An interesting conversation with Don Giafardino who is the founder of Adex Clubs. Don first looked to using clubs with the aim of recovering form a shoulder injury. His circumstances at the time steered him to making his first club by himself, which lead to Don recognising a market opportunity to make an adjustable club, and the Adex Adjustable Club became a reality.
When did you start swinging Clubs?
Don Giafardino: The year was 2007. Coming up for nine years now.
What sparked your interest in Club Swinging?
Don Giafardino: For the specific benefits of shoulder injury rehabilitation and mobility.
In your opinion, what are the benefits of Club swinging for the average person?
Don Giafardino: If you’d have asked me this question 2 years ago I would have said Rehabilitation or Pre-habilitation for the shoulders.
Today my answer is building/maintaining essential neural pathways that diminish with age and inactivity.
Can you describe how you came to manufacture the Adjustable Adex Club and Mace?
Don Giafardino: The very first time that I did anything resembling a club movement was with an adjustable dumbbell loaded with 2.5 pounds on one end. I was searching for relief for my chronically painful shoulder. I did some club exercises exclusively for 2 months and realised that they worked, so I set out to buy one – until I saw the prices and shipping – and my employment situation at the time wasn’t very lucrative.
So I inquired around the internet for a lower priced adjustable version. This lead to prominent club trainer warning me to stay away from the adjustable varieties because they were notorious for coming undone during training.
What I did have was an aluminium T-Ball bat and the keys to a buddy’s welding shop, so off I went to make my adjustable club. This then morphed into another version, and another until sometime in 2009 I made my first Adex Club prototype. I still train with that club today, though there have been some slight changes to the regular production models.
Are the Adex Clubs designed to be used one or two handed?
Don Giafardino: Both one and two handed.
Considering that a long club swings with a greater sweep and acceleration than a shorter club. How did you decide on the length of the Adex Club when you designed it?
Don Giafardino: By late 2009 there were a few metal club makers, but none with an adjustable feature. I know about leverage and knew that it is an important factor in club design.
This lead me to research quite a few different brands of metal clubs and wooden Indian clubs to come up with the overall lengths of each weight setting for the Adex Club.
That means that when an Adex Club is set to, let’s say 15 pounds, it is within the average length of a standard metal 15 pound club. The same can be said for all of the Adex Club’s weight to length ratio dimensions.
What is the weight range and length of the Adjustable Adex Club?
Don Giafardino: Adex Clubs have 10 weight settings and are adjustable from an ‘empty’ handle of 3.5 pounds, add the thread-set to make it 5 pounds, and the New Generation Adex Clubs have a split weight which are two 2.5 pounders and three 5 pounders which all together add up to 25 pounds total. The overall length at 25 pounds is 26 inches.
What is the weight range and length of the Adjustable Adex Mace?
Don Giafardino: The Adex Maces utilise the same style weight system, with 7 weight settings but in a different arrangement. The mace has four 5lb weights and only one 2.5lb weights making it adjustable from a 6 pound ‘empty’ handle, with the thread-set 7.5lbs, then on to 10, 15, 20, 25, & 30 pounds. The Adex Mace length ‘empty’ is 39 inches long and fully loaded is 50 inches.
Do you have Club and Mace exercises that you recommend for Adex customers, and can you briefly describe both?
Don Giafardino: The first exercises that I recommend to new club trainees, are the two handed front swing shown in the video below. There are no videos of the Adex mace available yet as it is a new product.
Swinging a heavy Club or Mace requires time and patience to learn, and develop good technique before an athlete starts increasing weight, rookies get seduced by using heavy weights. Can you share your thoughts and approach on this?
Don Giafardino: I am very guilty of this. First off, a 15lb club is a heavy club – don’t be fooled. If you are new to clubwork, please take the time learning and becoming proficient in the base exercises such as single and two hand front swings, swipes, side casts, shoulder and arm casts, front presses, OHP’s and the very important Parry Casts which develop finer wrist control and strength. These moves are evident in much more complex moves such as inside and outside mills and the bull whip.
A traditional Gada or Mace is made with a stone or concrete head mounted on a bamboo pole. This construction method makes the head heavy and the handle lightweight. Have you tried to emulate these properties in the construction of the Adex Mace?
Don Giafardino: In a way yes. I had once tried a bamboo and concrete Gada, and when it got moving, there was a slight whip from the flexing of the bamboo. It had a very cool and very traditional organic feel verses the rigid metal clubs. So in the quest to build an adjustable mace, I recalled that slight flex feeling that just isn’t available in the thick handled ‘power’ maces being made.
I tried different thickness handles of both wood and metal then finally collaborated with Rik Brown. We worked out a design and I got a prototype made. When I tried it for the first time, it had a slight flex ‘feel’ to it offering a bit of tradition to an otherwise modern design. Rik has that mace and I think that I’ll have to arm wrestle him to get it back.
How do you combine Clubs in combination with other training?
Don Giafardino: The only other training that I do is sled pushing or pulling, tire flipping, stone lifting, and some sprinting.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Don Giafardino: First off I’d like to thank you for inviting me to do this interview, it’s an honour. But the real message that I’d like to share with people is for them to get moving and try to live a healthy lifestyle.
Club work is a fitness modality that is so beneficial by itself or as an addition to any other fitness program. A child as young as 5 can begin with clubs and continue swinging them productively until their 90’s, maybe longer.
I plan on swinging my clubs until the day that I can’t hold them anymore.
Adex Clubs web site – sales only to the US now
Don Giafardino lives and works from Deerfield Beach, Florida
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