This post is far from being any type of discussion concerning one or another way to approach kettlebells.
Let´s just remind ourselves we are dealing with a metal piece that looks like a kettle. It has no brain. We do have (or we should).
Appearently kettlebells have a milenar origin. Let´s speak out the truth here and say that one has to be no genious to see that adding a handle to na iron ball facilitates enormously its transportation and manipulative actions.
There are old images of weights with handles in several shapes, even kinda squared, rock carved (Stone from Bibon) or concrete made, hexagonlike shape and so on.
A story says the contemporaneous kettlebell shape derives from a Russian cannon ball that have had it basis trimmed until becoming a flat surface (bottom) and also a rustic handle was added to its top.
So it became something close to the nowadays kettlebell.
Another story says those weights already existed in a very similar shape to what we know now, but they were used as counterbalancing devices in ancient Russian scales for cereal trading.
Another story tells at first those were bells clappers on churches.
Another, they were cattle neck bells (it certainly has something to see with a mess done over the pronuntiation of “kettle” and “cattle”, which sounds the same for non-native English speaking ones).
Well, anyone has a story that sounds better than someone else’s.
Truth is the shape of the kettlebells improved a lot over decades. There are rigid International competition parameters for their measures and colors. Those are “Pro Grade Kettlebells”, as you can see on the picture above.
Other kettlebells’ shapes, known as “classic pieces” or “iron cast kettlebells” do not follow any manufacturing specification.
It doesn't matter a lot the material used on manufacturing a kettlebell. It might be iron cast (usually seen on classic bells), nodulated iron or steel (usual on Pro Grades).
What changes among those materials are the metal complacency and elasticity (basically).
The harder the material, the easier to break. I broke a couple iron cast kettlebells myself just by accidentally dropping them from the hip height.
And what about that Hardstyle or Girevoy Sport / Softstyle?
First thing first: Kettlebell Sport first oficial competition happened in Russia, 1948.
That means Hardstyle is the younger sibiling of Girevoy Sport. Hardstyle presents a simplified boddy mechanics and learning-teaching process.
Such simplicity gathered a huge crowd of kettlebell hardstyle practioners in US after the Iron Curtain Fall in the Soviet Union.
Roughly, Kettlebell Hardstyle matches Gym or Fitness Workout as Kettlebell Sport (or Girevoy Sport) matches Olympic Lifting or Competition.
There does not exist – I repeat in upper case - THERE DOES NOT EXIST such bullshit assigning iron cast or classic kettlebell pieces exclusively for hardstyle practicing and Pro
Grade kettlebell only for Girevoy Sport.
It sounds like brain wash, dictaded by those who make a living outta kettlebell courses and iron pieces sales.
Kettlebell itself improved from the classic iron cast piece to the modern Pro Grade one. The same way, the best barbells nowadays are the Olympic ones. Similar reasons: the sport demands better performance, ergonomics, and standardizing.
Those who have never handled a Pro Grade kettlebell are so far from understanding what comfort means on kettlebells lifting.
Pro Grade kettlebells seems to be soft on your hand in comparison to iron cast ones. But such comparison is to be addressed in a further post.
Let´s run our eyes over another detailed comparative, Kettlebell Hardstyle and Girevoy Sport.
Hardstyle - kettlebell training, a mean of training;
Girevoy - kettlebell sport; an end on itself.
Hardstyle – unefficient gesture mechanics (short-term fatigue);
Girevoy - highly efficient body mechanics (long-term fatigue).
Hardstyle – its gestures can be performed with basically any other weight implement such as dumbbells, barbells, discbells;
Girevoy - based upon three distinct lifts, extremely rich on specific manipulative details applied on kettlebells only.
Hardstyle – simple, easy to learn and teach;
Girevoy - complex, hard to learn and teach.
Hardstyle –techniques based;
Girevoy - biomechanics principles based.
Hardstyle – fitness or wellness;
Girevoy - competition and self preservation.
Hardstyle – the adherence to training demands small efforts;
Girevoy - a great deal of physical and mental resilience.
Hardstyle – low level of body integration;
Girevoy - plain three-dimensional body integration.
Long story short, one is not better or worse than another.
Anyone who says, Kettlebell Hardstyle matches a running sprint (100 meters) as well as Girevoy Sport matches a running marathon (42 kilometers)... well, that one KNOWS ZERO when it comes to kettlebells.
I reassure, one approach to the kettlebells is not better than another one. Both have completely distinct goals and core concepts.
And that´s all they are, different.
You should study both approaches to kill your doubts. You’ll certainly find the same conclusion I’ve reached: different, yes; better this or better that, no.
Those assuring this is better than that are only trying to sell you some product or course, not the real deal, good information. They are just trying to burn thei concurrency.
If I can give you some advice, low your hands, be ready to learn.
Forget the merchandising spreaded over the physical activities market!
Because that’s how life is, a struggle, a fight. Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.
If you’re a fighter, fight for yourself, not for a brand. You are worth fighting for.
Fight for quality information and knowledge.
It’s at least naive such a positioning as “I´m a hardstyle guy” or “I do Girevoy Sport only”... what a gigantic foolishness!
Fight for your legacy, for your name and good character. Companies, styles, working approaches... those things come and go so fast.
I’ve post a video below examplifying both approaches.
Observe that even bringing my upper limb to fatigue in short-term (hardstyle) it’s widely possible to follow through lifting the kettlebell over head only by changing the movement mechanical approach (Girevoy sport).
It means the difference between Kettlebell Hardstyle and Girevoy Sport is fundamentally biomechanical and not physiological, as many address or try to prove.
Here’s the video... I promise i will record one like this in English. This is one is yet into Portuguese, but you can get the point just by watching from minute 7:00 to minute 9:00.
The rest of it may need some translation... KettleBlogger phylosophy ;)
Well... that’s all for now, buddies 😊
I hope you’ve enjoyed a lot this post!
Feel free to post a comment.
See you soon.
Prof. Claudio Novelli.