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1. What do I need to get started?
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You will need to bring some basic kit (tracksuit, shorts, tee-shirt, trainers with socks etc) and a skipping rope if you have one. Try to bring a water bottle with you so you can remain hydrated during a session. It is possible to borrow a pair of light clubs initially but it is worth buying your own clubs if you are really interested.

We are currently investigating where we might get some clubs manufactured to our specifications. Sometimes clubs can be found at jumble sales or car boot sales but it is getting harder to find the original types used by our great grandparents.

Juggling clubs, which are readily available, can be used as a temporary solution but they are quite light weight (circa 250grams or half a pound), quite expensive and you will want to move up to a more challenging weight of club in a very short time.

2. Is there a class for beginners I can attend?

This is a relatively new class so we will be starting at a basic level initially in any case. At present we do not have a separate beginners’ class but, if necessary, we can simply split the class into two groups which can train at their own speed. The class can cater for both experienced club practitioners and beginners.

If there is sufficient demand a pure beginners’ class could be started. Beginners usually start with one lightweight club and alternate between left and right hands on basic swings. Ideally we would like to train as one group so the class will be tailored to the level for each participant.

3. I have done some Indian club swinging (juggling, hula hoop, medicine ball training) before can I come and watch or have a go?

Yes. Please do come along and watch or have a go.

We welcome anyone that can contribute to the range of skills and activities at our classes as it makes training more enjoyable.

4. I have an existing medical problem, joint replacement and/or injury. Can I still practice Indian club swinging?

This depends on the sort of medical/physical problem you have. I would always recommend consulting your doctor or surgeon before attempting any new exercise regime.

Indian club swinging can place a lot of pressure on the joints (especially the shoulder, elbows, wrists and back to some extent) so if you have joint replacements or some degenerative condition (e.g. arthritis) it would be advisable to talk to your specialist about this before starting any fitness classes.

If you want to start after a consultation with your medical practitioner then start on really lightweight clubs such as the juggling clubs, which are readily available and weigh about 250grams (half a pound).

Always make your instructor aware of any difficulties you have before a class.

5. I am unsure what do in a class when I want to attract the attention of the instructor.

In an emergency you should shout “Excuse me!” or “Help!” (or the instructor’s name) and/or raise your hand or “catch the eye” of the instructor to attract the attention of an instructor or experienced person.

It is not advisable to wander around the training hall looking for the instructor because other students are using clubs or skipping ropes and may not be aware of your presence until it is too late. Another person may injure you and this would be very unfortunate.
Usually, it is best to stay where you are and attract attention.

Other safety points to note are that if someone shouts “Stop!” then everyone must stop what they are doing so that help can be administered if required.

6. What insurance or qualification does the instructor have to teach this system?

The instructor has over 20 years of Indian club swinging experience and a Fitness Instructor Professional Fitness Liability Insurance/Personal Accident Cover for Group Exercise Instructors.

He also holds coaching certificates in Association Football, Aikido and Iaido and has taught martial arts for over 20 years.

He also has a Postgraduate Certificate in Education from the University of Sheffield where he is a Senior Lecturer.

He also has a basic first aid qualification.

7. I sometimes hit myself on the head with my clubs because I cannot work out how to do a swing properly.

This is all part of learning this exercise regime but usually you won’t do too much harm with light clubs.

If you have a medical condition or are particularly concerned about this then it is possible to buy some lightweight crash helmets used in canoeing and mountaineering for around £25 from your local sports goods retailer. Ask your instructor for advice and details.

Other safety equipment I have considered (usually after the event though!) is shin pads. On some swings the clubs cross in front of the lower body and if they touch they can bounce off at odd angles and bash your shin or knee so shin/knee pads could be useful.

These will solve your problems until you understand how to perform each swing in the correct way.

If you suffer headaches after a bump on the head then you should see your medical practitioner. For other very minor bumps remember RICE – rest, ice (wrapped in a towel or a pack of frozen peas in a towel applied for a few minutes), compression and elevation will take the swelling down somewhat. Never apply ice directly to the skin because it will cause a burn.

