By Ross Enamait – Published in 2008
In a past article, I detailed the benefits of sledgehammer training. Within the article, I suggested using a large tractor tire as a striking surface for the sledge. I also video taped a sample routine, where a tire was placed on a large cushion to avoid damage to the floor. Since writing the first piece however (2006), I’ve received several emails from individuals who would like to use a sledge, but cannot due to problems such as:
- Unable to locate a tractor tire supplier in the area
- Do not have room to store such a large tire
- Found a large tire, but have no way of transferring it home
- Have a smaller tire, but no cushion, thus fear damaging the floor
- Have a small tire, but it slides across the floor after each strike
If you find yourself dealing with one of these issues, there are a few possible workarounds that may prove useful.
The first approach is to strike a tire from the vertical position. There will be no need for a large tire with such an approach. The floor will also be safe, as the top half of the tire will absorb the force of the sledge.
In the pictures below, you can see this simple contraption. The tire is secured with cable, which is wrapped around a piece of backerboard. 2×4″ strips are screwed to the backerboard, on each side of the tire to prevent lateral movement (please note that the 2×4’s seen along the perimeter of the backerboard are not needed for this device).
Within the video clip below, you can see how well this tire absorbs impact from a 16 pound sledgehammer. We can swing away without damaging the floor, and without worrying about the tire sliding.
Another vertical tire option that I’ve seen involves burying half of the tire in the ground. You would then strike the exposed rubber. This option may not be landscaper friendly however, and certainly will not score you any points with the neighbors.
Another option would be an outdoor sandpit. If you have the room for it, a sandpit can be used to absorb strikes from the sledgehammer. Flying sand may get messy however.
Therefore, if at all possible, I suggest using a tire. As seen above, you do not need a monster sized tractor tire to get the job done. With a few minutes of work, you can rig up a very durable striking device that will fit in the corner of your gym.
Whichever method you choose, you can’t go wrong with a regular dose of sledgehammer training. There is a reason why this old school modality has lasted so long. Plain and simple, it works. You can look back to greats such as Archie Moore and Ernie Shavers if you are wondering who has used the sledgehammer before you. If you want modern examples, how about the likes of Juan Manuel Marquez, Kelly Pavlik, Jermain Taylor, and Chuck Liddell (just to name a few). The list goes on and on…