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Clubs Swinging - Not Just for the shoulder?

February 4, 2013 02:21 PM

jeff falkowski cropped
Being a former professional athlete I spent many years tearing my body up both in the gym and on the field.  Since then I have been working as a strength coach/trainer for over 20 years and on a quest to find the most effective ways to help restore my body and those of my clients back to a healthy, functional and hopefully pain free state.  In simple terms our primitive form. 

It is this quest that lead to my exposure and use of Indian Clubs. Though club swinging has been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years, it has seen its popularity and use in this country come and go.  Do to the likes of Dr. Ed Thomas, Brett Jones and Grey Cook, club swinging is starting to have a revival.  

I remember first seeing the clubs at my RKC certification.  My first thought was that they were miniature bowling pins used to inflict pain to inattentive RKC participants (as if KB didn’t do a good enough job).  Thus I wanted to stay as far away from them as possible   One day I saw Master RKC Brett Jones swing them around in funny circular patterns and I asked what they were used for?  After brief explanation how they can be used to improve mobility, stability and muscle coordination especially of the shoulder, Brett told me about the upcoming CICS.  With my interest sparked and knowing that respected strength professionals like Brett, Jeff O’Conner and David Whitley were involved, I signed up, no further questions asked.

Turned out to be one of the best investments I have made in my career as a strength coach.   

Besides those often mentioned benefits like restoring shoulder mobility and strength, improving elbow and wrist flexibility, lubricating the joints and enhancing upper body range of motion and stability.  The indian clubs have also been known to improve coordination and enhance neural efficiency and brain function.  

It is the ladder that I personal have seen the most benefits in my clients (all of which use club swinging in some part of their training, no matter age, back ground or training goals)  In my opinion "EVERYONE" can benefit from club swinging.  

Since I started using indian clubs with my clients I have not just noticed an improvement in shoulder health and a decrease in pain but I have also seen an improvement in all  other exercises and an over all quality of movement.  On top of that even the least coordinated of my clients have started to make that mind body connection and have shown signs of being able to self correct their exercises.  This has lead me to challenge them with new exercises that I never thought would be possible for them to handle.  

I believe that the neuromuscular efficiency and coordination that is developed during club swinging is carried over to the rest of the body.  I also attest that learning to make the mind body connection that is inherent during club swinging makes it easier to establish that connection through out the rest of the body.  

Club swinging is something that everyone can do with little to no risk of injury and it is a great tool for building confidence in a client.  At first the movements feel very awkward, and difficult to do but improvement can be seen in a relatively short time. That is when you have them hooked. (Though true mastery will take many years of diligent practice)

Indian Clubs do provide great benefit to the shoulder joint as well as the elbow and wrists.  But don’t overlook the importance of the internal benefits of the mind and neuromuscular systems.  These have shown in my experience to carry over to all other aspects of ones training.  

In short I challenge you to pick up your own set of funny looking bowling pins and start swinging.....

Jeff Falkowski is a Boston based strength and conditioning professional with Over 20 years of experience as a strength coach and fitness trainer. Attended the University of Richmond where he received a BA in exercise science with a double concentration in exercise physiology and sports management. He also received a minor in health education with a focus on nutrition. Certifications: RKC, HKC, NSCA CSCS, NSCA CPT, TRX Certified Trainer, FMS certified, USA Weightlifting Coach, NASM CPT, NASM Sports Performance Specialist, NESTA post-rehabilitation trainer, Pre-Post Natal certified trainer, USA licensed boxing coach. Athletic Background includes playing NCAA D1 Football and Soccer, NFL Europe, Arena football, Semi-pro soccer, Amateur Boxer.