indian club exercises

8 Indian Club & Bodyweight Exercises for a Full-Body Mobility Workout

August 22, 2021

If you are looking for a great mobility workout routine using Indian clubs, you’ve landed in the right place. In this article, we will cover what you need to know about mobility training with Indian clubs and we have the perfect full body mobility routine for you, which includes bodyweight ground exercises as well to ensure all your joints and muscles are accounted for.

Note: Our full body Indian club and bodyweight mobility routine is 20 minutes. The video is full length, so you can follow along to it on any device. We highly recommend doing this routine before a workout as a warm up or on active rest days. It’s going to make you feel great!

indian club workout

WHAT ARE INDIAN CLUBS? 

Indian clubs are a type of exercise equipment that resemble a bowling-pin. This fitness training tool originated in the Indian subcontinent (hence the name) well over a century ago. 

In this post, we will just stick to the basics of what an Indian club is and its benefits, but if you are interested, here you can learn more about the history and benefits of Indian Clubs. 

While originally made of wood, these days sellers produce them in polyurethane as well.

Indian clubs are used to enhance joint mobility, bilateral coordination, balance and posture. They improve strength, stability, and mobility of the shoulders, elbows and wrists by using fluid, full-range motions. Ultimately, this increases injury resilience, range of motion, and force production. Because of this, it is a very popular tool among athletes in rotational sports and combat athletes like wrestlers and MMA fighters.

Note: Indian clubs are not to be confused with steel clubs. Although they look the same and many of the applications are the same or similar (i.e. rotational work), Indian clubs are lightweight (1, 2 or 3 pounds) and focus on mobility, fluidity and speed, whereas steel clubs are heavier (10-45 pounds) and focus on strength, grip strength, and controlling force. 

What are Indian clubs good for?

Indian clubs are great for working on upper body mobility and fluidity, particularly in the shoulders, elbows and wrists.

They are mainly used to help increase range of motion, fluidity, and resilience of these joints, which is great for athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike. 

With that, Indian clubs fit nicely into warm ups, movement prep, specific skill training, and recovery training. In this regard, Indian clubs are extremely effective.

One of the best things about Indian clubs is how great they make you feel. It’s going to get that synovial fluid flowing and your joint complexes feeling brand new again. Plus, they are a lot of fun.

indian club training

INDIAN CLUB MOBILITY TRAINING

Indian clubs are great for targeting the upper body, particularly the scapula, shoulders, elbows and wrists, but they won’t do much in the way of the lower body.

Because we want to have a full body mobility routine that works as a complete warm up before a workout or recovery on a rest day following intense training, we need to look at exercises that target the lower body too. Then we can mix them in with the Indian club exercises for a full body mobility workout.

To have a full body mobility routine, we need to target our:

  • Ankles
  • Knees
  • Hips
  • Spine
  • Scapula
  • Shoulders
  • Elbows
  • Wrists

...and all of the surrounding muscles.

With Indian clubs, we can effectively work the last four, so we need some different exercises to target the ankles, knees, hips and spine.

The best mobility exercises for the lower body and spine will be bodyweight exercises.

All it takes to improve mobility is movement. Your body is all you need.

Some of the best mobility exercises are what people call “ground work”. Essentially, they involve bodyweight movements that are done on the ground or from the ground up. 

In summary, the below mobility routine, which is great for movement prep and warm up before a workout or as active recovery on a rest day, will incorporate both bodyweight ground-based exercises and Indian club exercises. With everything combined, you will be targeting all of the major joints in your body. This is as complete of a mobility and warm up routine that you could ask for.

WHAT WEIGHT INDIAN CLUB SHOULD I USE?

All you need is a pair 1 pound or 2 pound Indian clubs. 3 pound clubs are also ok, but we recommend most people, especially beginners, to use 1 or 2 pound clubs. Remember, Indian club training is not about building muscle, it’s about improving and enhancing movement.

20 MINUTE INDIAN CLUB AND BODYWEIGHT MOBILITY ROUTINE

The video below is our Indian club and bodyweight mobility routine. It is full length, so you can follow along to it on any device. Mike Pastor is your coach for the video and he does a great job of taking you through the routine, giving you cues and tips along the way to ensure you have correct form. 

