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Power Clubs Workout

workouts
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After being ignored as serious fitness equipment for the past few decades, clubs (as in weighted bats, not nightspots) are making a comeback. That’s good news for anyone who wants to build a body that both looks strong and actually is strong, because clubs are excellent for building powerful shoulders and a functional physique.
 
To help you look like you’re leading the revival we’ve enlisted the UK’s top clubs expert, Ben McDonald from Premier Training International, to outline the basic moves. "Clubs are great for improving wrist, elbow and shoulder girdle strength and mobility," says McDonald. "The increase in grip strength is also phenomenal. That’s important because whenever you lift anything you’re only as strong as your weakest link, which is often your grip."

Doing the workouts

There are three workouts in this plan, starting with Level 1, which is designed to get you used to using clubs. Level 2 moves up a stage in difficulty while Level 3 is a demanding set of exercises that get you moving in circular, flowing patterns. Each set of exercises in Level 3 works a different plane of movement (frontal, sagittal and transverse), so you get a complete training effect. You can also slot moves into your usual workouts to improve joint mobility. 

Choosing a club

Because the clubs are weighted at the end and turn your arm into a long lever, you need to use a lighter weight than normal. Here’s a realistic guide that will allow you to perform the moves with good form.

Your strength Weight
Average            4-6kg
Strong              6-8kg
Super-strong     10kg+

Level 1 Power clubs workout

These moves will help you get used to the clubs. When doing one-sided moves, do one set for each side.

Shoulder park squat

Shoulder park squat

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Target: quads, hamstring, glutes

  • Start with the clubs in the shoulder park position.
  • Lower into a squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor, making sure your knees stay in line with your toes.
  • Push back up powerfully through your heels.

exercises

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Inside leg swing

Inside leg swing

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Target: hamstrings, glutes, lower back, shoulder

  • Start in the order position, then let the club fall and swing between your legs.
  • Bend at the hips as the club swings behind you.
  • Drive through your heels and snap your hips forward.
  • Use momentum to swing the club up to just above shoulder height.

Inside leg swing

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Frontal shoulder park lunge

Frontal shoulder park lunge

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Target: quads, hamstring, glute

  • Start with the club in the shoulder park position.
  • Lunge to the opposite side, making sure your trailing leg is straight and your bent knee tracks over your toes.
  • Drive back up to the start, keeping your torso upright throughout the move.

Frontal shoulder park lunge

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Sagittal arm cast

Sagittal arm cast

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Target: shoulders, lats, biceps, triceps

  • Start in the order position.
  • Send the club over your shoulder and behind your back until your upper arm is parallel to the floor.
  • Draw your arm forwards to reverse the movement back to the start.

Sagittal arm cast

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Torch press

Torch press step 1

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Target: shoulders, traps, tricep

  • Start in the order position.
  • Press the club directly upwards so both your arm and the club are vertical.

Torch press step 2

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Frontal flag press

Frontal flag press

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Target: shoulders, triceps, quads

  • Start in the order position.
  • Press the club out to the side.
  • As you move the club, counterbalance the weight by shifting your weight to your opposite leg while slightly bending your knee.

Frontal flag press

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Level 2 Power club workout

Do these moves for a whole-body workout.

Double outside leg swing

Double outside leg swing

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Target: quads, hamstrings, glutes, lower back, shoulders

Sets Reps 15 

  • Start in the order position with your feet close together.
  • Let the clubs fall and swing outside your legs.
  • Bend at the hips as the clubs swing, then drive through your heels and snap your hips forwards.
  • Use momentum to swing the clubs up to just above shoulder height.

Double outside leg swing

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Double shoulder park squat to leverage press

Double shoulder park squat to leverage press

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Target: quads, hamstrings, glutes, shoulders, forearms

Sets 3  Reps 15  

  • Start in the shoulder park position.
  • Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor and your knees are in line with your toes.
  • Straighten your legs and simultaneously extend your arms into the leverage position.

Double shoulder park squat to leverage press

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Frontal lunge with opposite frontal arm cast

Frontal lunge with opposite frontal arm cast

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Target: quads, hamstrings, glutes, lats, triceps

Sets 2 each side  Reps 15 

  • Start in the order position.
  • Send the club behind your back.
  • Lunge to one side then simultaneously extend your arm out to the opposite side until the club is vertical.

Frontal lunge with opposite frontal arm cast

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Transverse arm cast

Transverse arm cast

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Target: shoulders, lats, biceps, triceps

Sets 2 each side  Reps 15 

  • Start in the order position.
  • Send the club over your opposite shoulder and down your back.
  • Rotate your shoulder to bring the club behind the same shoulder, before drawing it forwards and back to the order position.

Transverse arm cast

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Sword cast

Target: shoulders, lats, biceps, triceps, abs 

Sets 2  Reps 15

Sword cast

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  • Send the club over your head and down your back.
  • Quickly drive the arms forwards to bring the club back to the starting position.

Shoulder park to club woodchop

Shoulder park to club woodchop

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Target: shoulders, lats, triceps, obliques

Sets 2 each side  Reps 15

  • Start in a two-hand shoulder park position with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Extend your elbows to draw the club down in an arc until it is outside your opposite leg.

