Circular Strength Training®: The Health-First Fitness Revolution Hits SLO
Most of you have probably never seen or even heard of the Clubbell®. Ironically, it is the oldest fitness tool on the planet and was even a martial art in ancient Russia, Persia, and India. The Clubbell® was lost over time but has recently been brought back exclusively in the Circular Strength Training® (CST) system.
Circular Strength Training® should not be confused with typical fitness fads that blow up for a short time and then fade out just as fast, it is a very unique fitness PHILOSOPHY based on HEALTH-FIRST goals and MOVEMENT. In a nutshell, CST addresses and improves one’s physical, mental, and emotional fitness through breathing, movement, and structure development. There are 3 parts to CST training: Intu-Flow® mobility drills, Clubbell® training, and Prasara yoga. Before we describe the 3 parts, there are some general concepts that need to be addressed.
What is fitness?
Conventional fitness standards define fitness as work capacity and require physical strength. In CST, fitness is defined as work efficiency. Physical strength is not enough; you need mental and emotional strength too. Instead of asking: “how much,” “for how long,” “how fast,” you must also ask “how effectively.” Fitness requires work quality, not just work quantity. The one who can do the most work with the least effort is the most fit.
Movement not muscles!
Conventional fitness approaches focus on muscle development, while CST focuses on movement development. You can have all the muscle in the world, but what good does it do you if you can’t move around and use it? Movement is the essence of all life and vital to your survival. It’s a key component not only to your physical fitness, but to your mental and emotional fitness as well. We are “stone age bodies living in a digital world” (Sonnon). Think about it, generations long before us had to move around much more to survive than we do today. They had to hunt their food, build their homes from scratch, and migrate across vast lands. Today we have technology available at our fingertips that make minimal movement and pure laziness very accessible and common. Over time, we’ve forgotten that movement is not just a luxury it’s a necessity. Muscle and a strong physique will follow as a bi-product of refining your movement. More importantly, the muscle you gain will be “go muscle, not show muscle!” (Sonnon).
Intu-Flow: Recovering Your Range of Motion
Somewhere around the age of 25 our joints stop receiving nutrition mainly from the blood supply and instead receive it from motion. If you do not move your joints daily through their full range of motion, they are literally starving, regardless of how good your diet may be (Woodall, 66). Intu-Flow is the first part to CST and is the foundation for which it stands upon. It involves a sequence of unique joint mobility drills designed to send lubrication and nutrition to your joints and connective tissues while increasing range of motion. Intu-Flow is essentially the warm-up portion of CST training, you do it to prime your joints before your workout to help prevent injury. One will experience an immediate sense of increased energy and drastic increases in range of motion over time after performing Intu-Flow mobility drills for 15 minutes on a daily basis.
The Clubbell® is often called “the most inefficient fitness tool” because the user must have the most efficiency to control its motion fluidly. In contrast, the highly efficient machines used today make it progressively easier for the user to use less efficiency and strength. Pulley machines, for example, make it very achievable for you to lift great weights you would normally be unable to lift. That may be great for your ego, but what does that do for your functionality in the real world? The Clubbell® requires full-body core engagement like no other tool. It is the strength-training portion of CST and takes the mobility gained from Intu-Flow to the next level. The results you get from Clubbell® training are fully functional and lasting because joint and connective tissue strength is developed, not just muscle strength. The results also come much faster than with traditional weights due to the torque involved with Clulbbell® swinging. If you swing the Clubbell® twice as fast, you’ll produce four times the force! An exponential increase like this is not possible with typical geometric weights. We could go on and on about how effective this “inefficient” tool really is, but instead we suggest you try it for yourself so you can feel how it works.
And finally, the last part to CST training, Prasara yoga, which stands for “flow without thought” (Sonnon). We all seek “flow” in our life. This involves the ability to remain calm and collected despite your external environment. What many don’t know is that we are all born with the ability to flow, but it lies beneath all the fear, stress, and tension we develop and carry around with us throughout our lives. In physical terms, we repeat certain movements over and over each day during our normal routines and in our workouts that create damaging overcompensations that will lead to injury if not released. Prasara yoga is considered the cool down to CST training and it effectively “cleans the slate” of repeated movements and repressed fears to unlock our natural ability to flow.
This fitness system is very near and dear to our hearts because we’ve seen the substantial results it’s had not just in our own lives, but in the lives of countless others from all over the world. Many of us seek to reach our full potential but we must first realize that our full potential is limitless. You can and should never stop progressing throughout your life, and CST embraces this notion. If you are someone who views your mental and emotional well-being as separate from your physical fitness, then CST is probably not for you at this time. The same goes for those who view physical fitness as a chore and seek workouts that require little thought and effort. For the rest of us out there who genuinely want something more satisfying out of fitness, we invite you to seek out CST for yourself and explore the amazing benefits it has to offer. We say this not as personal trainers trying to make a buck, for that’s a secondary benefit that pales in comparison to sharing the joy one can experience from the CST lifestyle. We were lucky enough to stumble upon people who shared this philosophy with us, now it’s our life’s work to return the favor.
RMAX International. 2010. RMAX.tv Productions. 24 Nov 2010.
Sonnon, Scott. The Big Book of Clubbell Training. 2nd ed. RMAX.tv Productions, 2006.
Sonnon, Scott. The Circular Strength Training® System Instructor Qualification Course Manual. Atlanta, GA: RMAX International: 2010.
Woodall, Kathryn. The Satisfaction Transformation. Kathryn Woodall: 2009 & 2010. Satisfactiontransformation. 25 Sept. 2010.