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My Favorite Active Recovery Session: Indian Clubs

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

One of my favorite active recovery sessions is the Indian Clubs. They build strength and improve posture and joint integrity. This tool is fantastic, especially for those who sit in front of a computer all day. Are you hunched over from holding a 9-pound infant for a few hours? You all know how that feels. Shoot, that 9-pound baby feels like 100 pounds after 20 minutes. Or if you are an athlete that does a lot of overhead work (press, jerk, push-press, snatch), the Indian Club should become your best friend.

Persian wrestlers and warriors initially used the Indian Club to improve strength and mobility when preparing for competition or battle. British soldiers stationed in India adopted the exercises and brought the practice home.

Indian Clubs made their way to the US and incorporated into school physical education classes and military training programs. They have even made an appearance in the Olympics! This older tool is finally gaining popularity today.

I was first introduced to the Indian Clubs about ten years ago and have since incorporated them into my active recovery sessions or between overhead pressing sets. When it comes to active recovery, the harder you train during a training session, you need to focus on the active recovery days (I prefer active recovery over rest days). An active recovery day shouldn't break down the muscle, and the heart rate should be under 60% of your max.

Due to the shoulder's mobility, it is also a joint that can easily be injured. The circular motions of the Indian Clubs help protect and strengthen the shoulder, elbows and wrists. I recommend starting with the 1lb clubs. (They do go heavier, but I still have to improve my form, and there is no point in increasing the weight). The club's weight slightly pulls the shoulder out of the joint, moves the synovial fluid in the joint space, and moves more oxygen to the space while getting rid of the bad stuff.

I just finished an active recovery session that included 2 minutes of jump rope followed by 2 minutes of Indian Clubs for 40 minutes of work. I had my HR monitor on to ensure I stayed under 60% of my max. CLICK HERE to see a clip of the session.

Due to the holiday season, the past few days I spent holding my 6-week-old son a ton. Let me tell you, my shoulder and neck from that little 9-pound nugget were jacked up! What a difference now after getting the Indian Clubs in. I love adding the jump rope in as well because in both the Indian Clubs and jump rope, and you really can't cheat and need good posture to get it done.

Today is the final day of 2021. Let's make movement a priority in 2022 and dial in those active recovery sessions as well!

Happy New Year!


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