Class Review: Urban Mace

22nd November

When you’re battling with the demands of city living there’s only one way to work out. Urban Mace is warrior training that puts you through your paces with the aid of your very own mace. Our resident blogger Kat came to smash out the deadly weighted sweat sesh and learn the art of training with a weapon; like a weapon...

When I first heard of Gymbox’s new class Urban Mace, I began picturing medieval battles taking place in the middle of Bank. While this says more about my overactive imagination than the content of the class itself, Urban Mace really does involve wielding a contemporary version of the medieval weapon. Thankfully though, combat is not on the agenda.

Urban Mace combines functional training and animal flow to improve both your strength and mobility, all with the help of a mace. This is essentially a long, thin hammer with a weighted square at the end. While I was a little nervous about playing around with an actual weapon, I was excited to give the class a try. I rocked up to Zach Cummins’ Thursday class eager to channel my inner Harley Quinn and learn how to wield a weapon like a pro.

As Zach began handing out the maces, I felt a little apprehensive. It felt a lot heavier than I imagined it would be and it was awkward to hold due to its uneven weight distribution. However, I didn’t have much time to worry about this before Zach was racing us through the warm up. Once we were all officially sweating and out of breath, it was time to learn how to use the mace.

We started off by mastering our ‘rest’ position, which Zach called ‘warrior’. This involved holding the mace in front of our abdomen, weighted end towards the ceiling. Holding something with an uneven weight distribution like this involves a lot of concentration. If you tilt the mace slightly to the side, your wrists really start to struggle. Thankfully, you can alter how heavy the weight feels based on where you place your hands along the handle: the closer your hands are to the top, the easier it is to maneuver and vice versa. Zach confirmed that while this class is a full body strengthener, it’s particularly good for building forearm strength.

Once we’d grasped the basics, Zach began leading us through our first series of movements. These combined simple exercises like side lunges and squats with the mace to test both our strength and hand-eye coordination. One move involved squatting to the floor with the mace held in front of us before carefully whipping it around our head in a 360 motion. I wasn’t the only one who struggled with my balance here and it took a few tries to get into the swing of things.

We also had to master the ‘bayonet switch.’ This involved switching hands on the base of the mace so that we could begin an exercise on the other side. It was while attempting to get the hang of this that I clocked how much I was having to focus. This class is clearly not just a good workout for the body; it works out your mind too.

After 20 minutes of being put through our paces, I was absolutely drenched. I was horrified to notice there was even a small puddle of sweat forming on the floor beneath me. But while the class was undoubtedly tough, the focus involved with handling the mace was actually distracting me from my screaming muscles. It meant I wasn’t given the opportunity to get lost in a daydream and slack off (a not uncommon occurrence) and I was really enjoying the challenge of doing something completely new and a little strange.

I was surprised when we got into the final, animal flow section of the class. Time had absolutely flown by. We spent the last 5-10 minutes on a flow sequence, this time mostly without the mace. It was while doing this that I realised how horribly inflexible I am. Clearly, animal flow is something I need to do more often.

Before I knew it, it was all over. After we thanked Zach and handed back our maces, I slunk off to examine how red my face was in the changing room.

While I had been excited to try out Urban Mace, I still hadn’t really known what to expect and had been pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the class. As quite an anxious person with a brain that races at approx 200MPH, the level of focus involved with handling the mace actually forced me into a much calmer frame of mind. Not only that, but I’d had the best workout I’d had in ages. I might not have finished the class looking like a formidable medieval warrior, but I would definitely be coming back.

Book into Urban Mace via our app, and follow Kat here.

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