Thursday, 24 April 2008

Powerlifting Vs. Bodybuilding

Many people start off in the gym and say they are training, weight lifting, getting fit, but how many of you want to progress further?

Quite a few I imagine yet I bet 90% have heard phrases such as "I am a power lifter" or "I am a body builder" yet do not know the difference between power lifting and bodybuilding.

It's interesting to note that if I was to take a powerlifter and a bodybuilder and we compared them you would notice quite a huge difference. The reason for this is because of how they train their bodies.

An example is that you could take a bodybuilder who is say 186 centimetres in height with a weight of 250lbs (113kg) against a powerlifter who is 180 centimetres in height with a weight of only 190lbs (86kgs) , the powerlifter will more than likely be able to lift more than the bodybuilder.

What is Powerlifting

Powerlifting is all about seeing how much weight you can lift with the more you can lift the better, this is determined by the one rep max (the total weight that a person can lift with one repetition). As a powerlifter is interested in the weight they can lift they are not bothered about their body size or the weight they are because this is not their goal.

To make huge strength gains powerlifters only carry out up to six reps on each exercise they do, the reason for this is that the muscle is fatigued and broken down without the blood flow in to it, this makes the body to change so it can be stronger and withstand the weight it is being asked to lift.

Powerlifting centres around three exercises, these are the deadlift, bench press and the squat. The reason these are the main exercises in powerlifting is because they are all compound exercises that use a combination of muscle groups and joints in the movement.

Brad Gillingham - Powerlifter

What is Bodybuilding

Bodybuilding is all about getting big and sculpting the body to look like an adonis, a bodybuilders goal is to be as big as possible and as defined as they possibly can. To become so big and defined a bodybuilder has to work over a long period of time and really watch what they eat. You would generally see a bodybuilder having a much lower body fat percentage than a powerlifter.

Bodybuilders work on lifting between eight and twelve repetitions for each exercise they carry out, this is because this is the optimum amount of repetitions for blood flow in to the muscle giving the nutrients the muscles need to grow.

Bodybuilding combines compound exercises with isolation exercises as the bodybuilder wants to be able to increase their strength while also being able to target certain muscles so they can sculpt their body how they want.

Ronnie Coleman - Bodybuilder


What you need to decide is which of these training styles interest you. Do you want to get big and look great on the beach or do you want to be like a super hero and lift a scary amount of weight?

The decision is up to you!


Vassiliki said...


I was just introduced to power lifting and really didn't know the difference. I have researched a little on the internet and now I know the difference. SO which should I choose? I am a 45 YO female weigh 107 pounds and height 5' 7". My goal is to gain 10 pounds in muscle mass. I usually lift weights and I do gain weight in muscle. Of course I want to tone up, especially the glutes. I have injured my elbow so I am weary of reinjuring it again. Power lifting is sounding appealing to me and will look into it further. Want do you suggest?

Vassiliki NJ

Mugshot said...

Hi Vassiliki,

If your looking to gain 10 pounds of muscle yet dont want to build huge bodybuilding muscles then go for powerlifting. You will find that powerlifting gives a great overall physique and will increase your strength dramatically without increasing the overall size of your muscles so much, you will see muscle gains in a matter of weeks though.

If your interested in Female powerlifters look in the interview section for an interview with Lisa Stokes - Australian powerlifter.