Hard style, soft style, not my hang up, I just want to lift better!

“If you want to lift the kettlebells, if you want to be good at kettlebells, you have to lift the kettlebells, it’s really a simple concept.” – Valery Fedorenko



I have had a few emails and messages this week regarding my “style”, because I am training for, and writing about, the Kettlebell Pentathlon. Some guys favour the showmanship ballistics of “hard style” and say my swing is too easy, not enough hard work. Other lifters who train for Biathlon and Long Cycle also see faults in my form, believing wholeheartedly that it is not as energy-efficient as it could be, that I could be saving myself with a few little techniques such as a dip in Snatch, or adding in a deeper dip as I receive the bell into rack position. I have huge respect for these athletes, and what they have achieved. Our aims are largely very similar. However, I guess I value energy efficiency but the proficiency of my swing and the work I put in are, I believe, what will most affect my reps and the weight I can lift.

Here’s what I think: I love lifting kettlebells. I make mistakes, my form isn’t perfect, but I am still progressing, lifting more and for greater reps, and I put that down to improved swing, and the benefits of resting in rack position between reps. I have plenty to learn yet (my hand position is not always where I want it to be, complicated by my not being able to feel it) but my goal is perhaps simpler than that of some other students and “master trainers”: I want to lift better, with more power, and greater weight. I am happy to put in the hours to get there, and I won’t criticise other lifters who choose a different path to reach their goals. It’s just not my hang-up.

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