Tag: Indian clubs


So you’re willing to try Indian clubs but you are not sure what type and weight is best suited for you. This guide is for you!

Indian clubs, steel clubs, clubbells, Persian meel, Indian Jori and Tamil Karlakattai. All these Most of these clubs have a set length and weight. There are many types of clubs out there, and nobody likes to fork some money out to find out they bought something not relevant to their needs… Clubs can be too short, too long or too heavy. Read on and become wise about choosing what you need.

Traditional clubs

In the West, what we call “Indian clubs” are made of wood and typically weigh from 500g to 2kg. These clubs were inspired from the large Indian Joris, and designed for British style club swinging.

British style Indian clubs

Indian clubs for ladies
Indian clubs exercises

Because of their light weight, a wide variety of figures can be executed. These clubs are a fine way to start with club swinging! 
The main purpose of these clubs is skill practice, coordination, mindfulness and mobility. Traditionally, ladies start with 500-750g, and men with 1kg.

A club creates a long lever arm which increases the forces generated with each swing. It always takes people back how such a light weight can be so difficult to handle…

Tommy Kono was a famous weightlifter in the 50s and 60s with multiple world records. His advice was to use light Indian clubs and concentrate on perfectly smooth swings. 

Unless you are really well trained and with a good body awareness, you won’t really need to go much heavier. Remember you are not lifting the clubs like a dumbbell!


Indian clubs can be bottle shaped or tear drop shaped.

For example, the Perrier bottle was designed after Indian clubs. Tear drop clubs look like mini war maces, with all the weight towards the end of the shaft. This design spins aggressively and fast due to the weight distribution. Bottle shaped clubs tend to be more forgiving. 


Next is the length of the clubs. For the classical exercises, it is important that the clubs are neither too short or too long.

Short clubs have a poor weight distribution which makes then clumsy to handle. It is really hard for a beginner to feel the swing, and as a result, they end up moving the clubs around the body without any flow.
If the clubs are too long, they might end up hitting each other and get in the way in some of the exercises.

When swinging with 2 Indian clubs, the best length is roughly from your armpit to wrist. For most people, that is a club from 45-55cm length.

Persian Meel and Indian Jori

Indian jori Britishmuseum.org Museum number As.318
British Museum number As.318

The accepted history, is that clubs (“Meel”) were used as training form for warriors and wrestlers  in Persia, and that at some period they crossed over into India (“Jori” or “Mugdar”) and Pakistan (“Mungli”). These clubs are similar in shape, yet they have their own local flavor.

As the Brits were stationed in Indian and not Iran, they gave the name to the clubs. However, the Joris were large and heavy, from 4kg to more than 20kg per club. Typically, large clubs are only swung behind the shoulders in alternate fashion. The competition meel are around 1 meter in length, and Joris can be over 1m20! We are talking about very specific clubs with limited use for most people. 

Why did the Brits change the design?

One of the reason the Brits went away from the original club design is that they weren’t handy to transport and mass produce for the army and other institutions. 

If you’re going to swing Persian meel, ladies can start with 2kg per club and men with 3kg. Your first goal before adding weight should be to perform 100 unbroken reps of alternating back circles (also called shield casts).

Tamil Karlakattai

tamil karlakattai club

In Southern India, the karlakattai has been used to train soldiers, bowmen and even farmers. In contrast to the meel and jori which are always swung in pairs, the karlakattai is also swung as a single club, sometimes with 2 hands on the club. Traditionally, there are 64 types of swings, including footwork, making this system of heavy club training a favorite of ours. 
Our Pahlavandle XL is the answer to the Karlakattai. You can adjust both length and weight.

Start light and build up progressively to a heavier club.

Steel clubs

steel clubs from 9T9fitness.com
steel clubs from 9T9fitness.com

Clubbells, or the original clubs made of steel, made their apparition in the the early 2000s. Copies followed soon after, some good, many bad. The problem some  steel club is poor weight distribution and swing mechanics, and a knob that can be so big, it gets in the way of your wrist.

Clubbells are mostly swung with 2 hands on the shaft, and the emphasis is on heavy club swinging, using the whole body.  

Steel clubs can be intimidating for beginners, as one can expect to knock knees or heads in the learning stages.
With weight ranging from 2kg to 20kg, expect a lot of variation in how well they swing due to the different sizes and weight distribution.

Why the Pahlavandle™ is best!

indian clubs shoulder mobility crossfit kettlebells weightlifting clubbellsWith one set of handles and a few plastic bottles, you get a whole range of clubs up to 3kg. The Pahlavandle allows you to adjust the weight accordingly to the exercises you are doing, and figure what is right for you!
Length and weight is easy to adjust by simply changing bottle size and filler.

Due to the shape and design, the Pahlavandle™ swings as beautifully as a perfectly balanced wooden club!

Being soft, you won’t injure yourself should you hit yourself. This is why we have kids and older people taking up Indian clubs training!

You can also extend the handle to create a short mace or a substitute for Persian meel.

And since you can take them in your carry on, and find soda/ sparkling water bottles around the world, you won’t have to stop swinging during your next escapade!

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The joys of mobility which include everything from less pain, better coordination, more flexibility, better core strength or the calm that follows complex movement. These are the things you will experience when training with Indian clubs, as I did.

