What Muscles Does A Macebell Work?

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Macebells are somewhat unusual which makes it more challenging to figure out what they focus on. Find out what muscles these workout tools work.

Exactly what muscles macebells will work in what ratios will vary from movement to movement.

That being said, popular movements like the 360 and the 10 to 2 mainly work your forearm grip and other wrist muscles, deltoids (main shoulder muscle), a variety of scapular muscles (shoulder blade muscles which includes trapezius), latissimus dorsi (middle to upper back muscle), and core muscles (around your waist).

Some of the secondary muscles these same movements work to a lesser extent include the pectoralis muscles, triceps (back upper arm), and biceps (front upper arm).

Whether you will actually grow and strengthen these muscles depends on things like your current strength in them, what weight you use, how many repetitions you do, what you eat, and how much you rest.

That being said, when approached right, macebell training can help you grow and strengthen muscles. Especially for your scapular muscles, deltoids, and grip muscles, a steel workout mace can be helpful.

Primary muscles worked with macebells

Something important to note again is that there are many different macebell exercises. These can be different in terms of what muscles they work in what ratios.

That being said, the macebell 360 and macebell 10 to 2 are two popular exercises with swinging movements that are typical for steel mace training.

Looking at what muscles they work gives you a general idea of what you can expect from this piece of workout equipment.


The deltoids are the main shoulder muscles and consist of three main parts, the front, middle, and back.

These muscles are responsible for raising your upper arms and moving them “forward” and “backward” when the upper arms are in a raised position.

In the macebell 360 and macebell 10 to 2 your deltoids will first of all be responsible for keeping the steel mace in the air. Additionally, they start the initial part of the movement where you bring the mace behind you.

The macebell 10 to 2 will engage your deltoids (and the pectoral muscles) more than the 360 because they have to change the direction of the exercise after each swing.

Scapular muscles

“Scapular muscles” is the name for a big collection of muscles that are responsible for moving your shoulder blades in a variety of directions.

More specifically rotation them and pulling them backward. Your pectoral muscles will be responsible for pulling these forward.

Back to the scapular muscles. These include the trapezius muscles, rhomboids, teres major, subscapularis, supraspinatus, teres minor, and infraspinatus. In short, a variety of different upper back muscles.

The scapular muscles are basically working through the entire 360 and 10 to 2 in one way or another. Especially during the swing behind your back.

Forearm grip and other wrist muscles

One of the aspects of macebell workouts that can be challenging is the grip strength required.

How much weight you can hold for how long is determined by the strength of certain forearm grip muscles. More specifically, the flexor digitorum profundis and flexor pollicis longus.

These muscles will have to work a lot during exercises like the steel mace 360 and 10 to 2.

Additionally, there are also your wrist adductors and abductors muscles. In simpler words, these move your wrists from side to side.

Your wrist adductors and abductors also have to work a good amount during most macebell exercises to keep the handle at the right angle.

Latissimus dorsi

The latissimus dorsi is a big middle to upper back muscle responsible for pulling your upper arms down. Both forward down and sideways down.

During 360’s and 10 to 2’s the latissimus dorsi will pull the macebell back up into starting position after each swing.

In absolute load, this muscle has to move a decent amount. However, since the latissimus dorsi is so strong, these exercises may not be enough for a lot of muscle growth and strength progress in this area.

Core muscles

Your core muscles are a big collection of muscles around your waist. Some of the main ones include your abs, oblique muscles, and erector spinae. These muscles work together to keep your body upright.

When the steel mace is behind your back, it will mostly be your abs and obliques that have to keep your upper body from tilting backward too much.

At the point where you bring the mace back in front of you, your erector spinae muscles have to work just a bit more to keep your body from tilting forward.

Secondary muscles worked with macebells

The muscles above will be the ones that have to work the hardest. There are also a few other muscles that have to work a decent amount.

Pectoralis muscles

The pectoralis major and pectoralis minor move your upper arms and shoulder blades forward.

Together with the deltoids, they help initiate the swing movement, keep the mace moving in front of you, and change direction in the 10 to 2 exercise.


Your triceps are the back upper arm muscles responsible for moving your forearms to stretch your arms and stopping your arms from folding.

During the macebell swing behind your back, the triceps are active in an isometric, static, way. This makes it so you don’t fold your arms entirely which would make the steel mace bump against your back/butt.


The biceps are different muscles that do the opposite of the triceps. They move your forearms to fold your arms. These biceps include muscles like your biceps brachii, bicep brachialis, and bicep coracobrachialis.

In exercises like the 360 and 10 to 2, your biceps work in a static way when the steel mace is in front of you so you don’t “drop” your forearms and hands down.

Do steel workout maces build muscle?

To grow and strengthen muscles you have to put them under enough pressure. This starts a variety of internal processes that can make them stronger in the long term.

One of the benefits of macebells is that they are available in a variety of weights. At least one of these should be able to offer enough pressure in a few areas and in turn, steel workout maces can help you build muscle.

The muscles that you build are not necessarily the same ones as the muscles that are primarily targeted during the exercise.

For example, steel mace 360’s and 10 to 2′ do work your latissimus dorsi a nice amount. However, this is a relatively strong muscle that typically needs more resistance to really grow and strengthen.

Macebells are mostly helpful for growing and strengthening scapular muscles, grip muscles, and deltoids.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.