A few years ago, in a start-up galaxy far, far away, the formidable Brett Jones and yours humbly taught an 8-hour ProBar workshop (it was called something else then, in November of 2013) and we incorporated a section from the above source material into the tool's instructor manual. Abridged since, the education revolving around Indian Clubs, which cemented the development and creation of the ProBar as an amalgamation of several tools, is still growing in the fitness industry, yet still eludes many on a large scale.
Consequently, we decided to post proper Indian Club instruction as taught by some of our many eminent educators. Over time, we will share other's education and tips, such as from James Neidlinger, Ron Jones, Paul Taras Wolkowinski and more.
Start with your classic "at attention" military stance. This sets your shoulders back and down as a primer for proper movement. Then, of the many stances one can adopt, let's begin with standing, heels together feet slightly apart. You can even have your feet parallel and slightly apart. Acceptable, less "classic" looking (and we are delving into Classical P.E. tools here!)
Grip the non-weighted end of your "club" (short ProBar). For beginners or anyone lacking strength (notably grip strength), you may use an unweighted ProBar (other than the two ball ends, which way each around 1/2 pound. The weight will be symmetrical, although you will still benefit from its distal weight distribution.
Always start with 1 club, don't hurry (and don't hurt yourself). Not only is it easier to coordinate, it will help you master and monitor your work.
Use a mirror and when your arm is casting the ProBar to the side, pause and observe which way the top of the ProBar is pointing. It should remain in line with your body, as it you were sandwiched between two narrow walls. The tip should be neither forward nor back, the ProBar should form a straight vertical line, regardless of its angle of cast, as you look at it.
Start super slow. Burns so good and also helps you focus on technique. Progress to slow before moving quickly. Speed hides your mistakes and now you're just weaving a stick randomly.
HOW TO SWING YOUR CLUBS
Take a look at the video, watch a few times, then read the explanation as you watch again and begin to practice the motion. The ProBar being longer, than your average club, you will have adjust your grip, including not necessarily wrapping the pinky around the ball end. The ProBar is a gateway to Indian Clubs and an available multi-purpose tool when proper clubs are not available and still yield all the benefits of shoulder mobility and other "trickle down economics/benefits" of their practice.
Begin the movement by extending the Club and arm overhead (Casted Grip).
Drop/Swing” the Club out to the side in an arc, bringing it down toward the ground. Start to bend the elbow(s) and begin to bring it up the centerline of the body. As the elbow approaches parallel to the floor, the Club should flow into the neutral Grip and Wrist position.
Once the elbow reaches parallel to the floor (bent at 90 degrees - and the grip is switched), it shall remain locked in that position until the arm is extended overhead again. The motion at this point is performed at shoulder with a small circle being drawn by the point of the elbow.
Continue to drive the elbow towards midline and up and around until the elbow is pointed as high as your range of motion will allow. Keep the elbow at 90 degrees and your grip/wrist neutral. Then extend the elbow to form a straight arm and cast the Club into the casted grip/wrist position. This will bring you back to the starting position.
- Perform on both sides equally unless one arm shows need for extra practice due to movement restriction or lack of skill.
- Overhead position is dictated by your range of motion and may be lower than full overhead.
- Progress to Two Clubs but realize the elbow will not come as high due to making room for both arms. This is one reason practicing with one Club is essential to regaining full shoulder, elbow and wrist integration.
- Once you are using Two Clubs, try to bring the elbows and forearms together in the front as you drive the elbows across and up in the smaller circle.
- Keep the body stabile and centered. Your body anchors the motion of the Club.
- Remember proper Speed progression and go slow initially.
- Shifting the grip between neutral and casted requires focus and relaxation.
- Driving the elbow in the smaller circle is the easiest motion to quit on and not fully complete. Commit to a full circle with the elbow in the smaller circle.
- The goal is to move the Club overhead as fully as possible. Dropping the elbow or casting early will shorten the arc/motion.
- Precise and mindful movement is the goal. Movement #1 is a foundational move, so mastery is essential.
- For a very detailed breakdown of Movement #1, including a chart detailing joint positions and muscles involved, refer to Appendix A, Treasures in the Attic.
- When performing a Club movement with one arm the other hand is placed on the hip with the shoulder blade in the down and back position. (the elbow will point behind you) This facilitates good posture and can indicate when or if you twist or move out of position.
When you feel sufficiently proficient and confident in your single club variant, try your hands at 2 Indian Clubs or on our case, 2 short weighted ProBars like in the video below.