If I do a Google search for ‘kettlebell swing’, I turn up with 923,000 results. A YouTube search comes up with 1,330. There’s a lot of information out there about how to do a kettlebell swing -and truth be told, there’s more than one ‘right’ way to do the exercise. I’ll cover three swing ‘styles’ in this post, and how each different style can be appropriate for specific fitness goals.
The first style I’ll cover is the hardstyle, or RKC swing. This is the swing style we teach here at kettlebellbasics.net. This style, put most simply, focuses on power production, not power conservation. It’s for increased fitness, not competition. Here’s what the hardstyle swing looks like:
In contrast to the hardstyle swing is the competition style swing. I’m by no means an expert on this style – but the basic premise is that this swing is designed for endurance and energy conservation – not for maximum power production or even fitness. As you can see in the video below, this technique is very different than the hardstyle swing. If you’re planning on competing in kettlebell lifting, this is the way to go:
The final swing variation is the ‘American’ swing or the CrossFit swing. This is a kind of ‘bastardized’ swing version that goes overhead instead of shoulder level like the hardstyle swing. I think you can run into some problems with this style; it’s easy to let the core go soft and it’s a lot easier to screw up! However, it’s true that the ‘bell does go through a larger range of motion, which could in theory let you get more work done in less time – thus increasing your power production. Here’s what it looks like:
There are quite a few different versions of the kettlebell swing. The bottom line is that each version we’ve talked about here can be useful for different goals – there’s no one ‘right’ way. If you’re going for improved power production and general fitness like fat loss and muslce gain, do the hardstyle swing. If you’re going to do competative kettlebell lifting, practice the competition style. I’m not really a huge fan of the CrossFit style swing – but it could have its uses. It’s up to you to decide the best method for you and your goals. Good luck and keep training hard!