Indian Clubs Stance and Speed
DISCLAIMER: the links to the source material are not affiliate links (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Our intention is to credit the source material as everything about the Professional Bar-Based Mobility system, a.k.a ProBar, is an amalgamation and aggregation of existing, time-tested concepts and educational material infused into one tool. We invite you to explore and purchase their products as they are of high value and we gleaned our knowledge from those sources and the individuals that curated and organized them, such as Brett Jones and Gray Cook in the two sources cited.
In the second part of our post from 2 weeks ago on how to swing Indian Clubs (or the ProBar as a (set of) club(s), we’re continuing the reverse-engineering of now discussing the standing stance.
Ideally, it is important to teach how to swing or turn (another word for it) your clubs from the ground up, by starting in a tall or half-kneeling stance. One of the main reasons for it is to ensure proper management of torque. As indicated in the CICS Manual and Club Swinging Essentials Copyright 2012 Functional Movement Systems, Gray Cook and Brett Jones: “once you are working in the standing posture, the full torque of Club swinging will be felt.”
Here is another excerpt from the manual.
There are several key points to consider in this posture:
1) From the ground up – Our connection to the ground is critical in whatever we choose to do, and Club Swinging is no different. The narrow stance with toes out facilitates the pelvis position desired and “forces” stability.
2) Pelvis Position – Once again, a neutral to slightly tilted back/upward pelvis is required. This will be challenging if you have not put in your work in Tall Kneeling and Open ½ Kneeling. If you start into your standing work and notice you fail to achieve the correct pelvis position, I encourage you to step back and revisit not only the Tall Kneeling position but also the progressions in Kettlebells From the Ground Up – Kalos Sthenos.
- Tall Spine – The same visual of a string in the center of the head pulling you straight and tall applies here, but all the way from the feet up.
4) Grounded – You are now tall and must have a strong connection to the ground. This was emphasized in the other postures but takes on special emphasis here since we have more body to stabilize from a narrow stance. Note in the picture that while I am in “tall spine”, the shoulders and the “weight” of the body are also focused down into the ground.
5) Squared off – The hips and shoulders remain squared off in standing as well.
6) Relaxed neck and face
7) Check and Re-check – Review the list frequently to ensure all key points are maintained.
Stability and form are critical at this point, so pay attention to the Club swinging Speed progressions.
When it comes to both speed and weight, “The Fast & the Heavy” is not a movie franchise you should be looking to start. I recall shortly after my early exploration of Indian Club patterns, exposed publicly on social media with a pair of 1-lb clubs, a friend of mine asked me if I’d had wielded a 15-lb club. The response was “no” and Brett Jones, who had taught me initially, interjected into the conversation about “the softer side of strength”.
Consider this: you life heavy barbells, kettlebells. Your strength is covered 🙂 Is your technique at slow speed, crisp, sharp and can you freeze-frame at any moment and remain in that stance? With the clubs’ offset center of mass, any weight exceeding 3-5lb will become a challenge. As a matter of fact, the ProBars in their dual weighted form weigh only at about 3-lb each, and their longer-than-average club dimensions make those 3-lb quite “torque-y”, to quote Elastigirl from The Incredibles 2 (she was referring to the electric motorcycle she was riding).
Here’s how speed is addressed in the referenced manual:
Club Swinging Speed
Your speed of movement is a vital component of Club swinging (…).
Start swinging the Clubs very slowly. There is a saying that “slow is smooth, smooth is fast,” and that is very true with Club swinging. The speeds that are possible during Club swinging exceed our ability to make adjustments during the movement unless our speed is slow enough to allow for feeling and adjustment. You must therefore take advantage of any opportunity to groove a perfect motion, one that cannot be disrupted by speed or load. Slow-motion patterning provides that opportunity.
Just as we crawl before we walk and walk before we run, there is an intermediate step in Club swinging, as well. The mid-range speed is where you begin to test the perfection of the groove you developed in the slow motion work.
Club swinging can be performed at a high rate of speed. This potential for speed demands respect. It’s important to keep in mind that weighted Clubs are being swung around your head. By the time you are ready to increase your speed, you will have spent a significant amount of time practicing the lower levels of speed. If there is one tip to keep in mind for perfecting fast fluid movement, it is to have a calm, stable center with relaxed arms.
Do not try to move the Clubs quickly. Rather, let the clubs move quickly.
Before you go, check out this video of the Royal Navy physical training instructors wielding Indian Clubs on their graduation day that ProBar Master Trainer James Neidlinger shared recently on social media.