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WOW – June 6th

06/06/2011

Complete four cycles:

15 Around the Heads (both directions)
15 Stakhanov Shovels (both sides)
15 Spear Lunges (both sides)

How-to:

Warmup: 30 second Grok Squat, 1 minute Grok Hang.

Before I describe the workout, I have to give credit to its inspiration. Long time reader and commenter Timothy has been perfecting the art of sledgehammer swinging for a couple years now. You may already visited his website, Urban Primalist, but if you haven’t, check it out. He provides extensive detailed instruction on all the various ways to swing a sledgehammer and repurpose the common workman’s tool for the purposes of physical fitness.

At PrimalCon, Timothy showed up with a bevy of hammers and he put on several impromptu clinics for fellow guests. His enthusiasm for the hammers really shined through. I think the clinic participants felt the same way. So Timothy, this one’s for you.

What I like about Timothy’s approach is that it’s more than just bashing the heck out of things as hard and as fast as you can. Now, I love that too, and while tire whacking certainly has its place, the sledgehammer is a far more nuanced piece of exercise equipment. Using it doesn’t have to be jarring; it can be fluid and graceful. Besides, if you want to get in a quick workout in your living room and all you have is a sledgehammer, you don’t want to go bashing in your couch cushions. You want a kinder, gentler (but no less effective) option. This is that option.

I’ve talked about Around the Heads before in the that shows exactly what to do. Of course, since you’re using a sledgehammer, you’ll want to be extra careful swinging that thing in vicinity of your brain.

Read Timothy’s treatments of the Stakhanov Shovel and Spear Lunge for a good primer on each.

A few things to remember:

  • Keep a strong, engaged core. Power is transmitted through your core, and a weak, floppy one will mean weak, ineffectual movements.
  • Watch your surroundings when you’re swinging. Hammers are designed to do damage, after all.

Variations:

To make things harder, vary your grip on the hammer. Choke up toward the head to make things easier; choke down toward the end of the handle to make things harder. This makes progression with a single hammer easy by increasing the length of the lever. It’s also affordable. Rather than buy heavier hammers each time the last gets too easy to handle, simply vary where you grip the handle.

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