Kettlebell Training vs Kettlebell Sport the Answers You Seek

Many people across the world are still wondering what the difference is between kettlebell training and kettlebell sport. Not many experts can explain it without being biased.


First let’s talk about resistance training which is used to induce muscular contraction to promote strength, anaerobic endurance, and muscle growth. The process of strength training is to keep increasing the resistance as you grow stronger. When it comes to resistance training, the more resistance you get from the weight the better it is.

For example; you don’t want to bounce the barbell in a deadlift because it would produce less resistance; you don’t want to use momentum with a dumbbell bicep curl because it would produce less resistance; you don’t want to kip with a pull-up because it would produce less resistance.

If by now my point has not come across, let me be clear, you want resistance, not fluidity or going with the flow if your goal is to train in the area of resistance training and get the maximum resistance.

Kettlebell Training


Some people would like to think that there is only Hardstyle and Softstyle in the world of kettlebells, i.e. Hardstyle and Kettlebell Sport, but to me, Hardstyle (HS) falls under Kettlebell Training, there is Kettlebell Training and Girevoy Sport (GS). Hardstyle is a kettlebell training style in which you work high intensity and few repetitions, aiming for maximum acceleration on each rep of a ballistic movement, does that mean if you don’t implement this technique you’re now doing Kettlebell Sport? No! If we want to get more detailed, there is HS, GS, Juggling, Freestyle, and Hybrid.


Kettlebell sport is all about removing resistance and going with the flow of the weight, it’s about moving the weight as efficiently as possible for as many times as possible and as quickly as possible.

This is not to say that you do not get stronger when you train in the area of kettlebell sport, for sure you’ll get stronger, but in a different way and through a different process.

Of course, it’s never possible to eliminate the resistance completely because simple physics dictates that the weight has to be moved by a foreign-created force.


There are quite a few people who say one is better than the other and go into long drawn-out public back-and-forth arguments about it, trying to prove a point. But neither is better than the other, it all depends on what works for you, does it help you reach your goals? If yes, then it’s the right way for you. Are you wanting to become extremely good at 3 exercises and want to get competitive with your training? Go and do GS. Are you wanting to become good at TGU’s, Strict Press, or OH Squat, or do you want to create your own goal? Go and do kettlebell training. Want to really top it off? Do both.

I don’t bother getting into these online debates which sometimes go on for days, it’s pointless really. Those that do, still have a lot to learn about life. Chill.

Arguing about Kettlebell Training and Kettlebell Sport


In kettlebell training in general the best style is the one that provides the most resistance and challenges the most muscle groups while being safe. In kettlebell training, you might want to lift heavy for low reps, or you might want to go light and go for high reps, anything safe pretty much goes. The main focus points: all aspects of training or just select aspects like fun, flexibility, cardio, etc., all kettlebell exercises can come into play or just a select few that work towards the goals. Weights can be of any size, light, medium, or heavy. The workout duration is anytime that works.

In kettlebell sport the best style is the one that provides the least resistance (opposite of resistance training), allowing you to get the most reps out and challenging the least amount of muscle groups while being safe. In kettlebell sport, the objective is always to lift as many times as possible, increase weight over time, and set a record with a set of never changing exercises (clean, jerk, and snatch). The main focus points are grip, endurance, breathing, mental toughness, and a defined set of exercises. Weights are sub-max. Workout duration is usually 6 or 10 minutes.

Don’t take the above as black or white, it’s mainly to demonstrate that GS is always about reps, never about creating resistance, and that kettlebell training can be versatile.

Which one to choose?

Ok, so we covered the fact that not one style is better than the other, but which one should you choose? In my opinion all, but it doesn’t always work out that way, so let’s help you make a choice.

Start looking at why you’re training with kettlebells? If you’re driven and want to compete, choose kettlebell sport, if you want more freedom and have other goals than getting a trophy/medal, choose kettlebell training.

If you want to be good at Turkish get-ups, windmills, front squats, and strict presses, or if you want to be able to play with the kettlebell, choose kettlebell training. If you want to be able to get really good at only a small number of set exercises and if you want to focus on just that set of exercises, then choose kettlebell sport. And yes I’m generalizing, there are those GS people who also do TGU’s and windmills in their training, but the majority do not, the top end of competitors only focus on the exercises included in the competition, it’s a fact.

To be clear, if you’re a kettlebell sport competitor you’re good at snatches, cleans, jerks, and single-arm pendulum swings. If you’re a kettlebell enthusiast you can be good at any set of kettlebell exercises, you can change things up, you might be tired of doing TGU’s, Windmills, Strict presses and Front-squats, you then go to THE list of kettlebell exercises and create a new set for yourself.

If you want to learn a different method of performing lifts, if you want to stick to a certain style, and want to belong to a group of people who focus primarily on strength, then choose Hardstyle / StrongFirst.

If you want to learn different ways of doing things, be more open to all styles, and belong to a group of people, choose Cavemantraining.

Post your thoughts below or on Facebook. Feel free to share, especially with those who argue all the time.


Kettlebell Trolls

Internet trolls, you’ll come across them everywhere, even in the Kettlebell world, they suck the life out of you, they make you angry, they get you to a point where you want to squeeze their neck… relax, this is their goal, this is what they want, this is the objective they set out to reach, you can see this from their post immediately. Don’t get angry, feel for them, as they are probably sad lonely people who have no other interaction with anyone normal, the only interaction they can get is you being angry at them and other trolls going along with their ridiculous point of view. The more facts you throw at them, the stupider they get.

If you come across anyone saying one style is better than the other, they’re just insecure and don’t know how the world works. If you’re enjoying yourself, if you’re training safe, if you’re reaching your goals, if you’re staying active, well, then you’ve chosen the right style, whether that is kettlebell sport, hardstyle, fluid style, kettlebell juggling, kettlebell training or some other form of kettlebell lifting, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, don’t even argue with them. They won’t come to your side and they certainly won’t convince you to come to their side.

Remember, if you stop feeding a troll, it dies.

Happy kettlebelling.!
If you’re looking for some motivation to get back into the swing of things, check out the video below. And remember, one should always be learning, there is no such thing as knowing it all.

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