Exercise Technique: Kettlebell Swings

There are two main types of kettlebell swings. The most commonly known and performed swing is the hard style swing, but did you know there’s actually another type?

Kettlebell Kings Sport Kettlebell and Perform Better Hard Style Kettlebell

In the picture on the left yellow bell is a Kettlebell Kings Sport Lifting Kettlebell, or competition kettlebell. The red bell is a Perform Better hard style kettlebell. These are just two of the many types of kettlebells on the market today. For more information on different kettlebell types and which on might be right for you, check out our earlier post on the topic here. (By the way these are both 16kg.)

Hard Style v. Sport Style

Check out the video below for a demonstration of each style. What differences do you notice?


Hard Style

The hip hinge is the main component in this style of swing. The goal with the hard style swing is to gain speed and power for short durations at a very high intensity. For example, you may swing for 3-5 sets of 5-10 repetitions. This style is all about creating muscular tension throughout the entire movement. As you can see in the video it is much crisper and rigid in its movement overall.

Sport Style

As you may have noticed in the video the sport style swing is much more of a rocking type or pendulum style of swing. Like the hard style the goal of sport style is to train for strength, but more importantly over the long haul as sport style swings are all about strength endurance. The sport of kettlebell occurs over a 5- or 10-minute period of time, where the main goal is to get as many reps as possible in that timeframe. Thus, this technique is all about movement efficiency to increase the amount of reps possible over time.


Both styles of swings can be beneficial to your training program. Each technique will increase your strength and cardiovascular fitness levels over time. Depending upon the training cycle you are in, you may need to focus on one style over the other. Regardless, both styles take a large amount of training to avoid injury and perfect.

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