Proper Way to Swing a Sledgehammer

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If you chose the vertical stance, you might also choose a vertical swing. For this position, swing the handle of the sledgehammer so that it's behind your back before you swing, rather than at your side. Slip your dominant hand farther away from the head so that it is only a few inches from your other hand. Swing the sledge over your head for a forward blow, instead of a diagonal one.

Users swing hammers for carpentry, construction and fitness purposes.

Knowing the proper way to swing a sledgehammer can keep you safe while working with one. Some users employ sledgehammers to drive objects into the ground, such as stakes, or to break hard objects like concrete. Others use it as a workout tool to build muscle and endurance. The swinging method for both needs is similar, as both rely on your dominant arm to steer the sledgehammer and your less coordinated arm to deliver the strength.

Step 1

Pick up the sledgehammer with your weaker hand. For instance, the left hand of a right-handed user is the weaker hand. Hang onto it near the bottom end, or handle butt.

Step 2

Grasp the handle a few inches below the sledgehammer head with your dominant hand.

Step 3

Choose whether you wish to stand directly in front of your target for a vertical swing or slightly to the side for a diagonal swing. According to, a vertical swing proves harder to deliver with a very heavy sledgehammer, so a diagonal stance might be your best option if you are a beginner or if you are using a heavy sledgehammer.

Step 4

Position your feet according to your choice of stance. For a diagonal stance, place the foot on the side of your weaker hand closer to your target, with your dominant foot slightly behind you. For the vertical stance, stand with your feet shoulder width apart, centering yourself in front of the target. You should be only a couple feet away from your target.

Step 5

Bring the sledgehammer head at the same level as your own head on your dominant side. Lift it into the air, then drive it into the center of your target. Your dominant hand should direct the sledge in its path, while your non-dominant hand delivers the weight of the blow.


Rochelle Connery

Rochelle Connery is a professional freelance author and has been writing skin care, travel, music and technology how-to articles since 2006. She has played piano for over 15 years, is a professional songwriter and holds her B.A. in communications from Louisiana Baptist University.