this information is primarily for my clients and class participants. unless a private client is specifically interested in sport/competition style, the classes i teach are primarily hardstyle, or hardstyle derivative. as sport style becomes more and more popular in north america, a very awesome state of affairs, more questions pop up about what is ‘right’ or ‘better’. far from being broad in scope or extensive, i hope this is of some help. ~ wendy
the kettlebell universe, like our own wondrous and vast system of planets and stars and other spacely things , is expanding.
this is, in my mind, a very good thing.
it means that people — leaders in the field of passion, knowledge and creativity — are refining traditional or classic kettlebell training while others are adapting kettlebell training to nontraditional applications.
athletes, martial artists, exercise physiologists, strongmen, recreational exercisers, tactical forces, professional dancers…wow, there is a huge variety of backgrounds using kettlebells in creative ways to achieve specific ends.
to achieve specific ends.
how you use a tool depends on what you want to achieve with it. what are your goals and will this methodology help move you toward them?
so at a very cursory level, the two most fundamental kettlebell styles:
hardstyle kettlebell makes use of maximum muscular tension, alternating with brief periods of relaxation, in order to maximize force, making you stronger in the movement and developing strength over time. this form of training is metabolically inefficient, which means it is metabolically demanding; it taxes the body’s fuel – calories – in execution. control and mobility issues are pivotal to strength gains in this style. it is a system designed to gain maximum effect in minimum time. want to get strong? want to stoke the metabolism? want to minimize your workout time in order to do other stuff? hardstyle.
sport kettlebell, also known as girevoy sport, is a fluid style of training which maximizes efficiency, looking to conserve energy and build power/strength endurance. the more fluid the form, the less metabolically demanding the work, allowing for high repetition of a submaximal weight. as a competitive sport, a movement is performed for 10 minutes without setting the weight down and, if working unilaterally, with only one hand switch in the 10 minutes. want to develop power/strength endurance? want to minimize effort and metabolic expenditure in order to maximize pacing? want to compete in sport kettlebell? sport kettlebell style.
it is also the case that certain kettlebell movements lend themselves better to one or two of the three fitness components — strength, power, endurance — better than others, though there is overlap. especially when you consider pacing of repetition, rest intervals, and total volume of work. hardstyle has a great variation in movement patterns than sport style.
so, hardstyle training allows for maximum tension/force production in both grinding and ballistic movements while grinds would be the antithesis of sport style movements, where the snatch, jerk, and long cycle (clean and jerk) are the competition movements. hardstyle provides for conditioning and strength, sport style nuances the movements.
to give you a visual on the hard vs fluid style, here is a great video of Pat Flynn demonstrating the differences with a kettlebell snatch.
so, what are your goals? why do you lift? the answer will help you in determining which of these styles, or kettlebell lifting methodologies, is right for you.