As a follow-up to my previous post, Farm Boy Strong Shoulders, I thought I’d post this video on Sledge Hammer Swinging technique.
I’ve recently returned to a regular, regimented workout program with equipment I have here at my house. Lots of free weights, plus some of the stuff you’d find on a farm. For example:
- weighted cart – I don’t have a prowler, but I do have a big, heavy duty cart that I can load up with weights (or kids) and push around
- thick rope – I just found a thick rope (about 1.5 inch diameter) at a local antique store this week…the price was right and I can’t wait to use it (maybe later today)
- home made sandbag – simple tool, great results
- odd object stuff – 100 lb anvil (from my horse shoeing days), water bottles filled with sand, home made kettlebells, etc
- sledge hammer and tire
Shoulder Strength and More with Sledge Hammer Swings
The Sledge Hammer is a great tool that will work your butt off and create powerful shoulders!! If you know of anyone who works (makes a living) with a sledge hammer, then you know what kind of results you can expect from regularly swinging a sledgehammer.
So, I went online to see how the fitness world uses a sledge hammer. Lots of videos … lots of advice … lots of poor technique. Plus, most are missing a very some very important points. So, I created a this Sledge Hammer swinging video, demonstrating how I use one during my workouts. There are 4 stages to the sledge hammer swing… and I think it’s important that you know what they are.
If you don’t want to read my explanation, here’s my sledgehammer swinging video … the explanation is below. Warning, this is a 9 minute video.
Stage 1 – The Sledge Hammer Swing Setup
A lot of the videos I’ve seen online pay very little attention to how you should “address” the object you want to pound with your sledge hammer. This is a big mistake! Everything begins with the setup and here’s what you need to know:
- Your feet should be “square” to the object you intend to demolish ( in most cases, a tire of some sort )
- One hand should grasp the bottom of the handle
- Your other hand should be holding the weighted end of the sledge hammer
- You should be in a “linebacker” stance
Stage 2 – Loading Your Sledge Hammer
For explanation purposes, we’re going to assume that your left hand is nearest the empty end of the sledge hammer and your right hand is near the “working” end.
- Lift your left hand to a position nearly directly over your head. Your left arm should be slightly bent ( 5 – 10 degrees )
- Move your right hand to a position above your right shoulder as if you were getting ready to toss a ball
- Your torso should be stretched and tight … slightly twisted and like your are reaching for something above you
Stage 3 – The Explosion
This is where is see a lot of people miss out on the great benefit of using the sledge hammer as a part of your workout. In the videos I’ve seen, people seem to think this is a semi – aerobic activity. IT’S NOT !!! This is a sprint … a series of rhythmic explosions in which you are trying to move something – BY EXTREME FORCE. I like to tell people to swing the sledge hammer with “bad intentions“.
- From your loaded position, begin the motion with the forceful hinging of your hips
- Powerfully contract your torso, lats and shoulders
- Allow your right had to slide down the handle to a position above your left hand
- Hit the tire with “all you have”
Stage 4 – The Rebound
At this point, your hammer will bounce slightly.
- Slide your right hand back up the handle to it’s original “setup” position
- Return to your “linebacker” position
- Repeat .. multiple times
When you’ve completed your set, reverse your hands a do the same number of reps from the other side. If done correctly, you’ll be breathing like a “freight train” and ready to throw your sledge hammer down. Good job!! You’ve just completed your first set of sledge hammer swings.