Welcome to the beginning of the Ultimate Steel Club Guide.
What is a steel club?
Steel clubs, also known as heavy clubs or clubbells, are steel weights that are shaped similar to bowling pins. They were originally developed in ancient Persia for conditioning soldiers and wrestlers.
Steel clubs are a very popular source of strength training for wrestlers in the India region to develop kinetic strength and musculature.
Weight and length are the two key elements when selecting a steel club. Steel clubs can weigh from 5lbs to 45lbs and are 18 to 28 inches long.
Steel clubs are incredible tools for not only building strength—but also grip, balance, and power in the forearm, shoulder, and core region.
Training with steel clubs often includes lifting and swinging motions. This is the most effective way to train balance and spatial awareness. It helps improve balance most effectively in comparison to other weight training tools.
Swing speed is very important when training with steel clubs. Because the weight of the club and the speed at which it is swung produces a rotational force.
This rotational force opens up your joints, particularly your wrist, elbow, and shoulder joints. This helps you develop your strength, stability, and mobility.
Shoulder stability and power is one of the greatest benefits of training with a steel club.
There is no other training tool you can swing with one hand that produces the kind of rotational force a steel club does.
Steel clubs are available in singles or in pairs. Many steel club exercises can be done with a pair of clubs, with one in each hand.
The heavier clubs can weigh up to 45lbs and are held using both hands. This makes them sufficient for lower body training.
Steel Club Benefits
You should always consider the uses and benefits of your training tools. Here are the benefits of using steel clubs in your training:
Mobility & Stability:
Mobility and stability are some of the hugest benefits steel clubs have to offer. The combination of pullover, rotational, and swinging drills and exercises, in different planes of motion (sagittal, frontal and transverse planes) helps you increase your range of motion and muscular stability.
By training through a large ranges of motion via rotational exercises, you are creating a tractional force in your joints rather than compressive force.
Compressive exercises, like squats, bench press, and deadlifts, compress your joints and shorten your connective tissue. Meanwhile, tractional exercises decompress your joints and length your connective tissue.
In fact, many things we do in our daily life compress our joints. So, implementing exercises that use tractional force will curb and oppose connective tissue and joint degeneration.
Shoulder Mobility, Strength and Endurance:
Shoulders are some the most complex joints in human body.
Most people only train their shoulders with push and lateral motions. Steel club training works the shoulders in a completely different manner.
Instead, the steel club trains the shoulders through rotational movements.
When performing rotational and swinging exercises, you are also engaging muscles that assist the shoulder. This includes your core muscles and rotator cuff. Which helps build your overall stability tremendously.
These steel club rotational exercises build onto movement patterns that will improve your ability to throw a punch, swing a tennis racket, or contort your body during a rock climb.
Steel club rotational exercises will enhance your endurance, durability and strength in all of your movements.
Which is why they are highly recommended training tools to develop joint stability and mobility.
Steel Clubs ranging from 5lbs to 10lbs are particularly beneficial for rehabilitating joints, tendons, and small muscles. They are also great for active recovery to prepare for your next intense workout.
Developing balance control over the weight helps stabilize and strengthen the structures that need rehabilitation.
Steel clubs are popular among wrestlers for developing a strong grip.
Steel club training helps enhance grip strength and physical dexterity, similar to that of a kettlebell. But more effectively by differentiating the weight distribution across the fingers.
By design, the weight of a steel club is unevenly distributed, which displaces the weight away from your grip. This causes your grip to be challenged in ways that most fitness tools can’t replicate. Ultimately, your grip strength will vastly increase.
At various parts of a movement, the stress an exercise places on the hand forces adaptation over time. Resulting in the user becoming more efficient and preventing fatigue.
Steel clubs have proven to be extremely beneficial for improving grip strength for those who are recovering from injuries and have a weak grip.
Of course, it’s not only beneficial for those who are rehabbing their grip strength. Increased dexterity and grip strength can help maximize efficiency, strength and endurance in all kinds of racquet and bat-related sports like tennis, lacrosse, baseball, cricket, etc.