8. I sometimes get very tired during practice, particularly when we are swinging clubs for some time.

The short answer is stop and take a rest if you need to.

This is quite normal in a class of people with mixed ability and various levels of fitness. If you are just a little tired and fatigued put the clubs down, stay in your place and shake out your arms and legs, take some deep breaths then start again when you have had a rest.

Sometimes you may want to retire from a session and sit down. This is quite acceptable so long as you are careful leaving the practice area.

If you are really desperate and on the edge of fainting or collapsing or have pains in your chest, head, back, shoulders or abdomen then stop immediately and seek medical help. The same goes for cramp or any other discomfort that you regard as unnatural or unusual. Try to keep hydrated during these classes. If you suffer from fainting or light-headedness in a class then seek advice from your general practitioner.

Usually these classes will be invigorating, especially with the correct weight and properly balanced clubs. You will want to keep going when you are in the ‘training zone’ but do be sensible and stop immediately and seek help if you experience any pain or discomfort.

9. I sometimes suffer from muscular soreness the following day or two after training and sometimes I suffer from cramp.

Muscular soreness or more specifically “delayed onset muscular soreness” (DOMS) is a common complaint after any demanding physical exertion, particularly after a new exercise regime for your body. There are several ways to deal with these problems.
Muscular soreness (DOMS):

• Grin and bear it. Your body will recover in a day or so if it is just muscular soreness. If you are in real pain then you might want to see your general practitioner or accident and emergency and seek advice.

• Warm down properly to eliminate lactic acid and other by-products of exercise in the muscles. A good warm down will also improve the circulation to the muscles. Self-massage of the affected area can also help.

• Keep your fluids up and do not go ‘mad’ at any exercise in the first session but build up slowly with lightweight clubs and a few swings. Try to avoid sudden jerky, impact type movements, which are likely to cause muscle fibres to pull or tear.

• Increase your protein intake after training to help recovery.

• Some people take glutamine (an amino acid which is available from sports enthusiast shops and herbalists) as a supplement after training. It is thought that glutamine is important for muscle synthesis and repair and is used by the serious weight trainer. However,
I strongly advise that you consult your doctor or personal trainer, particularly if you are on any medication, before considering this option.


Cramp has many causes such as low fluid levels, high fluid intake, electrolyte imbalance, being too cold or too hot, poor circulation, poor diet and so on. Therefore there is no single solution available. A good warm-up session should help avoid cramp during training and isotonic drinks may help immediately after training.

• For cramp during a training session you must stop and treat the cramp by stretching and massaging the affected muscle and seeking medical help. Try to keep your fluids up but not excessively so and keep warm but not hot during a session. Having layers you can take off and put on during and after a session can help regulate your temperature and prevent injury and muscle cramps. This is very useful when training outdoors. Recovery from cramp can take around 2 to 10 days depending on how severe the cramp was and your general health and diet. Gentle self-massage can help recovery too.

• For cramp at other times away from training (e.g. night cramps) again it depends upon the cause and you should consult your medical practitioner or personal trainer for advice. Your GP can carry out tests on your electrolyte levels. You may then be advised to review your diet and make some changes but do this under the guidance of an expert.

10. What will Indian club swinging do for me that other methods of training won’t?

If you are new to fitness training of any kind then you should always seek the advice of a medical practitioner in case you have any problems.

Indian club swinging and the training regime we operate integrate a variety of training methods to achieve overall fitness. However, it depends on your objective for starting to get fit and while some regimes will increase strength others will increase aerobic capacity. Indian club swinging can be interesting to learn and form part of a major change in training activity. For example, Indian club swinging can help with:

• Balanced development of the shoulders, arms and back.

• Increases flexibility and strength in the wrists, elbows and shoulders.

• Improves the range of motion in these joints.

• Improves co-ordination, timing and skill with the hands.

• Improves overall strength and aerobic capacity if done regularly.

As usual start with lightweight clubs and progress at your own pace. Please see answers to the other frequently asked questions too.