Question: How long have you been coaching with clubbells?
Robert: I have been teaching with clubbells for over a year, thanks to professor Alberto Crane who introduced me to the TACFIT26 system designed by Scott Sonnon.
Question: How long have you been coaching with clubbells?
Robert: I have been teaching with clubbells for over a year, thanks to professor Alberto Crane who introduced me to the TACFIT26 system designed by Scott Sonnon.
If you’ve been to a Clubbell Athletics workshop or certification, you know the formula for solid Clubbell mechanics. The 7-Key Components of Clubbell Structure are the primary focus of our work. Every now and again, it’s important to return to the basics, re-fortify foundational elements, and capture deeper learning along the way.
In that spirit, we offer this review of our foundation, the 7-Key Components of Clubbell Structure. They are:
Crown to Coccyx Alignment
“Long Spine” involves 3 elements to maintain the natural, spring-coiled S-curve of the spine under load:
This “Closed Packed Position” involves stabilizing the shoulder blades (scapuli) so the spine can carry the weight of the lift, and not the soft tissues of the shoulder girdle. Depress or drop the scaps down toward your hips by pulling your shoulders down. Don’t pinch your shoulder blades together. Roll them back until perpendicular to the ground. Under load we tend to allow hard-wired fear reflexes to elevate the shoulder blades, carry the weight or speed of the motion in the locomotive soft-tissues rather than by the skeletal chassis. These active cues used in each repetition will guarantee that the entire body resists the forced rotation caused by the weight.
Arm Lock involves 4 primary configurations:
Grip Confirmation includes the actions of aligning the wrist to sustain traction and on regulating the gripping configuration of the fingers. Wrists should be aligned with forearms “flat” so that you don’t exceed flexion or extension, or deviate with lateral bend, just like you would want your wrist alignment to throw a punch. Tightness in the forearm flexors can cause you to excessively curl the wrist, and tightness in forearm extensors cause you to bend back the wrist when holding and swinging weight. Grip should not be a death-tight hook like on a barbell deadlift or a strict pull-up, but should change tightness depending upon the angle the weight gets swung or lifted. When swinging the Clubbell, the wrists, like holding a fencing epee, tilt thumbs forward in saber grip, meaning that the pinky pulls tightest backward, while the thumb pushes forward and downward. But in Back Position, the thumb and forefinger pinch strongest, like making a tight “OK” sign with your hand, while the pinky side of the hand is used to help push through the rotation.
Core Activation requires its own dedicated address of content, but involves a process of “crushing the can” of the core:
To crush the can, you exhale and push down, cinch tight, and pull up. Simple, but not easy. Practice. You’ll improve with practice, even if only practicing one cue at a time.
Hip Recruitment includes 4 critical elements to combine the rotation of one hip with the other. If the hips are tight, then the lower back is forced to destabilize: rotate and twist leading to potential dangers; or the knees are forced to rotate outward or buckle inward to accommodate the hip tightness.
Leg Drive addresses the downward pressure pushing the Earth away to compel the swing, to resist the forced rotation the Clubbell’s inertia attempts you to take, and to revolve and absorb the Clubbell during moments of its free-fall through the exercise. If the ankles are tight, your knees may be forced to track outward or inward, or more often, they tilt your foot inward (inversion; falling arch) or outward (eversion; over-treading), and prevent from tapping into the optimal pressing power of mid-foot drive. Pushing the Earth away from mid-foot “grounds” you most effectively, and allows you to attain anti-gravitation. As the Clubbell swings, it attempts to pull you off of mid-foot, to the inside arch and outside foot sword as well as onto your heels or balls of feet. Resist the rotation, and maintain optimal leg rooting and drive into the Earth.
We understand it can be overwhelming to focus on so many nuances all at the same time. Pick one or two that need the most work and make those your training mantra until they become second nature. Then move on to the next. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. And remember, there is no such thing as perfect technique, only perfect practice.
