Indian clubs swinging was something I never quite understood even though I got instructions from a Certified Indian Clubs Specialist (CICS) in Australia back in 2011. The aim was to help me gain more mobility on my left shoulder which had an ongoing issue of getting tight like since my Uni days and would easily get banged up from doing overhead presses. I got a pair of 1lb Indian clubs from Dragon Door which I used for a few months but stopped because I wasn’t sure if they were doing anything for me. I was obviously ignorance. In 2018 Feb, I had a shoulder surgery that involved shaving off the bone spur in my left shoulder and re-attachment of the supraspinatus tendon which was 99% torn. Funny thing was I had always been telling friends that there must be a bone spur in my left shoulder. Because I was able to feel it and after doing all the mobility work it just refused to loosen up. True enough the MRI scan done in 2017 at Envision Medical Imaging shows a bone spur on my left shoulder. According to my surgeon, I would be out for a whole 12 months of heavy lifting after the surgery and could only commence some form of light lifting after 6 months. The mobility in my left shoulder was highly limited at the start but I was told by the surgeon to start rehab on the shoulder as soon as I was out of the hospital which I did.
At post 6-weeks shoulder surgery, I hosted a Mace Swinging Fundamental Workshop taught by Paul Taras Wolkowinski at Get Results PT gym which I attended. Obviously, I did not participate fully in the Mace workshop but there was an Indian Clubs swinging component in the workshop that I was encouraged by Paul to partake. The Indian Clubs component was part of the workshop to help participant make a smooth transition to mace swinging. I must add that swinging the Mace or Gada few months later has helped further improved my thoracic spine mobility and shoulder strength. Even though the Indian Clubs exercises taught were basic, they were exactly what I needed to rehab my shoulder at that point and helped me understand the foundation and nuances of Indian Club swinging. After the workshop, I included the Indian club swinging routine into my shoulder rehabilitation. At 12-weeks post shoulder surgery, my shoulder surgeon told me I was well ahead of the curve in terms of recovery and mobility. And the following is how the Indian clubs swinging became part of my successful shoulder rehabilitation and helped restored my shoulder.
Decompression Effects of Indian Club Swinging
Any healthy joint will require healthy flow of synovial fluid to lubricate the joint. The gentle pull of swinging the 1lb Indian Clubs at the beginning of my rehab creating the “space” in my shoulder joints does exactly that. This is the opposite to the upper body pressing movement (such as kettlebell press or bench press) would do which is more of a compression load on the joints. The gentle pull is like traction offering connective tissues and joints of the shoulders, elbows and wrist gentle stretches and space for healthy flow of synovial fluid for the joints to recover and heal and bring balance back to the shoulder.
Circular Motion of Indian Club Swinging Restores Flexibility & Improves Joint Centration
As I was rehabbing to regain as much motion in my left shoulder, swinging the light Indian clubs (1 to 2 lbs) in limited circular motion without feeling too much discomfort was ideal. It stretches out the connective and scar tissue (caused by the surgery) which in turn reduce the stiffness in the joint (that limits joint movement) and at the same time open up the chest. As stiffness reduced and chest opened up, more range of motion was restored. The main aim was to restore range of motion first and improve the joint centration in my shoulder (refers to optimal joint alignment) hence heavier clubs were not used. Although heavier Indian clubs such as the 3lbs and 4kg to 7kg Maces were used at some stage to build strength in the restored range in my shoulder.
Circular Strength-Building of Indian Club Swinging
Swinging the Indian clubs is ideal for improving the full mobility of the shoulder. Unlike performing the typical static stretching routine which does not always allow full control of the movement (even though you got more flexible), swinging the Indian clubs with control and flow allows better joint control over the re-gained range of movement. Plus, the oval-shaped design of the Indian clubs with the centre of mass at the end of the implements provides a more proprioceptive feedback to straighten the arm and move into bigger shoulder circles when you hold the thinner end of the club. And moving into bigger shoulder circles is where I started gaining more mobility in the shoulders. This is why the lightweight Indian clubs (typically between 1lb to 3lbs) are great for exploring more range of movement in the shoulder and thoracic area. With heavier implements, you simply can’t do that because you will be forced to reduce joint movement. Without going full range, there will be gaps in the movement that you missed out on fully restoring the full movement.
Swinging Indian clubs Engages The Vestibular System
The vestibular system is simply the balance system that detects position and motion of our head. Certain Indian clubs exercises allow the eyes to follow where the clubs are going stimulate the vestibular system which can be underused when you are sitting in front of the computer all day. When you don’t use it you will lose it. According to Original Strength, engaging the vestibular system can refresh the Nervous System (NS). And Nervous System controls our movement and perceptions of how we move and no doubt influence how well we can move. When perception and what actually happened are more aligned, the more likely I can swing the Indian Clubs better and help speed up my shoulder rehabilitation from the surgery.
Lastly, without the expert coaching of Mace/Indian Clubs expert Paul Wolkowinski, I would not have discovered how swinging the Indian clubs had such restorative effects on my health and my shoulder. There is no doubt how you use the tool matters. Without the right knowledge, the tool is useless.
If you have questions regarding swinging Indian Clubs, post them in the comment section below.
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