One of the greatest ways to build strength in the back is through the use of the macebell.

This tool, though dangerous in untrained hands, can be a valuable addition to any weight-training regimen.

The Macebell: More than Just an Intimidating Title

The macebell looks kind of like a barbell with a kettlebell fixed on the end of it. More accurately, it looks like an ancient mace with no spikes. The primary purpose of training with a macebell is to increase strength in the back, though it has other benefits as well.

A Battle-Hardened Workout

If you’re wondering why the macebell looks like an ancient battle mace, the answer to that question is not going to surprise you. Thousands of years ago, ancient warriors didn’t have the same kind of workout and training equipment as we do today, but they did have their weapons.

Instead of going into a field and lifting rocks, like some of the Ancient Greeks would do, ancient Hindu warriors would train with their maces. They would swing wooden or stone maces behind their backs, squat with their weight, and much more to prepare them for all possible battle situations.

Upper-Body Focus

As demonstrated by the battle proficiency of the ancient Hindu macemen, exercises with the macebell serve to improve muscle coordination and control as well as increase muscle tone. Many macebell exercises are predominantly upper-body focused.

The Lap Squat with Ballistic Toss

Before doing any exercises with a macebell, you’ll want to make absolutely certain that you have ample room. Make sure to be at least four to six feet away from anybody or anything else. Not only would it be dangerous to them if you accidentally hit somebody, it could be dangerous for you as well.

The most common exercise is the lap squat with ballistic toss. This exercise is a little bit complex, so make sure to take a couple minutes to familiarize yourself proper form before beginning. Check out this video starting from the 2:12 mark:

Try this with something small, such as a TV remote or a drumstick before adding the weight, just to be certain that you’re doing it safely and correctly. Once you’re sure that you are, start with the squats and add in the ballistic tosses for a total of 8 to 12 reps, increasing weight when that becomes easy.

Plenty of Variety

There are plenty of different macebell exercises out there, so don’t give up on this workout implement just because this particular exercise isn’t your speed. There are also pendulums, rebel presses, uppercuts, and so many more!


When it comes to the macebell, don’t be turned off by its history as a weapon of war or by its intimidating name. Just focus on the exercise, put all that you have into it, and you’ll be well on your way to hitting your weight-loss or weight-gain goals.