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What is hard style kettlebell training?

17/11/2013 20:25

I currently teach strength and conditioning classes but have been working with kettlebells for a number of years. Many of you that train with frequently with Kettlebells will be aware of the 2 different styles used in Kettlebell training. They are known as Hard style and GS (Kettlebell sport). I have recently undertaken and passed the SFG1 which is considered the black belt of kettlebell education and one of the best certifications in the world. SFG is exclusively Hard style based, however up until the end of 2012 the only technique I used for kettlebell training was one more specific to Kettlebell sport. 




Hard style kettlebell training evolved in the 1980’s to support the hard style of hand to hand combat within the special operations unit of the Soviet Union. Hard style kettlebells chooses power production over power conservation, the essence of which is the ‘kime’ technique, which is an all out effort during every repetition. Each rep is based on high acceleration during the ballistic moves and high tension during the grinds followed by relaxation.


The principle that lies behind hard style kettlebells is that tension vs relaxation = strength these are the 2 sides of the performance coin, tension is strength and power whilst relaxation is speed, endurance and flexibility. Hard style aims to maximise both these extremes tension/strength and relaxation/speed.




Kettlebell Sport emerged in Europe over 60 years ago out of the original ideas intended for kettlebell lifting. This specialised form of training expands strength-endurance capacity under a sub-maximal load over time. During Kettlebell sport competitions competitors are given 10 minutes to perform as many reps as they can, because the athlete cannot set the kettlebell(s) down, efficient technique must be used to last the entire ten minutes, which makes the mechanics of the movements much more relaxed than hard style.


Put simply hard style is the equivalent of sprinting whereas Kettlebell sport is more akin to running a marathon. 


One style is not "better" than the other, however, just like in running, there will be times when one style is more appropriate for achieving desired goals. 


What are the benefits of Kettlebell training?

-          Builds muscle 

-          Increases fat loss/dead weight loss

-          Increase in strength/power

-          Decreased risk of injury

-          Increase in flexibility/mobility

-          Strengthening of the entire posterior chain

-          Has a great sporting cross over

-         Increase in stamina (The engine!)


If you’re serious about your training it's vital you’re using the best kettlebells available, as anyone who’s trained with them will testify. There are many to choose from but rarely do they stand the test of time and meet the exacting standards like the Metrixx range from tribalrhinofitness.com do.


If you are interested in Kettlebell group training in South East London where both styles of Kettlebell training are taught you can contact me at for more information. 


  • kettlebells
  • strength
  • hard
  • style
  • cast
  • iron
  • metrixx
Posted in General By

Alex Nicholas

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