Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Review Of The Premier Training Power Club Course

This a review of the one day power club course that Premier Global (Premier Training International) offer here in the UK. I took part in this course a couple of weeks ago.

I was looking for a course to learn more about club training (Indian clubs, power clubs etc), this course was the only one I could find in the UK. It is a one day course, that is REPs accredited with 4 CPD points (for what it's worth, the pointlessness of REPs points is a discussion for another day).

A picture of some power clubs aka clubbells - just in case you were wondering what they look like


Cost

The course costs £129, for this you get a one day workshop and an e-manual sent to you.

The manual covers all the major exercises, brief history of club training, the various grips and positions, and a table given suggested club weights for men and women of different strength levels. The manual is 65 pages long, I would recommend printing it out if you have access to a printer, as it's easier to read and flick back and forward with a printed version.

Venue

The course I did was held at Premiers venue in North London. Having a dedicated venue makes a difference. So many courses I've attended are held at health clubs, where you end up having to wait for the studio to be free, or sitting in a store cupboard because someone forgot to book the room out. The Premier training venue has dedicated classrooms with projectors and PowerPoint, as well as a gym and studio space. This gives it a more professional feel than some other training providers.

Content

The course was presented by a guy who looked like Rudy Reyes from Generation Kill. It also turned out that he was a part time fitness model, who had recently taken part in a feature on power clubs in Mens Fitness. This immediately made all the women on the course start swooning and made me want to hit him with a power club. But just like Rudy Reyes he was a nice guy, so it was difficult to hate him!

Rudy Reyes from Generation Kill - as far as I am aware he doesn't teach power clubs

An aside

There were only a small number of people on the course I took part in. The course teacher recognised one of the women as having done the premier personal training diploma a couple of years before, and said it was good to see that someone was still working in the industry. This is a sad indictment on our industry, that someone who runs fitness courses' is surprised to find someone still  working in the industry a few years later.


Back to the course

We started with a brief history of club training and looked at some videos of club training like the one below featuring the premier trainer Ben McDonald who developed their power club course. But as the Rudy Reyes lookalike pointed out, we weren't here for a history lesson but to learn some power club exercises!



In the studio, we covered all the power club exercises in the manual and more. Rudy Reyes doppelganger was a good easy going teacher with two caveats.

I would like to have seen some more coaching on our technique. Seeing as there were only five of us present, there could been a lot more coaching, and he really could have been a stickler for precision and hand and elbow position. Since attending the course I have watched Indian Club Essentials with Gray Cook, Brett Jones and Ed Thomas (which I will review in a few days time) and they covered some key points on hand and wrist position which didn't happen on the power club course. Heavy power clubs and Indian clubs are used in slightly different ways, but the wrist and hand position is crucial to both.

There is  always a danger with one day workshops, that anyone can do them, and you can't fail them. So you could have the worst technique in the world, and no one is going to fail you, a few days later you can be out there teaching power clubs to people even if you can't do it yourself. Of course, I'm not saying I'm perfect and I would have liked a bit more coaching on my technique, but my background with kettlebells and Olympic lifting gives me some ideas of how to move.

We covered more exercises than were in the manual, which in some ways is a good thing, as it gives a whole host of movements to go away with. The disadvantage of this is we didn't really spend too long on any one movement. Possibly doing less and trying to perfect fewer moves would have been more advantageous. This is a trade off, everyone want variety for their clients, but too much, and the movements become confused and merge. Quality movement and doing less until these are perfected is the direction I'm going in, the details matter with these type of dynamic circular movements.

Another aside

Lunch break, one of the women in the course was standing outside smoking a cigarette, classic fitness industry.

Back to the course

We covered quite a few hybrid movements. Though the instructor said we were doing complexes, I would disagree and say if one rep flows into the rep of the next movement you are doing a hybrid, whereas with a complex you would do all the reps of one exercise before starting the next exercise. For example, if you do a front squat straight into a torch press, straight into a flag press then you are doing a hybrid, if you did 5 front squats followed by 5 torch presses then you did a complex. This a minor point, and I don't want to get hung up on definitions, and it didn't spoil my enjoyment of the course. And the hybrids/ complexes we did were mostly good.

To his credit the instructor stated that power clubs were an adjunct to other training, you still need to do your squats, deadlifts and strength training. Also, in a classic moment one of the participants asked the Rudy Reyes lookalike instructor what he thought of the ViPR, he replied 'I think it's a piece of plastic with two handles in it!', which echoes my own views to be found here.

We finished  two hours early, maybe because there were so few of us. However, as I had paid £129, a bit more content could have been put in. Possibly, us having to design a power club circuit and be observed coaching the other participants of the course.

Do I need to go on the course or could I teach myself power clubs from the internet?

Most of the information covered is available on the internet. The Mens Fitness article that our instructor took part in, covers many of the exercises. And the guy who developed the course appears in a whole series of youtube videos demonstrating many of the exercises. So yes, you could teach yourself.

However, there is something different about having someone demonstrate the exercises for you and talk you through them. I think this can help you get a better feel for some of the movements. Having an instructor breaking down the moves and seeing them from different angles does help. Its always good to see how other people coach and teach, and interesting to see other people who work in the industry.This can either make you feel good about yourself or despair for the future of mankind.

If you don't work in the fitness industry and you don't need a certificate to say you're competent to teach other people then you could teach yourself.

Nice touch

The clubs we used on the course were the clubbells made by Wolverson and developed in conjunction with premier. Doing the course entitles you to a 15% discount on any order of these clubbells. I purchased a pair of 2.5kg, 4.5kg and 6kg, and so far have been impressed with their quality.

Final thoughts

I enjoyed the course. £129 for a day course is a reasonable price, there was enough content to justify this. An actual printed manual would have been better than an electronic one, and a bit more coaching of our technique would have added to the content. If you want to learn power clubs to teach the public this course is a good starting point.

Since taking part in the course I have been using my power clubs personally and with a couple of clients. And the exercises I learned on the course are great for the forearms, grip strength, shoulder mobility and strength; and the circular movements feel natural and a good departure from linear training.

Look out for my review of Indian Club Swinging Essentials DVD in the next few days. Which resource will come out as the winner, the power club course or the Indian club DVD?

In the mean time stay frosty!

6 comments:

  1. Really this is very nice collection..This includes lot of interesting information which is really useful to everyone. Personal Trainer Ratings

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  2. Cheers Raj, Thanks for reading & recommending

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  3. Thanks for this - a really nicely done blog. I stumbled across it as I've been looking for a clubbell cert to do in the UK but can't find one anywhere!?.. annoying!
    Anyway - I liked your honest review and laid back writing style. Something I aim for myself. I'm going to see if I can sign up to follow the blog now - I'm not a big blog follower but I enjoyed yours. Are you a big twitter user?
    My blog is www.MichaelDarren.Blogspot ... if you're interested.

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    1. Thanks for reading and commenting Michael. I will checkout your blog. Yes, I use twitter.

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    2. Hi Steve, I can't find a clubbell certification in the UK anywhere!!?.. any ideas?

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  4. The premier powerclub course was the only one I am aware of

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