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Fact checked by Kirsten Yovino, CPT Brookbush InstituteFACT CHECKED
Updated On: March 03, 2023
Whether you are brand new to steel club training or you just want a fresh workout to follow, this post has you covered. In this, you will be provided with a 25 minute full-length, follow-along steel club workout. It is a full body workout that requires just a single steel club (heavy club, relative to your strength/fitness level). This workout is good for all fitness levels, aiming to increase strength & conditioning. If you are a beginner, no worries about not being able to do the exercises as they are all demonstrated and cued flawlessly by Coach Mike Pastor so you can easily master the movements. All you have to do is pick up your steel club and go!
A steel club, sometimes referred to as a clubbell or simply a heavy club, is a piece of fitness equipment made of steel that is shaped something like a bowling pin. They typically weigh anywhere from 10 to 40 pounds.
This type of equipment has been around for a long time, having been used as a conditioning tool for wrestlers in India as far back as the 18th century and by the British military after that. The concept dates back as far as Ancient Persia. It’s basically a weapon turned fitness tool. You can learn more about it here (as well as how it differs from it’s light weight counterpart, the Indian Club).
You’ll find most people are drawn to the steel club because of its incredible ability to build grip, forearm, shoulder and core/rotational strength. However, it can also be used as a full body strength & conditioning tool. Essentially, you will be moving and swinging around a heavy object, so you are bound to get stronger and more conditioned, especially if you do high volume workouts. A steel club workout is functional training at its finest. There are tons of exercises that you can do (i.e. rows, squats, presses, swings) and due to the nature of steel club training, you will be doing so through multiple planes of motion. Think of it like athletic strength training.
So, to answer your question, YES, steel club workouts are good. They are tough and different than what most people are use to, especially if they come from a more conventional training background.
Absolutely. You’ll being swinging, hinging, squatting, pressing, pulling and overall just moving through a wide range of motion with a heavy tool, so you can definitely induce hypertrophy. If you train hard, do high volume work with time under tension, and eat properly, you can build muscle with steel club training alone. After all, you can build muscle with just your bodyweight!
The steel club is not some light weight wussie tool, it is a powerful piece of equipment made to build muscle, strength, and endurance. But, like anything, if you don’t train with the right intention, and you don’t employ progressive overload, you won’t build muscle.
Note: Of course, it’s not going to build muscle in the same way as conventional lifting with barbells simply due to the load potential, but it will help you to build a lean aesthetic muscular body.
This is going to depend on your strength and fitness level. Typically, a good starting weight is anywhere from 10 to 25 pounds. It’s better to start on the lighter end if you are completely new to steel club training, as the training tool is a bit awkward at first (due to it not being perfectly balanced like a dumbbell) and it feels heavier than it is.
Related: What Size Steel Club Should I Buy?
As for this workout specifically, it is high volume with low rest time, so you’ll want to stay on the lighter side of the heavy spectrum. We recommend 15-20lbs for this one. Remember, it is a single club workout, so you’ll be using both hands on the club you choose. Take this into consideration when deciding on what size is right for you.
Note: If you are beginner fitness level, you may be better off with a 10lb club, and if you are a stronger individual, you can get away with a 25 pounder or even heavier if you really want to challenge yourself.
Use your best judgment.
Equipment: 1 Steel Club
Goal: Total Body Strength & Conditioning
Time: 26.5 Minutes
Here’s a little breakdown of the exercises in the above workout. Just to give you a little more detail on each.
The swing squat is a combination of a swing (like a kettlebell swing) and a squat. It is a dynamic movement that combines both ballistic and grind work. It’s a full body movement that emphasizes the quads, hamstrings, glutes and lower back, as well as the arms and core to stabilize the steel club.
TURN THE CORNER
Turn the Corner is a great exercise to build coordination and rotational strength and stability. It involves a reverse lunge with a twist, while holding the club on the shoulder opposite to your rotation. It is going to work your legs, glutes, core, and back.
LUNGLE TO T-SPINE ROTATIONS
This exercise is very similar in concept to the Turn the Corner except you will be doing a forward lunge and you’ll be holding the steel club vertically at your center in front of you. This places more emphasis on your core and arms, in addition to your legs and glutes of course.
BACK CIRCLE TO FRONT PENDULUM
This is a very dynamic movement. If you haven’t used a steel club or steel mace before then you’ve probably never done anything like it. It is a rotational exercise to build up core strength and stability, rotational strength, shoulder strength, scapular mobility, grip strength, back strength and hip stability. You’ll be swinging a heavy object around your body, so it’s definitely going to challenge you in a uniquely athletic way.
LOADED TECHNICAL STAND UP
This is a movement taken from MMA. It teaches you how to safely stand up from the ground in a fight, and with strength and stability. The steel club is there just to add resistance to the movement, which makes it a lot harder. This is a functional movement in its purest form. It’s going to make you a stronger human, it’s as simple as that.
PLANK PULL THROUGH
The plank pull through is a core exercise that basically takes a plank and turns it up to eleven. Like any front plant, you will need core strength for anti-extension, but since you are pulling the heavy club back and forth, you will be building up anti-rotation strength too! On top of that, you’re essentially doing an alternating one arm plank which makes your chest, shoulders and back work harder too.
If you have any concern about not being able to do the exercises in this steel club workout, then you can first watch the workout and simply practice the moves. Don’t worry about keeping up with Coach Mike’s pace. Just get the movements nailed down pat, then you can follow along and do the workout at his pace when you are ready.
For those who end up doing this steel club workout (or even just pull the exercises from it to create your own), let us know what you think in the comments below.
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