We are going to show you 5 Indian club exercises you can do with a kettlebell.
This article is written for people who train with kettlebells, regardless it’s competition or hardstyle, and are curious about training with Indian clubs.
It’s always great to get a bit of taste for new things at no risk!
After putting our advice to use, you’ll be able feel for yourself what circular training can do for you.
Kettlebells are more commonplace than Indian clubs
Kettlebells are found in most gyms these days, and you can even buy them in some supermarkets. If you train at home, chances are you have a kettlebell. You could even improvise and use a barbell plate instead.
The kettlebell, with its offset center of mass can be used as a substitute for some classical club swinging exercises.
The leverage and grip requirements of a club are of course not comparable, and the exercise won’t feel as fluid as if using a club, but sometimes, it’s better to make do rather than not do at all!
Depending on the weight of the kettlebell you have at your disposal, some of the exercises could be done with one hand, but in this article we’re going to stick to a moderate weight to replicate swinging a mudgar with 2 hands.
12 or 16kg kettlebell for men and maybe 8kg for ladies is a good place to start. But always remember to use common sense, and go lighter if needed!
Get a feel for circular training with those 5 Indian club exercises
You probably have done some circular training with your kettlebell along the way, or even some kettlebell juggling. Exercises like ”figure 8”, ”around the body pass” and ”halo” are pretty much common place after all.
Let’s take a look at 5 Indian club exercises, how they are performed with a club, and how to adapt them to do them with a kettlebell.
In the video, I demonstrate the basics front and back circles, and how to link them into a full swing, also known as “mill” or “heart shaped swing”.
I also demonstrate reverse 8s and the horizontal swipe.
After you practice those 5 Indian club exercises, you’ll be ready to do the following short and energetic workout!
Metal or wooden clubs?
I have to stress, that metal clubs have a different weight distribution and length compared to wooden clubs, making metal clubs under 6kg swing rather poorly in general.
If you’re going to purchase a metal club regardless of my advice, make sure to buy one that has a small pommel rather than one the size of an apple. Big pommels just get in the way of your wrists.
Our wooden clubs have a fantastic design where weight, balance and length have been optimized to provide a smooth swinging experience.
Starting weight and how many reps should I do?
In the karlakattai tradition, they advise starting with a club roughly no heavier than 6% of bodyweight for the first 6 months. A single exercise is repeated for 108 repetitions.
You can’t just do 5 reps of club swinging and expect to gain anything from it. Club swinging exercises are done for high reps or timed sets. Sets of 20 reps are a bare minimum as a general rule. Of course, if you’re mixing elements as in our circuit training above, you have to take the desired effect of the training into consideration, and may break this rule.
The high reps reinforce the new neuro-muscular connections you create by learning new skills, and they help lubricate the joints and strengthen the connective tissues. Leave the powerlifting mentality out of club swinging.
Don’t buy the heaviest club on the market!
Unless you only plan on doing a few basic exercises, avoid buying a club that is too heavy for you, or the heaviest you can afford. Too many people make that mistake, and become frustrated or injured early into their journey.
To put things into perspective, let’s compare kettlebells and clubs.
When I started training with kettlebells in 2007, there were 3 sizes. 16, 24, 32kg.
16kg was what I’d call a moderate all around weight. It allowed me to learn all exercises with a good feedback from the tool, and get some challenge at the same time. I still use use my 16kg kettlebell to this day.
Because of weight distribution, a 16kg club for me is a heavy club if I have to swing it one handed. AT that weight, I have to use i mostly 2 handed. So you have to take this into consideration.
A moderate weight club for me is a 6kg club, or roughly 9% of my bodyweight. I can comfortably do all exercises with a single hand. Simply going to a 8kg club (11-12% of my bodyweight) changes everything, and gets my full attention.
Moderation is not sexy but…
By far, the largest diversity of exercises lay in a moderate weight club. This will be your go to club for most of the time, due to its versatility.
A club that is too light (or too short) will not give you the optimal feedback to develop fluid motions.
A club that is too heavy will be frustrating or risky as you try to perform more complex swings or moves that involve your wrists.
Of course, everything being relative, as you get more skilled and stronger, you will still want to have a new and ”heavier” moderate club.
Having the possibility of increasing the weight of the club is a strong selling point for adjustable clubs rather than buying a whole set of clubs.
You can start light enough to concentrate on technique, and gradually add weight as you improve your skills and fitness.
What about small Indian clubs?
Small Indian clubs were created by the British after they observed the Hindu wrestlers train with the large mudgars.
Making the clubs smaller was more practical for mass training the troops, and it caught on with the public in Europe. Clubs eventually became even lighter and were introduced into rhythmic gymnastics, and swung in amazingly complex and fancy patterns.
Indeed swinging 2 light clubs opens up an amazing repertoire of exercises that not only target mobility, but also work on cross lateral coordination and disassociation of left -right sides of the body. Check out our kraken complex below!
How to get started with clubs!
Regardless of what style you plan to do, the Pahlavandle is the most affordable option to get started with club swinging since they are adjustable up to 3kg and you can stack the handles to create a light mudgar.
Our 37€ starter pack includes a set of Pahlavandle and 2 hours of quality instruction, where we cover both open (light) and closed (heavy) style. That’s over 20€ of savings for hours of training and healthier, happier shoulders!