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What Weight Steel Mace Should I Get?

7kg steel mace, 5 kg steel mace, 3 kg steel mace, 16 kg hammer
There's a lot of styles and weights of Macebell to choose from. Which Steel Mace do you buy first?

Choosing a Macebell weight might be a little daunting but I will guide you through making your choice. The Macebell, similar in feeling to 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 flows. 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. Often the terms 'Steel Mace' and 'Macebell' are interchanged though technically, steel mace is a training style whereas a Macebell is the umbrella name for the tool itself. Thus all Steel Mace training uses a Macebell but not all Macebells are suitable for Steel Mace training.

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Don't start with a Macebell

It sounds odd but if you haven't started with Steel Mace training I'd suggest trying out the principles with a sledgehammer first! Macebells can be tricky to get hold of and being rather specialised bits of kit they have a price tag to match. Plus they are heavy which makes shipping a little pricey too. Making the beginning of the journey potentially an expense to find you don't like the style.

A sledgehammer can perform the basics with very similar characteristics to a mace, they are the same cost, maybe a bit cheaper and much easier to get hold of from local stores which also saves on shipping. Being easier to obtain you're more likely to get started whilst you have the spark of interest rather than forget the idea to never emerge again. I started with a sledgehammer as I happened to own one (you could borrow one) and felt within my first 2 workouts that this workout style really connected with my inner barbarian! Here I am 3 years later [at the time of writing] still getting in weekly mace workouts and supporting others to do the same.

If you enjoy the training style and the primal feeling you get swinging a lump of metal around then by all means, crack on to invest in a full Macebell tool. Question is...which weight?!

What weight macebell should I get first?

OK, we know now that the Macebell/Sledgehammer lights that fire in your belly to keep you coming back. The key to effective fitness training is consistency! If you enjoy it, you've won half the battle already.

There's many styles of fitness training with a Macebell such as:

  • Steel Mace training which incorporates most uses of a Macebell.

  • Complex training which is more like HIIT workouts with a medieval weapon.

  • Traditional training which may be a good crossover if you already use clubbells.

  • Competitive training focused on swinging the heaviest Macebell or Gada you can.

At this stage it's likely you don't know which style you want to go for. However, whichever path you choose, the starting weight will probably be within a set range. To be clear, this range may not sound heavy but when you multiply the weight by the length of the lever and add momentum, a light weight can feel pretty darn heavy.

Generally, the more common advice is that ladies should start with a 3 kg Macebell and gentlemen should go for a 5 kg Macebell. In my experience this guideline seems to hold true with most people. Though I would add a caveat. If you're experienced with resistance training, that is, you have already been doing workouts with bodyweight and/or in the gym, you'll be better off going for a 5 kg. If you're new to workouts, say less than a year, your body might thank you for starting out with a 3 kg. Notice how the caveat isn't gender specific.

What is the second Macebell weight I should buy?

Fortunately when training with Macebells, you will usually come back to your starting weight when learning new moves. This means your investment will be used time and time again to earn its price tag. I first got a 5 kg mace and years later it's still my main choice despite now owning a 3 kg, 4 kg, 7 kg Macebell and 16 kg hammer. The mace is incredibly versatile and your main limitation on progression is skill not strength. You might never need to look at purchasing an additional mace, though it is handy to have options and challenges to work with.

By the time you're thinking of getting another mace, you've probably got a better idea of the training style you like or want to achieve. If you want to go competitive then it's safe to say an adjustable macebell would be your best option as you'll be looking to progressively overload your weight on a regular basis as well as perform pyramid sets and other styles of strength improvement...that's a lot of mace to although an adjustable is expensive, you'll save money and time in the long run.

For the other styles, you'll quickly notice the difference in weight of just 1 kg. To lift off the floor it's nothing much but to hold at length and swing with intent, that extra 1 kg is multiplied. I would recommend no more than 2 - 3 kg increments. E.g. if you have a 3 kg a nice next level is 5 kg and likewise a 7 kg is good for moving on from the 5 kg. The heavier you go the more the centre of gravity travels up the mace and consequently moves the centre of resistance further away from you which artificially increases the length of the lever multiplying the resistance.

One other way to asses what weight you may want next is with single arm work. If you can swing a 5 kg Macebell with one hand, you'll probably be able to do double the weight with two hands. For the 360 Swing, this single hand doubling rule works well. For flow and complex training however, it doesn't stand up to the test as good.

Steel Mace Flow aerial toss exercise
Go too heavy and Steel Mace Flow tricks become unmanageable

Generally start between 3 - 5 kg

No matter which style you go for or even if you're looking to buy a second Macebell, it would seem that your safest option, male or female, would be to start with a mace that weighs between 3 and 5 kg. You'll get your use out of it with no doubt but it may be a good idea to try a similarly weighted sledgehammer first to discover if you get on with the training discipline.

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