Saturday, 23 August 2008

Weight Training Strength Comparisons

This may seem like comparing the strength of different weight training athletes but this is actually about comparing the weight training strength comparisons of different weight training sports.


Bodybuilding is a sport where the idea is to sculpt the body to make it as muscular and symmetrical as possible while keeping the body fat levels as low as possible.

Bodybuilding encompasses many isolation movements and does not exploit the true strength of an individual thus means that pound for pound a bodybuilder is generally not as strong as a powerlifter or Olympic lifter.

Olympic Lifter

Olympic lifters are very strong and use specific lifting movements/exercises called the "snatch" and "clean and jerk" both of these are compound exercises and involve lifting a weight in a specific movement from the floor to above the head. Once the weight is lifted the Olympic lifter will let the weight drop to the floor moving out of the way to ensure they are not hit by the falling weight.

Olympic lifters are clearly very strong, much stronger than their bodybuilding counterparts but are arguably not as strong as powerlifters.

Strong Man

Strong man encompasses many different rounds of competitive lifting from carrying a 170kg (374lb) shield as far as possible to lifting concrete balls up to 160 kg in weight and putting them on podiums at about shoulder height.

Strongman is a competition where brute strength is important, but more important it is a strength athletes sport where it is not just about lifting a heavy weight but also the amount of time involved with keeping the weight off the ground.


Powerlifters are arguably the strongest of all weight lifters, especially powerlifters that lift weights raw (without support). What sets powerlifters apart from Olympic lifts is that they don't just lift in one direction. What sets powerlifters apart from strongman competitors is the shear explosive power used in lifting a weight in a specific move.

Powerlifters lift in three different compound exercises, the bench press, deadlift and squat.

Powerlifters are generally seen as stronger than any of their other weight lifting counterparts for one reason only, this reason is that powerlifters not only have to lift the weight to a specific position the same as an Olympic lifter, they also have to use eccentric contraction to return the weight to its initial starting point adding extra stress and required strength to do so.


It may be an argument that many will contest but out of all weight lifting sports if we use weight training strength comparisons then powerlifters are the strongest of all the sports.

Strongmen are clearly the most athletic but there is no other weight lifting sport where a person can deadlift over 1000 lbs off the floor with a barbell (the strongman version lifting 1100 lbs does not count as its lifted over a shorter distance).

What are your thoughts, do you agree with my claims?