Charlene, Dominick, and I spent this past weekend expanding our training knowledge while getting our mind’s blown at an Indian Club seminar in King of Prussia, PA. The seminar was hosted by the phenomenal coach and StrongFirst Master Instructor Phil Scarito.
So what is an Indian Club you ask? These amazing tools are less on people’s radar than kettlebells when it comes to fitness. Indian clubs are a tool that is used for restorative exercise and have actually been used for fitness regimens dating back thousands of years to Hindu traditions. The British brought Indian Clubs back from India where they were used primarily as training tools for soldiers and police. They were introduced to America in the 19th century, and were especially popular during the fitness movement of the Victorian Era, temporarily becoming an Olympic sport in 1904. The clubs were, and actually still are, widely used as part of physical education programs in American schools and military training programs.
Indian clubs are phenomenal for improving shoulder mobility, promoting stable body posture, brain function (getting that right side to work with the left), coordination, and even have a meditative quality to it. The clubs look like juggling batons from the circus and are either plastic or wood (preferred) with a long skinny handle. Depending on the shape of the club, the weight may be centered more around the middle of the handle or focused at the end as shown in the variations pictured below..
During our two day seminar we learned the basic principles, form and moves of the indian club exercises. At first I thought how can we fill up a whole day let alone a whole weekend with these tools? Answer: easily! There are so many aspects and little nuances to this skill you spend years trying to master. Every movement has a reason and they all relate to proper joint movement and integrity. By the end of each day our crew felt great physically and slightly taxed mentally. Forcing your body to avoid natural shortcuts in movement (which our bodies normally want to do), with these patterns taxes the body neurologically. The practice opened up our thoracic spine and shoulders. In one day’s time Dominick’s shoulder range of motion increased by about 20 degrees!
Indian clubs are a practice that takes patience and time to learn and develop. They are great tools to improve your weight training, posture and overall body awareness. Look forward to seeing them in the near future at Anchor!