It’s been just over a month since the launch of Clubbell Athletics Foundations. This product demarcates over 4 years of technique refinement since the launch of the Clubbell Athletics system. We are so grateful & encouraged by the feedback we’ve received from clients who’ve found value in the product. Here is a snapshot of some of the comments people have offered:
Just picked this new Clubbell Athletics Foundations program and cannot wait to dig in. The Fisher sisters have a wealth of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom of Clubbells that is second to none. I have personally experienced their coaching first hand and am humbled each time I get the gift of training with them. Grab this program if you’re looking to take your training to a new dimension. -Brandyn Wicklund
For anyone looking to get into the Tacfit/CST arena, check this program out, it’s a great foundational program to help safely bring you up and prepare you for the full system. If you never get into the full program it’s also great by itself, plus my three favorite Fishers are featured!!! -Joe Foltz
Just Grabbed this; VERY NICE! Incredibly well organized program! Can’t wait to test drive it with my lovely bride, and then torture the department! -Mike Lasnier
I’m only partway through CBA Foundations, but I love it, and just wanted to complement your efforts. The application of the device, and these disciplines, can and will expand, and what you made is a big step in that direction. I appreciate what you gals have done, and am dedicated to helping promote the modalities and ideals that y’all have helped create. -Jarrett Klein
Informative and presents a good challenge to those who are already contemplating a change to greater fitness. -Rand Gholson
Here is what North American Director Gwint Fisher had to say about the all new Clubbell Athletics Foundations program:
Angela and Emily have spent the last three years traveling the country, teaching coaches and athletes alike in the art of Clubbell training. I am truly grateful for their experience, for it has culminated in this incredibly innovative program! I have had the honor of witnessing the development of CBA Foundations and can testify that each and every component has been strategically selected to ensure the techniques stick. The Clubbell is a tool that requires a very high level of skill to be used properly. That being the case, it can be challenging for new students to receive proper instruction on Basic Clubbell Mechanics simply because there are so few coaches willing to invest the time and money to receive such instruction themselves. This program truly changes the game by allowing those students access to highly trained coaches for Basic Skills at the push of a button. These skills are invaluable, and I truly believe that Clubbell Athletics Foundations will make a lasting impression in the fitness industry
If you haven’t grabbed your digital copy yet, please be sure to do so over at www.clubbellathleticsfoundations.com .
Please keep the feedback coming our way and let us know how we can serve you on your journey of health-first fitness.
2017 is now upon us and as we’ve reflected on 2016, we noticed the term “stress” came up for a lot of people. Stress is the #1 killer these days, but is it really the stress itself that kills? Or is it how we choose to react or respond to the stress? When we react out of emotion (positive or negative) our heart rate spikes and stress becomes distress; harmful stress. When we consciously respond with breathing techniques, stress transforms into eustress; healing stress. We can train ourselves to side with eustress by mastering our breath. Breathing deeply goes beyond oxygen delivery to the cells. It pumps the diaphragm which stimulates the internal organs and stabilizes the heart rate. These factors impact our ability to move better and make conscious, clear decisions. Primitive tools like clubbells can be used to introduce stressors that challenge breath mastery, movement, and structure. This is one of the key elements we focus on in our new product coming soon.
Emily: How long have you been coaching with clubbells?
CHARLEEN: I BEGAN MY CLUBBELL JOURNEY IN 2013. GOT MY CBA CERT IN JANUARY 2014. I BEGAN COACHING IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THE CERTIFICATION AND HAVE BEEN CONSISTENTLY COACHING FOR A 2 FULL YEARS NOW.
Emily: What attracted you to clubbells in the first place…why did you want to become a CBA instructor?
CHARLEEN: I HAD BEN DOING MOSTLY KETTLEBELL AND CALISTHENIC TRAINING WHEN I WAS INTRODUCED TO AND FELL IN LOVE WITH THE CLUBBELLS THROUGH TACFIT AND CLUBBELL YOGA. ONCE I EXPERIENCED THE WHOLE BODY ACTIVATION AND DIVERSITY OF THE CLUBBELL, I KNEW I WANTED TO DIVE DEEPER. I WAS EXPERIENCING SUCH HUGE BENEFITS IN MY CORE STABILITY, SCAPULAR STRENGTH, AS WELL AS WRIST STRENGTH AND MOBILITY. I KNEW I HAD TO SHARE IT WITH EVERYONE.
