Kemme Fitness

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This year, the Clubbell has won out as my favorite piece of homemade equipment

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I’ve written about my homemade Clubbells before here . Last year, I used them in my bootcamp I ran along the Grand River just north of downtown Grand Rapids.

I have enjoyed many other fine pieces of equipment. There are the typical Physioballs, Medicine Balls, Kettlebells, Dumbbells, Barbells, Pull-up Bars, and Cables. In additional to those, we have the more – shall we say – unique pieces of equipment such as Slosh Tubes, Macebells, Parallettes, Heavy Bars, and Sandbags. So why are the Clubbells my favorite?

There are a few things about the Clubbell that edge it out. For starters, it is a great tool for working your core. Yet, so are Physioballs and Slosh Tubes. They are easy to make. Yet, so are Slosh Tubes and Pull-up Bars. What stands out most, however, is the kindness to your joints. When I use the Clubbell, my joints and muscles don’t start burning out during the workout. In contrast, a Slosh Tube can burn out your shoulders quite quickly. This allows for a great workout without having to stop or slow down because you lack some strength. Then, you can’t help but feel a hour later like your total body got toned. Hint: that’s because you did work your total body.

So there it is: easy to make, works your core, easy on your joints, works the whole body also.  Oh, and you can’t just help but feel like a warrior swinging it around!

And here is a list of Clubbell exercise links if you aren’t familiar with the movements:

Alternating Shield Cast
Barbarian Press
Barbarian Squat
Front Circle
Front Pendulum
Front Swing Hand Switch
Inside Pendulum
Lunge Walk
Mill (short for windmill)
Mill (another version)
Outside Pendulum
Rear Lunge Pendulum
Side Lunge Pendulum
Side Semi
Side Swing
Swipe
Torch Press
Turkish Get-up
Two Handed Press
 
 
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Why you should buy, or better yet make, your very own Clubbells for exercising

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Clubbells (AKA Indian Clubs).
WHAT IS A CLUBBELL?
If you don’t know what they are, essentially they are a weighted baseball bat. They are believed to have originated out of ancient Persia and are an excellent piece of Functional Fitness equipment. Like Kettlebells, they are not cheap. However, I have instructions in the free ebook, The Low Cost Gym, to make your very own for incredibly little cash.
 

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The pic above shows my arsenal. As you can see, I simply used cheap, toddler plastic bats. Total cost for all 8 is a whopping $45!   They are filled with either cement or cement and sand. I sprayed painted the weights on each, which range from 6 pounds until 14.5 pounds.
 
WHY CLUBBELLS?
I can actually answer this one quickly. Exercising with Clubbells is low-impact, core-centered, and tri-planar.
 
Low-impact because, if you use them right, they do not put a lot of stress on your body, while developing neural-muscular connections, range of motion, endurance, and strength. Core-centered because the vast majority of movements done with Clubbells activates your core muscles to help you maintain stability while swinging weight off center. Finally, they are tri-planar, meaning you are moving your body in all three planes (coronal, horizontal, and sagittal).
 
I had found two guys who have great video demonstrations of Clubbell exercises, so I didn’t have to film myself doing any.  Check out the links below for the videos of the exercises I use here at Kemme Fitness.
 
Alternating Shield Cast
Barbarian Press
Barbarian Squat
Front Circle
Front Pendulum
Front Swing Hand Switch
Inside Pendulum
Lunge Walk
Mill (short for windmill)
Mill (another version)
Outside Pendulum
Rear Lunge Pendulum
Side Lunge Pendulum
Side Semi
Side Swing
Swipe
Torch Press
Turkish Get-up
Two Handed Press
 
In fact, Clubbells are one of the four pieces of equipment needed for the free 12-week program, K-Element. That is a great place to test out your new toys!
 
Let us know if you have ever tried a Clubbell. What did you think? Do you own one? Have you made one yourself? What is your favorite Clubbell exercise? Or how about your favorite workout?
 
 

The growing industry of Functional Fitness

Almost a year ago I wrote about my predictions for the future of Functional Fitness. click here to see the post.

Essentially I predicted the trend of Functional Fitness programs increasing, which I believe is occuring.  For a definition of Functional Fitness, read my free ebook Functional Fitness Defined (a quick read).

