3 Extremely Functional Movements for Athletes & Martial Artists

December 5, 2022 by VAHVA Fitness

3 extremely functional and athletic movements martial artists and athletes should be doing to improve their performance and athletic ability.

Here we have 3 extremely functional and athletic movement patterns every martial artist and athlete should be doing. If you are about improving your performance and athletic ability that is.

For these exercises, you will need either a mace or a sledgehammer. Too much weight will ruin the exercise but the tool should have considerable weight. 4 to 8 kg (8 to 16 pounds) will be enough.

Similar exercises have been done with dumbbells (wood chopper) and a cable machine or a resistance band but they do not provide the same stimulus that a mace or sledgehammer does. The cable machine also does not allow the same naturally flowing patterns and mechanics.

Not only is the mace more similar to a stick many people play sports with but the uneven weight distribution makes it incredibly effective. It’s all about the leverage.

These 3 movements very closely mimic a variety of athletic movements of many sports whether it’s hockey, golf, cricket or baseball.

These movement patterns are universal athletic movement patterns that repeat everywhere. Similar body mechanics (hip and core rotation) are even involved when you throw a punch or a kick!

We’re not kidding when we say everyone should do these. You can almost forget about doing the bench press and pull ups - just don’t forget about these exercises.

Imagine: you are building strength, mobility and power in the exact same kinetic chain and body mechanics you actually repeat in sports and fighting. 

These exercises are as sports specific as it gets which means the transference to your performance in sports or fighting will be as maximal as possible.

These exercises will solidify your frame, build strength and muscle in your forearms, arms and upper back but most importantly develop your hip rotation and obliques.

The mace in the video looks small but it’s a heavy tool. For the best results, you want to do over 15 repetitions per side per set minimum.

You really want to grind these patterns into your body and make performing movement patterns like this your second nature.

Recommend reading/videos:

1. Golfer Swing Variations

golf swing hockey slam mace

This movement pattern is very similar to a golf swing or an ice hockey shot. Even if you don't play these sports, you will also get tons of benefits when it comes to developing strength and size in your hips, core and arms.

The special part of these drills is the slight lean forward. You’ll strengthen and mobilize your back muscles in a combination of bent over and rotational positions that you’ll encounter in many sports activities.

Many people are vulnerable in their spine because they simply never use it fully. These type of exercises will reintroduce your body to its natural movement capacity. You’re sure to notice this in your performance and even every day health.

There are many ways to do these exercises. The difficulty varies depending on where you hold the mace (leverage). You can also do these either fast or slow. Medium weight will be the best for slow movements while for explosive swings you need to use a very light mace.

The necessary part is also to learn how to manage your weight distribution from one leg to another and how to rotate your core while moving the energy as a flowing chain through your body.

We recommend using light to medium weight and high repetitions (15 to 30) per side. There is no room for ego training in the world of Conan.

2. Horizontal Slash Variations

horizontal slash mace

The horizontal slash will be the best for both martial artists and athletes alike. This will especially target the obliques and rotation of the core.

This is the best drill to develop elastic rotational recoil in your core. Essentially, your core will rotate purely around its axis from one side to another in an upright posture.

Once you rotate all the way to one side you should feel a natural pull back to the other. You’re experiencing your body’s ability to store energy into elastic structures and the subsequent release of it. It’s vital for efficient biomechanics and optimal human movement.

The movement is similar to throwing a punch, especially hooks, however this should also benefit your roundhouse kicks.

A lot of the resistance and effectiveness actually come from the leverage of the mace which is why this exercise will be different compared to similar movements done with medicine balls or other tools.

You can perform this exercise with stiff hips focusing only on rotation of the core (obliques) or by focusing on hip rotation alongside the rotation of the core. Both exercises should be practiced. 

Also, it may not look much but your arms and upper back will also worked quite a lot. Mace exercises in general develop the forearms (grip) and arms (biceps primarily) incredibly well.

3. Wood Chopper Variations

Wood chopper is a phenomenal exercise and we have utilized it for years. It's even part of Athlete 20XX Method. 

The mace however makes it far more effective and more natural to perform. You will also be developing the arms, shoulders and upper back a lot more with this exercise.

The diagonal chopping trajectory of the mace is not only produced by moving the arms. You also have to laterally flex from your spine which creates a unique angle to work on.

Another benefit of the wood chopper is the heavy unilateral hip loading. By sinking you will stretch and load the glutes and hamstrings from where you can release enormous power. 

This is the power mechanic secret behind many punches. Mike tyson also utilized it heavily to demolish his opponents. However, since you are primarily working on the rotation of your core (obliques) the vast majority of the benefits will be universal.

You can perform either downwards or upwards. Both develop the obliques and abs very well and in angles you have probably never trained them before.

We highly recommend all of these 3 exercises.

Want to learn more? We've Added 2 New Bonus Workouts to Warrior 20XX Method!

the hyborian challenge
club master

We just added two new bonus workout routines to Warrior 20XX Method.

One with a steel mace and one with Indian clubs. Both workout routines have 6 unique exercises and are fully in follow-along format as usual. We also added additional videos on figuring out the optimal weight of the equipment.

So, basically Warrior 20XX Method now includes very nice programs on steel mace and indian club training...

So far, Warrior 20XX Method has 17 workout routines to do. We mostly focus on the fundamentals with bodyweight training, dumbbells and kettlebells but the method also consists of workouts with a sandbag, barbell, clubs, steel mace and a resistance band.

In addition to all of this, the method comes with a full in-depth online course on Warrior 20XX Methodology and mental strength & toughness.

This is because high intensity training fundamentally requires a good level of mental toughness to produce the best results. 

Inside this online course, you will learn how to build mental strength, get rid of procrastination and witness how to build mental toughness based on our lessons and experience we've acquired from being in the military, training martial arts, traveling the world and building a successful fitness business.

Warrior 20XX Method is an actual method you can utilize for years to come. We personally use these workouts on a weekly basis and so do many of our members. The best yet, this year alone we have updated the method for several times.

When you combine the follow-along workouts with the unique exercise selection (tutorials), the breathing techniques (included) and a full online course, together it's a powerful combination. 

You can get the method and learn more at Warrior20XX.com

Stay strong and never give up.

samuli jyrkinen

About the author 

Samuli Jyrkinen

Samuli is the ninja behind the scenes (photography, videography, websites, program platforms and more). He has been training religiously for over a decade and has a firm grasp of physical and mental fitness. You will find our story here.

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