Emily: What do you feel is the biggest benefit clubbells have to offer your clients?
CHARLEEN: CLUBBELLS OFFER A FUN AND DIVERSE WAY OF TRAINING IN A WAY THAT BUILDS YOU UP AND STRENGTHENS ALL ASPECTS OF YOUR BODY, FROM THE MUSCLES, TO JOINTS AND CONNECTIVE TISSUE; RATHER THAN WEARING OUT AND TEARING IT DOWN! ADDITIONALLY, EVERY SINGLE MOVE IS A CORE EXERCISE. I BELIEVE A STRONG CORE IS THE FOUNDATION OF ANY AND ALL MOVEMENT. THE DIVERSITY OF THE CLUBBELL EXERCISES HELPS PREVENT OVER TRAINING AND OVERUSE INJURIES OFTEN FOUND WITH REPETITIVE MOVEMENTS WITH A SINGLE PIECE OF EXERCISE EQUIPMENT.
Emily: What piece of advice would you offer newcomers to clubbells?
CHARLEEN: MY ADVICE TO NEWCOMERS IS TO BUILD THE COMPONENTS! EARN YOUR SWINGS AND COMPLEX MOVEMENTS. IT’S EASY TO THINK “I’M FIT, I CAN WATCH THAT VIDEO AND DO JUST THAT!”. RESIST THE TEMPTATION TO SHORTCUT THE MOVEMENTS AND JUMP IN TOO QUICKLY. THE COMPONENTS ARE THERE FOR A REASON; YOU MUST BUILD THE MOVEMENT FROM THE GROUND UP. THEN WITH A SOLID FOUNDATION, THE OPTIONS ARE ENDLESS.
Emily: How has training with clubbells enhanced your own experience as both an athlete and coach?
CHARLEEN: WORKING WITH CLUBBELLS AND THE CST SYSTEM HAS TOTALLY CHANGED MY TRAINING. I FEEL BULLET PROOF. BEFORE I WAS ALWAYS HAVING TO TAKE TIME OFF OF TRAINING TO RECOVER. NOW I CAN TRAIN ALL THE TIME WITHOUT INJURY OR EXHAUSTION. AS A HAIRDRESSER FOR 26 YEARS IT IS A MIRACLE I DO NOT HAVE CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME OR ISSUES WITH MY SHOULDERS ELBOWS, AND WRISTS, OR BACK PROBLEMS. I CAN STAND AND DO HAIR FOR 10 HOURS A DAY AND NOT LEAVE IN PAIN OR FEEL OVERLY TAXED. I HAVE ALSO JOINED AN AMAZING SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY OF LIKE-MINDED HEALTH FIRST FITNESS PROFESSIONALS.
Emily: What classes are you currently teaching?
CHARLEEN: I AM CURRENTLY TEACHING MORNING & EVENING CLASSES WHICH INCLUDE: CLUBBELL YOGA, FLOWFIT (ORIGINAL AND 6D), CLUBBELL ATHLETICS, & TACFIT.
Emily: How can people get in touch with you if they are interested in working together?
CHARLEEN: THE BEST WAY TO REACH ME IS EITHER ON MY FACEBOOK PAGE (LIVING WHOLE FITNESS) OR ON MY WEBSITE www.charleenhess.com
Emily: Thanks so much Charleen! Stoked to spotlight you!
Three years ago we created the Clubbell Athletics certification course to give instructors the tools needed to safely take clubbells to the next level. We’ve watched as the community has grown and leaders have emerged. Both Gwint Fisher & Brie Helmuth have continually raised the bar, helping to proliferate clubbells by holding CBA workshops, and assisting & teaching at CBA certification courses in their communities. Please join us in congratulating, Gwint Fisher & Brie Helmuth, the first of our instructors to earn their Level 2 CBA Coach certificate.
