Friday, April 26, 2013

The Strike That Will Always Be Heard

           Training with a sledgehammer gives you a sense of power and strength in your hands. The feel of the old-time laborers who smashed their way through granite, rock and stone in quarries, mines and other manual labor jobs that were back breaking and built on mental toughness with the strength of your own body. No one in the strongman world knows this better than Slim The Hammerman. Swinging a hammer just has that Raw, Uncanny strength that can only be applied by practice. The sound hitting stone or hitting a tire is quite the sound and can be heard from a good distance if you do it right.

            Lately I've been testing with my Thor Hammers, the high rep levels of conditioning hitting the tires with as little rest as possible. The only rest I take is when I roll a 20-sided dice and whatever comes up I do that many reps sometimes doubled or tripled the amount that comes up and just go after it as hard as I can. I've hit over 300, 600 and even got up over 1100+ reps and it feels incredible. To get great benefit it takes mindful practice and sometimes a bit of an imagination to really get the feel of that much power and endurance. For optimal results you can combine different elements such as Barbells, Dumbbells, Cables or whatever you decide and build a Monstrous Foundation to get the best results you can possibly imagine.

            One of the biggest challenges as of late is how one would handle a sledgehammer like Ryan Pitts’ Epic Sledgehammer which starts at 26lb. empty and can go up to 70 lb. using Shot Lead. Now some might say that’s not a lot of weight, some say that’s too much to handle but then there are those who just say “screw it.” Very few guys can have a workout with that much hammer. John Brookfield of Strongman Legend has swung sledgehammers for as long as an hour with the hammer weighing 50 lb. and striking it up to 28 times a minute, that’s insane. When you have that Epic hammer in your hands a part of you might have that fear that it will fight you and break you but yet if you let it work for you, it’ll give you strength in your whole body you never thought you'd be able to achieve. Think about it.

            Every time you strike the hammer, your whole body comes into play, stabilizing muscles, the tendons, legs are good, your arms are connected and ready to go and your breathing becomes a factor. What many people don't realize is how much your breath uses up your power. If you're a shallow breather, you won’t last very long and even a few strikes at first will get huffing and puffing. With practice and finding that rhythm, your lung power will skyrocket and your endurance becomes greater. You won't just be strong and enduring but you'll get stronger mentally as well.

            My boy Bud Jeffries always had a philosophy of combining strength training & endurance training in the same workout and he’s proving it many times over that if you put these two elements in the same session, you'll gain results faster than if you did one or the other. Conditioning in this manner can be used in different ways but the principles still apply. Using a heavy sledgehammer and doing high reps is one example of this, it already takes great strength just to hold up one of those bad boys but to do high reps with them is something that you can only find in experience and seeing for yourself how that is done. If any other piece of equipment that can take you into the stratosphere it’s the power of the hammer. If you have one, treat it as if it was a Samurai sword, its beauty can be deceitful if you don't use it properly and it can be your best friend or your worst enemy. It’s special and sacred and when you train hard with it, it gives you that love and respect that nothing else might give you. It’s not just an object; it’s a part of you.

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