What is Steel Club Training? Why Do It?

Steel clubs, like the ones from Onnit Academy, are a modern variation on an ancient type of fitness equipment from Persia and surrounding areas around 2000 years ago.  They were used by wrestlers and soldiers to enhance their overall strength, endurance and speed for competing and for better weapon management in battle.

Benefits of Steel Club Training:

Grip Development

Steel club training enhances grip strength and dexterity similar to that of a kettlebell but in a more advance way by differentiating the weight distribution though the fingers.  At various points in steel club exercises, the stress the exercise places on the hand is learned and becomes more efficient by the practitioner which minimizes fatigue.  You can imagine in ancient times that when this ability to redistribute the loading of the hands enhanced the warriors endurance and strength alike (especially with grappling). This could have meant the difference between winning or death!
Today this increased dexterity and grip strength can help maximize efficiency, strength and endurance in all kinds of racquet and bat related sports like tennis, lacrosse, baseball, cricket etc.

Shoulder Strength, Mobility and Endurance

ANother way steel club training helps the modern athlete is through it’s unique shoulder exercises. Most exercises we see are purely in an overhead push or some kind of lateral motion. The steel club works the shoulders through a rotational application. By working the muscles in the shoulder as well as the assisting muscles of the shoulder (core muscles and smaller muscles of rotator cuff) in a rotational range of motion you’ll be exercising in a way that actually enhances your sport. Whether it’s the many different angles of tennis swings or the unpredictable way you’ll have to contort your body in a rock climb the steel clubs rotational exercises will enhance your endurance, durability and strength in all of your movement!     

Steel Club Training for Sports ConditioningEnhanced Connective Tissue & Joint Development

Steel clubs force you to swing weight through large ranges of motion which creates a tractional force as opposed to compressive force. Tractional force decompresses the joints and lengthens connective tissues; compressive force like loaded squats, presses, and deadlifts compresses the joints and shortens connective tissues. Implementing tractional force exercises like the ones used in steel club training can help halt or counteract degeneration of the connective tissue at joints.

Deceleration Training

By learning how to slow the momentum of a swinging a club you develop decelerative strength. Decelerative strength can be useful in minimizing the risk of injury becuse as many sports and training injuries are the result of the inability to decelerate and change direction when necessary.

Mobility & Stability

The incorporation of a variety of pullover, rotational and swinging drills and exercises in varying planes of motion while using the steel club can be useful in both increasing the range of motion as wells as increasing muscular stability around the shoulders.


Lastly I would have to add that besides the fact that steel clubs are useful for both strength and mobility, the most important reason for buying a steel club and learning how to use it for me was because it’s FUN! There aren’t many other fitness tools out there that let you feel like an ancient warrior or superhero like the steel club.  Go ahead train like the hidden warrior within and buy a steel club today or just come to one of our Steel Strength or TRX Steel Fusion classes at Pine Brook Fitness!

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