So many are drawn to Scott Sonnon’s work and the different fitness systems offered by RMAX. Wherever we travel, we always seem to get asked some variation of the following question: Where should I start, and where should I go next? In this post, we’ll attempt to address that question specifically from the perspective of Clubbell training: how do these awesome systems fit together, and what path makes the most sense to take?
First…a little background. Clubbell training, along with Prasara Yoga (Flow-Fit) and Intu-Flow (restorative mobility), make up the tri-ring integration of CST (Circular Strength Training) disciplines. Similarly to the Flow-Fit seminar, Clubbell Athletics was designed to be both a stand-alone certification as well as a preparatory & supplementary certification for those seeking their CST Instructor. This breakdown of the CST content allows for participants to receive a much broader understanding of Clubbell mechanics over the course of a 2-day seminar. As a result, they are in a far better position to be successful should they choose to seek out a CST Instructor certification down the road. Makes sense right? Study the three rings in depth + independently = better integration of the rings subsequently.
Now, in addition to CST hopefuls, there is another population within the RMAX community that also benefits greatly from first attending a Clubbell Athletics seminar. For many TACFIT Instructors, their introduction to Clubbell training was a direct result of their exposure to TACFIT. Unlike many of the more common tools used in TACFIT (kettlebells, rings, med balls, etc.), some individuals attempt a TACFIT certification without receiving any prior coaching specific to Clubbells. And seeing as there is so much ground to be covered at a TACFIT cert, and the mechanisms and nuances unique to Clubbell training are so vast, it becomes impossible to achieve the level of proficiency needed to conquer the Clubbell in just one weekend.
When it comes to RMAX’s most popular certifications, CST & TACFIT, it is no wonder why so many who are drawn to one system, eventually end up wanting to certify in the other. They are both symbiotic and complimentary; CST is the methodology, and TACFIT the application of that methodology. So which one should you do first? Well, in our opinion, either, so long as you’ve trained clubbells first.
While there are many paths to success in these systems, we can speak from personal experience as two individuals who have gone through the CST & TACFIT systems together. Our journey started by first certifying as CST Instructor, and then CST Coach before attempting TACFIT Instructor. This gave us the experience and confidence working with Clubbells to be successful TACFIT Instructors. Both of us eventually went on to study the tool in great depth and earn our CST Head Coach & TACFIT Team Leader certifications. We tell our story not to say that is the only way to integrate and progress within the systems, but rather to point our that much of our success came from first respecting the need to understand the tool that sets both of these systems apart. As a result, we created the Clubbell Athletics system to bridge this gap and give newcomers to Clubbells the opportunity for safe initiation of the the tool, and as an obvious and responsible entry point into both systems (with hopes of inspiring the next generation of CST & TACFIT Instructors towards greater proficiency and expertise).
So, if you’re considering attending a CST or TACFIT certification in the future…don’t cut corner in a rush to the finish line. Enjoy the journey. Give yourself a leg-up by first attending a Clubbell Athletics seminar. Let’s do it safe, let’s do it right, from the start.
Have you heard of the 6th sense? No, I’m not talking about the ability to see dead people…I am talking about proprioception. Proprioception could also be referred to as kinesthetic awareness; essentially, the ability to sense positioning, movement and equilibrium within ones own body. Without proprioception, it wouldn’t be possible to touch your nose with your index finger without looking in the mirror. This is a very simple demonstration of rudimentary proprioception, one that even my one-year old is learning how to master. However, if you’ve ever seen Olympians competing in Aerials skiing, you can easily see that proprioception is something that can be developed and refined at a very high level.
