A friend of mine asked me the other day he was interested in working with Sledgehammers and wanted to know what exercises and weight to start with on the hammer? I gave him a little bit of it because that was what I could figure out to say at the time. To me, it’s a lot of fun and has many benefits in terms of muscle building, strengthening the tendons and building great lung power; but it’s also very demanding and when you start out too fast or too much weight it’ll hit you hard.
To give you some ideas; I've worked with different types of hammers, the ones you get like at home depot, the Epic Sledge, Thor’s Hammer and others so each one has a different feel or a different set of ways to move with the hammer. Just the basic swing on a tire is crazy enough as it is but there are other exercises that don’t always require striking. When you work with a long implement, the leverage factor will be a bigger point to look at because the weight shifts and you have to move your body to where the weight is in order to move it.
Some people like using the Mace and although it’s very useful in many ways, I like using a sledgehammer better because it has a better interest in what you can do in terms of lever work and working with weight at a more odd angle. The Mace has more of a rounded ball so it has a smoother way of moving, the Sledge has more of a 4 sided shape like a rectangle or square as the head of the hammer. When you start out, you want to feel how it works in your hands, how your body shifts with the weight and try different things and no matter what you try, your grip will be a factor. If you don’t have a good grip you won’t last too long.
Start out with a good 7-10 hammer to get the feel for it. There’s a DVD you can get from Bud Jeffries that is part of his Monster Conditioning Program specific to Sledgehammer Training. If you don’t have a tire that’s fine you can still get great benefit from sledge training. The exercises you can do are nearly the same as if lifting a barbell or dumbbell but the weight is shifted to one side so you have to work the stabilizing muscles and your grip needs to be strong and tight. Here’s a website that shows certain exercises although done with a Mace you can do the same with a sledge. Play and experiment with various reps and sets.
I highly recommend the Sledgehammers from Stronger Grip because if you want to add weight to the hammer; you can put in shot led or steel shot otherwise if you use a hammer like from home depot, it’s expensive to buy more hammers and prices vary depending on how heavy the hammer is. I also recommend you do get a tire because once you get the ground work for non-tire exercises you’ll eventually want to strike it. You can find tires at a junk yard that no one wants anymore or you can get Half Tires that take up less space and have better strikes to work on.
When you work on getting good with the sledgehammer, your body will begin to change, your muscles will have more definition, your tendons will become stronger and your breathing will skyrocket because it takes strength to use the hammer the way these guys can show you and the heavier the hammer, the more your breathing becomes a factor. Your grip will become much stronger and have that crushing strength. Take your body and mind to Super Muscle level and watch your strength skyrocket in ways you haven’t had before.