I call it “the ultimate conditioning tool”. Ed Brown called it a few other names during his introduction to a sledgehammer workout this past weekend. Ed is accustomed to lifting weights…big weights. 200lb dumbbell rows, 600lb deadlifts, 400lb front squats – you get the idea. So when I invited him to do a 5 station, 4 round sledgehammer workout, he conjured up images of hitting a tractor tire for 4 rounds. I think he thought it was going to be some candy ass bootcamp workout.
He was incorrect.
The stations consisted of:
- One legged assisted squats (we had to adjust this to an easier version)
- Alternate laterals for shoulders
- Med ball strikes for upper body and core
- Fast feet with a lateral hop for agility, cardio and body control
- One legged forward reach for hamstrings and balance
Repeat each exercise for 30 seconds and then go to the next. If you’re somewhat conditioned you will make it through all 4 rounds without any rest. Some of the stations focus more on strength and give you a chance to catch your breath for example – alternate laterals and one legged forward reach. The other exercises will definitely have you out of breath.
The total workout time is 10 minutes if you don’t take a rest after each round.
I originally chose an assisted pistol squat for Ed but he wasn’t quite ready for that – too shaky, not enough balance so we adjusted down and went a different version of the one legged squat.
I’ve known Ed for over 10 years and I could tell that he was feeling the above exercise after 4 reps. I kept switching the lighting around which meant he had to keep doing more reps so I could get the best shot.
Raise the sledgehammer up to the shoulders (or a tad above) and lower with a slower, controlled motion. This sledgehammer weighs 8-10lbs – light for Ed. But he was feeling it due to all of the weight at the end of the handle. He kept trying to adjust his grip to make it more balanced but of course, I said “Whoa” and made him hold the handle so that it wasn’t so easy.
Here’s an interesting story. The Major League Baseball 2013 Rookie Of The Year, Jose Fernandez, developed incredible core strength by doing this exact exercise up to 500 times each workout. Jose is a pitcher. His trainer, Orlando Chinea, says they worked “from Monday to Monday” for five hours a day, not just on Fernandez’s mechanics and not just on the sinkerball that Chinea felt would be so important to his development, but also on the physical side. Chinea had him push a pickup truck uphill, chop trees with an axe, swim laps in the pool and throw a two-pound medicine ball up to 120 feet. And when he wasn’t honing his baseball skills, Fernandez was amassing a 3.75 GPA in high school and learning what is now impeccable English.
In the picture above, Ed is performing an incredibly effective exercise for strengthening the core, burning calories, working the muscles of the upper body and developing improved hand/eye coordination. Rather than striking a tractor tire, I prefer to use a DBall brand medicine ball. It’s solid, doesn’t bounce and there is no ricochet off of the ball. If you’re using this exercise in a bootcamp setting, surround the exercise with cones for safety.
Fast feet with a lateral hop is next. Set the sledgehammer down on the ground, perform fast feet for 7-8 steps, hop laterally, repeat for 30 seconds. The sledgehammer gives you a visual and keeps you honest. This will get your heart rate up (or keep it up), improve agility and coordination.
The last exercise is the sledgehammer forward reach. By now, your legs will be “achy, breaky” and your heart will be throbbing. And it’s only the first round of 4. So trying to balance on one leg and do a forward reach with the head of the sledgehammer is no easy feat. You’re gonna struggle if you (or your clients) are doing it with the right intensity and focus.
Ed should actually be at more of an angle, with less bend in the right knee…but he’s tired. This is a mean combination of exercises. After this workout, Ed said that he would definitely being doing more sledgehammer training. He just hasn’t known all of the exercises that are available. And then just when you think you have mastered the sledgehammer, you add resistance bands and kettlebells. And quoting Dr. Seuss again, “There is fun to be done!”
I’m currently adding 5 new workouts to The Sledgehammer Workout. This is one of them. If you’re looking to add “the ultimate conditioning tool” to your bootcamp workout or your own personal workout, check it out below.
Currently, this ever expanding multimedia ebook consists of:
- 2 Full Body Sledgehammer Warm Ups
- 6 Exercises For Chest
- 9 Exercises For Shoulders
- 7 Exercises For Back (some with a resistance band)
- 7 Exercises For Biceps
- 5 Exercises For Triceps
- 7 Exercises For Abs/Core
- 7 Exercises For Legs
- 16 Online Videos
- Tons Of Color Pictures
- A Brief History Of Sledgehammer Training
- Benefits Of Sledgehammer Training
- How To Choose A Sledgehammer
- The Warm Ups, Exercises and Workouts
You’ve probably got a sledgehammer in your garage. Just sitting there. Waiting to be used. If not, pick one up at the local hardware store. There’s even a video inside “The Sledgehammer Workout” of me at the local hardware store showing you how to choose a sledgehammer.
The most comprehensive, ever expanding sledgehammer resource out there. You’re going to love it!
P.S. This is a downloadable multimedia ebook. No physical products will be shipped. Once you have successfully paid for your order, you should automatically be redirected to the product page. Wait a minute or so for this redirection to take place. Please let me know if you have any problems and I will get back with you ASAP!