8 Differences Between Powerlifting VS Bodybuilding

At some period in your lifting career, you might decide to specialize in either powerlifting or bodybuilding training. therefore, it ’ south authoritative to understand precisely how these two styles of lifting disagree in order to maximize your educate efforts .

so, what is the remainder between powerlifting volt bodybuilding ? Powerlifting training aims to increase maximal strength, especially in movements such as the squat, bench press, and deadlift.  Bodybuilding training is less concerned with how much weight is lifted but aims to maximize muscle hypertrophy (growth) as much as possible.

As a result, everything from the exercise technique and programming is going to look a draw different. In this article, we ’ ll explore 8 differences between powerlifting and bodybuilding prepare .

Let ’ s get started !

  1. contest

Powerlifting and bodybuilding are both competitive sports .

The two largest governing bodies for each respective sports are the International Powerlifting Federation and International Bodybuilding Federation .

In powerlifting, you compete in the squat, bench press, and deadlift, with the goal of lifting as much weight as possible for 1 repetition. When you compete in powerlifting, you have 3 attempts to reach your soap capacitance. The winner is determined by adding up the heaviest squat, terrace urge, and deadlift undertake, which gives you what ’ second called the ‘ powerlifting total ’ .

In bodybuilding, you compete in different human body categories, such as bodybuilding, fitness, health, and bikini. Each of these categories has a different type off “ look ” that the judges will be basing their criteria on. Generally talk, the criterion is based on how much ‘ muscleman multitude ’ is acceptable and the types of posing routines that are required .

not everyone who enjoys powerlifting and bodybuilding training decides to compete. But, for those that do, it ’ mho significant to learn the specific standards of each activity as outlined in the frolic guidelines and rules .

  1. exercise choice

Both powerlifters and bodybuilders use weight unit train to increase brawn mass, potency, mobility/flexibility, and overall performance. however, the demand exercises within each train program will differ drastically .

In powerlifting, the three main exercises are the chunky, bench press, and deadlift. This means that any exercise that is programmed must have a address shock on improving these three movements. consequently, you ’ ll experience powerlifters implement respective variations, including :

  • Squat: Front jack, pause squat, tempo chunky
  • Bench Press: Incline workbench bid, narrow grip bench press, long hesitate bench compress
  • Deadlift: Deficit deadlifts, snatch bag deadlifts, rigid leg deadlifts

In bodybuilding, while many of these lapp powerlifting movements are programmed, there is much less of an vehemence on them. What you ’ ll see more prominently in bodybuilding program are respective isolation exercises that are targetted toward specific muscle groups, including :

  • Back: Seated row, wide-eyed grapple pulldowns
  • Shoulders: machine shoulder press, lateral dumbbell raises
  • Biceps: Dumbbell preacher curl, cable bicep curls
  • Triceps: Rope tricep pressdown, dumbbell skull crushers
  • Glutes: Barbell hip thrusts, gluteus kickbacks
  • Hamstrings: machine leg curl up, swiss ball leg coil

  1. proficiency

Both powerlifters and bodybuilders care a lot about implementing proper exercise proficiency .

This is because neither can risk an injury, which might potentially put them out of their fun for several weeks or months .

however, powerlifters use lifting proficiency that limits the range of apparent motion on exercises, whereas bodybuilders use lifting technique that increases the range of motion on exercises .

In powerlifting, the less range of motion that is used the less work that is required to move the slant from point A to B. As a resultant role, every angle of the drift is analyzed in order to reduce the range of motion so that more weight can be lifted. This is why you ’ ll see powerlifters arch their back in the judiciary crusade or use the sumo deadlifting proficiency .

For bodybuilders, the diametric is true .

They want to take an exercise through its full range of apparent motion in order to stress the muscle at different lengths. This will lead to greater muscleman damage producing greater hypertrophy adaptations ( muscle growth ) .

  1. Training Splits

The “ coach rip ” refers to how workouts are structured throughout the week .

In powerlifting, the education split is broken into each of the powerlifting movements, with the chief emphasis on having “ squat ” days, “ bench press ” days, and “ deadlift ” days .

