The Macebell or Gada is a classical training tool dating back centuries. Its original use was in the wrestling for fighting cultures of ancient Persia and India. My first experience using one was about 8 years ago when I attempted to incorporate it for shoulder development and conditioning. As a competitive powerlifter I quickly abandoned its use finding that combined with my powerlifting training it aggravated my wrist, elbows, and shoulders.
However 2 years ago I decided to make another run at using the macebell again. I had been making tremendous gains in shoulder health and mobility with my progression into Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS) and some associated kettlebell work. I decided to try the swing again but focus on some refinement in the movement based on the DNS methodologies. The goal was to simply realize some training efficiency as the swing was a very active warmup. If I could accomplish my rehab, prehab, and warmup all at the same time I would have more time to focus on my actual training.
With the new approach to the swing my shoulder pain that I had been experiencing daily for the last 8 years disappeared after the first 30 days. This is pain that had kept me from sleeping, interfered with my training, and I was only able to manage in the short term with mobilizing and re-seating drills. Gone! I couldn’t believe the change. Being surrounded by powerlifters and strongman I found several other test subjects similar to myself and quickly found that the same thing happened. That was when I decided to develop the tool into what we now are marketing to others as the ShouldeRök™. For further details on the value of the ShouldeRök™ and its impact on eliminating issues caused by open chain barbell movements today done with an open scissor you can watch this video of me presenting on the topic to a room full of clinical rehab specialist.
One of key differentiating features is the easy load ability combined with the length of the product. Most products of this type are shorter which allows for the same weight to be used across a broader spectrum. This approach compromises effectiveness effectiveness of their products but is required for those selling ‘fixed bells’. The length of the ShouldeRök™ is designed to maximize balance as well as the eccentric opening and the requirements for muscle engagement and stability. The ShouldeRök™ is simply a superior product for this reason.
A lot of people regard this as a mobility tool and they are really missing the boat as to the true value it provides. Mobility is an output but it is achieved through developing strength and stability with the proper integration of shoulder to core interactions. The strength and stability are achieved with the proper cueing patterns and core stabilization while applying dynamic load as the shoulder moves through its entire range of motion. In addition all the supporting muscles of the shoulder girdle are engaged and develop particularly as you add progressive load. The ShouldeRök™ and ShouldeRök™ method provide strength development, improve stability and shoulder to core integration, and increase mobility. These improvements are made all with the use of a fun and highly efficient warmup or cool down to any workout.
Over the next year and a half after realizing these changes in my shoulder health I continued to refine the DNS inspired cues and approach to the swing. I also put on my engineering hat and decided to improve the product itself. I lengthened the bell and improved the balance with proper material selection giving it a very unique swing characteristic compared to others on the market. We had some shot loadable bells in the gym but it was such a pain to change the weight that it was never done. With micro-loading progression and small weight differences making a big impact between one athlete to the next I felt that changing weights quickly was a critical piece. I chose to have it plate loadable with Olympic plates. This allowed for developing a loading method that would ensure the safety of the lifter and those around them. Having a weight fly off the end of a bell just wasn’t acceptable, or compromising the proper handle size to use 1” plates. For comfort and control I added knurling and flaring of the handle. The handle has 14″ of flaring so that shorter lifters can choke up on the handle and use it as a shorter device.
The ShouldeRök™ was branded as a separate product than just a macebell due to the unique nature of the specific coaching cues that are provided to customers and significant design refinement of the product. It is simply the best product of its type on the market and video series with it was developed by one of the best strength athletes and strength coaches in the world today.
It’s time to get strong! Its time to get your ShouldeRök™ today!
The writing of this article was prompted by all the social media posts I’ve seen talking about men’s mental health. Apparently November is men’s mental health month. That is unless you’re struggling with your own mental health issues. Then, every month, week, and day may very well be an ongoing struggle. Although throughout this article I’ll be referencing comparative data between men and women and differing demographics, the point is not to prop up men's suffering above women or anyone else for that matter. It’s simply there to elucidate the current state of men’s mental health, which is the central focus of this article. “Einstein is quoted as having said that if he had one hour to save the world he would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution” (1). This mentality exists in contrast to the current lack of awareness pertaining to the drivers of psychological ill-health. Social media and articles routinely discuss what to do if you’re depressed, anxious, suicidal, etc. But seldom does anyone discuss the complexity of the subject. Unfortunately, without truly understanding the issues that lead to ill-health it’s unlikely to come up with an effective solution and subsequent prevention strategies. Therefore the aim of this article is as follows:
Optimizing exercise range of motion to maximize muscle growth is a popular topic to discuss. As new research emerges, it often leaves you with more questions about the fundamental mechanisms and application of hypertrophy training. Mechanical tension is known as a primary driver of hypertrophy. Therefore it stands to reason that training a muscle through larger ranges of motion will create more tension, resulting in a greater hypertrophic stimulus. Although this makes sense at face value, it’s ultimately an unsatisfactory answer. At deeper levels of analysis, mechanical tension alone (or at least our current model) can not explain some of the observed outcomes we see both in the literature and anecdotally. The aim of this article is to provide a brief review of the topic, provide context to the ROM discussion, and offer practical recommendations to implement into your own training.