Indian Club Exercises from:

Athletic Sports for Boys: A Repository of Graceful Recreations for Youth

Dick and Fitzgerald, NYC 1866



Indian Clubs

This branch of gymnastics is one we strongly recommend to boys. In using the clubs the chest is expanded, - greater freedom is given in the use of the arms, the muscles of the legs and arms as well as those of the whole body are brought into full use, the wrist is strengthened, the grasp of the hand is made firmer, the circulation of the blood is regulated, and the health in general is greatly improved. If their use is persevered in, they will render the person who practises with them ambidextrous-that is to say, he will be able to use his left arm almost as well as his right in hurling, flinging stones, lifting weights, and similar operations. The young gymnast must be careful, and use light clubs at the outset, remembering that if he persevere, he may soon achieve the skill and strength necessary to wield heavy ones with ease. The clubs vary in length, ranging from eighteen to thirty inches. The shape mostly used is shown in the foregoing illustration.

The illustration represents the largest and smallest sizes; there should be at least six sizes between these two, making eight different sizes in all.

As these clubs increase in length they increase in diameter (at the bottom) also.

Two clubs must be made of each size, and each fellow in size should be as nearly as possible of the same weight as the other. They are usually made of hard wood, to withstand any accidental blow, for it will frequently happen that they will be brought in contact one against the other, especially by beginners. Again, it is for their weight that they are used; were it not for that, the using of them would not have the required effect.

First Exercise.-Hold the smallest club in the right hand, and with the motion of the wrist only, give a circular motion to the club; as from left to right, from right to left, from front to back, from back to front, as near as possible. The arm must be kept straight down at the side. Repeat the exercise with the left hand.

Second Exercise.-Repeat the above exercise with the arm bent at the elbow, but the forearm must be kept perfectly still.

Third Exercise. -hold a small club in either hand, and repeat the above exercise, allowing both the clubs to revolve the same way.

Fourth Exercise.-The same exercise as last, but causing the clubs to revolve in opposite directions, thus: let the left hand club go from left to riglit, whilst the right hand one goes from right to left, or vice versd.

Fifth Exercise.-Repeat the same exercise with the arms extended in front, at the sides, or straight over the head.

Sixth Exercise.-Repeat the last exercises, allowing the arm to be bent at the elbow.

Seventh Exercise.-Repeat the last exercises with the elbow as the centre of the described circle instead of the wrist, placing the arm in the several relative positions. (See Fig. 1.)

fig 1

Eighth Exercise.-Exercise the arms in any of the foregoing exercises, with a large and small club at the same time, and one arm doing the same exercise as the other, or different.

Ninth Exercise.-Lift the club to the shoulder, first with the right arm, then with the left, then both arms together. Then the clubs must be whirled slowly around the head (see Fig. 2), each arm being used alternately, and the foot of the club depressed toward the shoulder as the club passes round the head. The motions must be made slowly at first, and gradually increase in rapidity as the pupil becomes proficient.

fig 3

Tenth Exercise.-The same exercise with two clubs, and both arms to revolve in the same, or in different directions.

Eleventh Exercise.-Hold a club in either or both hands, with the arm bent at the elbow. Let the club lean on the shoulder first, then as low as possible, and with the motion of the wrist only, carry the club out straight with the forearm. This should be done as if a blow were intended to be given.

Twefth Exercise. Hold as large a club as possible,  with the arm or arms extended in front or at the sides.

Thirteenth Exercise.-Whilst holding out a club with one hand, achieve any of the aforementioned exercises with the other.

Fourteenth Exercise.-Hold any of the clubs (the larger the better) in either or both hands, bring the hands up suddenly under the arm-pits, and drop them again as quickly as possible.

Fifteenth Exercise.-Bring the hands up under the arm-pits, and extend them suddenly in front or at the sides with the clubs upright.

Sixteenth Exercise.-Repeat the above exercises successively. The hands  may be brought up under the arm-pits or to the shoulders, as most convenient, before proceeding with the next. In performing the last three exercises, the elbows must be kept as high and as far back as possible.

Seventeenth Exercise.-Hold a club in each hand with the arms extended at the sides, the hands to be kept as high as the shoulders, and the sides of the clubs, and if possible the hands, made to meet behind.

Eighteenth Exercise.-Achieve any of the foregoing exercises whilst standing on one leg.

Nineteenth Exercise.-Aim at any imaginary object with either of the largest size clubs, allowing the blow to be given as if to descend on a man's head, and when the club shall have reached that imaginary point,it is to be brought to a sudden standstill, as if something had impeded its progress, and there held for a short time. This exercise should be done both in front and at the sides.

Twentieth Exercise.-Repeat the above exercise with a club in each hand, the blows to be given both at the same time in front or at the sides, or with one in front and one at the side.