I do see this increase, especially in the popularity of new local fitness programs, which would fall under the Functional Fitness umbrella. Just search the internet in your area and I can almost guarantee you will see plenty of options of TRX classes and outdoor bootcamps. Not all bootcamps are Functional Fitness, however, the majority seem to fall under this because they involve very dynamic movements, which even if are not advertised, tend to be core-centered. Animal walks, medicine balls, sandbags, and other similar equipment are usually on the menu with these bootcamps.

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Why are they popular? They are relatively safe, easy to organize, cost less, take less time, and work your whole body. Gyms are not going out of business, but these low cost options are finding a niche for sure.

This brings me to another observation I am seeing. Not only is there a rise in Functional Fitness programs, but I see other moves in that direction. Gyms are adding Kettlebells, Physioballs, and Medicine Balls at a steady pace. I see this as intelligent posturing by fitness clubs, who recognize what is popular and are trying to capitalize on it. The benefit is an increased array of equipment used by Functional Fitness folks being available in more places. Win – Win.

I am hoping 2013 brings in even more education and awareness of the importance of the 4 Dimensions of Functional Fitness. One can only hope.

New slosh tubes: experimenting with alternate lengths

I know it is difficult to tell from the photo below, but these two new Slosh Tubes are different from the others.  For starters, I’ll lay out what the “normal Slosh Tubes” are. Prior to last week, my tool box had included the following:

3″ diameter weighing 29 pounds

3″ diameter weighing 25 pounds

2″ diameter weighing 11 pounds

2″ diameter weighing 9 pounds

All four of them were 10 feet long.  The difference is weight is due to the fact I filled the lighter ones with a little less than 1/2 full of water for some variety.  As you can see, there was a huge gap between the heaviest 2″ Slosh Tube and the lightest 3″ Slosh Tube.  I know some folks like the 4″ tube, which puts you at around 50 pounds. Some of us just have too small of hands, but the 3″ Slosh Tube at close to 30 pounds should be plenty for most folks (just do more reps if that’s too light for you).

We of course have a Mini Slosh Tube at 4 feet long, but you can’t do the same exercises (hence the separate section of exercises under Mini Slosh Tube on the Exercise Page).

What to do? What to do?

I opted to shorten the length to 7 feet. In the photo are my two new Slosh Tubes. The 3″ tube on the left lands at 16 pounds (perfect transition weight) while the 2″ ended up actually at 10 pounds because I was a little overzealous with the water.  However, the shorter length still makes this Slosh Tube perfect for the younger kids.

If you have not created a cheap Slosh Tube, you are missing out on one of the best core building pieces of equipment.  For directions, simply download The Low Cost Gym for free and check out the instructions.  Or click here for more posts on Slosh Tubes.

Now here is some creativity to save costs with your at-home Functional Fitness gym

There is a little trick that not everybody is aware of  to have access to tons of Functional Fitness workouts. If you are not already aware, we have two 12 week programs for you for free.  The only required equipment are a Physioball, a Pull-up Bar, a Medicine Ball, and a Kettlebell.

Check out our 12 week program page here and download K-Fit and K-Challenge.  K-Fit is a great introductory program for those who have been moderating working out or have been biking or running.  K-Challenge is simply taking the workouts a step up in intensity.

Here is how easy it is to get your equipment in order.  Hammer up a pipe in the rafters for your Pull-up Bar.  Spend $8 at Walmart for you Physioball (aka Swiss ball or stability ball) and make your own Medicine Ball by filling a cheap basketball with sand.  If you want complete instructions to make your own equipment, download The Low Cost Gym for free.

The final piece is the Kettlebell. You have a few options here. If you know somebody who can weld, you can make your own.  Kettlebells under 15 pounds can be bought cheaply at Marshall’s/Walmart or similar type store. If you buy a nice 35 pound Kettlebell, you are going to be out a good $70 plus.  Essentially you will most likely double the weight to get an idea of the price (35 pounds = $70, 45 pounds = $90, etc).  Ouch, I know

Here is where the creativity comes into play.  I have a section on my Exercise Page for a Sand Bag (or other heavy unstable bag).  Sandbags are not hard to make and pea gravel is a perfect substitute, as it doesn’t creep out of the cracks and land in your face while you are sweating (not cool – trust me).  You can make a sand bag (or pea gravel bag) or even do what this guy who emailed did the other day, which was to fill a “bookbag with some really heavy nursing textbooks.” Now if you have law books, it may not work. I’m pretty sure they have to be nursing textbooks. Well, maybe other science books could work. In any case, the point is to get creative for a heavy weight you can use to substitute in for the expensive Kettlbell. 