How I got into club swinging

When I started swinging clubs it was during a long recovery from a very bad fall from scaffolding. The programs Thierry Sanchez developed for me back in 2012 were not about the weight of the club but more about the movement and good technique. The invention of the Pahlavandle™ combined with recycling a plastic soda bottle made choosing the proper weight easy.

My Indian clubs training recommendations & tips

In the beginning, do not stress your muscles, tendons and joints by using to much weight or training for too long at a time.
”Scale it down” the more fluid the movement is, the better. I do my best to remember the general fundamentals like, letting the club be an extension of my arm whenever possible. Reach for the sky!

Remember to breathe in when the clubs swing up and breathe out when they swing down. I do my best to make sure I train in both directions, both sides and with both hands. I always try and look at the clubs turning my whole head and not just moving my eyes. This acted like a massage for my neck and took away a lot of the stress from the frustration of being broken.

Use your stomach muscles and try to keep a straight back, this allow your shoulders and hips to move. I felt this protected my lower back too.

The beauty of Indian clubs

I visualize training with Indian clubs as a type of music. The swinging movements are based on circles, or parts of it. In short, club swinging is just a series of large, medium, and small circles, with arcs and waves tied together by the momentum of the club in motion.

It’s quite beautiful actually, because the movements can be very simple or complicated, and you can change the tempo. This unleashes the laws of Physics and centripetal forces. Suddenly that light club you were swinging generates lots of forces, pulling you off balance.

Right from the beginning you will get the urge to free style and incorporate squats, switching directions and swing behind the back. Moving our body in this way, we light up parts of your brain we don’t use as often as we should.

Like dancing, you can always add a move to make a routine more interesting or complicated or just keep repeating to work up a sweat.

It’s limitless. Its magical. You’re going to love it as much as I do!

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Active recovery has been found to help improve performance in athletes more so than passive recovery. In plain language, it means that snoozing is great, but light physical activity can even be better. 
Recovery involves more than muscle repair. Other factors involved in recovery include hormonal balance, nervous system repair, mental state… What’s more is that the training stress is cumulative, and all that goes on in your personal life also adds up.
I remember reading a study a few years back mentioning that even creative activities like painting or a visit to a museum was better for athletes than just relaxing and sleeping. It seems that involving the brain in the recovery process has its place.
Light Indian clubs are a fantastic tool for active recovery. They help the recovery process due to the light intensity exercise they provide. They also nourish the joints, improve flexibility, and challenge the brain with complex movements, like juggling.

The role of Indian clubs

Lot of people misunderstand the role of light Indian clubs. They are easily dismissed as “too light” when the focus of a typical training session is about lifting heavier weights. Light club swinging is a skill practice, more than strength training. Remember that recovery is the other side of the coin of strength training. If you train hard, you need to recover well to adapt and become stronger.
If swinging for recovery, keep your Pahlavandle™ on the light side, somewhere from 750g to 1,25kg.
There is a reason restorative arts like Tai chi or yoga are hugely popular. Those activities provide the needed balance to the stress of life and strength training. The goal of those practices is gentle movement while turning focus inwards and quietening the mind.

What do Indian clubs do?

Indian club swinging challenges coordination and rhythm. Both sides of the body work sometimes independently or even out of sync.  Go a step further, add locomotion in the mix to integrate the upper and lower body. Now you can really play, move in 3 dimensions fully unrestricted, forget everything else and let everything around you disappear… Our video tutorials show you step by step how to get there.
You can swing light clubs everyday, without wearing the body down, and keep doing so right into old age, making training with Indian clubs a truly sustainable and healthy form of training.

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Indian clubs are for everyone, from kids to office workers to elite athletes.

Training with Indian clubs is more like a form of skill practice, and therefore the intensity of training can be relatively low, unless you decide otherwise. Low intensity and focus on skills and movement is what make club swinging a sort of meditation in motion, and makes it very helpful for recovery from heavy strength training.

Our Pahlavandle™ is adjustable from 200 grams to 3kg, so you are sure to find your right starting weight, and also have a chance to increase the weight as you get more skilled and stronger.

Indian clubs, gymnastics, boxing, fencing equipment on British Navy shipFor reference, British soldiers in the 1800s swung 2kg regulation clubs. In competitions, clubs weighed 1,5kg. When starting off, men were advised to use 1kg and women 500 grams.

It’s also easy to get started with club swinging. Download our video tutorials, and swing along.

Here’s what weightlifting legend Tommy Kono has to say about Indian clubs in his book “Championship Weightlifting”:

“Although the weight of the Indian Clubs may be only a pound or two, it isn’t so much the weight, but smoothness of the swing and the rhythm that increases the mobility of the shoulders, elbows and wrists. A few minutes spent in working with the Indian Clubs will more than pay off in great dividends as a recovery exercise. I bring your attention to this type of training because I have benefited from them and feel there is a need to promote flexibility in the shoulders without taxing them.”

For the record, Tamio “Tommy” Kono (born June 27, 1930) was a U.S. weightlifter in the 1950s and 1960s. Kono is the only Olympic weightlifter in history to have set world records in four different weight classes. He also won the  bodybuilding Mr Universe title 4 times.

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SOURCE FOR IMAGE: photobucket.com/gallery/user/GrantRCanada/media/bWVkaWFJZDozNTUyNDU2NQ