Simply Put….Sledge Hammer Slams are fun! No matter what your goals are, there’s no better way to release some aggression, activate core musculature, increase shoulder stabilization or enhance specific movement patterns such as Throwing! This exercise has it all!
There are 2 separate goals when performing sledge hammer slams
1. For Fat Loss using this exercise as part of a circuit or interval series training protocol
2. For sport specific explosive movements such as High Level Throwing Patterns
Fat Loss & Circuit Training
If you are using this exercise as part of a circuit protocol for an increase in fat loss, the technique does not have to be compared to high level throwing mechanics. The technique should be safe enough that you won’t injure yourself but it doesn’t have to be as specific as throwing. You can get away with allowing the hips and arms to move in the same direction.
As part of a circuit, you really want the energy system utilization rather than training the high level throwing pattern. This is okay! This is a high intensity exercise and max effort will only be sustainable for a few seconds. As you get past :15, the movement will become slower and with less intensity…turning into an aerobic energy system utilization.
With this type of exercise, you get increased heart rate, increased energy expenditure, increased sweat production, therefore an increase in calories burned! This goes for all multi-joint, complex movements. The higher the intensity, the more calories will be burned.
High Level Throwing Mechanics
If you are using this exercise to mimic High Level Throwing Mechanics, the technique is super important and the sequence of this movement needs to be understood.
In the video above, you can see the hips shifting forward as the weight is transferred from flat feet to the toes. As the weight and center of gravity is shifted forward, the sledge hammer is brought back and up over the head… similar to what the initial throwing sequence should resemble.
You can see the separation as the sledge hammer is still being raised over the head, the hips and knees are flexing towards the ground…this is when the heels will start to touch ground, showing a transfer of energy from the toes to mid-foot. Once the sledge hammer has reached the apex of moving up, it starts to drive downward. All of the energy has been transferred into the head of the sledgehammer, creating this violent downward motion to hit the tire. This has the same body movement patterns and sequence/timing as throwing!
Who Can Benefit From Sledge Slams?
High School, College and Professional athletes can all benefit from sledge hammer slams. If the athlete is strong enough and has the proper patterns, then this exercise is dynamite!
If an athlete can barely lift the sledge hammer over their head, substituting a Medicine Ball would be ideal! This is what we do for our Youth Athletes in order for them to feel the pattern. Medicine Ball Slams, Twist Slams and Overhead Throws are all great substitutions!
We usually perform 3-5 Sets of 3-8 Repetitions depending on the training day. Give it a try!