Sledgehammer GPP, Part 2!

Several of the benefits of using this common tool include increasing rotational and angular/diagonal strength of the trunk, increasing forearm and wrist strength, increasing reaction times of the forearm and wrist muscles as they stabilize ...
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In the last issue I introduced the idea of using a sledgehammer for weighted GPP. Several of the benefits of using this common tool include increasing rotational and angular/diagonal strength of the trunk, increasing forearm and wrist strength, increasing reaction times of the forearm and wrist muscles as they stabilize the hammer's handle and an overall increase in the body's strength-endurance capabilities. This issue I will discuss what equipment you will need and where to get it.

Get A Good Tire

You will need to hit something that won't break after smashing it a few hundred times. What I have found works best is an old, used farm tractor or truck tire. The harder the tire the better. This will decrease the height the sledgehammer will come off of the tire after impact. I usually hit it near the outside of the tire when it is lying on the ground. The type of tire that I use came off of a semi-truck. Call around to various tire dealers that deal with trucks or tractors and ask if they have any old tires sitting around.

The interesting thing is that you should be able to get the tire for free. The dealer has to pay someone to take the used tire from them so I have dealers wanting to give me the tire for free so they don't have to pay this fee. The only thing you will need is a large trunk in your car or a truck to carry the tire to your favorite hitting place as it is large. The nice thing about using the tire to hit is that it won't wear out anytime soon. You could also use it for flipping as another exercise, but that is another article.

Get A Good Sledgehammer

The next piece of equipment you will need is the sledgehammer. Most people have access to a sledgehammer. Since I have been married and I don't live near my parents anymore, I didn't. I went to my friendly neighborhood Lowe's store and bought an 8-pound and a 10-pound sledgehammer. As I progressed through subsequent workouts with the sledgehammer, I found that I could use the 8-pound and 10-pound sledgehammers interchangeably to increase or decrease the intensity, namely periodizing the use of the hammers. I then proceeded to search for larger sledgehammers. I found a 12-pound and a 16-pound sledgehammer at northerntool.com, based in Minnesota.

I also bought a 6-pound sledgehammer for smaller athletes. I now have a 6, 8, 10, 12, and a 16-pound sledgehammer. The total cost of buying these sledgehammers was about $130.00. By having the different weights, I can apply periodization principles to using this form of weighted GPP. There is a big difference physically in swinging the 6-pound sledgehammer versus the 16-pound when you do it for 3 minutes continuously. You don't need to have all these different weights as you can change the intensity with hammer contacts and time performing the movements, but I found with my personal training and with my athletes that it added an extra edge and I got better results with the different weights.

Get Some Gloves & A Timer

Some minor pieces of equipment you might need are work gloves and a stopwatch/timer. Those who have hands not used to doing lots of work could use gloves. Personally, I don't use them as I am always gripping something in my training so my hands are used to the tension on the skin. I recommend to my athletes to not use them either to help facilitate the neurological response of the proprioceptors and mechanoreceptors.

Click Here To Get Lifting Gloves

This will also help them in their respective sport, as most sports require us to hold onto or grab something. A stopwatch/timer that beeps when the time is up is handy as well. I will set the timer to whatever time length I want to hit for, say 3 minutes, then start the timer and begin pulverizing the tire. This allows me to concentrate on my contacts with the tire and I know when to stop when the timer goes off.

The next issue we will discuss and show one of the three ways we swing the sledgehammer. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at drhartle@intensitymagazine.com.

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Good luck,