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Indian Clubs?

JLibourel

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Does anybody here use Indian clubs as part of their fitness regimen, or have you used them? I just started incorporating a medicine ball into some of my training and like it a lot. The influence for this was a trainer at whose gym I have been having private sessions. This was an anniversary gift from my wife--the sessions, not the medicine ball, which I got at a giveaway price from the trainer. This got me to thinking about another piece of olde-timey equipment, Indian clubs. I gather they do still have a following these days. When I mentioned them to my trainer, he was quite enthusiastic and said he wished he had a pair. Although I have been aware of the existence of Indian clubs, until the past few days I knew nothing about their use. In fact, I thought they were named for my Native American kinsmen, for whom the club was a common weapon, but just learned they have their origins in the "real," Asian India.

Anyway, if anybody has used them, please let me know if you consider this a worthwhile method of training and if you recommend the acquisition of a pair of clubs. I was thinking of 2-pounders for starters.
 

JLibourel

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Thought I would post an update on this matter. At the beginning of this month I purchased two pairs of clubs (1-pound and 2-pound) and have been training with them on every day I don't hit the iron. (I do the elliptical machine and train abs and core every day, weights every other day.) I'll have to say that I am enjoying them immensely. They are a very fun way to exercise and can be quite strenuous. I find myself flushed and a bit winded after 20 or 25 minutes of vigorous club swinging, definitely more so than a like amount of time on the elliptical set at high resistance.

As one might expect, they primarily work the upper body--especially good for grip, forearms, deltoids, trapezius and lats. There are also a number of torso twists and such one can do with the clubs. In fact, there exists almost an infinity of different exercises one can perform with the clubs. I have been performing nearly all the exercises with the 2-pounders. The 1-pounders have been of such limited utility that I rather regret their purchase, but perhaps they will be helpful if I try to master some of the more complex moves down the road. My wife, who is extremely fit, has also taken to the clubs, and she uses the 2-pounders exclusively. I suspect I may be springing for a pair of 3-pounders before too many months elapse.

The man I bought them from is a fascinating and colorful character--Richard "Army" Maguire, who is evidently quite an expert on these and similar devices and appears in a number of videos on the topic. He lives not far from me. He is a much braver man than I: He spent much of his career as an elephant trainer. He told me he has known eight men who were killed by the elephants. I wouldn't want to get near one of those flighty, horribly dangerous brutes! His website, in which he features Indian clubs and similar devices, is: www.agelesstrength.com
 

JLibourel

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Just thought I'd update this. In my previous post, I mentioned that I might be upgrade to three-pounders. Well, I did so last week. The clubs actually weight about 3 pounds 6 ounces. The difference between them and the 2-pounders is huge--far greater than I would have imagined. I suspect that at my season of life I shall never need anything heavier. They certainly give you a far more strenuous workout than the 2-pounders. For many of the exercises, I prefer them to the lighter clubs. For some movements, I still use the 2-pound clubs, however. I find that my grip and forearm tire much more quickly with the heavier clubs.

Club swinging has become my favorite form of exercise. It's just a great deal of fun. I always have a big grin on my face when I'm swinging the clubs. My wife has also become very fond of them. She remarked, "There's just no downside to them." One can swing the clubs out in the garden, which is much more enjoyable than indoors. My wife believes there has been a noticeable improvement in my posture or carriage since I started swinging the clubs a little over four months ago.
 

HORNS

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Isn't that what the Iron Sheik used?
 

JLibourel

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^Yes and no. The Iron Sheik used 75 pound Persian "meels." These are huge, ponderous affairs, very different from the lightweight Indian clubs that became popular in the West during much of the 19th and early 20th century. The concept of club training spread from Persia to India, there being close cultural affinities between Persia and northern India in those days. British officers involved in subjugating India were impressed with the concept of club training, but only the lighter clubs ever became popular in the West. The fellow I bought my clubs from, Richard "Army" Maguire, has practiced training with meels, has offered them for sale and had some in his shop, but he tells me he is getting out of the club business to go on to other endeavors.
 

JLibourel

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I just thought I'd update this thread to mention that I recently added a pair of five-pound clubs to my array. Definitely bulkier and more ponderous than the 3 1/2 pounders I had been using exclusively for the past few months. At present I am doing 17 movements with the clubs, typically for about a minute each. I am using the five-pounders for nine of the movements, the 3.5 pounders for eight. I swing the clubs every day. I also do various "floor" exercises--abs, flexibility--daily. I am doing kettlebell training on alternate days--three sequences of five exercises, all with a 53-pound kettlebell (hoping to upgrade to a 62-pounder before too long). On the days when I don't swing the kettlebell, I do about 15 minutes of sledgehammer training followed by some time on our elliptical machine.
 

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