What size meel should is right for me?
I have always been an advocate for learning through experience, but when it comes to buying your first pair of Persian meels – please – learn by other people’s mistakes! I was active with Indian clubs and used to 16 and 20kg kettlebells when I thought I could jump straight in with a pair of 5kg meels. Wrong! The torque generated by a weight leverage that is 2 feet away from your grip, during the velocity of a swing cannot be underestimated.
The axis of rotation is dynamic and can shift between grip, the shoulder and elbow. The torque itself is dynamic too, for example the magnitude is greatest where the relationship between axis and the force is horizontal. Add acceleration and deceleration to these forces and there is a lot to consider! It is important to remember that strength is only as good as its weakest link, and the wrist may not cope with the load as well as the shoulder. Wrist flexibility as well as strength varies for each of us, and is a widely neglected area in contemporary fitness practices. This alone, is a strong enough reason to start light.
Just like selecting weights from the gym, there is no standard starting weight when it comes to buying your first (or fourth) pair of Persian Meels. Age, gender, current level of fitness, and injury history must all be taken into account before selecting Meels. Some people start on 2kg each meel and others on 3 or 3.5kg. I would not advise starting with anything heavier.
In general, a male aged between 18 to 50 with a good base level of fitness & strength should start no higher than a 7kg set (3-3.5kg each). In general, a female aged between 18 & 50 with a good base level of fitness & strength should start with a set no higher than 4kg (<2kg each). If you are male & over 50, I’d suggest starting with a 3.5 to 4kg set. Now obviously I am generalising here, and it is up to you to make an honest judgement of a suitable piece of equipment. For example, if you are a strong female Crossfitter with a regular weights practice, you are maybe ready to start with a 6kg set (3kg each) .
Ultimately with all kinds of club work, far more stress is placed on the muscles and joints relative to the weight being used. And as we know, all progression of muscle growth comes down to the ability to continually put stress on the body. But be warned, putting stress on the muscles is quite different from putting stresses on the connective tissues of tendons and ligaments. Their conditioning takes much longer to develop than that of muscles. Months rather than weeks. A long but satisfying journey if you can resist the temptation to overload to quickly & potentially strain the body.
If you have reached a point at which you feel very confident practicing with your current weight of Meels, and are considering buying another pair, increase your weights in small increments – 4 to 5 to 6 to 8 to 10 to 15kg sets.
Injury & rehabilitation
It is incredibly important to seek medical advice if you have (or have recent history of) any form of injury or medical condition. If you have a shoulder, wrist, elbow, neck, or back injury, you must slowly build up strength before swinging Persian Meels. If you are looking for an appropriate movement practice for rehabilitation of any of the previously mentioned injuries, Indian Clubs on the other hand, can work brilliantly. Of course, only attempt to treat an injury following the advice of a trained physiotherapist or professional. Out of all the people I have trained with, the only trainer who has discussed at length the conditioning of connective tissues is Tom Crudgington, owner of Body Development gym in Bath.
- Start light
- Only increase Meel weight when you can perform 100 reps or 5 minutes continued practice
- Increase weight in small increments
- Maintain regular practice
- Drop back down a weight when learning a new move.
- Learn from a teacher who knows what they are talking about. And where possible, find a class or workshop. Practicing with a teacher in person cannot be compared to YouTube.
We have a wide range of Persian Meel sizes which are available here.
Foundational Persian meel drills
We always recommend you start with a below-the-ground attitude to swinging clubs of any kind. We want you to create a strong foundation of moves that will condition both mind and body. Don’t be in any rush. This safe and solid platform is essential before challenging yourself onto more advance techniques 6 months or a year later. Tom Crudgington of BD gym in Bath will always pay tribute to his greatest influence – the legendary Iranian pahlevan, Amir Esmaeli who trained the Zurhaneh way. Below, Tom shares some tips for his favourite basic Persian meel techniques.
28-29 March 2020 – POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19 – WE HOPE TO HAVE ANOTHER DATE ARRANGED SOON ONCE THINGS RETURN TO NORMAL.
2 DAY WORKSHOP in BATH, UK
INDIAN CLUBS • MACE (GADA) • SHENA (push-up board) • PERSIAN MEELS
Paul Wolkowinski and Kelly Manzone combine historical tools of strength inspired by the cultures of India and ancient Persia. These skilled based circular training and bodyweight exercises challenge both the mind and body.
The BMF hosted workshop covers the fundamental movements of these modalities. Perfect for complete beginners, PT’s and those looking to refine technique. We will also discuss how to implement these practices into your current training regimens.
You will mobilise your shoulders and spine, improve your posture, coordination, shoulder/core strength and fitness/sports performance. In addition, these are excellent tools for injury rehabilitation.TICKETS
Indian clubs foundation moves
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Indian clubs can be a great finger strengthening tool. I've been practicing these a lot recently.. First remove the thumb from the grip, then isolate pairs of each finger at a time in 90° arcs. Here we first work the ring finger and pinky, then index and middle fingers. Do 10 reps minimum for each finger pair. If easy, isolate each finger, or find a heavier club!
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Simple Indian club exercise for beginners: Pointing. This one works forearms, triceps, grip, and shoulders (particularly your traps). Using the classic saber grip, start by raising both arms to the front (club in line with arm for full extension resistance), lower back down, then raise to the sides keeping shoulders tight and packed down, lower back down. Rotate arms outward so that palms face the front, before raising behind as high as shoulder mobility will allow, lower back. For each position, hold each raise for 1-3 seconds. Repeat x 10 with break if needed. Hope that was helpful for any beginners needing some basics! Now warmed up & off to teach.
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The lighter weight of Indian Clubs is perfect for building stabilisation while conditioning the body in preparation for using heavier weights - whether that's Persian meels, dumbells, or kettlebells. Drumming is a great beginner Indian club exercise. Increase the challenge with slight modifications. I find it works best when I practice this one with music to maintain a rhythm.
Peter Hodkinson teaches a regular strength and fitness class with Indian Clubs & Kettlebells.
WHEN: Thursday evenings from 6.15 – 7.15pm.
WHERE: St Laurence school Dance Studio, Bradford on Avon. Contact Pete for more details.
WHO: Suitable for beginners and regular practitioners.
In the summer holidays we relocate to the nearby beautiful grounds of Woolley Grange Hotel.
Woolley Spa membership discount applies.
INDIAN CLUB WORKSHOPS
One-on-one and group Indian club coaching sessions offered.
Contact Pete for more details. Suitable all levels.
An introduction to gada/mace training with Tom Crudgington of Body Development gym in Bath. In the video above, Tom discusses the different sizes plus important tips for better, safer gada technique. The 35mm bamboo handles are perfect for beginners and standard mace use. Thicker handles require a greater skill level and require the hands of a conditioned mace practioner.
Good mace skills
In order to get more efficient, particular attention is given to the position of your head in relation to your hips and point of contact with the floor. Another key tip is to pull your elbows in during the ‘catching’ return arc of the mace swing. Good technique avoids too much torque in your wrist – allowing for a safer practice in the long term.
Tom has been showcasing Persian meels, gada and shena at the annual BodyPower exibition for many years and is one of the go-to sources in the UK. His PT mentorship courses in Bath help maintain ‘honest’ practice around the country.