This article covers pretty much everything you need to know about Indian clubs for beginners.
I’m going to advise you on how to choose a set of clubs, what they can help you with, safety tips and a full lesson plan to follow.
How to pick the right set of Indian clubs
Let’s take a quick look at length, weight, design and material of Indian clubs.
Chances are that if you are interested in Indian clubs, what you have in mind is actually a set of light clubs the Brits designed after their stay in India.
Basically, what you need to realize is that there are 2 main categories of Indian clubs: light (open style) and heavy (closed style).
With light clubs, you’ll mostly will be working on mobility, coordination, muscular endurance and well being.
Heavy clubs were more specifically used for wrestlers and warriors, and have more of a focus on strength. But at the end of the day, circles are circles, and even if the technique changes a bit, the cross overs of each style are huge.
If you are unsure you will like the training, light clubs will generally be cheaper, so it makes sense to start there. This is what we are going to cover in this article.
The ideal clubs for a beginner are not too short, not too long.
No shorter than from elbow to finger tips, no longer than knuckles to armpit.
The advice is based on old classical texts. For ladies, up to 750 grams, for men up to 1,2kg. The clubs have to be light enough so that you can hold them at straight arms to mark key positions while learning, but heavy enough so that you get some feedback through the swings.
Design & shape
Bristish style clubs typically come in bottle shape or tear drop shape (think mini mace). The more weight towards the end of the club, the easier and faster will it spin.
Avoid handles that are too thin, like on the clubs used for rhythmic gymnastics which by the way are too light for beneficial Indian clubs exercises, except maybe for small kids.
Knobs come in many designs, from flat to round and mainly are a matter of personal preference. Leave the details to people who love arguing on internet forums!
Wood is the traditional material providing perfect balance and weight distribution.
Stay away from metal clubs for British style club swinging.
The Pahlavandle, while made of plastic, offers the same smooth swinging as a wooden club of the same shape, and provides several undeniable advantages.
It’s very affordable, and soft if you should hit yourself with it in the early learning stages.
And you can vary the bottle shape, the bottle size, and use water or gravel and sand to change the weight. You can see how well the Pahlavandle swings compared to wooden clubs in the video below.
Ron designed the Pahlavandle with both the beginner and traveler in mind. It’s simply your best buy when getting started with Indian clubs!
What can Indian clubs do for you?
Regardless that you swing heavy or light Indian clubs, you can expect physical and mental benefits.
Physical aspects of swinging Indian clubs
- Gently mobilizes the shoulders, elbows and wrists and improve range of motion
- Strengthens the shoulder girdle and grip ( muscles and connective tissues) in its full range of motion
- Consists of compound movements in multiple planes
- Provides low impact cardiovascular exercise
- Assists recovery from intense training
- Improves the 3 pillars of physical literacy (body control , locomotion and object control)
Mental aspects of swinging Indian clubs
- It is fun and you forget you are training.
- The rhythmic and repetitive patterns are highly meditative and calm the nervous system, like meditation.
- Cross crawl exercises and other challenging moves improve learning capacity and stimulate neurogenesis, the creation of new brain cells.
Safety & advice
- Check your gear each session.
- Make sure you have clearance all around you.
- Be aware of the line of fire if you loose your grip on the club.
- Train within your limitations.
- Focus on smooth, rhythmic and graceful movements, slow down your moves, breathe and enjoy!
- In the beginning stages, consider club swinging as a health practice, not a workout.
Indian clubs for beginners, a full lesson plan
In 2018, we introduced a new beginner, who had never touched Indian clubs before, to our step by step approach. We got him to do heart shaped swings and different workouts with Indian clubs, documenting the whole thing on our Facebook page over 5 weekly 1 hour long episodes filmed live.
Due to the popular response, we kept the first episode of Indian clubs for beginners available for everyone.
It is a fantastic resource on how to get started with Indian clubs, and avoid classic mistakes.
The video has time stamps so that you can watch what is relevant for you or come back to a chapter later on.
After you have completed this lesson, you’ll be ready to further your knowledge with our club swinging 102.
0:00 introducing George
0:21 the goal of this video
0:35 getting to know George
3:46 short history of club swinging
4:06 big clubs and light clubs
5:00 the pahlavandle
6:33 sedentary lifestyles and problems
8:54 tips for optimal learning
9:49 who is Thierry
11:05 Indian clubs compared to kettlebells
13:23 countering bad posture
15:21 bare foot training
22:06 basic principles
28:29 swings by the side of the body
31:25 swings in front of he body
34:10 swings behind the back
40:00 swings behind the head
42:35 diagonal swings
47:44 using the wall
52:08 swings with 2 clubs
54:55 using the breath to engage the core
57:55 learn at your own pace
58:55 George gives his feedback
1:02:13 gentle short practice
1:05:45 being in the moment