Until I started to learn to swing Indian clubs, I only slept in 20 minute intervals, woken up by pain. Talk about being miserable…
The joys of improved mobility include everything from less pain, better coordination, more flexibility, and even the calm that follows complex movement patterns.
These are some of the things you will experience when learning to swing Indian clubs, as I did.
How I got into club swinging
My name is Ron Bader, CEO for Heroic Sport. I discovered Indian clubs a few years after I had a near death experience falling from a scaffolding in 2009. In a flash, I went from being active and fit, to partially disabled before turning 50.
You can read about my story by clicking here but what I really want to talk about in this article, is how got into club swinging, how Indian clubs helped me, and above all, what I liked about them compared to other rehab methods.
I am positive that they can help you feel better and move better too!
A chance meeting
Thierry Sanchez, the head trainer at Heroic Sport, is the guy who introduced me to Indian clubs and made it possible for me to turn my life around. We met by chance, thanks to his wife.
The programs Thierry developed for me back at the end of 2012 were not so much about the weight of the club but more about movement patterns and good technique. We trained both single and double club techniques.
This is essential when you want to learn to swing Indian clubs. The first 6 months, I only used clubs weighing 1kg, and by the end I had regained all the muscle mass around my neck and shoulders!
My Indian clubs training recommendations & tips
In the beginning, do not stress your muscles, tendons and joints by using to much weight or training for too long at a time. Think of doing an extended warm up.
The more fluid the movement is, the better. I do my best to remember the general fundamentals like, letting the club be an extension of my arm whenever possible. Reach for the sky!
I do my best to make sure I train in both directions, both sides and with both hands. I always try and look at the clubs turning my whole head and not just moving my eyes. This acted like a massage for my neck and took away a lot of the stress from the frustration of being broken.
Use your stomach muscles and try to keep a straight back, this allow your shoulders and hips to move. I felt this protected my lower back too.
Standing tall also means you can breathe in and out to full capacity. More oxygen going to the brain and cells, gotta love it!
Remember to breathe in when the clubs swing up and breathe out when they swing down.
The beauty of Indian clubs
I visualize training with Indian clubs as a type of music. The swinging movements are based on circles, or parts of it. In short, club swinging is just a series of large, medium, and small circles, with arcs and waves tied together by the momentum of the clubs in motion.
It’s quite beautiful actually, because the movements can be very simple or complicated, and you can change the tempo. This unleashes the laws of Physics and centripetal forces. Suddenly that light club you were swinging generates lots of forces, pulling you off balance.
Indian clubs versus other rehab methods
The beauty of swinging clubs is that you do not need external clues! Your body instantly and intuitively reacts to keep you in balance. This is the same reactive training effect that happens when using tools like balance beams and Swiss balls etc… Your core gets involved in each movement too.
The 4 years before I met Thierry, I tried every physical treatment and rehab therapy available. Nothing helped, I was going nowhere, and I felt like a lost case.
I believe that the brain damage I suffered when I hit the ground, made it very hard for me to focus on external cues from the therapists. I was very confused during this period, my temporary memory being unreliable. Therapists got frustrated, I got frustrated.
On that first Indian clubs lesson, I swung my arms in different planes of motion, so that Thierry could evaluate and come up with progressions. I could not even lift my arms to shoulder level!
My only job was to hold on to the clubs and do small amplitude movements. Nothing more.
Basically, we were doing loaded mobility with an odd shaped piece of wood, exploring what training with momentum was all about.
After that initial 30 minute session, I was hooked, I felt my whole body activate and react in ways the other therapies hadn’t come close.
At each practice, the momentum pulled the clubs a little bit higher up without me having to actively thing about it. Thierry taught me how to generate momentum from the hips, relaxing at the shoulders.
One of the main things, is that we always trained at a pain free level. Uncomfortable, yes. Painful, no.
The interesting about describing circles with a displaced weight at the end of the arm is the effect of the centripedal force and a long lever arm. The forces generated by swinging Indian clubs create joint separation or traction. It sounds awful, but as long as it’s gentle, it’s highly therapeutic!
Thierry expained how the Indian club complex and rhythmic patterns improve neuroplasticity. Basically, with the right stimulus, the brain can reorganize its structure, functions, and connections. I realized my thoughts were clearer and more focused.
That was my introduction to meditation in motion, and this tag line came up on my way home “Reboot your mind and body”.
I was a long way from recovery, but it was a fantastic, and new, feeling of hope.
You can easily learn to swing Indian clubs from home!
I invented the Pahlavandle™not only to make it affordable for anyone to get started, but also to make it easy to select and adjust the proper club weight for you. This ensures safety and efficacy while learning.
2 soda pop, or sparkling water plastic bottles are the only other thing you’ll need to start and progress. By filling a 1,5 liter bottle with sand or winter salt, you’ll have a set of 3kg clubs, and all the sizes in between. Start upcycling those bottles!
You can even stack handles together to increase leverage and create new sensations.
Step by step tutorials
Teaming up with Thierry was the obvious choice to create programs for beginners which you can download. We now offer a wide variety of club swinging styles, tutorials and programs.
Following our step by step approach, people from around the world have had success learning at home, at heir own pace.
Right from the beginning you will get the urge to free style and incorporate squats, switching directions and swing behind the back. Moving our body in this way, we light up parts of your brain we don’t use as often as we should.
Like dancing, you can always add a move to make a routine more interesting or complicated or just keep repeating to work up a sweat.
It’s limitless. Its magical. You’re going to love it as much as I do!