High-rep sledge hammer swinging. It’s bad to the bone stuff building super strength, endurance, power, ab and grip strength. If you decide to jump into the deep end of the pool here you should build up to it slowly or already be in great muscular and aerobic shape. Remember anything that you do that you’re not used to could make you sore, but the better shape you’re in the less this bothers you.
I’ve found that after my kettlebell odyssey very few things make me very sore basically no matter how hard I jump on it. Things like the swing and hammers are so “whole body” that all the muscles get through enough work to stay in fighting shape.
Here are three tips that’ll help you with the big hammers:
1) Find an efficient comfortable form that doesn’t overkill any one body part or joint. When you go crazy with the reps it magnifies troubles if you over stress one area. Also as you fatigue, form gets harder to keep so an efficient one keeps you safer.
2) Probably gonna want to use gloves unless you’re used to the particular exercise enough not to get torn up skin. Even then you’re probably going to get blisters and torn skin. It’s part of the game at this level. At one point in my lifting career I would have told you any glove is for the weak, but it’s not. There are exceptions of course. If you’re just doing bench presses and it’s not 10 degrees outside – okay, overkill, gloves not necessary, but there’s no point in making the tough things insane without a clear gain to it. There’s almost no way to toughen the skin completely when you’re dealing with thousands of reps and the loss in training time isn’t worth it. Some gloves, in fact make certain exercises tougher not easier. For this (and often kettlebell swings) I usually like cotton gloves with rubber coating in the palms. They protect pretty well and have no trade off in grip.
3) I like, (and you probably will to), to hit a tire for this kind of work. It’s cheap and almost indestructible and can be done almost anywhere with no damage. You’re able to better control the height your swinging at as sometimes a very low target can greatly increase how sore you become when you’re working high repetitions. The tire also provides a target with some rebound and its absorption of energy without sending a big shock back up the handle. You can work around the aftershock if you’re good at timing your muscle relaxation after a strike, but for most people, this will not be the case as the level of practice required for that skill will be beyond most trainees. That pounding adds up to trouble over thousands of reps so the tire is a big help.
These tips will help you out when you’re scaring the weights or other gym goers with the big sledge and make it easier on you to boot. They may think you’re crazy, but I think it’s crazy not to have that kind of strength, endurance and vitality. If you want more on sledgehammer training, check out Monster Conditioning: Sledgehammers!