Table of Contents
Steel clubs are a modern-day version of Indian clubs, a tool dating back thousands of years ago to Persia. Wrestlers would often use this tool to enhance grip strength and stability. Those are the very reasons why steel clubs are regaining popularity as a fitness accessory.
Kettlebells have been around since the 19th century by breaking on to the scene in Russia in a Circus Strongman. From there they began to be used for recreational and competitive strength competitions in Russia and Europe. The birth of competitive kettlebells began in 1885.
Steel Clubs and Kettlebells are both great training tools, and while there are similarities in their application, there are also distinct differences.
Both of these training tools are easily portable, compact free weights that can be lifted or swung in a variety of different ways and for different purposes.
The steel club performs extremely well in swinging exercises and will can be as versatile as kettlebells. A steel club has the advantage of being either a single or double pillar exercise.When using just one steel club, it can be swung with one hand or two and can be swung on many different planes.
Steel Clubs versatility stretches to even being used as a great tool for rehabilitation. This is accomplished with being swung in a number of different ways, and with its simple design, it is easy to mobilize. The steel club also enhances many different aspects of your body such as core, shoulders, legs, and grip.
A kettlebell will reign superior in most lifting exercises. However, both the kettlebell and steel club are good for swinging.
Kettlebells are super easy to pick up and learn the proper movement. On top of that, kettlebells are definitely more prominent in the fitness world and come with a larger community of followers.
Grip strength is often a limiting factor with steel clubs, but is built up over time.
Steel clubs also reign superior in storage compared to kettlebells. Kettlebells can get very bulky with the heavier they get, while steel clubs keep a slim look but do get taller.
If I had to choose one or the other to keep in my garage, it would be the kettlebells. A lot of my conditioning includes kettlebell in the workout, where if I use my steel clubs, it's primarily just to warm up. Steel clubs are a great addition to any gym and I would miss mine if I didn't have them, but if it came down to those two, I would choose kettlebells.
The Onnit Steel Clubs are formed from a single machined piece of steel with a grip-friendly, matte powder-coat finish. With production being steel matte-powder coat finish it will equate to a very durable piece of equipment.
On top of that, Onnit is not breaking anybody's bank with offering these Steel Clubs to athletes of all skill levels.
Onnit has taken everything into consideration when manufacturing their steel clubs, and compared to the competition (although there isn't a lot), they have produced some of the best all around Steel Clubs on the market.
Without a doubt, steel clubs are a simple tool. Steel is placed on a lathe and then machined into the desired shape which is then powder coated. However, despite their simplicity, there are a few notable areas that should be examined before deciding which company to buy from.
First up is what makes up the coating on the clubs, and that is the powder coat. Although powder coat isn't the absolute, most durable coating on the planet, it does a pretty outstanding job.
In salt spray tests, powder coat has been shown to last 2,000 hours and longer without failure That’s not to say powder coat can't be scratched, as evidenced by the many scratches on my power racks, but it does a great job for this sort of application.
The powdercoat Onnit uses is for the most part great. It has a somewhat smooth texture, but just enough grip to feel comfortable when using chalk. It's very similar to what Rogue Fitness uses on their pull-up bars.
This said, not all of the clubs we received had the same powdercoat. The 45 lb. clubs for example featured one smooth club and one rough club. Although this isn't a big deal, it's enough that we feel we should report it.
One of the most outstanding features of the Onnit Steel Clubs is the fact that they're machined from a solid piece of steel. What you find with most kettlebells is that they use cast iron in a mold. Although cast iron is fine, it certainly isn't ideal and is a much cheaper way to make a piece of equipment. Machining clubs from a single piece of steel is expensive, but also leads to a more even finish and a more durable piece of equipment.
In addition to being more durable, machined steel is more
The steel Onnit uses is heavier and more dense than iron which allows the clubs to have a thinner profile. The steel also keeps the clubs highly resistant to rust and denting.
Machined steel sounds great, but it's not until you get the clubs in your hands that you realize how superior they are to cast iron.
In addition to all of the benefits previously listed on machined steel, it also allows the manufacturer to have a more accurate weight. It isn't uncommon to order a kettlebell or steel club made from cast-iron and what says 45 pounds is closer to 47 or 43 pounds. Onnit has eliminated the guessing game and produced a superior steel club thanks to the machined steel and more attention to detail.
