Indian Clubs for Shoulder Health: A Solution for Moms
Have you ever seen those commercials for inversion tables? How about those gravity boots from back in the day? Well, it turns out that those products had massive success for one major reason: decompression! Life and its devious ways has always compressed our bodies and joints via gravity and load bearing movements. As an inversion table can decompress your spine, the Indian Club can decompress your shoulders.
Can Indian clubs offer a solution to shoulder pain experienced by mothers with young children?
Alex Blumer seems to think so. Alex, 29, is a former special education teacher for the Palos Verdes school system, and mother of 1-year-old, 25lb, Joseph. Now a stay-at-home mom, Alex experiences what billions of moms world wide deal with daily, unilateral shoulder strain.
Whether your child is a new born or a 3-year-old toddler, you are going to experience some repetitive stress and trauma in your neck, upper back and especially shoulders if you hold or carry your kid multiple times a day.
Moms will tend to hold and carry their children on one side of the body, and not enough time is spent with the little guy on the other side, leaving mom without healthy balance. When the body is consistently loaded unilaterally (on one side) the body will become tight and weak in certain areas and loose and weak in the opposing areas.
Picture a golfer as he/she winds and twists to one side, in the same direction, over and over and over. You can picture it :/
Well, in the mother’s case, the weight of the baby is pulling her shoulder downward and forward with internal rotation. This is NOT a happy place for the shoulder joint. Imagine being stuck in that position for who knows how long, with a squirming lump of joy that weighs somewhere between 10 and 40 pounds! Wow!
Alex frequents my Indian Clubs 4 Shoulder Health class I teach at the BRIK Fitness in Redondo Beach CA. She told me how much better her upper back and shoulders feel after flowing through the first few club drills. Alex says that the 1lb. clubs are just heavy enough to pull her shoulders “from stuck, to un-stuck”, without feeling muscle fatigue.
Her favorite club drills are the chest openers,falling circles, and one arm backwards figure eights (see photos). As I was interviewing Alex for this article, I learned just how much she and her shoulders have gone through in the past year of Joseph’s life. It’s a lot!
She is always lifting car seats, strollers, cases of water, diaper bags, pots n’ pans, laundry, and toys off of the floor, and ALL while she’s holding a 25lb Joseph in the other arm! Talk about awkward stress on the body! Alex explained to me how when a baby falls asleep in a mother’s arm as shes holding it, the mom will get “nap trapped.” Yes, apparently that’s a thing.
Her experience was that this trap averaged between 20-40min. She told me most mom’s will deal with the shoulder discomfort of nap trap, so kiddo gets some Zzz’s, and doesn’t wake the whole house with window shattering vocals at 3am.
She told me there are also nursing nap traps, and side laying nursing nap traps. This is like the OG Nap Trap, except with feeding, breast or bottle. Side laying nursing is really tough on the shoulder of the “dominant milk maker” side, Alex’s words.
She said her arm on that side would be extended overhead while being smashed into the floor with all her own body weight, and it was quite painful. Alex believes that all moms with young children could benefit greatly by using the clubs, and that she wishes she discovered them sooner.
Philip Waldman, a registered osteopath out of London, states that flexibility and mobility exercises for the shoulder joint are the key in reducing the frequency of complaints of, what he calls, “mother’s shoulder”. He states that a mother’s ligaments are still soft for quite some time as a result of hormones in her body from when she was pregnant.
With these ligaments soft, all of the unilateral loading is exponentially traumatic. And if the mother breast feeds, those ligament softening hormones stay in her body even longer!
Frequently counteracting this immobility and compression with mobility and decompression, is definitely a way moms can keep the discomfort at bay and their posture improved. Indian clubs can easily achieve this, and without really breaking much of a sweat!
Alex is geeked up about what the clubs have done for her and talks about them with her girlfriends who also deal with the infamous…”baby’s mama trauma.”