I should probably start keeping a spreadsheet of all the fitness fads I’ve signed on to. You name it, I’ve probably done it. Except the Suzanne Somers Thigh Master. Never had one of those. This time around it’s the most ancient of all mankind’s tools – a club. In my relentless search to find a way to fix my back for good, I’ve decided to start waving a heavy club around at pedestrians in the street. Ok, maybe not exactly that.
I’ve been following a “fitness influencer” for quite a while who advocates for mastering some basic core, functional fitness movements BEFORE trying things like deadlifts and heavy squats. I’d forgotten I followed him until one of his videos popped up on YouTube while searching for back pain exercises. In a nutshell, he advocates a volume cycle of single arm movements with kettlebells and clubs, plus some presses and bodyweight squats as a starting point. Until you have proper hip rotation, foot alignment, and adequate core strength, you’re asking to get hurt trying more complex movements.
He had an interesting observation about ancient physiques vs today. The Greeks and Romans had relatively smaller shoulders, biceps, and chests. They had massive back muscles, forearms, abdominals, glutes and thighs. The exact opposite of what we think of today as the ideal physical form (massive chests and biceps, with tiny waists). I have neither form, so I’m nicely poised to go either direction.
Anyway, so I watched approximately 18 hours of heavy club swinging videos and got all excited. I just know this is the ticket to fix my back and bad shoulder. The club he likes is adjustable from ten pounds to something I wouldn’t even be able to lift. The problem is that it was a couple hundred dollars. Not sure I wanted to commit that much to something I wasn’t sure I’d like doing, I jumped on Amazon to look for an alternative. Sure enough I found some Chinese company selling a whole size range of clubs, starting at $19. Bingo. I ordered the smallest weight one, so I could get the form and movements right.
We were going to be out of town for a number of days, so I arranged for the package to be delivered to a UPS store. I was so excited about my new club I didn’t want any chance of someone stealing it off my porch. Mrs. Troutdog got home before me, so I had her go pick it up so I wouldn’t miss a moment of my new club training routine.
Now keep in mind the videos I’ve been watching featured a muscular guy swinging a giant, heavy three-foot club around like an ancient Viking crushing the skulls of his enemies. Imagine my face when I opened the box and saw my new club. It’s tiny. A foot long and 5 pounds. It looks like a child’s toy. Mrs. Troutdog looked at it with a puzzled face and asked, “what is this?” My aspirations of Viking-like strength dimmed a bit.
I’m not one to give up easily, so I’ve been doing my mini-club routine (near) daily. Here’s what I’ve discovered. I struggle to keep my feet aligned. I have very poor rotational mechanics. My shoulder mobility is very limited. I don’t know how to maintain a good pattern of exhale/inhale when doing movements. And standing fully upright while bracing my core and engaging the glutes leaves me sore for the rest of the day. All with a little 5-pound club.
Now I’m not saying swinging a club around is the end-all-be-all. But it’s working. It’s exposing flaws. So I’m going to keep up with it. Soon, I should be able to graduate to a heavier club. Viking-like abs may not ever be in my future but being able to get out of a chair without assistance, or to carry all the groceries in one pass will be.
I wonder what my next fitness fad will be?