Indian Clubs For Fitness


Indian ClubsIndian Clubs, Not Just for Clubbing.

Indian Clubs are an ancient training device that are usually made of wood, shaped somewhat like bowling pins and normally used in pairs. . They are also known as Wooden Clubs, Indian Swinging Clubs, Persian Clubs or Fitness Clubs.  A similar product, known as a Clubbell, is an updated version of the original Indian Cub with a few design changes and made out of metal.

Indian clubs have no relationship to the North American war club.  They are named for the clubs used in the Middle East and India for training and exercise.

Indian Club History

Clubs have been around probably as long as man has been around, thus the story is probably as old as human history.  The club was used as a simple weapon for hunting, defense and warfare and was used as a training tool for precisely this purpose.

In India, Indian Club training was popular in the days of the British colonies in the English-speaking world.  It was used as a form of  traditional aerobics and in gymnastics the clubs were used for coordination.

The Indian Club was introduced to the U.S. and widely used in gymnasiums in the early to mid 1800’s.  Most of the traditional clubs ranged in weight from 1 to 5 lbs, offering a wide variety of exercise programming.  After the 1920’s-30’s, the use of Indian clubs was diminished due to the introduction of the dumbbell.

Indian Clubs At The Olympics

George Roth Club Swinging 1932 OlympicsDid you know that Club Swinging was an Olympic event?  Club Swinging or Indian Club Swinging was actually an Olympic event in 1904 and then again in 1932.  The US team won the events each time, but that wasn’t that surprising since there was only one other competitor from Mexico. The last gold medalist in club swinging was George Roth, an unemployed gymnast.  After winning his gold medal, he was said to have hitchhiked home from Los Angeles due to being so poor.

Edward Hennig (USA) 13.0
Emil Voigt (USA) 9.0
Ralph Wilson (USA) 5.0

George Roth (USA) 8.97
Philip Erenberg (USA) 8.90
William Kuhlemeier (USA) 8.63

Indian Club Overview

Indian Club SizesIndian clubs are characterized mainly by their heaviness and are available in weights ranging from 0.5 kg to 12 or even 20 kg.  They typically range in size from 16″ to 18.5″ or about 485mm to 675mm.  Usually the heavier the club, the longer and the fatter it is .  Depending on the user and difficulty of the exercise, different club weights are used.  Today clubs come in various forms and are typically made from either wood, steel or iron.  Some clubs also include the ability to adjust the weight.

Crossfit and many gyms sometimes mistakenly refer to Indian clubs as clubbells.  Not sure if this is based on some marketing technique or just sounds better.  I prefer the original name.

Indian Clubs were designed to place the weight of the club away from your hand and are made to be relatively light vs traditional weights such as dumbbells and barbells.  The clubs are swung in partartial or full circles.  The exercises rely on hand grip and coordination vs that of  traditional weights, which are lifted in a linear method relying on skeletal support.

The main characteristic of an Indian Club exercise program is fluid motion.  The larger the circle,  the more lower body is engaged, the smaller the circle the more the upper body is engaged.  Club training is also a coordination drill, and a head avoidance drill, so as not to whack yourself.

When using Indian Clubs, it is usually best to start off with lighter clubs and once a skill is mastered, additional weight may be added.  Since the clubs can be wielded with speed, it’s always advisable to be cautious when using them.  No one wants to whack themselves in the head.

Using the clubs increases coordination, strength (shoulders, grip, core and legs) and agility.  They are also a lot of fun, since the movement is constantly flowing.

Benefits of Indian Clubs

Learning complex combination of movements will increase muscular endurance and improve coordination.

  • Improved shoulder mobility
  • Develop strength, agility and balance
  • Stronger back and shoulders
  • Perfect compliment to kettlebell training
  • Improved elbow and wrist flexibility
  • Improved coordination

Indian Clubs have become a very valuable tool for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) athletes who are looking to improve their speed and shoulder mobility.

Recommended Weights

Indian Club Weights

Men – 2 lbs
Women – 1 lbs

Clubbell Weights

Beginner (Just Starting Out)

Men – 1 pair of 10 lbs and a sin­gle 20 lbs
Women – 1 pair of 5 lbs and a sin­gle 10 lbs

Intermediate (Experienced with weight training and strength training)

Men – 1 pair of 15 lbs and a sin­gle 25 lbs
Women – 1 pair of 5 lbs and a sin­gle 15 lbs

Advanced (Have been strength training for many years)

Men – 1 pair of 15 lbs and a sin­gle 35 lbs
Women – 1 pair of 10 lbs and a sin­gle 20 lbs


Look for this section soon for more information on where to purchase Indian Clubs and Clubbells.

Indian Clubs – Where To Purchase Them

If you live in the US you can order wooden Indian Clubs from
Body (Sell Indian Clubs)
MotionRX (Sell Indian Clubs) – Wooden Indian Clubs (Sell Indian Clubs)
Xeniosusa (Sell Persian Wooden Clubs)

RMAX International (Sell CST Clubbells & TACFIT Clubbells)

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About Author

Tom Crandall

Totally into multi-sports including triathlon, swimming, cycling, running skating and movement in general. Love to trail run and hang outdoors.

1 Comment

  1. Hi, Thank you for this post! I’m new to clubbells. Is there a difference between the Indian clubs and clubbells besides the design and material? Is one better than the other?

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