Shoulder park to club woodchop

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Level 3 Power clubs workout

Do each hybrid as a circuit, completing all your circuits before going on to the next hybrid.

Hybrid 1: Sagittal plane 

Circuits 4 Reps 12 

Hybrid 2: Frontal plane 

Circuits 2 Reps 12 

 

Hybrid 3: Transverse plane  

Circuits 2 Reps 12

Hybrid 1: Shoulder park squat to torch press

Shoulder park squat to torch press

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  • Start with the clubs in the shoulder park position.
  • Lower into a squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor, keeping your knees in line with your toes.
  • Push back up powerfully through your heels as you press the clubs directly upwards so both arms and clubs are vertical.

Shoulder park squat to torch press

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Hybrid 1: Double outside leg swing

Double outside leg swing

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  • Start in the order position with your feet close together.
  • Let the clubs fall and swing outside your legs.
  • Bend at the hips as the clubs swing, then drive through your heels and snap your hips forwards.
  • Use momentum to swing the clubs up to just above shoulder height.

Double outside leg swing

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Hybrid 1: Double sagittal swipe

Double sagittal swipe

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  • Start in the order position.
  • Send the clubs behind your back.
  • Bring the clubs forwards to the start position in a swift, powerful motion.

Double sagittal swipe

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Hybrid 2: Inside frontal pendulum

Inside frontal pendulum

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  • Start in the order position.
  • Push the club out to the side across your body.
  • Let the club fall and swing in an arc, using hip drive to aid momentum so that the club swings out to the side up above your shoulder.

Inside frontal pendulum

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Inside frontal pendulum

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Hybrid 2: Mill

Mill

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  • Start in the order position and push the club out to the side across your body.
  • Let it fall and swing in an arc, using hip drive to aid momentum so that the club swings out above your shoulder.
  • When it reaches shoulder height, twist your body so it goes down behind your back, then quickly drive that arm forwards and return to the start.

Mill

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Mill

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Hybrid 2: Frontal circle

Frontal circle

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  • Start in a torch press position.
  • Let the club fall down to the side with your arm straight.
  • Swing the club round in a circle and start to decelerate when the club rises to shoulder height so you pause briefly at the top before repeating the move.

Frontal circle

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Frontal circle

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Hybrid 3: Single club baseball swing

Single club baseball swing

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  • Start with a double-handed grip with the club over your shoulder.
  • Keeping your elbows high, swing the club across your chest and behind your opposite shoulder.
  • Swing backwards and forwards in a powerful but controlled motion.

Single club baseball swing

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Hybrid 3: Inverse transverse swing

Inverse transverse swing

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  • Start in the order position and allow the club to swing outside your opposite leg.
  • Use hip drive to swing the club up and across your chest with a straight arm until it’s above your shoulder.

Inverse transverse swing

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Hybrid 3: Tranverse arm cast

exercises

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  • Start in the order position, then send the club over your opposite shoulder and down your back.
  • Rotate your shoulder to bring the club behind the same shoulder before drawing it forwards and back to the order position.

Tranverse arm cast

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Level 1 Extra Power Club Moves

Requiring a single weighted club, these level one extra moves can be added to your full power club workout to build functional fitness and give you strong, powerful shoulders.

Double handed transverse arm cast

Transverse arm cast

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Sets 2  Reps 15 each side

  • Holding the club in both hands, send it over one shoulder and down your back.
  • Move the club across your back.
  • Draw it forwards and back to the starting position.

Frontal arm cast

Frontal arm cast move with power clubs

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Sets 2  Reps 15 each side

  • Hold the club vertically with your elbows bent at 90˚ and tucked into your side.
  • Send it over one shoulder.
  • Extend your arm out to the side until the club is vertical.

Flag press

Flag press power clubs move

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Sets 2  Reps 15 each side

  • Hold the club vertically with your elbow bent at 90˚ and tucked into your side.
  • Press the club out in front of you until your arm is horizontal.

Level 2 Extra Power Club Moves

Ready for more? Add these level two bonus moves to your full power club workout. These more challenging moves will take your functional fitness and shoulder strength to another level.

Double sagittal cast

Double sagittal cast

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Sets 2  reps 15

  • Hold the clubs vertically with your elbows bent at 90˚ and tucked into your sides.
  • Send the clubs over your shoulders and behind your upper back until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Draw your arms forwards to reverse the movement back to the start.

Double frontal leverage press

Sets 2  reps 15

  • Rest the clubs on your traps with your hands below shoulder level.
  • Extend your arms until they're straight and raised slightly with the clubs angled slightly towards you.

Double torch press

Double torch press

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Sets 2  reps 15

  • Rest the clubs on your traps with your hands below shoulder level.
  • Press the clubs directly upwards so both your arm and the clubs are vertical.

Jon Lipsey worked for Men’s Fitness UK, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Jon was deputy editor and editor from 2007 to 2013. He returned as editor-in-chief from 2016 to 2019. He also co-founded IronLife Media (opens in new tab) and the New Body Plan (opens in new tab)