Sledgehammer Training w/ Barbell Thrusters – Video Fitness Tip

This week’s video fitness tip features a superset that consists of sledgehammer training combined with the hang clean-front squat and press that’s performed with Apollon’s Axle, a 2-inch thick bar. The thicker bar totally changes the dynamic involved with performing any exercise, and makes this particular exercise extremely challenging.

As I’ve been telling you, sledgehammer training is a great alternative to traditional methods of strength training. This week I’m going to show you how to combine sledgehammer training with a compound, complex movement to create an intense workout that is more efficient and effective than your standard workout.


The sledgehammer training part of this workout speaks for itself, so I’ll spend a little time describing the hang clean-front squat and press. A quick note, some refer to the front squat and press as a “barbell thruster,” but I prefer my more descriptive term. For the purpose of brevity, in the title of my item I used “barbell thrusters” despite the fact that I added the hang clean.

Anyway… The hang-clean-front squat and press is a very challenging complex, one that certainly can be performed as a stand-alone exercise. This move is called a “complex” because it combines two or more compound movements, in this case I’ve combined three. This kind of routine – if performed properly – provides the highest possible level of intensity.

As you can see in the video, the complex starts with a hang clean, and after the bar is in the rack position across the collarbone, I perform a front squat and start the push press during the decent.

Rather than use a regular 7-foot Olympic bar, I chose to use my Apollon’s Axle for this week’s workout. The 2-inch thick bar does more for grip strength and can make any lift more difficult. It’s 7-feet long just like the Olympic bar and weighs in at about 35-pounds – 10 pounds less than it’s fancy Olympic cousin – but is way more difficult to handle, especially when used for any explosive, pulling movement.

This week’s workout is pretty simple. I started with 40 swings with my 10-pound sledge and followed up with 5 repetitions of the complex, took about 20-seconds before I took 20 swings with my 20-pound sledgehammer and another 5 reps of the complex. This took me about 4 minutes.  After the tape stopped rolling, I took 4 minutes off before completed another round of this superset.


In general, I usually rest for a period of time equal to the amount of time it took me to complete the superset. However, if heavier weights/lower repetitions are used I will rest for as much as twice as long. When designing your own workouts use your judgment, but make sure you don’t rush. It is always better to take an extra minute or two of rest if that rest allows you to perform more work.

With this kind of high-intensity routine you will be done working after about 20-25 minutes, including your warm up period.  Give this workout a try and see how high-intensity training can kick your butt in less than half the time that it takes to complete a traditional workout.

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