Powerlifting and Bodybuilding: Difference and Similarities


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Powerlifting and bodybuilding are the difference and similarities. The debate on powerlifting against bodybuilding has been going on for a long time. Although at first glance, bodybuilding and powerlifting may seem very similar, given that they are associated with dragging heavy iron bodies, often using seemingly similar methods for an inexperienced look, they are in fact much more different from each other. These are two completely different disciplines on purpose, impact, methodology, and so on.



Bodybuilding and Powerlifting Difference and Similarities

So we are going to pay attention to what is different about powerlifting from bodybuilding.

The goal is strength or muscle


Powerlifter Jeff Long


First, two completely different goals.

The goal of bodybuilding – the name speaks for itself, what it is. This means that bodybuilding focuses on your body, appearance (physique), for the development of muscles along with a beautiful appearance from an aesthetic point of view. That is, the main task of bodybuilding is fat burning or getting rid of cellulite, muscle pumping (building muscle mass) or preparing for competitions. For this purpose, equipment such as power simulators such as “Hammer” and dumbbells work wonders.


Bodybuilder and actor Dwayne Johnson


However, powerlifting serves a completely different purpose. Those who are engaged in powerlifting are more focused on developing their strength as much as possible, it is focused on a harsh, hard power to the exclusion of any physical or aesthetic consequences. Powerlifting is almost aimed at making you stronger as much as possible with your original data.

Speed ​​training – slow or fast


Fast training


At first glance, the difference between the speed at which training is carried out is fairly obvious. Olympic weightlifting, that is, bodybuilding, implies that approaches and repetitions are performed in quick succession (immediately after each other), while in powerlifting exercises are more stretched and run at a slower pace in order to create maximum tension and hold him.

As a result of this time difference between each subsequent repetition, bodybuilding, as a rule, allows more misfires. When powerlifting, you usually have more time to perform presses or pulls as follows.

Repetitions – the right pace


Bodybuilder while pumping bicepc


The method of performing repetitions makes a great contribution to the development of body and strength. If you want to build a large body, strong pectoral muscles, then you must perform many repetitions, ranging from 1 to 15. In addition, these repetitions must be of different nature, for example, you can make 3 sets of 8 repetitions or 5 approaches of 12 repetitions, etc. This option will help you keep your mode interesting and challenging at the same time.

However, if you are a powerlifter and you are trying to increase strength, then you must limit your range of repetitions from 1 to 5. You can increase the number of approaches, and based on the weights used, from 1 to 10 approaches even, but you should never exceed 5 repetitions in exercise. In fact, if you limit your range of repetitions even more, only 3 to 5 repetitions in each approach, this would be ideal.

Weight – heavy or light


Strong man, bodybuilder exercising with dumbbells in a gym


This is the main difference between bodybuilding and powerlifting.

Bodybuilding is a more dynamic exercise, as, perhaps, the most dynamic range of repetitions is represented. However, even when it comes to lifting weights, bodybuilding depends on a number of criteria. In this connection, during the competition judges do not make big bets on how much weight you can raise. In bodybuilding, you can achieve the desired results using a high number of repetitions, greater tension, etc., and even light weights can work wonders.

However, in powerlifting there is only one single final phase of the fight, how much weight you can raise as a result, in connection with which the powerlifters are unlikely to see the lifting of light weights.

Grip – types and the width between the hands


Types of the grip


If you want to pump up the muscles of the chest, then you should make the bench an average grip, because if you take too wide a grip – this will cause undesirable additional stress to the joints of the shoulders, and if too narrow will ensure the emphasis of the triceps exercise more than on the nurses.

However, for powerlifting, I work other rules. In this case, your goal is to develop strength and since the stroke of the bar (amplitude) should go as short as possible, how much less, as much as possible, which can be achieved only with a wider grip (the maximum possible). Your hands should be as far as possible from each other on the neck, with a larger arc, so that the bar passes a shorter path from the lowest to the highest point.

Rest – recovery time


bodybuilding or powerlifting
Rest after hard training


This goes in parallel with the intensity of repetition, which we have already disassembled. To build your body, resting time between approaches of about 1 to 3 minutes should be enough to give you enough time to restore and maintain strength.

However, if your goal is to develop strength with heavy presses and pulls, then you need to wait for 3 minutes between approaches, and between the heaviest approaches, you can rest even for about 10 minutes or so.

Difference between bodybuilding and powerlifting

The main difference between these types of athleticism in the goal of classes: if bodybuilding is designed for those who strive for body beauty that can be demonstrated at numerous competitions, then powerlifters set the task to develop as much muscle strength as possible and to show exactly that. Actually, the remaining differences between these types of power sports are due to ways to achieve the main goal.

The bodybuilder is training to gain mass, to distribute it beautifully throughout the body, and then arrange for “drying” in order to remove some excess and achieve the standard. The powerlifter directs all his efforts to get maximum strength.

Bodybuilding Competitions

Given that bodybuilding and powerlifting have completely different goals, their training program is also different. So, for powerlifting it’s enough to do 2 times a week for 1-1.5 hours, performing 3-4 exercises for 1-3 approaches. To achieve a result, a bodybuilder needs to do 3-5 days a week for 2-3 hours, performing 8-10 exercises for 3-5 approaches.

The exercises themselves in these sports are also different. If powerlifting includes a bench press, squats, deadlift, then the bodybuilder will choose exercises depending on which muscle groups need to be “corrected” and which ones just need to be maintained in order.

As for nutrition, it is the same for both. But still, bodybuilders treat him more reverently: their daily diet is always balanced, includes 5-6 meals, and calories are strictly calculated. Powerlifters do not “bother” and just try to lead a healthy lifestyle and eat healthy, high-protein foods.

Powerlifting Competitions

They also have a different attitude to “drying”: powerlifters do not dry at all, because this will reduce their strength, but bodybuilders regularly engage in dumping surplus, grinding their body to participate in competitions.

Speaking of competitions. In both sports they are held quite often, and it is extremely easy to distinguish where powerlifters and bodybuilders are. Before you is a pile of muscles, glossy with oil and striking an even tan, as well as almost invisible thongs? Here is a bodybuilder. The same pile, but sweaty and hidden under a special bench shirt (its special seams can increase the lifted weight by almost 15 kg)? This is a powerlifter.

See also: Effective split training

This of course is only some of the most notable differences between bodybuilding and powerlifting. Nevertheless, we would like to hear your opinion. Let us know whether you agree with this list, or some other differences come to mind, or if you have advice that you could share about any of the listed in the article – make a comment at the bottom. In addition, now that you know what are the differences between powerlifting and bodybuilding, you can set your own goals and start working for it!