The Difference Between Kettlebell Training and Bodybuilding
Having been a competitive bodybuilder for five years and a StrongFirst Kettlebell practitioner, there are some big differences I see when it comes to conventional Bodybuilding and Hardstyle Kettlebell Training.
What is Bodybuilding?
First things first, let’s talk a little about what bodybuilding really is. Bodybuilding is a sport that involves strenuous physical exercise in order to strengthen and enlarge the body.
The majority of bodybuilders training consist of 3-5 sets of moderate loading at 6-12 reps. This is considered Hypertrophy Training and it is how most bodybuilders and mainstream gym goers tend to train.
In the sport of bodybuilding, competitors are focused on increasing size and symmetry of their muscles rather than improving their function. For the majority of bodybuilders there is not much need for them to be concerned with how much they can lift or their performance, athleticism, and health. They are more about the size and symmetry of their chest and quads.
The thing that most people don’t look at or truly understand is what it actually takes to be a professional bodybuilder– they see the photos in magazines and the videos of them doing some crazy supersets to the point of complete muscle failure, but they don’t see how much they eat or sleep.
Their whole life revolves around training, eating, and sleeping– that is their job.
This is how they are able to train just one or two body parts per session and then come back later and train again.
Bodybuilding is not just something you play like a sport– it is a lifestyle. It pretty much consumes you from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed. Everything you do has to be geared towards increasing muscle mass and creating statuesque symmetry just like a artist creates a sculpture.
How Kettebell Training is Different
Hardstyle Kettlebell Training can be described by high intensity and few repetitions. The purpose for this is to increase power optimization.
Each rep should look just as powerful, no matter if it’s light weight or a heavy weight.
This style focuses on balance between high tension and relaxation. Hardstyle training is much like martial arts which teaches total body muscle tension into one extraordinary effort: “one strike one kill.”
Hardstyle is a practice on coordinating all the muscles involved for a certain lift in a sequential manner so that during each phase of the lift some muscles will produce movement, others will stabilize, and others will relax.
Typically when training with kettlebells the main focus is improving movement quality, increasing mobility, and becoming a strong person. Unlike the bodybuilder who focuses his attention on training individual muscle groups, hardstyle training focuses on training movement patterns.
There is nothing wrong with either one of these philosophies. In fact it can be quite beneficial to incorporate a little of both into your training regimen. Become strong and resilient from the kettlebells while using some hypertrophy work to chisel out some definition and symmetry.
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