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Chris Bush 09-08-2004 12:00 PM

I have been working witha sledge hammer for a few weeks. However, I have only been hitting a tire like I would as I was golfing. I do this because it will resemble a test I need to take. I do touches, 4x29, and then add 2 reps each time. It it better to go through all planes (both sides and overhead) and is it better to go for time (3 minutes)? Thanks.

Matt Toupalik 09-08-2004 02:27 PM

For my sledgehammer work, I like to add lots of variety.Try diagonal swings, overhead swings, and figure 8's.For the figure 8's, you stand in front of the tire with both feet parallel to each other.Initiate the swing by bringing the hammer from the left side and overhead for your first strike, as the sledge rebounds swing it to the right side and then overhead.Alternating your swings in this manner is the reason for the name "figure 8".

You can also do a heavy-light routine, which requires two hammers and the strikes are performed for "rounds" either 2 minutes or 3 minutes.Start out with your heaviest hammer and do 3 3 minute rounds with a 1-minute rest interval.After completing these three rounds, grab your lighter hammer and bang out another 3 rounds.And to give credit where credit is due, this routine is one of Ross Enamait's(the guy in the burpee demo video).

You can also alternate between sledgehammer swings and calisthenics.Burpees work real well here.Try 2 minutes of sledgehammer swings followed by 30 seconds of active rest using burpees for your active rest activity.5 rounds of this combo will bury most people(except maybe Greg Amundson).

I just recently moved up from a 12 pound sledge to a 16 pound sledge and the difference in intensity is unbelievable.After 2 minutes, I can barely lift it up to my shoulder.If sledgehammer work is your thing, I'd encourage you to get a 16.Mine was only 35 dollars at Home Depot.

James Taft 09-08-2004 05:32 PM

Matt. What kind of tire do you use for your sledgehammer training. I read the article on and the guy has a tractor tire. Can you get away with maybe a large truck tire or will the hammer crush the tire too much.


Robert Wolf 09-08-2004 08:40 PM

Tabata sledges from a variety of angles if a good option. 20 sec of work, 10 sec of rest repeated for 4 minutes total.

Matt Toupalik 09-09-2004 05:24 AM

James-I'm using the tractor tire that use to be my sandbox when I was a kid.I'm sure a large truck tire would be fine.

Paul Scott Suliin 09-16-2004 11:24 AM

I hate to ask silly questions, but what is sledgehammer work? This is new to me. Is there a standard weight for your basic workout sledgehammer?

Matt Toupalik 09-16-2004 11:54 AM

Paul-sledgehammer work is simply another training tool used outside the gym.Similar to tire flipping, sandbag lifting, medicine ball throwing, etc.It's more along the lines of functional training, meaning that you are not sitting in some machine pushing a set of handles or a footpedal back and forth along a predetermined path.Instead you are standing on your feet working through several different planes of motion.

You can do sledgehammer training a number of different ways, but the most basic is to find yourself a large tire and hit it with a sledgehammer using a variety of swings/angles.

A good weight to start with sledgehammer training is either a 10- or 12-pound sledge.You can move up to a 16-pounder once you build up your strength/work capacity.

Paul Scott Suliin 09-16-2004 04:03 PM

Thanks, Matt. Sandbag drills I'd heard of, and medicine balls. But I hadn't heard of sledgehammer training.

And...tire flipping? Like picking up one side of a tractor tire and turning it over?

Matt Toupalik 09-16-2004 05:46 PM

Paul-Yes.For tire flipping, you use a tractor tire and repeatedly flip it end over end(looks like you are doing a power clean basically) for a set distance or for time.Brutal when using a heavy tire.

The activities I mentioned are just a few that come to mind.Think "manual labor" and you will probably come up with quite a few.Pushing a wheelbarrow loaded with 200-300 pounds up a slight incline is another good one.

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