Different Kettlebell Styles

written by Taco Fleur – www.tacofleur.com

Just like there are different types of Kettlebells, there are several different Kettlebell styles for training with Kettlebells, there is Kettlebell Training, Kettlebell Sport, Kettlebell Juggling, Commercialised Kettlebells and Caveman Kettlebells. The later is named by yours truly. Within the different styles reference is also made to Hard Style (HS) and Fluid Style (FS)/Soft Style, Hardstyle is faster movement, jerky and less efficient, whereas Softstyle is fluid, more relaxed and efficient, this does not mean that one is better than the other, just different goals. There are more differences in technique that set these two apart than is covered here, further down I’ll list a quick summary. I should also note that just because they’re different styles of Kettlebells, this does not mean that within one style you will see one and the same technique used, even in Kettlebell Sport you’ll see the swing done differently, and this is great, because not one technique works the same for everyone. This article also covers the different types of Kettlebells used.

 

What is Kettlebell Training?

Kettlebell Training

Kettlebell Training

Kettlebell Training is what you see in the gyms, CrossFit and personal training, it’s using the Kettlebells to reach certain goals in your training whether it is endurance, strength cardio, other goals or a mix of goals. You’ll usually learn what they call Hardstyle. You can use any type of Kettlebell for this training, but most of the time you’ll find the Classic Iron Cast Kettlebells used, these Kettlebells go up in size as they go up in weight, this usually also includes increase in thickness of the handle and the colour in general is black. The Classic Iron Cast Kettlebell is also referred to as Russian Kettlebells.

 

What is Kettlebell Sport? (AKA Kettlebell Lifting, Girevoy Sport or Competitive Kettlebell Lifting)

Kettlebell Sport

Kettlebell Sport

Kettlebell Sport consists of three lifts, respectively the Snatch, Jerk and the Long Jerk, the Long Jerk means Clean and Jerk. Everything in the sport is about being as efficient as possible, being able to last as long as possible and get out as many repetitions as possible. Where as in Kettlebell Training you want as much resistance as possible to get a good workout, in Kettlebell Sport you want to move as efficiently as possible and use as much momentum as possible to get the least amount of resistance and most amount of repetitions.

Type Of Kettlebell Used

Female Kettlebell Sport

Female Kettlebell Sport

In Kettlebell Sports only Competition Kettlebells are used, they are all the same size no matter what weight they are, they’re made out of steel and they come in different colours. This Kettlebell is also referred to as Pro-style or Pro-grade Kettlebells. The competition Kettlebell colours are 16kg Yellow, 24kg Green and 32kg Red. These are the main sizes and colours, but there are other sizes and colours which in the sport are used for Open and 5 Minute competitions. Competition Kettlebells can also be used for Kettlebell Training and have always been my favourite choice of Kettlebell due to the same size and large base which provides proper stability for exercises in Caveman Kettlebells like Renegade Rows, Push-ups, Squat Rows and more.

 

What is Kettlebell Juggling?

Kettlebell Juggling

Kettlebell Juggling

Kettlebell Juggling is full on ballistic movements which involve releasing and catching the Kettlebell with all manner of flips and spins in-front, behind and around the body. If you read my article Workout vs Complex, then you’ll know that for Kettlebell juggling you need everything to flow from one exercise into the next, thus Kettlebell Juggling consists 100% of Kettlebell Complexes. Classic Iron Cast Kettlebells are mostly used for Kettlebell Juggling, but you can also do it with Pro-grade Kettlebells.

 

What is Commercialised Kettlebells?

Commercialised Kettlebells is a term I coined for what you see on TV in those ads with those flashy aerobic trainers, in classes which resemble the 1980s aerobic style, like KettleWorX for example and square 4 kilo Kettleboxes or those adjustable Kettlebells. I call this commercial Kettlebells as it’s been tamed down and modified to suit a larger audience and it’s perfect for those who are scared of real Kettlebells. I don’t want to put this down, I personally care nothing for it, there is an audience for it, it gets people moving and that’s great.

Type Of Kettlebell Used

The type of Kettlebells you’ll find with this type of training are Rubber Coated Kettlebells, Pyramid Shaped Kettlebells, Adjustable Kettlebells and Kettleblock.

KettleWorX

KettleWorX

KettleWorX

KettleWorX Trainer

Adjustable Kettlebell

Adjustable Kettlebell

 

 

What is Caveman Kettlebells?

Caveman Kettlebells

Caveman Kettlebells

Caveman Kettlebells employs whatever is needed to achieve a goal, whether it is from Hardstyle Kettelbells, Fluid Style Kettlebells, Kettlebell Juggling, we employ whatever works best for the participant and whatever is required to achieve the desired outcome. There is no fixed rule other than, if it’s safe and helps you reach your goals then it’s ok to do, even if this means a different breathing pattern than other class participants. Choose Caveman Kettlebells if you’re not too worried about belonging to just one group and doing things only one way rather than the way that suits you best at this point in time, you’ll get the best of all worlds (apart from Commercial Kettlebells).

Type Of Kettlebell Used

Either the Classic Iron Cast or Competition Kettlebell is used.

 

Hardstyle vs Softstyle

This is my own analysis of the two styles, if you believe there is something that should be added, changed or removed please let me know.

Softstyle

Hardstyle

Focus

Efficiency Resistance

Goal

Power, Strength, Endurance Strength

Breathing

Inhale upon exertion Exhale upon exertion

Weight

Light Heavy

Repetitions

More Less

Form

Relaxed Rigid

Tempo

Steady Fast

 

Different styles of Kettlebells

Classic Iron Cast Kettlebells

AKA Russian Kettlebells

Material: Iron

 

Competition Kettlebells

AKA Pro-grade, Pro-style

Material: Steel

 

Quick tip: if you want to upset a professional Kettlebell Trainer, then ask them if you can book in for a Kettle Ball session :-)

Kettle Ball