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Crossfit Vs Kettlebells – Which Workout is Safer?

When kettlebells were introduced to fitness enthusiasts, all of them were Russian style. With time, kettlebell sports evolved into various styles. Crossfit workouts involve various kettlebell drills, including a unique form of the kettlebell swing.


Kettlebells were first used in Russia to weigh goods. With time, people began to do various exercises such as cleans, snatches, jerks and presses using kettlebells. Their widespread adoption can be traced back to the late 1990s. A book explaining their use was even published thereafter.


Crossfit exercises can be traced back to the mid 1990s. They involve brief, high-intensity workouts using exercises such as sprinting, gymnastics and weightlifting. The objective is to improve endurance, speed, agility, power, balance and flexibility. Kettlebells are just one of the many workout equipment that’s used in Crossfit exercises. A typical daily Crossfit workout may be comprised of jumping rope, sit-ups, a number of kettlebell swings, and other exercises as well.

Training Differences

The main difference between kettlebells and Crossfit is in the swing. The first begins by swinging the kettlebell back between one’s legs, then using a rapid hip movement to bring it up to chest level. This forms the foundation for most movements in the conventional kettlebell system. The more contemporary Crossfit swing involves lifting the kettlebell up to the highest point, leading to a larger arc. It uses more shoulder and arm length as opposed to relying on thrust from the hips. ¬†Shari from Iron Clad Fitness is our Denver Kettlebell go-to personal trainer for workouts almost strictly formed to kettlebells.

Exercise Considerations

Conventional kettlebell enthusiasts at times question whether the Crossfit swing is safe. It’s important to note that kettlebells were designed for use with one hand. The narrow hand position and wide stance adopted in Crossfit workouts makes it hard to have sufficient mobility in the overhead swing. This makes one vulnerable to damaging their AC joint and forcing one to overextend their back while not actually working on hinge movement. Doing the swing using two hands ensures that one can maintain a good form. This means that one does the same amount of work while saving their body from injury in future.

Conventional kettlebell training has exercises that involve whole-body movement. From a fitness perspective, this is better than machines that isolate muscles because it improves body composition, strength and muscle tone. The traditional kettlebell exercises can also aid in weight loss, building muscle and maintaining fitness level. One also doesn’t need to pay for gym membership, since all one needs is a single kettlebell. The equipment is relatively affordable and almost indestructible.