Sledgehammer Fitness

One of the more unlikely tools in our fitness equipment armory is the sledgehammer. Surprisingly the manual-labor tool doubles as a superb total body muscular endurance exercise, a great power developer, a very effective weight management method and a way to increase both aerobic and anaerobic endurance. In terms of cost, effectiveness and versatility, sledgehammer training makes a great addition to almost any training program.

Let's look at the reasons why sledgehammer training is so good …

1) Swinging a sledgehammer is a full body activity. Swinging the sledge uses just about every muscle group … the muscles of the forearms are used in gripping, the latisimus dorsi muscles of the back are used in the downward phase of a strike whereas the deltoid muscles around the shoulders are used in the return to the overhead position. The core including the rectus abdominus and obliques work very hard in the downward phase of sledgehammer swings along side the hip flexors. And even the legs get involved as they have to keep you anchored to the floor. You'd be hard pressed to find a muscle group not involved in swinging the sledge!

2) Multiple fitness components can be trained with a sledgehammer. By using a variety of rep and set schemes (discussed later) it is possible to target power, muscular endurance, cardiovascular fitness and anaerobic conditioning. Regardless of your goal, sledgehammer training will probably make a fine addition to your current training routine.

3) Sledgehammer training is very cost effective. Many of you will have a sledgehammer in your basement or garage but even if you have to go and buy one especially for exercise they are very reasonably priced and easy to get hold of. My hammer came from a regular DIY store and cost $ 35 or about £ 16.00 and it's very unlikely it will ever wear out. As a striking surface I like to use and old SUV tire I picked up for free from a local tire dealer. Most tire dealers are only too happy for you to take away an old tire as they have to pay to have them collected.

4) Training with a sledgehammer is fun! You get to hit something as hard as you can, as often as you like with no legal ramifications! It's a great way to work off the frustrations of the day leaving you calm and relaxed after your workout. It's very therapeutic!

5) The techniques are very easy to learn. Swinging the sledgehammer is a natural movement which is quickly mastered. It's a very instant workout which, although simple, can be as demanding as you make it.

6) Sledgehammer training is great for fat loss. Any sledgehammer training will burn plenty of calories but probably the best way to get the most of your hammer workout is to utilize intervals. Interval training is probably the most efficient and effective method for fat loss available and out performs steady state cardio almost every time in calorie spending tests. …