WANT TO GO CLUBBING?
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Once again an ancient training method has been “rediscovered” and become the latest training flavour of the month. Indian clubs have reappeared from the ghosts of the physical culture movement of the lat 19th and early 20th Century. They became a part of physical training In Europe when the British “discovered” them when the East India Company and the British Army took over in the Indian subcontinent in the early 19th Century. How long they had been a part of physical training there is unknown but they are not unique to India, they are common in different cultures throughout that part of the world. The shape of the equipment ant the weights vary however the concepts for use are all similar. The name Indian clubs comes from the time when they Brits brought the training with them home from India, they were Indian clubs.
The general shape is a slender handle with a knob at the end which swells into a cylindrical shape, picture a bowling pin with a straight handle with a knob at the slim end. The weight varies from one pound upwards into the tens of pounds. The most commonly used ones are the one and two pounders. The monster ones are for major strength work.
If you look at pictures of gyms from the late 19th and early 20th Century you will see racks of Indian clubs along the walls along with that other “new” discovery kettlebells. I have three books in my library on how to use them, the oldest was copyrighted in1866, one was copyrighted 1902 and the third was copyrighted 1910. The United States Army adopted them for physical training in 1914 and readopted them for physical training in 2010
The work done with them is primarily for the upper body and is divided into two categories, fitness exercises and exhibition movements. The fitness exercises work the arms and shoulders primarily, increasing the range of motion as well as improving the muscles and coordination. While it may seem that the light weight would not be effective, having them at the end of a long lever, your arm and the club, increases the effect of the weight. When you swing the club rather than a continuous motion you stop the motion of the club each time you complete a movement. Exercises can be done using one club then the other or using both clubs simultaneously. Some exercises are combination exercises, for example swinging the clubs from alongside your legs up to vertical then lowering into a squat while bringing the clubs down to your shoulders. When you recover from the squat you extend the arms then swing them back to alongside your legs. A normal workout with clubs is a circuit as you move from one exercise to the next without a break until you have completed the circuit.
The exhibition movements are very complex and showy; they were developed to go along with the strongman exhibitions in vaudeville shows. These consist of a series of non stop movements to show dexterity and control without knocking yourself out with a misdirected club.
Indian clubs are not inexpensive ranging in price from $49.00 for composite material ones to $100 or more for beautiful turned wooden ones. As they become better known they will do what has occurred with kettlebells, more will be manufactured by different people and the price will come down. At this time the only places I know to get them are online vendors who are selling them in pairs with an instructional DVD.
YouTube has multiple videos showing how to use them and various different movements you can do with them.
Indian clubs are fun to use. are a good form of exercise and have a long history of successful use for physical improvement.