Hardstyle Swing

When you hear the word hardstyle, you have an image of an exercise in your mind, but the name refers to the type of martial arts which it was used to train for and not in a description of how hard the exercise is or how the muscles are used.

Hardstyle kettlebell training was developed in the 1980s to complement Russian hand-to-hand combat. This style of martial arts is all about ballistic movements, and the use of kettlebells help to improve your strength and power.

The hardstyle swing is a moment which mimics martial arts movements. If you can perform the movements with weights (and heavy ones at that), then you can become a master of speed and power when you are not using the weights.

This type of exercise puts a focus on tension. If you are able to move between tension and a loose body position, then you are able to generate a lot of force and power.

Professional athletes are able to shift their bodies from tense to lose up to 8 times faster than the rest of us. This is due to exercises like this, and when you combine this exercise with martial arts, you can see the benefits.

If you can swing a punch with speed, and then add tension behind it at the last moment, you are going to become a formidable opponent. Let’s take a closer look at the exercise.

Rating of Difficulty

The exercise does not look too difficult when you see it in motion, but it is harder than it looks. It may look like you are only swinging the kettlebell, but many people mistake the motion for a bend in the knees whereas it is all about the snap of the hips.

This is not a squat exercise so it is important to get the hip movement right and worry less about your knee bend. Once you master the positioning, you will find this exercise easy.

What Muscles Does This Workout Target?

The hardstyle swing is great for building power in your hips and glutes. Doing hardstyle swings will help you with your jumping power.

The exercise will also help you to strengthen and protect your back, along with strengthening your shoulders.

How Often Should I Perform This Workout?

This is a great exercise to add to your regular routine twice a week. It is also a great exercise for improving your deadlift.

If you have a deadlift in your routine, then try not to do this on the same day as the deadlift.

kettlebell hardstyle swing workout

Step by Step

Prepare your area. Make sure that your area is clear, and that there are no dangers present.

Ensure that you are wearing the proper clothing and that you are fueled for your workout. Place the kettlebell on the floor in front of you.

  • Stand over the kettlebell so that the kettlebell is in between your legs. Make sure that your feet are spaced equally around the kettlebell. Stand with your back straight and your weight on your legs. You should have enough room to swing the kettlebell through your legs.
  • Bend down and grab the kettlebell with both hands. Your legs should be bent slightly, but this is not a squat so do not go into the squat position. Pick up the kettlebell so that it is off of the ground.
  • You need to hike the kettlebell by swinging the kettlebell backward through your legs. This is going to help you to gain the momentum needed to swing the kettlebell forward and up.
  • When you swing the kettlebell forward, you should think about a jumping motion. Try to jump with the kettlebell but keep your feet on the ground. Use this motion to swing the kettlebell forward and up. The swing should end with the kettlebell in front of your face, and your arms extended.
  • Swing the kettlebell back down towards the floor. You are going to park the kettlebell back on the floor. Use tension in your arms and body to bring the kettlebell down in a smooth arc and place it back on the floor without dropping it there.
  • Let go of the kettlebell and stand up. You can repeat this 10-12 times before taking a break and then doing your next set of reps.


A hardstyle swing should be as explosive as possible. As the kettlebell is put in motion, your body should be tense to generate that motion.

When the kettlebell is in motion, your body should be loose. The key is to have as perfect form as possible. 

If you can get this exercise right then, you are going to see a lot of benefits in your athletic performance.​​​


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