Once you have the swing technique down, it’s time to learn cleans and snatches which we will cover in future Hard style articles and videos so stay tuned. Make sure to subscribe to our blog through the form on the right side or at the bottom on mobile devices.
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Since 2001, he has assisted many people with their strength training, conditioning and athletic rehabilitation including; adult clients, police, fire, military professionals, and athletes from middle school to the Professional level. Back then as I trawled the internet, almost all the information came from the Dragon Door website and this bloke named Pavel.
There was also some good info from the crew that had been around Pavel at the time, most notably Lesser, Cotter, Mahler, and Maxwell. I bought a load of Pavel’s products and scoured Mike Mahler’s website to glean as much info as possible.
My back was slowly on the mend, so I very, very gently started to teach myself the Kettle bell Swing based on the information I had at hand. As a lifetime martial artist, I understood body mechanics; I’d used the Barbell Power Clean as a staple in my own training, as well as Dead lifts.
The injuries meant I had to be especially conscious of my movement and go extremely gentle until strength slowly started to ebb its way back to me. However, Pavel and his people at the time also talked about using the high tension to create a solid body to press from.
This I liked; it kept my damaged back safe and strong and reminded me of my favorite Data in the Wade BYU Karate system, the high tension form Sasha, which I was already using to help rehabilitate myself. Vasily lifts in the traditional method and competed at the highest level in the kettle bell sports.
Kettle bell Sport uses the minimal amount of tension instead of focusing on the body mechanics and the ability to repetitively generate explosive power. A useful skill set if your primary focus is the development of power endurance or the ability to repeatedly hit hard.
It was at this workshop that Vasily looked me in the eye and asked, “Do you teach?” I answered, “No, I’ve not got the experience,” to which he simply replied, “You should!” So I did. I looked at how I liked to train my own preferred method by taking the best bits of each style as they applied to myself.
This has become my mantra and the underlying philosophy for every aspect of my training and forms the central pillar holding up the Kettle bell Instructor Program I am launching in the coming months. We are all lifters together, forget your differences and look at your commonalities; this is where real strength come from.
Today it is taught most popularly through the ROC (Russian Kettle bell Certification) school and in Strongest. Because a loose joint absorbs the force meant to go elsewhere; it “leaks” power and is easily injured.
ROC teaches how to focus the scattered energies of the body into a directed all-out effort while minimizing the odds of injuries. Originally, “hard style” referred to martial arts like Karate which concentrated total body muscle tension into one extraordinary effort—“one punch, one kill”.
When Pavel Tsatsouline served in the Soviet Special Forces, his unit was among those who had adopted a Karate-based style of hand-to-hand combat. The hard style of kettle bell training was born to support this hard style of fighting.
Determined to take the skill of strength as far as possible, Pavel researched every possible venue that could be of help, ranging from reading obscure neuroscience papers and old Soviet bio-mechanics texts, to picking the brains of gymnastics, power-lifting, and arm-wrestling elite. Power-lifting coach Louie Simmons has said it best: “Pavel has reverse engineered what the strongest athletes do naturally.” This is Hard style.
Such techniques include: compound movements, appropriate timing of body tension, power breathing, not training to failure or exhaustion, strength as practice, doing fewer things better, etc. If you have been around the block, the hard style techniques will noticeably and immediately improve your strength in pull-ups, pistol squats, kettle bell military presses, one-arm push-ups, handstand push-ups, and a variety of killer abdominal drills.
If you are new to strength, you will learn how to do these lifts right or, if you have a long way to go, get a clear set of individualized instructions for mastering them. No other conditioning exercise is as easy on your joints as the hardstylekettlebell swing yet delivers the same health benefit.
Train the swing and you’ll develop the essential components of long-term physical health — a strong back, glutes and legs combined with cardiovascular endurance. It works the hamstring, butt and back muscles or posterior chain ”, like no other.
Swings challenge the grip, forearms and shoulders and simultaneously exhaust the thighs. The swing is a hip hinge, the strongest human movement.
And the lift is ballistic — explosive power sending the kettle bell on it trajectory (like an iron ball from a cannon). Golf drive or tennis serve, Taekwondo kick or boxers punch, the power comes from the hips.
Hip power is the foundation of the human athlete. The big and strong muscles of the posterior chain co-ordinate to deliver the maximum power.
And that power is delivered through the club, racket, foot, fist — or kettle bell. Swinging a kettle bell rejuvenates the back, hip and hamstring flexibility you’ve lost from years of sitting.
And it counters the poor posture caused by hours hunched over your computer. Living room, garage, garden or gym it’s up to you.
Because in reality, it’s the subtleties of swing technique that unlock its power. But with the right instruction, a kettle bell swing isn’t difficult to learn.
And it’s safe and versatile enough to be part of anyone’s training, from university athlete to 70-year-old grandmother. For raw power and strength, short heavy sets and plenty of recovery time in-between.
For endurance or fat loss, lighter kettle bells, more reps, shorter rests. The hard style swing is one of the first kettle bell exercises you learn, and it should always be part of your training.
It is less flashy than other ballistic kettle bell lifts like the snatch or clean. Learning the hardstylekettlebell swing does take a little patience and practice, but you’ll quickly develop the skills.
No other exercise is as easy on your joints as the hardstylekettlebell swing and still delivers an equal health benefit. The full body program uses 20 minute metabolic circuits to radically transform your physique.
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