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RKC Swing vs GS Swings: What are the benefits?

vegabros

New member
I've done hard-style swings up to now. And I've been looking into testing out the GS (girevoy sport) style. The form is completely different. The RKC style looks more sharp and tight. While the GS style is more smooth and effortless (almost).

I don't want to know which is best, because that answer is dependent on goals. I just want to know what the benefits are of each style. For example, I've read that the GS style allows for more reps to be done because you fatigue more slowly. Does this translate to any real benefit or is this only important for competition performance (where more is better).

Any insight on the benefits of this techniques is much appreciated!

- Leo
 

JasonL.Ac.

New member
They each have their benefits, it depends a lot on what you want out of kettlebell training, what else you do in your life, and what kind of training you enjoy. If you're interested in GS, find a GS coach to work with, the form is very subtle and specific.

One of the main differences that often gets overlooked is that in GS, the swing is very much an assistance exercise for the snatch, which is a competition lift. In HS, the snatch started out as the focus, but over time, with the evolution of the RKC method, the swing became a primary exercise, done for it's own sake. There are some RKCs who do a lot of snatching (there are also some who are MS in GS), but there also a good number that do little to none, except when getting ready to recert.
 

vegabros

New member
As far as what muscles are worked, would you say they both practically work the same muscles?

I don't plan to compete in girevoy sport or become an RKC, but I do like to explore different exercises.
 

JasonL.Ac.

New member
You don't have to compete or become an RKC, but you'll do much better in whatever your training goals are if you pick one thing and stick with it until achieving reasonable proficiency in it.

As far as your first question goes, to quote someone much wiser than myself, "think movement not muscle". They are both hinge movements, albeit of different types. They're also pretty radically different in terms of system/quality being employed.
 

smathews

New member
Like you say, they are different lifts. I did HS swings for years, but only do them occassionally now that my focus is gs. We know that HS swings are a great way to raise your heart rate rapidly and get a lot of work done. GS swings have a different focus. I'll explain how the technique and emphasis of GS swings is different.

First, GS swings are done with the finger lock grip (like making an OK sign with your thumb and index finger). This is done to simulate the grip used for the snatch. Grip endurance in this position is a priority, so GS athletes tend to work for time- a couple minutes on one hand, then the other.

Second, unlike the HS swing, the GS swing is not a hip hinge. In an HS swing, the bell is propelled more forward because of the aggressive hip thrust, and the arc is tamed by the straightening of the torso to an upright spine position. The GS swing is not a hip hinge, but a squat. Watch a GS athlete swing, and you will see the double knee dip. The first dip and straigtening of the legs, when the bell is behind you, is to dissipate the downward momentum of the kettlebell. As it swings forward, the knees bend again to give it some acceleration, and to attain the "power position": torso fairly vertical, knees bent, kettlebell hanging straight down as if you have deadlifted it. When the bell reaches this position, the knees are straightened, like a 1/4 squat, to accelerate the bell upward, rather than forward. Often the lifter will rotate the body, pulling the lifting side back to provide more drive and a more efficient path for the kettlebell. Finally, the arm is bent. The goal is to get the bell up, like in a snatch, rather than out.

What difference does it make physiologically? It is a more efficient lift, so yes, you can do more work when you get your technique down. You'll feel it more in your grip, throughout your back (because the time under tension is longer), and your quads. The GS swing will teach you to regulate your breathing for GS work or running.

At the risk of oversimplification, the HS swing works harder by creating more tension and accelerating the bell as fast as possible on both strokes of the swing. The GS swing works harder by doing more reps, more efficiently.
 

vegabros

New member
Thanks for the info guys. I thought of the GS swing as being a hip hinge movement but I guess I'm wrong.

So the gs swing is a natural progression to the gs snatch? Also, are there any good references for learning this technique. I found a video by Valery Fedorenko, but I'd like more in depth teaching.

Historically speaking, was the gs swing the classic old-school russian technique? I know hard-style was created in the early 21st century. I know kettlebells have been around for decades, but I've never seen how they trained back in the old days.
 

kbSagoo

New member
Great information Steve!

Like you say, they are different lifts. I did HS swings for years, but only do them occassionally now that my focus is gs. We know that HS swings are a great way to raise your heart rate rapidly and get a lot of work done. GS swings have a different focus. I'll explain how the technique and emphasis of GS swings is different.

First, GS swings are done with the finger lock grip (like making an OK sign with your thumb and index finger). This is done to simulate the grip used for the snatch. Grip endurance in this position is a priority, so GS athletes tend to work for time- a couple minutes on one hand, then the other.

Second, unlike the HS swing, the GS swing is not a hip hinge. In an HS swing, the bell is propelled more forward because of the aggressive hip thrust, and the arc is tamed by the straightening of the torso to an upright spine position. The GS swing is not a hip hinge, but a squat. Watch a GS athlete swing, and you will see the double knee dip. The first dip and straigtening of the legs, when the bell is behind you, is to dissipate the downward momentum of the kettlebell. As it swings forward, the knees bend again to give it some acceleration, and to attain the "power position": torso fairly vertical, knees bent, kettlebell hanging straight down as if you have deadlifted it. When the bell reaches this position, the knees are straightened, like a 1/4 squat, to accelerate the bell upward, rather than forward. Often the lifter will rotate the body, pulling the lifting side back to provide more drive and a more efficient path for the kettlebell. Finally, the arm is bent. The goal is to get the bell up, like in a snatch, rather than out.

What difference does it make physiologically? It is a more efficient lift, so yes, you can do more work when you get your technique down. You'll feel it more in your grip, throughout your back (because the time under tension is longer), and your quads. The GS swing will teach you to regulate your breathing for GS work or running.

At the risk of oversimplification, the HS swing works harder by creating more tension and accelerating the bell as fast as possible on both strokes of the swing. The GS swing works harder by doing more reps, more efficiently.
 

David C.

New member
They each have their benefits, it depends a lot on what you want out of kettlebell training, what else you do in your life, and what kind of training you enjoy. If you're interested in GS, find a GS coach to work with, the form is very subtle and specific.

One of the main differences that often gets overlooked is that in GS, the swing is very much an assistance exercise for the snatch, which is a competition lift. In HS, the snatch started out as the focus, but over time, with the evolution of the RKC method, the swing became a primary exercise, done for it's own sake. There are some RKCs who do a lot of snatching (there are also some who are MS in GS), but there also a good number that do little to none, except when getting ready to recert.

Which RKC's are MS in the snatch? I follow GS pretty closely, and this would be big news. Huge, actually. Who did these numbers? Thanks.
 

Perlenbacher

New member
If you include ex-RKCs, I think both Gregor Sobocan and Katherine Imes were RKC's in the past, but also that it was years before they made Master of Sports.
 

smathews

New member
Which RKC's are MS in the snatch? I follow GS pretty closely, and this would be big news. Huge, actually. Who did these numbers? Thanks.

Scott Tighe (I may be misspelling his name). He posts on this forum, and hit MS in biathlon not long ago. If I'm not mistaken, he's an RKC.
 

JasonL.Ac.

New member
Scott Tighe, and Jeff Martone were the two I was thinking of; I remember hearing about one other, but don't remember the name. Likewise, I think there may be a current RKC who has hit CMS numbers. I'd like to try out GS myself at some point, although my ambitions are not nearly that high.
 
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