There's no doubt in my mind that these steel clubs are made to last forever and will withstand just about whatever you can throw at them.
The design of the clubs mimic a bowling pin which is for multiple reasons. First off, having the ball on the end keeps the hand from slipping off during swings, it also allows the club to be used for farmers carries to increase grip. The weight on the end allows the swing to be fluid and momentum to be used.
The flat bottom of the clubs allow them to be stood upright, although the 5 pounders didn't have a large enough base to be stable. The bottom of the clubs feature the weight and branding and although it's nice, we would have liked to see some sort of weight indication in a more visible place for easy identification.
When it comes to use, steel clubs are incredibly versatile.
Tennis, Golf, Baseball, Volleyball, Basketball all require the use of one side of your body to a greater extent than the other. Clubs are an ideal way to help balance out the body by introducing similar motions to serving/swinging/shooting/throwing with your non-dominant hand.
The Onnit Steel Clubs can also enhance core power. These Steel Clubs offer a trainee rotational movements on the transverse planes that will lead to increased core power.
Onnit has made sure their Steel Clubs are not only good for upper body movements, but also taken into consideration these clubs can wreck the lower body. The Steel Clubs are easy to mobilize for movements such as clock squats and dynamic shoulder squats which provide full-body workouts and although they're not going to get you to a 500 lb back squat, they will increase many other important attributes of human function such as mobility, balance, coordination, and stamina.
The shortest and lightest steel clubs weighs in at 5 pounds and stands 12.5" off the ground. The tallest and heaviest club is 45 pounds and 27.5" high. With Onnit manufacturing their equipment from one piece of steel, the weight a person orders will be pretty much the weight a person receives.
It's important to remember that if you are purchasing these steel clubs for rehabilitation or mobility purposes, you will not need to go much heavier than 5-10 pounds. Which, I'm sure it can sound demeaning to a person, but with these clubs, you will not need to move a lot of weight to get a lot of results.
If you are a person who is somewhat proficient in their training method and want to work strength and conditioning, I suggest lookin at one or two moderate weights at 15-25 pounds. If you are advanced and want to use technically difficult two hand drills, a single heavy weight of 35-45 pounds is great.
Onnit has added high contrast lettering to the bottom of the clubs. With most cast iron clubs or kettlebells, the weight you are grabbing can be difficult to read. The high contrast takes the guessing out of what weight you are grabbing.
After researching and testing various steel clubs, we believe the Onnit Steel Clubs are the best steel clubs for the price currently available.
The Onnit Steel Clubs are definitely the superior choice when looking at steel clubs, however, there are some minor improvements that would enhance these great tools even more.
The first improvement that could be made would be to add the weight of the club to the top. Currently, the weight is etched out clear as day on the bottom of the club, it would be great to also have the weight on top so a person isn't constantly flipping them over to read the weight.
The other improvement that should be looked at is a more uniform powder coating finish. The powder coat that Onnit uses is great, however, as noted, some of the clubs have a smoother finish than others.
The Bells of Steel Trap Bar 2.0 is one of many trap bars on the market, however, it is one of the only with rotating Olympic sleeves and happens to be at a pretty good price point. After using the bar over the course of three months for trap bar deadlifts, shrugs, and carries we can recommend the Bells of Steel Trap Bar 2.0 to anyone wanting a budget-priced trap bar that is superior to all at its price point (and some above.) Read More
The Rep Fitness Gladiator Bar is a bearing Olympic barbell that performs well and is priced even better. If you're looking for a bar specifically for Olympic Weightlifting and don't want to spend an arm and a leg, this is a great option. Read More
PowerBlock Adjustable Dumbbells are, by and large, the best adjustable dumbbells currently available. The rectangular profile is a bit unusual, but it only inhibits a few movements and for what it lacks in that area, makes up for it in durability and value. After testing, quite literally, every make and model of adjustable dumbbell, we believe that Powerblocks are, for most people, the best. Read More
The Rogue SML-2 Squat Stand is one of the best squat stands available. It's stout, has many accessories available, and is priced really well. We highly recommend the SML-2 for anyone that wants a squat stand that doesn't take up a ton of space. Read More