To the novice, powerlifting and bodybuilding might seem very similar if not the same. You eat a lot of food, workout hard, and sometimes do the exact same exercises. But that is pretty much it for similarities. Powerlifting and bodybuilding are two completely different endeavors. That would be like saying football and rugby are the same.
So why would you pick powerlifting over bodybuilding? It really depends on what your personal goals in life are. Powerlifting is about training to maximize your strength. Specifically you use the squat, bench press, and deadlift as a way to measure your strength gains. But many power lifters also do other ‘strongman’ type lifts to gauge their overall level of strength.
Bodybuilders, on the other hand, are looking to create a specific look with their body that involves developing muscles, body shape, and tone, along with reduced fat to showcase the fitness level of the physique. While many bodybuilders do build strength comparable to a power lifter, it is not quite the same. Nor do lifters focus on the body in quite the same was as a body builder does – in general.
After a period many bodybuilders realize that strength gains begin to stagnate. We develop a lot of methods and techniques to keep working our muscles harder and encouraging growth. But actual measurable strength gains plateau. A lot of this is a function of how bodybuilders train.
Powerlifting is a different mentality and employs different mechanics to training. Additionally goals are easily measured based on weights lifted rather than using a scale or mirror. Plus the strength gained is functional. Sure, bodybuilders are strong, but in some cases it isn’t functional or useful muscle. Let’s face it, if you had to move would you want a couple of power lifters helping you or bodybuilders?
For the Average Guy
A lot of guys want to be strong and have a decent physique. As we get older, we typically have less time to focus on our bodies. Plus as we end up married with kids, the ego aspect of looking great fades to ‘staying in shape’. While a power lifter still lifts hard, there isn’t the same level of work put in because of fewer restrictions on diet and cardio.
Ideally the average guy wants to look fit and healthy with his shirt on or off. Being able to lift heavy things is handy. But we don’t all need to be ripped to shreds with ridiculously freaky muscles. That is why powerlifting can be a good choice for a lot of people. There is also a bit more comradery in the sport. You often need a workout partner and since it is a smaller group of focused people there is more of a club feel to power lifters compared to bodybuilders.
Power lifting isn’t for everyone, but honestly neither is bodybuilding. Plenty of people have gotten frustrated with a lack of gains and just stopped working out. If you are feeling that way then maybe it is time to branch out and give power lifting a try. You might be surprised at how much you enjoy it as well as the benefits it can provide.