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  Make your own Clubbell

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One of the methods of this millennia old tradition originating in ancient Persia was “club swinging.” The Clubbell resurrects the centuries proven tradition of swinging weight in three dimensions rather than lifting it in only one or two.

I was exposed to Clubbells by Bruce Pahl of Immortal Martial Arts recently while picking up my battling rope.  I really found the variety of movements and exercises to be a refreshing challenge that I wanted to find out more about.

Unlike conventional weight-lifting, where you must increase the weight lifted, the Clubbell is swung. Swinging weight increases torque. Increasing torque increases force production. Clubbell training increases force exponentially: swinging them twice as fast produces four times the torque. Superior force production means superior strength conditioning in a fraction of the time and without the litany of injuries associated with conventional weight training. Traction pulls apart the joints, rather than compressing them which increases connective tissue strength.

The obvious benefits of Clubbell training include the development of the arms, shoulders, upper back and chest. However, the most misunderstood difference between Circular Strength Training (Clubbells) and conventional weight-lifting is that the Clubbell is specifically designed to connect the superior force production of torque to one's core.  Furthermore, all exercises are full bodily intensive: creating incredibly powerful glutes, hams, quads and calves from the leg drive.

Circular Strength Training comprises three dimensional strength (tri-planar movements) which develop rotary and angular/diagonal strength to assist the prime movers.  Developing tri-planar strength of the prime movers increases stability, enhances injury prevention, multiplies force production abilities and most importantly, stimulates the neuromuscular patterns required of athletes. 

With dumbbells, the weight can be supported by your skeletal structure, as if sitting on top of a column. With dumbbells your grip is located directly upon the center of gravity which remains constant throughout the exercise for the entire range of motion.  The Unique Balance Scheme of Clubbells forces athletes to use proper technique and concentrate on complex skills during the movement.  The Displaced Center of Gravity forces you to keep the weight inside of its proper groove throughout the entire lift. 

One of the single most defining characteristics of athletic performance in sports especially contact sports and tool-using sports, is grip strength & endurance which elite coaches consider the measuring stick of one’s total functional strength. However, most strength programs overlook hand, wrist and forearm conditioning.  Due to the displaced center of gravity and the effect on hand and grip strength, Clubbells present very functional and challenging exercises for grip and hand strength. 


Do-it-yourself Clubbell design

Although you can pick up a club or two from the Clubbell website, I was able to find plans for a do-it-yourself club on the internet... here's a link to the YouTube video.

This design can be used as an adjustable clubbell, allowing weights between 9 and 13 lbs. In the 3rd picture you can see the series of pipes that I use that fit inside the main pipe.  I used some duct tape around the ends of the pipes, as well as some rubber matting in the cap, to prevent the movement and clanging from the pipes shifting during movement.


Parts (main pipe):

  1. 1:  1" steel nipple end cap.
  2. 1:  10" x 1" steel nipple pipe.
  3. 1:  1.5"-1" steel nipple bushing
  4. 1:  2"-1.5" steel nipple reducer
  5. 1:  8" x 2" steel nipple pipe
  6. 1:  2" steel nipple coupling connector
  7. 1:  2" x 2" steel nipple pipe
  8. 1:  2" steel nipple end cap.

Parts (inside weight pipes - fit inside each other):

  1. 12" x 1.5" steel nipple pipe
  2. 12" x 1" steel nipple pipe
  3. 12" x .5" steel nipple pipe

UPDATE (grip alternative)

I've had challenges in the past with some of the grips that I've had to design for some of my fitness equipment.  I've tried athletic tape, baseball bat grip tape, and some pretty expensive rubberized grip tape for lacrosse sticks.  Most of these tape grips start out pretty good, but after some time they get all curled up and start getting uncomfortable.  This was  a problem that I was battling with my homemade clubbells.

I was at Home Depot the other day and found this stuff called Plasti Dip.  It's a rubberized paint that comes in a tube with a pop-top lid.  It's intended for the handles of pliers, screwdrivers, and related hand tools.  For most applications you just dip the tools right in the Plasti Dip container, however, I had to get creative with my clubbells, since the handles were longer than the Plasti Dip tube.  So by using a length of PVC pipe with a cap on it, I was able to dip the pipe handle of the clubbell in a few times to evenly coat the entire handle.

I'd have to say that the rubberized grip of the Plasti Dip handles feels very comfortable and it appears to meet my needs.  I've been swinging the clubbells for a week now and there are no signs of wear or degradation.  One tube of Plasti Dip is just under $6, so really not bad in comparison to the tapes that require replacement somewhat frequently.  Give it a shot!




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