I’ll admit, maybe some of the Kettlebell movements won’t work quite as well, but you should be able to get by…and get by for 24 weeks of workouts!  Get by for 24 weeks of FREE workouts!!  Yeah, Kemme Fitness totally rocks the free resources!

Slosh Tube alterations for the whole family!

If you do not have a Slosh Tube…well why not? Seriously, what is wrong with you?

Slosh Tubes are not for elite athletes. In fact, my heaviest one is only 29 pounds. If you look at the bright yellow spray paint in the picture above, you can see my current tool box contains a 29 pound, a 25 pound, an 11 pound, and a 9 pound Slosh Tube. If you do not know how to make one, check out this post or download The Low Cost Gym for complete directions.

Traditionally a Slosh Tube is a 10 foot long PVC pipe half filled with water.  The standard sizes are 4″ and 3″ diameters. A 4″ diameter will put you at around 50 pounds. For those of us with tiny hands, a 4″ diameter is unusable. The 3″ diameter will get you the 29 pounds as you see above. I eye-balled the filling of the 25 pound one and apparently I filled it with less than half with water. That is a blessing in disguise because now I have a slightly lighter Slosh Tube for those who aren’t quite up for the 29 pounder.

What if you need an even lighter version?  At first we toyed with the Mini Slosh Tube, but the 4 foot length did not allow for the all-too-important “sloshing.”  Therefore, we had to create all new exercises for the Mini Slosh Tube. You see, the sloshing is what activates your core, making the Slosh Tube the greatest core-building piece of equipment since the Physioball.

That is when we came up with using the 2″ pipe. My 10 feet long pipes ended up at 9 and 11 pounds (see photo above). These turned out to be perfect for teenagers and women.  Well, some women. My wife is already looking for a heavier Slosh Tube. So, here are our thoughts. We are planning on using the 3″ pipe, but testing out shorter lengths such as 8 feet, possibly 7 feet. Any shorter than 7 feet and you risk losing the “sloshing” effect. You can always put in less than half water to get the weight down.

As for my younger daughter, we are thinking of a shorter 2″ pipe, which should prove to be perfect for her. Just remember, the key here is to avoid shortening the pipe like we did with the Mini Slosh Tube.

Let us know if you have any Slosh Tubes and what length/diameter you went with. How heavy is it?  Do you love it or what?

Functional Fitness and the fitness trends

My good friend, Jason Robillard, from Barefoot Running University has many times given his predictions concerning the state of things in the barefoot running movement, including what shoe companies will be focusing on in the future. It is time to make some of my predictions here concerning the future of fitness.

I do not believe that any form of fitness is going away. There will be still be strongman competitions, marathons, and even bodybuilding competitions. Therefore, you will still see plenty of people weight lifting, bodybuilding, and running with no regard what I would consider Functional Fitness. Here is where some smartee will write, “but it is functional if they are preparing for their competition.”  I therefore have to respond that the term Functional Fitness as I define it (it is my website so I can use my definitions) is focused on a strong core and the development of movements (not muscles). By that definition, neither of those above examples would fall under a Functional Fitness program.

Now that we are on the same page with definitions, I want to make my prediction.  I predict that the movement towards Functional Fitness is going to continue to grow. Shows like The Biggest Loser, programs such as P90X, and websites such as Crossfit are here to stay. More and more women’s (and men’s) magazines are touting physioballs and “core exercises.” More certifying bodies provide core and/or Functional Fitness certifications.

People are doing their own research and are no longer relying upon expert trainers at a gym. The research into High Intensity Interval Training is become more vast and comprehensive.

Further, Pilates and Yoga have been around for a long time now and are clearly not going away.  Functional Fitness programs are basically taking those concepts and adding in more dimensions of fitness such as endurance.

None of the concepts of Functional Fitness are new and are rooted in our history just as much as strength training or running.  The difference, I believe, is that everyday folks are now being exposed to Functional Fitness at a greater level, and are seeing those benefits. See, not everybody wants to run 100 mile ultramarathons and not everybody wants to enter into a strongman competition. But millions of people want to be in better shape and are finally being shown what a well balanced Functionally Fit body is like. I think more and more people are going to chose the balanced approach and Functional Fitness will become the workout program for the masses.

Any thoughts?

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