Why the Spud Inc. Econo Hammer?
As an amateur Highland Games athlete on a tight budget, the Spud Inc. Econo Hammer appealed to me as a safe, cost-effective way to practice throwing the Scottish heavy and light hammers.
I received mine from Rogue Fitness five days after it was ordered.
Getting anything shipped to your house from Rogue is always a pleasant experience. The box your order comes in rarely looks like it’s been anywhere but Rogue’s warehouse and the customer’s doorstep.
Opening the box, I found the same condition. A good amount of crumpled paper surrounded the plastic zipper bag in which my Econo Hammer was packaged. Beneath all this at was my invoice/packing slip, which had all the correct information.
I’ve never had an issue with products I’ve ordered from Rogue, but have called their customer service for items I’ve purchased second-hand. Their representatives are always prompt to answer and extremely helpful– even returning a call five minutes after closing on a Friday!
According to the Spud Inc. website, the Econo Hammer measures 30 inches long. It’s available in either black or yellow. I chose the black version.
Out of the package, the Econo Hammer is exactly how it looks in pictures. Constructed from an inch and a quarter wide nylon strap, with a more than a quarter inch thick steel ring which measures 2.5 inches, securely stitched to the strap with a reinforcing strip of nylon. The “handle” end of the strap is just the nylon folded on itself with even more stitching: Spud Inc. does not skimp on the stitching.
Assembly and Use
Loading the Hammer is simple. Just pass the handle through the hole of an Olympic plate (the strap’s width prevents it from being used with standard plates), and pull until the plate hits the steel ring. That’s it. Ready to throw. Centrifugal force holds the plate in place during the wind and release motions of throwing the Econo Hammer.
Spud Inc. uses the steel ring plate “retainer” system for several of their products. The Kettlestrap, the Swing Set straps and the Econo Tricep Pulley all make ingenious use of such a simple piece of hardware.
Throwing the Econo Hammer is actually very similar to throwing a traditional Scottish heavy hammer. The two main differences are the rectangular shape of the handle feels odd compared to the round rattan or PVC handle used in competition hammers, and the lack of stiffness a rattan or PVC handle provides at the start of the windup.
A few tosses in my backyard piqued the interest of my girlfriend’s eight year old, so I had to reduce the weight and give her a few throws. Switching back and forth, though not difficult, was just inconvenient, so I headed to the hardware store for the materials for a DIY Econo Hammer.
For less than five bucks, I had a steel ring and four and a half feet of ¾ inch nylon rope. I looped the rope through the ring, cinched it down tight with three zip ties, and voila! Now I had a copy cat that would accept standard plates. I tested it with 16 pounds of weight, and it held up just fine. Now my little training partner has her own practice hammer! You can watch my video comparison of the Spud Inc. Econo Hammer to the DIY version here.
I wanted to get a couple of my Highland Games friends to give it a few throws, and give me their opinions, but was unable to make our schedules mesh. So, I did the next best thing: I messaged another Highland Gamer who actually owns the Econo Hammer and asked her opinion. Her thoughts were the same as mine:
- easy to use
- the handle took some getting used to
- the ability to warm up with less weight than regulation, is good for reducing injuries.
Buy or DIY?
My final thoughts on the Spud Inc. Econo Hammer are that’s it’s extremely well made, easy to use (an eight year old and my brother who has no throwing experience, used it with ease), and a great value no matter where it’s purchased. As for my DIY hammer, my only complaint is the smaller diameter rope is harder to hold in my bigger hands, making it less desirable than the real deal, despite the extremely low price tag.
If you’re just getting into Highland Games or if you’re an experienced competitor rehabbing an injury, I’d highly recommend purchasing this product.