Sledgehammer GPP routine

I must credit Dr. Mike Hartle for this GPP idea. The good doctor wrote a 7-part article on how to use a sledgehammer for GPP work. I was immediately won over by this concept and contacted Mike right away to tell him how fantastic his idea was. The basic premise of sledgehammer work is that in the gym we often develop the capacity to apply force vertically. Rarely do we develop the capacity to develop it horizontally or diagonally. Sledgehammer work can thus be a fantastic complement to regular strength training by really putting a strong emphasis on lateral and rotational strength, both of which are very important in many sports.

Furthermore, sledgehammer work will build a grip of steel and the forearms of a bear!

I will give you a few basic examples of sledgehammer swinging, but you are encouraged to find your own ideas. Dr. Hartle recommends using a big tire as a target as this will absorb the blow without breaking.

Sledgehammer exercise parameters




Downward swing

4 minutes

Initiate downswing with a trunk flexion

Right cross body

3 minutes

Lead with right hand, left hand only helps to bring up the hammer

Left cross body

3 minutes

Lead with left hand, right hand only helps to bring up the hammer

A complete cycle of those three exercises will last 10 minutes. If you can do 2 full cycles without any rest it's time to either increase the weight of the sledgehammer or increase the density of your blows. The objective should be to do as much hitting as possible during the prescribed time frame.

Sledgehammer work will:

1. Build a rock solid trunk

2. Develop every muscle in the abdominal belt optimally

3. Increase arm and torso strength

4. Increase hand strength

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