Are Clubbells For YOU?

I was pretty skeptical about the benefits of Clubbell? training when I first heard about them. I have only been training with Clubbells for a little over a month. However, I am sold on the value of having them in my training arsenal ...

Training with weighted clubs has been around for centuries. The famous Indian wrestler Gama used to train with clubs weighing more than 80 pounds and his strength was legendary. Recently, training with weighted clubs has become popular due to the efforts of Coach Sonnon and Productions. I was skeptical about the benefits of Clubbell training when I first heard about them.

Why I Tried Clubbells...

Note: Clubbell is a registered trademark.

However, I was also skeptical about kettlebell training as well a few years ago. Fortunately, I kept an open mind regarding kettlebells and now make a good chunk of my living doing kettlebell workshops around the U.S. and overseas. Hundreds of people have benefited from my workshops and my articles and I receive a lot of positive feedback daily. Regardless, there is nothing wrong with being skeptical. Especially, in an industry full of gimmicks and false promises. However, being provincial is not a good thing in this business and will result in one missed opportunity after another.

As a regular guy that may not be a big deal. However, as a strength coach that line of thinking is unacceptable. Athletes pay me to teach them how to get stronger, faster and increase sports performance. It is my job to know about new developments and at the least be aware of anything that could give my clients an edge. After hearing about the benefits of ClubbellsTM from a lot of people that I trust and after getting a great deal of questions from my clients regarding Clubbells, I decided to get Coach Sonnon's ClubbellTM video to see what they were all about.

Through his Clubbell video, Coach Sonnon does a great job of teaching the variety of drills that can be done with Clubbells and nails the importance of safety and proper technique when executing Clubbell drills. The only drawback of the tape, is that the background music is pretty lame, ha ha. As I watched Coach Sonnon do some of the drills, I immediately saw that Clubbells work ranges off motion that are not possible or practical with kettlebells and dumbbells. The great deal of circular motions that can be done with Clubbells looked like they would increase shoulder stability and increase shoulder flexibility.

Having had some shoulder stability problems in the past and realizing that shoulder injuries are all too common among athletes, I saw the potential benefits of Clubbells for increasing strength in the shoulders and for being used as a preventive measure against injuries. Also, due to the leverage involved in Clubbell training, it became apparent that Clubbell exercises increase grip and wrist strength in a different way than exercises such as wrist curls and farmer's walks. The leverage factor with Clubbells looked challenging. Finally, many of the exercises looked like a lot of fun and keeping training fun is extremely important for longevity.

I decided to order some Clubbells and give them a trial run. Coach Sonnon recommended that I get some 15-pound clubs. However that was not going to cut it for me. I have been training with kettlebells for some time and have taught hundreds of people how to train with kettlebells effectively. I do most kettlebell drills with 88-pound kettlebells and the prospect of training with a 15-pound club was too much for my oh so fragile ego to take. Thus, I decided to order two 20-pound clubs (I know, I know, but 20 pounds does sound heavier than 15 pounds right?) for a more challenging introduction to Clubbell training.

My UPS driver delivered the 40-pound box the following week with a wry smile on his face. He asked me what the hell I was getting into now. He has delivered more than 30 kettlebells for me this year and just shook his head when I revealed the Clubbell. Immediately after picking up the Clubbell, I realized that I was going to have a lot of fun. Since I am well versed in kettlebell training, I already had a strong grip and did not have any problem cleaning the Clubbell to order or pressing it overhead.

However, some of the circular motions, especially the ones around the head took a while to get used to. I immediately noticed that my left arm was much weaker than my right arm on most of the circular drills. In addition, I noticed that my left shoulder was much weaker on many exercises than my right shoulder. Revealing weak links is the first step in addressing them. Similar to kettlebell training, Clubbell training reveals weak links immediately.

I started doing Clubbell workouts three times a week in between my kettlebell workouts for active recovery. These workouts were freestyle in which I would spend 45 minutes to an hour working on various drills. I really enjoyed these workouts and I picked up a great deal of the drills on Scott's video in the first week. I noticed several things in those first few workouts. First, my wrists and forearms would get super pumped after a few minutes of executing Clubbell drills. Second, if I did not crush grip the Clubbell at just the right time, I would lose control. You really have to crush grip the Clubbells on several drills and either you do the drill correctly or you mess up. There is no in between and you cannot get away with sloppy form.

Clubbell Drills

Pendulum - View

Clean one Clubbell to order and swing it down and out to the left making a half circle. Catch the Clubbell and then swing it in the opposite direction and catch it again. Go back and forth with each arm for 10 repetitions. This is a great drill for loosening up the shoulders before and after workouts.

Shield Cast - View

This is my favorite Clubbell drill and I noticed the increased stability in my shoulders after a few sessions of executing the Arm-Pit Cast. Clean a Clubbell to order and then raise your elbow above your head and take the Clubbell all the way around and bring it back to the starting position. This move had a real primal feel to it and requires a good amount of coordination. Go light and ease into it to avoid hitting yourself in the face. Do a few sets of 5-10 per workout.

Double Arm-Pit Cast - View

This exercise really hits the rear delts and a few muscles that you did not even realize that you had. I experienced a noticeable increase in shoulder size especially the rear delts after doing this exercise for only a week. Similar to the single Arm-pit Cast, this exercise is also great for shoulder stability. While it is not a triceps exercise, I found that this exercise really pumped up my triceps. Clean two Clubbells to order. Crush grip the handles and take the Clubbells behind your head in right angles. Contract your stomach and butt and bring the Clubbells back to the starting position. try doing a few sets of 5-10 reps.

After a few weeks, I noticed that my shoulders felt more stable than ever. Also, any time my shoulders felt tight, all that I had to do were a few circular Clubbell drills and my shoulders would loosen up and feel better immediately. For that benefit alone, Clubbells are worth getting and training with. Second, the grip strength that I developed with the Clubbells clearly transferred to kettlebells. Before training with Clubbells, I could bottom up clean a 70lb kettlebell. However, it was difficult and I did not always get it. However, after training with Clubbells for two weeks, I noticed that I could bottom up clean a 70lb kettlebell for reps easily with both arms and I even bottom up cleaned and pressed the 70lb bell with my right arm. The increased grip strength also seemed to increase CNS stimulation and I found that I was stronger on other kettlebell drills such as military presses and rows.

I have only been training with Clubbells for a little over a month. However, I am sold on the value of having them in my training arsenal. It is a very beneficial compliment that all serious athletes should take advantage of. Just do thirty minutes of Clubbell training on your off days or add a few Clubbell drills before and after your regular workouts to loosen up the shoulder and activate the CNS. In addition, Clubbells have a real fun factor and they are addictive as well. Finally, training with Clubbells in public is a great way to scare people. Especially in Santa Monica, CA. Give Clubbell training a shot and I look forward to your feedback.

CLUBBELL® is a registered trademark of Productions, and "Clubbells" word and "Circular Strength Training" phrase are trademarks of Productions.


CLUBBELL® is a registered trademark of Productions, and "Clubbells" word and "Circular Strength Training" phrase are trademarks of Productions.