During your steel club training, by learning how to slow the momentum of a swing you develop decelerative strength. Decelerative strength is useful for minimizing risks of injury because in many sports and training, injuries are the result of lacking control.
This kind of physical control is not only important in sports activities, but also in daily functional living.
In fact, many injuries are not even result of contact. Instead they are caused by an inability to decelerate or change directions quickly.
KINAESTHETIC TRAINING (BALANCE AND COORDINATION)
Kinesthetic training means training for body awareness, i.e. balance and coordination.
Due to the offset weight of a steel club, steel club exercises are very similar to unilateral training. Unilateral training (like split squats, lunges, one arm presses) is necessary for increasing balance, coordination and core stability.
By performing a single arm exercise with a steel club, you are combining unilateral training and offset training for improving balance, coordination and core stability.
The steel club will help in improving sports performance as most sports require exceptional balance and coordination. This is why you see a lot of unilateral training in athletic programs, and that is a major cause of the athletic community is taking to the steel club like no other.
This benefit of steel club training essentially goes hand in hand with kinesthetic training. By training for balance and coordination, you are increasing core stability. Core stability is best trained through anti-rotational exercises. Powerful core stability will allow you to take force from one side while maintaining balance. Football, basketball and soccer players greatly understand the importance of this.
Decompress Your Joints and Tissues
Most weight-training exercises tighten your body up. Let’s think of what happens to your spine when you do a back squat: the bar rests on your back, shoving your vertebrae closer together. And when you push heavy weights, your shoulders and elbows get squeezed.
Continually compressing your joints, and shortening the muscles that act on them, can lead to pain and loss of flexibility. But using steel clubs can help alleviate both.
You can strengthen a joint with traction just like you can with compression. Pulling the joints apart makes the muscles and connective tissues work to hold the joint together, and it’s a nice counterbalance to compressive forces you get in your other training.
Steel Club Starting Weight: What size should I get?
Steel clubs are more nuanced than a kettlebell or a dumbbell. They take a bit of technique and skill to perform correctly, so it is recommended to start with a lighter weight and gradually increase over time. They are particularly useful in pairs; however, many lifts can be completed with just a single club.
Weight selection for steel club
This is the most important key point. For beginners, it is recommended that you should not start with steel club heavier than 10 to 15 pounds. Some trainer suggests that male can start with 15 pounds steel club and female can start with 10 pounds steel club.
Weight selection also depends a lot on:
- Skill level
- Body weight or fitness level
Note: Keep in mind the weight of a steel club is not evenly distributed like a dumbbell.
Another important factor in deciding the size of steel club is the purpose of your training and your current ability level. If you want to use Steel Clubs for recovery and mobility purpose, you’ll need lighter weights (5-10lbs). In contrast, if you are somewhat proficient and want to work on strength and conditioning, you will need one or two moderate weights (15-25lbs). If you are advanced and have great technique, you might opt for heavier clubs (35-45lbs).
When in doubt, it is recommended to go one size smaller than what you think will be good for you. If you think a pair of 20lb clubs would be good, consider choosing a pair of 15lbs instead. Because If you choose the heavier option, you might not be able to perform the exercise properly. It’s always better to start light.
Get the Heavy Club Training Approved Steel Club here.
How to use a steel club?
Before using a steel club in your training sessions, consider the following points:
- Weight of the steel club
- Length of steel club
- Your current strength and stability
- Your primary goals
- Precautionary measures
If you try to use any new piece of training equipment incorrectly, it can lead to unnecessary injury. Before using steel clubs, your should first learn proper techniques under supervision of fitness instructor.
It is very important to completely analyze movement patterns and swings motions while your instructor is demonstrating for you. You want to make sure you get the entire movement correct. So take safety precautions and practice any parts of the movement that need improvement
Check out the list of steel club exercises and movements here.
- Therapeutic Exercise book by Carol Kisner