Workout Time: 20 Minutes
Equipment Needed: 1 or 2 pound Indian Clubs
Goal: Mobility, Warm Up, Movement Prep, Recovery

Workout Details:

8 Exercises
2 Rounds
No rest between sets or rounds

1. Arm Cast (0:24) x 20 reps (10 each side)
2. Hip Switch (1:34) x 20 reps (10 each side)
3. Wrist Circles (3:21) x 10 reps
4. Leg Roll Over (4:19) x 20 reps (10 each side)
5. 4 Count Swing (5:45) x 20 reps (10 each side)
6. Scorpion (6:54) x 10 reps (5 each side)
7. The Mill (variation): (7:54) x 10 reps each side
8. Technical Stand Up (9:44) x 10 reps (5 each side)


Below we will go through each exercise in the mobility workout above, explaining the benefits and providing step-by-step instructions for how to do the exercise. 

8 INDIAN CLUB & BODYWEIGHT GROUND BASED MOBILITY EXERCISES: 

Feel free to pick and pull exercises from this routine to use for other warm ups and mobility trainings that you do. 

1. Indian Club Arm Cast (0:24)

indian club arm casts

Main Target: Shoulder mobility & deltoid activation

How To Do Indian Club Arm Casts:

  1. Hold the clubs in the starting front position, pinky over the bottom thumb of the handle. Nice tall stance with feet about hip width apart and pointing straight forward.
  2. Keeping your elbows fixed, bring your right hands club over your right shoulder and behind your back so that top of the club is pointed down to the ground.
  3. Bring it back over your right shoulder to the start position and then do the same thing on the left side.
  4. Repeat in an alternating fashion for 10 reps on each side (20 reps total). 

Tips:

  • Don’t arch your back, as you don’t want to create a false range of motion.
  • Don’t let your ribs flare.
  • Be sure to breathe in and out with each rep.

2. Hip Switch (1:34)

bodyweight mobility workout

Main Target: Hip mobility & glute activation

How to do Hip Switches:

  1. Get into a shinbox position aka 90/90.
  2. Externally rotate your hips to lift your butt off the ground, and maintain full control of this movement.
  3. Bring your hips forward to neutral and squeeze your glutes.
  4. Then sit your butt back down in a controlled manner.
  5. Lift your feet up to switch the direction/sides. If you are having trouble switching sides, you can place your hand to the floor to provide you some stability. You can also help bring yourself forward when driving the hips up and forward by planting your hand into the floor, but eventually you want to not use your hands at all.
  6. Repeat for a total of 20 reps (10 to each side).

Tips:

  • You don’t want to flop down or throw yourself forward to come up onto your knees.
  • Ultimately, you want everything to be done in a controlled and smooth manner.

3. Indian Club Wrist Circles (3:21)

Indian Club Wrist Circles

Main Target: Wrist mobility 

How to do Indian Club Wrist Circles:

  1. Feet straight and about hip width apart.
  2. Hold the clubs at your sides with your palms facing in and the top of the club pointing down. Keep a loose grip.
  3. Perform a slight hip hinge to bring the clubs up, and as they come up, you want to point them forward then bring your elbows in and rotate your wrists outward to circle the club around.
  4. When the club is pointing up and your wrists are facing in, pull your elbow down so your arms are in a 90 degree position with your elbows tucked to your sides.
  5. Repeat for 10 reps.

4. Leg Rollover (4:19) 

indian club and bodyweight workout

Main Target: Hip and knee mobility & glute and core activation

How to do Leg Rollovers:

  1. Get down on the floor sitting on the ground with your back upright as best you can and your feet out in front of your with your knees bent so your legs are at about 120˚ angle.
  2. Pull your right leg in so that your heel is close to your groin. Plant the left foot to the ground.
  3. Lift your hips up off the ground and drive them forward and over your right foot.
  4. Come back down in a slow and controlled manner.
  5. Bring your right leg forward to the starting position, then bring your left leg in and plant your right foot to the floor.
  6. Bring your hips up and forward over the left leg.
  7. Come back down and return your legs to the starting position.
  8. Continue repeating this movement in an alternating fashion (right side, then left side, then right side, etc.) for a total of 20 reps (10 each side) 

5. Indian Club 4 Count Swing (5:45)

indian club 4 count swing

Main Target: Hip and shoulder mobility, lat flexibility, and some light activation of the glutes, core, arms and shoulders

How to do Indian Club 4 Count Swings:

  1. Feet straight and about hip width apart.
  2. Hold the clubs at your sides with your palms facing in and the top of the club pointing down.
  3. Perform a slight hip hinge to bring the clubs up to the starting front position.
  4. Lift your right arm up to bring the club behind your head. As you do this, shift your weight over to your right foot. As the club rotates down behind your back, you should see the top of the club out of the corner of your left eye (so your head will face slightly towards your left side). 
  5. The club in your right hand will drop down and make a circle behind your back and as the club starts to point up your will pull it over your right shoulder bringing your elbow down to the side of your torso. As you are doing this, you will be twisting at the hips. So your hips will be pointing to the left side.
  6. From here, bring your left arm up and perform the same motion in the opposite direction. After performing the swing with your left arm, your hips will be pointing towards your right side.
  7. Do a total of 20 reps (10 each side).

