Clubbells have been used for centuries for strength and functional training. Their popularity has waxed and waned over the years but recently resurged because of the benefits of shoulder mobility. We’ll go through all you need to know about club training and the different types of club bells. Let’s get right to it.
Club Bell History
Strength training with club bells began with ancient civilizations years ago. Derived from Ancient Persia, Egypt, Greek, Indian, and Roman cultures, clubs were used for various reasons. Ancient Persia saw club bell training in strongman competitions. Strength and endurance were measured during these competitions as men swung clubs with brute force.
During the 1800s, British soldiers stationed in India used Indian clubs like modern-day club bells for their strength training and conditioning. It was in the early 1900s that club training came to the United States and became famous. It struggled into the late 1900s but regained admiration when unconventional strength training methods started to resurface in the 2000s. Fitness gurus began using kettlebell and club bell training to give customers a more comprehensive range of strength training measures outside the norm and make training fun. We have seen more of these ballistic exercises that involve throws or strikes.
Today, athletes use club training to improve grip strength and physical fitness. Since club bells provide better shoulder mobility, they are used in rehabilitation and to enhance functional movement.
Different Types of Club Bells
Not all club bells are the same. The different materials club bells determine what exercises are performed and what kind of rotational strength results. Below we’ll go into each type and describe the other activities that relate to each one.
Have you ever held a sledgehammer? They are heavy, and sledgehammer clubs are no different. They are made with a heavy-weighted head attached to a handle, mimicking a sledgehammer. Because of the similarities to a sledgehammer, many exercises are similar to what you would do when using a sledgehammer. Exercises like club bell swings or overhead presses are common in these clubs.
Shaped like a hexagon, the hex club’s handles are in the center of the club. Hex clubs are more versatile than sledgehammer clubs that utilize only a few exercises. Club training with hex clubs includes presses, swings, and rotational strength movements.
Round Club Bells
A round club bell is shaped like a cylinder with a handle on one end. Rotational strength exercises are familiar with round club bells. Anything from chops to carries to swings is on the table with round club bells.
Gripper Club Bells
The truth is in the name yet again. Gripper club bells focus on grip strength. They are similar to round club bells, except the grip is narrow and made to be used in one hand. Any kind of grip strength training or functional movement exercises are excellent with this kind of club bell.
Adjustable Club Bells
Adjustable club bells are the way to go when you want to add more weight to your club bell for increased upper-body strength. The handle allows for weight to be added or removed depending on the type of exercise and fitness level of the person. These club bells are great for strength training with exercises like swings or presses.
Club Bell Training 101
With any activity, you need to know what to expect before diving in. Here are some pointers on how to grip and hold a steel club bell during training.
With your abs pulled in tight to protect your lower back, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the club bell with an overhand grip so your palms face away from you.
Raise the club bell to shoulder height straight out in front of you. Ensure your elbows are close to your sides.
We can’t say it enough, so make sure your abs are tight. Keeping your abs secure automatically straightens your back and relieves pressure on your lower spine. It’s one of the best ways to avoid a back injury.
Make sure that your grip on the steel club is tight. We don’t need to tell you that letting steel clubs fly out of your hands during exercise is frowned upon.
List of Steel Club Exercises
We mentioned some exercises earlier in our descriptions of the different types of club bells. If you are all in for steel club training, you must understand how to perform each exercise. Here is a list of some club training exercises and how to do them.
Club Bell Swing
The club bell swing may sound familiar if you’ve done kettlebell training before. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart with a firm grip on the steel club. Your hands should be in an overhand position. As you swing the club between your legs, drive your hips forward and swing the club bell to shoulder height. Let the club bell fall back down to the starting position and repeat.
Club Bell Squat
The club bell squat is going to be your favorite. Doesn’t everyone love to squat? Bring your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the club bell at shoulder height with your palms down. There’s only one thing left to do. Squat down with your knees behind your toes and your glutes pushing back as you hinge slightly from the hip. Press back into your heels to stand back up and repeat. Fun, right?
Club Bell Lunges
Lunging with a club bell is what you have always wanted, and it’s here. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the club bell at shoulder height with your palms down. Now it’s time to lunge. Step forward with one leg bending from your knee, and let the other bend down to the floor. Once your quadriceps is parallel to the floor, push through your front heel and bring your feet back together. Of course, you will want to lather, rinse, and repeat on the other leg.
Club Bell Push Press
We are starting in our favorite position, the shoulder-width-apart stance. Holding the club bell at shoulder height with your palms down, bend your knees slightly, and raise the club bell overhead in a press. Bring the club bell back down to your shoulders and repeat.
Club Bell Turkish Get-Up
The starting position is lying flat on your back with the club bell extended above your head, holding it with both hands. Pull your core tight to lift your body off the ground and onto one elbow. Press up off your elbow and onto your hand. Push onto your knees and stand slowly. Reverse everything to bring yourself back down to the floor and repeat the sequence. We can already hear the groans.
Before trying any kind of exercise, it’s imperative to warm up correctly. This process might seem trivial, but getting the body warm for what is about to happen is necessary. Once the muscles warm up and stretch, you are much less likely to injure yourself during your workout.
Proper form with any exercise is vital, especially with steel club training. Any kind of weight-bearing exercise increases the likelihood of injury if performed incorrectly. Always ensure your core is pulled in tight to support your lower back. Also, if anything feels uncomfortable, stop immediately. Listening to your body is a significant part of proper form.
If you are a beginner with club bells, make sure you start with a lighter weight. Even if you are an experienced fitness guru, starting with lighter weights is always best to gauge where you need to be. You can always increase them if you need more resistance.
Take things slowly. There’s no reason to start with 20 reps of each type of exercise. For one thing, you will be too sore the next day to move. Then you won’t ever try club bell training again. Gradual is best, so you don’t risk injuring yourself or burning out too quickly.
Find steel clubs that are made well and in excellent condition. Using poor equipment leads to injuries. Also, ensure the club bells are light enough for your fitness level. The right club builds shoulder strength and stability.
Club Bell Product Recommendations
Now that you’re interested in club bells, here are a couple of product recommendations to get you started with ballistic exercises.
The Onnit steel club is made with machine-engineered steel and is used in many exercises to increase strength, conditioning, and stability. The chip-resistant matte finish increases the durability of this steel club. Onnit’s clubs are some of the best on the market and offer an excellent balance to increase grip strength. They come in a range of weights for every type of fitness level. They range from 5 lbs to 55 lbs.
Another excellent steel club for club bell training is the TACFIT club. The clubs are made with durable steel coated in a protective rubber barrel. The diamond handle features small ridges to enhance grip strength, a stand-out quality of the TACFIT club. It’s excellent for full-body workouts and functional training. The handle is removable in case it needs to be replaced.
Club Bell Final Thoughts
A club bell is a perfect addition to your workout regimen if you want to build better shoulder stability without having to bench press hundreds of pounds. It builds core strength and improves shoulder mobility with a simple tool. Club bells are easy to store and can be used anywhere. It’s a simple addition to your home gym with remarkable fitness gains. Happy clubbing.