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How Indian Clubs helped me become World Champion

Guest Post Alert!!!

I finally managed to coax Maria into putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) and write a blog about her experience of using Indian Clubs.

So, without further ado, over to Maria…..

In April last year I attended my first Indian Clubs workshop in Limerick, with Mike Simpson and Cillin Cleere. I used some 2lb clubs that day and loved them straight away.

After enjoying my introduction so much, I vowed to make clubs part of my training regime. So I drove home, and promptly forgot they existed.

However, in November, Cillin visited WG to host a Clubs & Mace seminar with Dave.


I was first in the Q to sign up.

We spent 6 hours that day learning different moves and getting all relaxed and flowy swinging things about our heads.

The real magic happened when Cillin announced he had some clubs for sale.


I was getting me some of them – by force if necessary! By Christmas I had realised that might well be the best €75 I ever spent.

The day of the workshop my breathing dropped from my chest to my abdomen. It’s not there all the time – I still chest breathe the odd time, but since that day I ab breathe the majority of the time without even thinking about it.

Ab breathing helps me feel way more relaxed. So there you go, just do 6 hours of clubs and mace and you too can have calm, relaxed breathing and a magical life. Simples.

I started the day after the seminar. I worked through a few of the drills to keep them fresh in my mind. It was fun.

At the end of each work day I’d grab the clubs and do what I could remember, moving and changing things depending how I felt and how everything flowed that particular day.

15 minutes or so, the same moves, every day – not very extravagant!

Over New Years I realised that I had just done my busiest ever Christmas rush at work, with an ease and comfort I didn’t think was possible. More dogs groomed than any other year, but with minimal neck, shoulder and back tension.

Less tension = less aching. Less aching =relaxed, happy dog groomer. Happy dog groomer = happy dogs.


So the ‘little and often’ approach kept me loose enough to actually ENJOY my busiest period of the year.

‘BUT,’ I hear you say, ‘surely doing the same few moves every day gets totally booooooring…’ Nope! What I found was that the moves felt different depending on where I was tight that day after work/training. They also felt different as my mind and breathing relaxed more, day by day, allowing muscles to stretch and shoulder blades to move in long forgotten ways. Ranges of motion long lost were starting to be recaptured.

I had a lovely 3 weeks of my left shoulder deciding it would start the long process of heading back to its original position. It’s still higher and more rounded forward than is useful but the journey has begun! I also had 2 weeks of DOMS in all of my intercostal muscles as they were gently encouraged to stretch out and allow me straighten up a bit.


I’m flexible but wouldn’t be an especially back bendy person. In the last few months my bridge has gained about 50% height. I thank the clubs work for that. It’s no longer such an effort to get myself off the ground. I feel less restricted. Once up, my chest can actually push out allowing me to arch higher and giving a luxurious stretchy feeling through my whole body.

I’ll post a picture of my new lovely bridge soon on the WG Clubbers FB page.

‘BUT, BUT,’ I hear you say, ‘surely using such teeny tiny weights, when you’re used to ALL OF THE KILOS gets booooooring…’ Nope!

For me, right now, clubs are a rehab/prehab tool. For this reason, lighter is better. This is not a strength work out – this is a way of moving that helps repair the body. It helps relax the mind and breathing. It helps undo tension and it unlocks tightness. It helps lengthen and straighten muscle fibres that you have mangled into knots with your hardcore training sessions. It helps develop new movement patterns and coordination.

All in a gentle, easy manner that won’t take energy away from your ’actual’ training.

There’s simply no point in doing a rehab/prehab class with clubs that are heavy enough to make you tense up. You’ll miss so much of what is to be gained.

Last year, I did a whole lot of Kettlebell Snatch.

I had maybe 3 months all year where I wasn’t doing a large amount of serious competition training.

In a lift is simply brutal unless you have the technique down.

Spoiler alert! I most definitely did not have the technique down.

I kept myself together with monthly visits to my amazing massage man, and regular visits to the chiropractor. It worked. I survived a whole year of tough, relentless training with no injury setbacks and became National, European, and World Champion.

Maria on the podium of the World Kettlebell Lifting Championships

Maria on the podium of the World Kettlebell Lifting Championships

Since November, I’ve only had 2 massages. I don’t feel I need them as often. The clubs keep me ticking over nicely and I have a stretchy band sequence too that works really well as a partner to the clubs. It’s nice not to have to fork out money to several different professionals to feel this good, especially as I plan to train just as much this year!

[tweetthis display_mode=”box” remove_twitter_handles=”true” remove_url=”true”]It’s nice not to have to fork out money to several different professionals to feel this good[/tweetthis]

If you’d like to try out the class get in touch via FB or text, we meet at 1030am on Saturday mornings in WG. Let me know you are coming though, so I can be sure we have enough clubs to go around!

Me again… Seriously, contact Maria via here facebook page <— yes, that’s a link!! AND keep your eyes posted as there’s another workshop with Cillin and Myself on the horizon, details coming soon….

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