This is much different than a bodybuilding disconnected, where the main emphasis is on breaking each exercise into 1-3 muscle groups .

here are two examples of a powerlifting vanadium bodybuilding training split using a 4-day exercise schedule :

exercise Powerlifting Training Split

Day 1: Squat Day + Deadlift Accessories

Day 2: Bench Day + Upper Back Accessories

Day 3: Deadlift Day + Squat Accessories

Day 4: Bench Day + Shoulder & Tricep Accessories

example Bodybuilding Training Split

Day 1: Lower Body Day ( Quads, Calves )

Day 2: Upper Body Day ( Chest, Triceps, Shoulders )

Day 3: Lower Body Day ( Glutes, Hamstrings )

Day 4: Upper Body Day ( Back, Biceps, Forearms )

  1. Rep Ranges

many people would broadly say that powerlifters use abject reps ( 1-5 ) and bodybuilders use high reps ( 6-15 ) .

This is because lower rep ranges produce forte adaptations and higher rep ranges produce hypertrophy adaptations .

however, this is not to say that powerlifters don ’ thymine benefit from building muscle or bodybuilders don ’ t profit from building force .

therefore, the real dispute is not necessarily what rep ranges are used, but quite, the ratio of clock time spent in each rep range .

For powerlifters, they will spend on average 3:1 in the lower rep range versus higher rep range .

For bodybuilders, they will spend on average 3:1 in the higher rep range versus lower rep range .

You can picture this comparable spend 3 months doing either broken or high reps depending on whether you ’ re a powerlifter or bodybuilder, and then spending 1 calendar month doing the reverse rep range .

  1. Loads

On average, powerlifters use heavier loads and bodybuilders use lighter loads .

This is a function of the rep ranges and the types of exercises used .

Since powerlifters on average use lower reps, they will use a higher share of their 1 rep soap ( 80-95 % ) .

On the early hand, since bodybuilders on average use higher reps, they will use a lower share of their 1 rep soap ( 65-80 % ) .

however, don ’ t confuse the educate lode with training feat. Just because powerlifters use a heavier load doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate mean they ’ ra working hard, and frailty versa for bodybuilders .

Based on the rep ranges used, powerlifters and bodybuilders are still trying to exert a educate campaign that ’ south relatively close to their maximum capability .

For example, a powerlifter squatting 90 % for 3 reps would be equally angstrom difficult as a bodybuilder squatting 75 % for 12 reps .

Yes, the loads are different, but because the rep ranges are besides different, the prepare efforts are still equally a high .

  1. Rest Intervals

The lie intervals refer to the clock spent in between sets .

When you ’ re lifting a load that ’ s a higher share of your 1 rep soap, you broadly need more pillow in order to recover before attempting your future fructify. The inverse is true when you ’ re lifting a lower percentage of your 1 rep soap. Lower system of weights equals less rest .

consequently, powerlifters will typically take between 3-7 minutes of rest between sets, while bodybuilders take between 1-3 minutes .

As such, it ’ s not rare to see powerlifters take 1-hour to do 10 sets of judiciary compress, whereas bodybuilders would have already finished 3-4 exercises in that same fourth dimension period .

  1. convalescence

recovery is an crucial expression for both powerlifters and bodybuilders .

For powerlifters, it ’ sulfur critical to strategically plan the frequency of their soap lifts. It wouldn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate be appropriate to max out every workout week-after-week. This would surely lead to over-training, burn-out, and increase the hazard of joint and tendon injury .

For bodybuilders, it ’ south crucial not to do excessively much volume, excessively fast. This could create muscle discomfort last in excessive of 48 hours. If that ’ s the case, then any future workouts will likely take a strike because you can ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate train as difficult with sore muscles .

other ways powerlifters and bodybuilders enforce convalescence protocols are :

  • Engaging in low-stress activities outside the gym: walk, meditation, or being social with friends .
  • Planning a de-load phase of training: 1-2 weeks of training with lower levels of book and/or intensity .
  • Using Electric Muscle Stimulation (EMS): a joyride like PowerDot to increase rake stream and circulation, which wards off inflammation.

Final Thoughts

While powerlifting and bodybuilding both use weight education principles, their end goals are unlike. Powerlifters aim to increase their 1 rep soap in the jack, bench imperativeness and deadlift. Bodybuilders aim to increase muscleman mass and brawny isotropy. As a leave, everything from their exercise technique to programming will differ .

About The author

Avi Silverberg holds a Maser ’ mho of Science Degree in Exercise Science with a research focus on powerlifting trail. He ’ mho been the Head Coach for Team Canada Powerlifting since 2012. As an athlete, his claim to fame was constantly his bench wardrobe, competing at the World Bench Press Championships on three occasions and winning a bronze decoration in 2010 .

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