With this exercise, there is rotation both at the hips and shoulders and you’ll be slightly lifting your feet up and moving them to the left and right in sync with your hips, creating a pelvic rhythm. Essentially, your clubs have the right away and your body is moving around the clubs in a smooth, easy and controlled manner. 

6. Scorpion Stretch (6:54) 

mobility routine with indian clubs

Main Target: Shoulder, Spine (lumbar and thoracic), Hip Mobility & chest and hip flexor stretch 

How to do Scorpion Stretches:

  1. Get into a prone position (on your belly).
  2. Arms out to the side, shoulders pulled down away from the ears, and shoulder blades engaged.
  3. Lift your right leg using the glutes and hamstrings and move it across your body using the outer hips. Try to keep both shoulders and arms in contact with the ground for as long as possible as you bring your leg over.
  4. Allow your hips, lumbar spine and thoracic spine to rotate slowly as your right foot moves closer towards the ground. 
  5. When your right foot is flat on the ground, carefully drive your right knee outward to activate the foot & outer hip muscles.
  6. Slowly unwind back into the starting prone position and repeat on the left side.
  7. Continue doing this movement in an alternating fashion for 10 reps (5 reps to each side).

7. Indian Club The Mill (Variation) (7:54) 

indian club mill

Main Target: This is a variation of the classic Indian Club mill. Shoulder, elbow, wrist mobility and hip and ankle fluidity. 

How to do Indian Club Mills:

  1. Start in a fighting stance. Left leg forward.
  2. Bring the club in your left hand up using a curling motion. Your hand will be facing in next to your left shoulder and the club will be parallel with the floor with the top facing away from you.
  3. Your right arm will have the club pointing down. 
  4. Twist your right heel forward so your hips are rotated to your left side.
  5. Pull the club back and up to your right side while shifting your feet and bringing your left heel up and rotating your hips to your right side.
  6. When the club reaches behind your head (as if you are putting a sword in its sheath), rotate your hips back towards the left and shift your feet in sync with it while simultaneously bringing the club back up and down over your right shoulder until its pointing back down towards the floor with your arm extended down and your right heel off the floor and hips shooting to the left.
  7. Do 10 reps and perform the same movement pattern on the opposite side (also switch stance so your right foot is forward). 

8. Technical Stand Up (9:44)

indian club

Main Target: This is a popular BJJ and MMA exercise, as it teaches fighters to come up from the ground in a way that protects them from an opponent’s attack. For the general population, it is a great full body exercise that does a great job of activating your lower body muscles and opening up your hips. 

How to do Technical Stand Ups:

  1. Sit down on the ground. Plant your right arm to the ground just behind you and your left elbow to your left knee.
  2. Lift your butt off the ground so that the only thing touching the ground is your left foot and your right hand.
  3. Shift your right left behind you so that your right knee is just in front of your right hand.
  4. Square your body forward as your drive your hips up to neutral. You will now be in a low-lunge like position. Keep your hands up like a boxer, as if you are protecting yourself from getting hit.
  5. Use your legs to stand up to a fighter position (left leg forward).
  6. Follow that same pattern in reverse to get back to the starting position.
  7. When your butt reaches the ground, switch sides and perform the same movement the opposite way.
  8. Do this for a total of 10 reps (5 each side).
WHEN TO DO THIS INDIAN CLUB & BODYWEIGHT MOBILITY ROUTINE?

This is a full body mobility routine so it is great to do as a warm up before really any strength training workout or as a stand alone workout on active rest days.

BENEFITS OF THIS MOBILITY ROUTINE
  • Great movement prep for athletes, especially rotational and high impact sports.
  • Improves range of motion of hips, shoulders, elbows, and wrists.
  • Optimizes flexibility of muscles through dynamic stretching.
  • Enhances balance, coordination and bilateral control.
  • Increases core strength and stability.
  • Improves injury resilience.
  • Great for releasing tightness in spine.
  • Reduces muscle soreness.
  • Great for working on muscle activation and control.
  • Works you through the transverse plane, which is often undertrained by most people.

clubbell workout and exercises

WHERE TO BUY INDIAN CLUBS?

Indian Clubs (either 1 or 2 pound clubs are all you need). You want lightweight clubs! 

If you want that classic feel, get wooden clubs, but if you want the most cost-friendly option, go for the polyurethane clubs. Both are great.

Here are the best options for Indian clubs on Amazon: 

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