Kettlebell Hardstyle vs Softstyle

Kettlebell Hardstyle vs Soft Style (HS vs GS)

When you enter the kettlebell world as a completely blank slate you might at some stage notice that there are people following a certain style, and some of them act cult-like. Thinking and acting like their way of doing things is the way to do things.

When someone asks Is my swing okay? both sides jump in and start giving feedback on how to correct their swing. It then turns into a mush of different information for the person who asked the question. Sometimes it even turns into a long drawn-out battle where both parties are trying to convince the world that their style is the best.

What are the pros and cons of each kettlebell style?

Hardstyle versus Softstyle

Before I dive deeper into this topic, there is more in between the two styles than there is within those two. At Cavemantraining™ and IKU™ we cover everything involved with kettlebell training, even Hardstyle and Sportstyle (kettlebell sport).

In a nutshell.

Hardstyle is all about power and strength. Power equals strength and speed. Power is developed by working with heavier weights and shorter sets. Strength is developed through progressional overload and working with 1RM.

Sportstyle is all about endurance and strength. Endurance, whether cardiovascular or muscular, is developed by increasing the unbroken volume of work. Strength is developed through progressional overload.

These two are the complete opposite of the spectrum when it comes to kettlebell training. As for style, a style is a particular manner or technique by which something is done, created, or performed. Hardstyle is pretty rigid, i.e. inflexibly set in opinion and strictly observed, whereas Sportstyle or Softstyle is fluid and flexible, there are many different ways to get the work done, and usually, each performer creates their own way of doing things.

Both develop super strong people, but the ones that do Hardstyle will look like they have more muscle mass, although that doesn’t mean that they’re generally also stronger. They will also be able to move faster. The ones that do Sportstyle will look leaner and will be able to last longer when it comes to endurance. Sportstyle also develops a higher level of mental toughness, as there is simply no comparison to completing 10, 30, or 60 minutes of unbroken work and pushing through the mental barriers that pop up during that time.

The only drawback you’ll find is that some of the people following the style are hardliners and don’t ask about goals, will correct technique without being asked, and do so based on the limited information they have. Some are also very closed-minded and aren’t open to learning new things, for example, the squat swing, many years ago we started using this variation of the swing in our workouts because it involves more joints, hence more muscles involved, and it will tax the cardiovascular system quicker and is thus a great exercise for HIIT. But it’s simply a no-no by default for the hardliners without even debating or considering the benefits.

You’ll find hardliners on the other side as well and they think that their style is the best in the world and the one and only thing anyone should ever do when they hold a kettlebell. Both hardliners are wrong and you’re best off not following these people unless you are 100% sure that what they offer is the right thing for you and you want to be exactly like them in the same box.

In the end, neither of the styles has serious drawbacks, unless you have a specific goal you’re working toward and it isn’t met by what style you’re following. Both are great to incorporate in your training and it should be known that you can work on power and strength without following a style (a certain way of doing things).

At Cavemantraining™ we have adapted both styles from the beginning but not the culture. Our hybrid workouts are designed to incorporate the best of both worlds plus the other 80% that isn’t within those two. We incorporate flows, juggling, combos, complexes, mobility, and so much more. We apply the sports aspect to different non-traditional exercises.

Our philosophy of kettlebell training is based on longevity and fun. Within longevity, we find all the goals that one should be working toward, power, strength, endurance, flexibility, mental toughness, and all with the greatest mobility possible. Fun, because the only way one can train their whole life and enjoy it is when it’s fun.

If you want to learn how to utilize the kettlebell for all goals, styles, and more, then start your lifelong journey of learning today with our kettlebell inner circle membership. There is no other membership that provides as many benefits as this one does:

  • Personalised coaching
  • Work out in your own time
  • Follow programs and routines
  • Select your daily/weekly workout from a 250+ workout library

Each session consists of the following videos which allow any beginner to work with any of the workouts:

  • Technique breakdown
  • Common mistakes
  • Alternatives and progressions
  • Programming
  • Follow-along warm-up
  • Follow-along prep work
  • Follow-along workout
  • Follow-along cooldown

Our memberships are cheaper than the gym at a low $21 a month with a one-off sign-up fee that gives you immediate access to important beginner information.

For those who prefer all the workouts in a book, we have published 4 kettlebell workout books.

Related links:

What are the benefits of hardstyle kettlebells?

The benefits of Hardstyle kettlebell training are power and strength. Although often referred to as Hardstyle kettlebells, the proper term is Hardstyle kettlebell training.

What are the benefits of softstyle kettlebells?

The benefits of Softstyle kettlebell training are endurance, strength, and mental toughness. Although often referred to as Softstyle kettlebells, the proper term is Softstyle kettlebell training or kettlebell sport.

What is hardstyle kettlebells?

Hardstyle refers to the kettlebell style of training used by RKC and StrongFirst which focuses on heavy short reps for power and strength.

What is the difference between hardstyle and sport kettlebell swing?

The difference between the hardstyle and sportstyle kettlebell swing is that with Hardstyle the kettlebell is moved with the intent to move it as fast as possible and the opposite is to move it as energy efficient as possible.

What is soft style kettlebell?

The preferred terms are sportstyle or kettlebell sport and it refers to the opposite of Hardstyle kettlebell training with a focus on energy efficiency and endurance.

Which kettlebell swing is better?

The kettlebell swing that works toward your intended goals is the best kettlebell swing and that can be the Hardstyle swing, Sportstyle swing, squat swing, hip hinge swing, or other freestyle swing variation.

Online Hardstyle De-Programming Course

Have you or one of your loved ones been sucked into the cult? We’ve released a $1,295 deprogramming course which will help to overcome some of the annoyances that come with that.

Enroll today and in no time you’ll be comfortable hinging without the need to push the hands into creases of the hips.

Enroll today and free your mind from that black-and-white thinking that automatically puts everything else down that’s different and not exactly as you’ve been told.

Enroll today and understand that not everyone is doing or needs to do Hardstyle and that there is more kettlebell in between hard and soft style than there is within them.

Enroll today and learn how to question things and start thinking for yourself again.

Enroll today and learn that a squat swing is not bad when performed correctly and done on purpose.

Enroll today and overcome the need to tell everyone how they should snap at the hips. Become a more accepting and easier-to-talk-to-person with our quick 3-minute online Hardstyle de-programming course.

Overcome the superiority and need to battle it out with others thinking that you know everything there is to know. A great example is the Michael Knight story, unfortunately, to this day, he has not signed up for this super course.

I wrote this article in response to a question asked in one of our kettlebell communities, and it’s one that often pops up.

“Why is there a corner with Hardstyle lovers and in the opposite the GS lovers? What are the drawbacks and benefits of each style?”

We’d all learn a lot more if we shared our kettlebell experiences, and information, asked questions, debated, and worked together instead of against each other.

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