hard style

General Kettlebell Training Styles

With Kettlebell Training there are two main styles. Both Hard Style(brought to popularity by Pavel Tsatsouline's RKC program & Dragon Door) and Girevoy Sport have their place. There is no right or wrong method as many have argued in the past. One is the actual authentic methods used by Russians and one is well... another way of doing things. Denis Kanygin said "Hardstyle is a stripped down version of original kettlebell technique." I really like that and it certainly makes sense when visually and physically comparing the two technique styles. If one would do things hard style for years and ongoing years they would not be able to maintain that practice due to the abuse on the body; however with G.S. a practitioner can maintain that from cradle to the grave. I have seen more and more of the former, and some still current, inner circle hardstyle folks employ the coaching of Girevoy Sport style practitioners so that they too can preserve themselves along their Kettlebell fitness journeys.

Kettlebell Sport style training flows much better with human mechanics so that the body gets stronger naturally instead of brutally placing unnecessary force upon joints, the spine, and soft tissue. Thankfully for people like Valery Fedorenko of the American Kettlebell Club, Steve Cotter, Ken Blackburn, (both of the International Kettlebell & Fitness Federation) and others who have been virally bringing this message of Kettlebell Training to the masses.

Kettlebell Training 101

Kettlebell Training 101:

Rule number one- Don't Get Overwhelmed!

Kettlebells have been around for a few hundred years and have survived among many different cultures. The main culture they derive from is Russia. Kettlebells have made their journey into the U.S., post cold war, around the mid 1980's and then the mainstream over the past decade.

Most women begin with either 8 or 12 kilo where most men begin with 12 or 16 kilo. It shouldn't take long to progress to the next size bell if you practice regularly.

There are 2 general schools of thought when it comes to Kettlebell practice- "Hard Style" and "Girevoy Sport". We generally practice a blend of both.

1. Hard Style- more explosive, very crisp, power oriented, trains usually for certain number of reps and sets in various Swings, Snatches, Cleans, Presses, Turkish Get-Ups, Sots Presses, Bent Presses, and more.
-made popular by Pavel Tsatsouline

2. G.S.- much more fluid & graceful, more relaxed, strength endurance oriented, trains usually for time and number of reps in a given time limit in either the jerk & snatch or long cycle clean and jerk(which is pretty much simply a clean and jerk movement)
-Girya = kettlebell lifter = competitor in Girevoy Sport

Russian Kettlebells are the single best piece of training equipment that will show you the most muscular strength and endurance, joint stability, cardiovascular strength and endurance, power, agility, coordination and simply the ultimate overall fitness conditioning that your body could ever receive. If there is one training piece of equipment that I can use for the rest of my life and never anything else again regardless if it was a sophisticated machine, tractor truck tire(for flipping), cables, ropes, dumbbells, barbells, medicine balls or whatever- the Kettlebell would be it!
Kettlebells are, simply put, a tool. There are many tools out there and many roads to fitness. This is just one of those tools and will take you down a great, great road.

Example Kettlebell Fitness Workout:

6 Minute Swing Set w/ one hand switch

3 Min. Single-Arm Press or Push Press Set

One-Arm Cleans 16kg(35lbs.) 25R/25L 1 Set

Renegade Rows 20x(10R/10L) 1 Set

1-3 Min. Planks as a finisher

8-12x Tabata Sprints on Treadmill
-4 min. of total sprinting. 20s sprint followed by a 10s rest times 8-12.

1. 15x Pushups
2. 15x Diamond Pushup on MB
3. 15x Suicide Pushup
Take a 3 minute break and then perform it again if you can.

-Always finish with some yoga based stretching.


If your focus is not specific Girevoy Sport practice for competition then try to keep every workout different and constantly changing. You will certainly practice the same movements, but don't ever just do the same things over and over. This way your body continues to change and not plateau. I gave you a good mixture of things to do in today's workout. Feel free to expand upon it and practice some of the things we did intermixed with other exercises. Try to keep all strength training workouts to about 45 min.- give or take. This way your intensity will remain high. When you stretch out the time intensity lowers and you run the risk of overtraining.

Have fun and let me know about your progress.