Monday, May 30, 2011

What Are Clubbells And Why Should I Bother About Them

Updated 2 May 2013


Clubbells are weighted clubs. They are a weight training equipment. However unlike conventional weight lifting, they are also well suited, and even more so, for swinging and leverage exercises.
UFC Champion Andrei Arlovski with the Clubbell (image courtesy of Rmax)


Clubbells have their roots in the ancient strength & conditioning systems of Indian, Persian and Russian club swinging. Heavy clubs have unique features which conventional weights do not have, as such swinging heavy clubs have very different and unique benefits which conventional weight lifting do not offer.

Main Feature: Leverage, and Its Benefits

The first thing you notice when you pick up a Clubbell is that they feel heavier than their weight. This is due to the large displacement of the centre of mass from the grip, which could be up to 3 feet away.

For this reason, in lifting movements eg. torch press, it is much much harder to keep it stable, compared to a kettlebell bottom up press. Even 15lb can pose a tough challenge for a seasoned lifter.

There are also unique leverage lifting movements that can't be done with a balanced weight like a dumbbell, like the front leverage press.

For the same reason, Clubbells can be swung and great torque can be produced by swinging them. As the speed of swinging goes up, the torque experienced by your body goes up by a factor of two (ie squared).

Micro loading adjustable. Just adjust the distance of your grip from the centre of mass and you have adjusted the resistance instantly, without plate changing, shot filling or other hassle.

Other Features and Benefits

Slim profile: can be manipulated around the body safer than other larger diameter equipment like dumbbells or kettlebells, going through the 6 degrees of freedom with less chance of hitting your body.

Slim profile: can be placed in the back position without danger of hitting your back or your head which can happen if you try to do the same with dumbbells or kettlebells.
The back position (image courtesy of Rmax)

Longitudinal grip: in swinging movements, when the Clubbell is in line with the arm, the grip goes through the fingers rather than against the fingers. This stimulates sensitivity in the grip (selective tension) and is harder than a conventional transverse grip.


The Clubbell can be used to replace most movements that are possible with dumbbells and kettlebells, this include swinging, pressing and exercises which go to the back position.

However some movements like the press cannot be done with the Clubbell without too much grip involvement. For safety, one handed high rep torch pressing is definitely not recommended.

Choose the right tool for the right job.

To get started with Clubbell training, check out TACFIT King of Clubs:
To get Clubbells in Singapore, contact me and i'll get you in touch with the local supplier.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What are the Recommended Programs for a Beginner in CST

Updated 2 May 2013

So are you a beginner to fitness or a beginner to the world of Circular Strength Training? Don't know where to start? Hopefully this guide would get you going.

I'll classify the options available for you according to the fitness hierarchy:

1) Health
2) Mobility
3) Function
4) Attributes
5) Physique

Please note that i recommend mostly electronic (ie downloadable) products because it is much easier on the logistics from the buyer (YOU) point of view. No shipping cost, instant downloads, unlimited access to download page are the pros of e-products versus DVDs or books.

Health & Mobility

These two points really come together. The method of pain relief we use in CST is movement, aka mobility. The best program in this category is none other than Intu-Flow. Now available in a convenient downloadable format in the Ageless Mobility Package.
It is the most comprehensive joint mobility program and system i have ever come across. And it doesn't need you to have a background in anatomy to use it. It is an intuitive system, as suggested by the name "Intu".

Mobility & Function

Programs from the second ring of Prasara Bodyflow Yoga would be best for these purposes. Note that mobility is a function and mobility is not restricted to isolated joint movements but also refers to whole body movement.

Dedicated programs available currently are Prasara Primer and Prasara A Flows.


What is functional training? Simple. aAnything that you do to improve you in your chosen activity, whatever that may be.

However here we are refering to normal and common human movements (functional training for life), not specific sporting or athletic activities. Things like squatting, lunging, lifting, swinging, throwing etc. Even before you look at functional training for sports, you need to be able to be functional for life.

Training to be functional for life makes you functional for sport. But the reverse may not be true.

Every program in CST is functional, therefore it is redundant for me to list out all the programs under this point.


Attribute training basically refers to strength & conditioning. Strength refers to ability to produce force. Conditioning refers to the ability to sustain repeated effort.

Many people say they want to be strong. Yet a lot of them have no idea what they want to be strong in.

To be strong overall is to be a jack of all trades. You cannot be strong in everything at the same time.

To be really strong, i mean really strong in something needs specific training. Who is stronger, a gymnast or a breakdancer? A boxer or a wrestler? A weightlifter or a powerlifter? You can argue until the cows come home and there is really no one answer to this.

If you are just starting out and have no idea what your weaknesses are and what you want to be strong in, the currently best available program to delve into would be the TACFIT 26. This has the widest variety of protocols, exercises and tools so far. The biggest back for your buck.

Yes, TACFIT 26 is a conditioning program with a lot of "light" exercises. Light here means lighter than conventional barbell exercises, but not that light, using up to 32kg kettlebell and 45lb Clubbell. You would not build maximal strength with TACFIT 26 but more of using your current level of strength in unconventional ranges of motion.


Every program in CST has some effects on fat loss and muscle gain. Actually any training you do has an effect on your physique, it is just a matter of degrees. Some programs may produce more of a fat burning effect than others and vice versa.

For fat loss, some programs you can start with would be those that use the Tabata ProtocolPrimal Stress program, included with the TACFIT 26 package is ideal for this goal.

If you just like to purchase Primal Stress on its own, go here:

For muscle gain, to me the conventional approach to mass gain with "To be strong, lift heavy. To get big, lift heavy a lot of times" with basic barbell exercises a la Starting Strength makes more sense if you disregard the 6 degrees of freedom.


Note that i do not have all the programs from CST. However i have enough programs and have done enough of them to have an informed opinion to recommend you what to do. And i am biased toward TACFIT. I love the simplicity of the protocols in TACFIT. This does not mean that the rest are not as good. They are. All programs from CST are some of the best and most innovative fitness programs out there. Also note that they are fitness programs, not sport specific programs. The only sport TACFIT is designed for is fighting. However that does not mean that it won't help you in other sport.