closest is the lead.. This also denotes your lead side and lead foot for that particular macebell movement, that is, if your right hand is currently your lead then your right side and right foot will also be leads. Your remaining hand, gripped onto the mace or not, is therefore your opposite hand and the same goes for side and foot.
Next, your way of making most mace movements harder or easier is a thing called choke. More commonly referred to when holding an axe the principle is the same. As your hand gets closer to the mace head the effects of leverage becomes less, making the exercise easier. This is called choking up the mace. Having your hand on the farthest point away from the mace head makes it trickier to manoeuvre and is choking down the mace.
Back to our horizontal mace holding example we used earlier about 'under over' grip. Imagine holding the mace horizontally with an upward thumb grip! Flip the mace 180 degrees without letting go and what position are your hands in.....still upward thumb grip!
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