To illustrate an example of something that requires a high level of kinesthetic awareness, let’s examine one of the more complex clubbell exercises, the Clockwork Squat. In the Clockwork Squat, one must have the wherewithal to perform a slew of precisely executed elements without hesitation or miscalculation. First, one must be able to decelerate the clubbell as it zooms right past the ear and guide it with accuracy so that it rests on the soft tissues of the trapezius. A mis-assessment here will result in either a forceful crack to the noggin, or a battered acromioclavicular joint. In addition, one must also judge how far away from the body the clubbell needs to be during this process, so that contact with the clubbell takes place on the cone (where its mass is graduated), as opposed to the barrel or handle (where it’s far less forgiving). Additionally, this exercise requires precise positioning of the torso (stopping the thoracic yaw at 45-degrees) during the point in which the clubbell lands on the shoulder. To throw in another complication, each of these elements must be executed while simultaneously descending into a squat as the clubbell is absorbed downward.
Anyone who’s performed this exercise knows first hand, there is a sweet-spot; the speed and trajectory of the swing makes landing it outside of this zone a very painful reminder just how critical proprioception is when performing complex motor skills; especially those involving weighted implements swung at high velocity around sensitive areas of the body. Therefore, prior to attempting this exercise, athletes undergo a series of simpler exercise breakdowns that develop sound structure, proprioception, and enhanced confidence. A huge component to heightening kinesthetic awareness is self-trust. Without this trust and confidence in oneself, hesitation can result in a catastrophic mis-judgement.
Training with clubbells is one of the best ways to make vast gains in proprioceptive development. Clubbell training requires the practitioner to really hone-in, listen to the subtle queues happening within the body, and manifest a perception of self that is confident and capable.
Let’s talk about hyperextension for a moment. This is something that comes naturally for me, and some of us can easily fall into this pattern if we aren’t aware of what it is and how it feels. I see it a lot in the yoga community due to deep pose holding. It wasn’t until I heard Scott Sonnon’s explanation of mechanical vs physiological lock that something clicked; I realized I was placing too much pressure on my elbows.
Physiological lock is another term for hyperextension. This involves over extending a hinge joint (commonly the knees or elbows) so the actual bones bear the weight. Hyperextension is easy to spot; the elbow or knee will visually bow out beyond the straight lock line. You will feel a lot of pressure in the joint complex when you do it.
Mechanical lock involves actively spreading the weight or load throughout the surrounding muscles to take pressure off the joint. This should be our goal if we want our joints to last. The famous saying “many hands (or muscles rather) make light work,” certainly applies. If you find that you have a tendency to hyperextend, the following reset can help you work your way out of it and engrain new patterns that turn your muscles on and make the load lighter.
It all comes down to finding that sweet spot of balance between extension and activation. In general, the less you dump into your joints and bones, the more longevity you’ll experience. Our sedentary lifestyle requires us to consciously train the ability to channel into the muscles until it becomes second nature. Hopefully this awareness will help you spot and prevent hyperextension so you can express your optimal strength and alignment.
Motivations for embarking on a fitness program vary greatly from individual to individual. Whether the aim is to be healthier, loose weight, tone up, move better, feel better, or to train for a specific sport or fitness accomplishment, having a goal is essential to attaining long-term results. Training without a purpose is like sort of like walking somewhere without a destination. Sure, it’s still good for you, but wouldn’t getting where you need to go be simpler if you knew where that was?
Goals are achieved with the highest success rate when they contain the following three elements. One, they must be identifiable: be specific and write down what your goal is in clear terms. Two, measurable: document and then reflect upon the progress you are making. Three, attainable: divide your goal up into small, incremental, time-specific chunks and keep chipping away. Begin with the end in mind; envision where you want to go, and employ the proper road map to get you there.
Working with a coach is one of the best ways to ensure goals are met. A coach will help keep you accountable, motivated, and offer the support you need to keep you on track every step of the way. The right coach will be able tailor a program that’s specific to you by assessing your current situation and putting a plan into effect to help you to overcome the challenges currently standing in your way.
Interested in working with a certified Clubbell coach? Check out our list of Clubbell Athletics Instructors.
Don’t worry if there aren’t any coaches in your area (yet!). Did you know Angela and Emily are available for online coaching to help you achieve your goals regardless of location? Fill out the Contact Us form for a free initial consultation and jump-start your journey today.