4 Steel Mace Squat Variations You Probably Haven’t Tried

Written by Coach Victoria Islas
ISSA Master Trainer / Founder of SMW

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I bet you just got a Steel Mace and you are wondering what you can do with it! Or maybe you’ve been training with it for a while now but need to mix it up a little in your routine. Here are 4 Steel Mace Squat Variations you probably haven’t tried along with a YouTube video, gifs and full instructions to do them correctly.

These are great full body steel mace squat exercises that will bring you many benefits such as stronger core, grip, legs, shoulders and arms. I do advise that you read through the coach notes on each exercise if you are a beginner that way you can do each exercise as safely as possible. Since most of these are really challenging and are gonna give you a burn – slow down. You don’t have to speed everything up! Learn to master the movement first. I personally always do my reps slow when it comes to Steel Mace Training, the only time I go fast is if I prescribe a high intensity workout and I am very careful about which exercises to choose for something like that. Not all Steel Mace exercises are meant for HIIT style workouts, a good steel mace coach with experience will know this.


Barbarian Squat (ONNIT)

This squat will definitely make you feel like a barbarian with your Steel Mace. It’s one of the first squats I wanted to try when I found out about it through ONNIT about 3 years ago. To simply break this one down, you are doing a pullover with a squat.

How to do this Steel Mace exercise:

  1. Get into your normal squat position, the mace should be in a vertical start position. Your grip should be tight and your hands close together at an in-in hand placement.
  2. With much control PUSH the steel mace behind you (you will hit your back or ass if you do not control the mace as its heading back) and then PULL forward and over as you squat at the same time. Be in sync as much as possible. By the time you are at the bottom of your squat your mace should be in front of you. 


I recommend you choke the steel mace to prevent injuries if you’ve never done something like this before. Choke means to start mid-way on the handle.

I teach this exercise close to the body. Arms do not extend (lock out straight) for safety purposes.

You may also choose to go over the shoulders and switching the top hand to get even reps. 



Flag Squat ( NBMB)

This squat variation is incredibly challenging due to the Steel Mace traveling away from your body as you squat – your core will have to engage entirely to support you and complete what you are trying to do.

How to do this Steel Mace exercise:

  1. Get into your normal squat position, the mace should be in a vertical start position. Your grip should be tight and your hands close together at an in-in hand placement. 
  2. As you begin to squat down, your arms will start to follow by extending out in front of you. By the time you are at the bottom of your squat, your mace should be straight in front of you. 


Choke the Steel Mace is you are a beginner, start mid way with your hand placement rather than at the bottom of the handle.  

Slow and controlled – if you try and go fast on this exercise the mace will tip or you will end up hitting yourself on the face. Up to you! 



Prayer Squat (Steel Mace Flow)

This is a new one I learned via Steel Mace Flow and I fell in love with it right away. It gives you the same “feels” as the Flag Squat but it is even more challenging due to the way you are gripping the mace – in prayer grip. Let’s get into how to do this one!

How to do this Steel Mace Exercise:

  1. Get into your normal squat position, grab your mace in prayer. Your hands are underneath the Steel Mace Head – like you are about to clap (just don’t ever let go). Because technically you are not in a full on wrapped around grip, this exercise is gonna challenge your grip strength! 
  2. From prayer position, you will then start to squat down and extend your arms out into an angle. Not completely straight out in this one. By the time you are at the bottom of your squat the prayer should be out in front of you.


This one is a very challenging squat but not one you can’t master! I would suggest starting with lower reps and then working your way up to higher reps over the next few weeks. 



Bayonet Bottom Squat (VKNJA)

And finally the Bayonet Squat via VKNJA. This one is another one of my favorites. Maybe I should have just named this article “My favorite Steel Mace Squat Variations” haha. Anyways! This one is great because it will challenge your core in an entire new way as well as your stabilizer muscles. With the mace to the side of you, your body has to fight to keep itself centered. You will know what I mean once you try it yourself!

How to do this exercise:

  1. Start in a normal squat position with the mace in a cross body top position.
  2. As you squat the mace will follow the cross body path until you lock your arms out to the side of you with the Steel Mace. From there you will pull back towards the shoulder and come back to the starting cross body top position.


Your job is to fight to stay nice and centered with a proud chest. Don’t let the mace control you!


Well I hope you enjoy these squat variations and that they serve you well. Make sure to sign up for my mailing list for more articles such as this one BELOW.


May the universe always flow with you,

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