• Powerlifting Vs Bodybuilding



      By Carlon Colker, M.D. Flex

      If building muscle were a simple as pushing or pulling the heaviest weight possible, bodybuilding would be easy. Since that’s basically all powerlifters do, they’d have the most exquisite physiques on earth. But the fact is, they don’t. Most powerlifters are clinically obese (with no muscle definition), perpetually injured, and, astonishingly, only marginally developed by bodybuilding standards. It’s an important subject for my readers to explore because, due to some degree of real strength-to-size correlation, so many of us get drawn by the lure of low repetitions with heavy weights.

      Some experts claim that the diference between bodybuilders and powerlifters centers on the bodybuilder’s desire to “feel” the movement in order to achieve a pump, and thus maximize muscle stimulation. In sharp contrast, the powerlifting goal is to simply lift the maximum amount of pound- age regardless of the form. The idea is to “incorporate” as many muscle groups as pos- sible in order to maximize the poundage moved, as opposed to isolating and hyperstimulating a particular muscle.

      Another aspect—beyond style and execution of form— to consider is the actual diference in training. Bodybuilders train with considerably more volume. In other words, even though a powerlifter may lift more poundage in a single lift during a particular training session, the bodybuilder moves expo- nentially more total poundage. Also, powerlifters take far more rest between sets compared to bodybuilders.

      So again, strength is important, but it’s all about how you define it. You can’t expect the muscles to grow without getting stronger. To help you compare and contrast the substantive training diferences between bodybuilding and power training to understand the dramatic diference in physique development, check out the table below.



      By the way, before all those annoyed e-mails, blog posts, and letters come in from staunch powerlifters, please be advised that I know all too well that the sample routine I posted for power training is not what a typical powerlifter might do preparing for a meet. Rather, it’s reflective of the kind of number-chasing routine one might typically fall into when ego trumps sense.

      When I see guys overreaching on the weights with less-than- impressive muscular development to show for it, I remember the words of the long-since-passed Muscle Beach pundit Dan Duchaine. Eccentric but brilliant in his own way, he used to say, “If you want to impress me, build a 20-inch arm with a 20-pound dumbbell.” He was so right. But it took me quite a while to figure it out. In fact, it took me 20 years, to be exact. I pray it takes you less. - FLEX

      Source: http://www.flexonline.com/training/b...s-powerlifters
      Comments 57 Comments
      1. Jiigzz's Avatar
        Jiigzz -
        This is one of the worst articles I have ever read. "Most powerlifters are clinically obese (with no muscle definition)"; they may not have "muscle definition" but they are by no means not muscular. Google Dave Tate and tell me he's not muscular.

        Poor article is poor
      1. Nihsnek's Avatar
        Nihsnek -
        Completely ignorant article. I would rather be strong with a little of fat than weak and tiny.

        Strength is the building block of athleticism.
      1. Nihsnek's Avatar
        Nihsnek -
        The douche who wrote this needs to spend more time under a barbell rather than reading some ****ing textbook.
      1. 12345's Avatar
        12345 -
        The fact that this "author's" sample powerlifting routine was a typical, gradual progressive-overload routine, clearly shows he knows next to nothing about how to achieve maximal strength & speed.
        The best powerlifter's in the world train maximal strength, maximal speed, conditioning, restoration & technique.
        Of course, there are amateur & professional powerlifters who don't know how to train, just like there are amateur & professional bodybuilders who don't know what they're doing either. This "author" is generalizing everybody which is just ignorant.
        Great powerlifters may lift maximally 4-6~ times each week, which not only takes an immense physical toll on someone, but an even greater mental & emotional toll, as well. The ability to recover between sets, exercises & workouts like this requires excellent conditioning.

        Bottom line: powerlifting & bodybuilding = apples & oranges.
      1. fueledpassion's Avatar
        fueledpassion -
        Originally Posted by 12345 View Post
        The fact that this "author's" sample powerlifting routine was a typical, gradual progressive-overload routine, clearly shows he knows next to nothing about how to achieve maximal strength & speed.
        The best powerlifter's in the world train maximal strength, maximal speed, conditioning, restoration & technique.
        Of course, there are amateur & professional powerlifters who don't know how to train, just like there are amateur & professional bodybuilders who don't know what they're doing either. This "author" is generalizing everybody which is just ignorant.
        Great powerlifters may lift maximally 4-6~ times each week, which not only takes an immense physical toll on someone, but an even greater mental & emotional toll, as well. The ability to recover between sets, exercises & workouts like this requires excellent conditioning.

        Bottom line: powerlifting & bodybuilding = apples & oranges.
        Agreed.

        On a slightly different note, anyone care to mention a few powerlifting programs I could consider after my cycle? I've never done one and would like to do it for 6-8 weeks...
      1. smoker145's Avatar
        smoker145 -
        5/3/1
      1. napalm's Avatar
        napalm -
        Originally Posted by fueledpassion View Post
        Agreed. On a slightly different note, anyone care to mention a few powerlifting programs I could consider after my cycle? I've never done one and would like to do it for 6-8 weeks...
        You could give 531 a try, but ideally you'd want to run it more than 6-8 weeks since it's based on 4 week cycles. If you want to run it for 12 weeks, it'd put 30 lbs on the big three and your military press.

        If you need any more info, shoot me a pm and I'll hook you up.

        I'm so deep into 531 I have an excel file that plans my whole year out for me...
      1. fueledpassion's Avatar
        fueledpassion -
        Originally Posted by napalm View Post

        You could give 531 a try, but ideally you'd want to run it more than 6-8 weeks since it's based on 4 week cycles. If you want to run it for 12 weeks, it'd put 30 lbs on the big three and your military press.

        If you need any more info, shoot me a pm and I'll hook you up.

        I'm so deep into 531 I have an excel file that plans my whole year out for me...
        See thats what I need man. If I could come out of that program 30lbs stronger on squats and bench I could add some major mass to my frame once starting bodybuilding style back up...
      1. rob112's Avatar
        rob112 -
        You could do 5/3/1 on the main lifts and do bodybuilding assistance work. It is a versatile program geared overall at strength.
      1. CincyKiller45's Avatar
        CincyKiller45 -
        If you do it, run a log. I'd be very interested in how you respond/like it.
      1. napalm's Avatar
        napalm -
        Originally Posted by fueledpassion View Post
        See thats what I need man. If I could come out of that program 30lbs stronger on squats and bench I could add some major mass to my frame once starting bodybuilding style back up...
        I think it'd be a great idea. Are you doing any contests in the near future?

        A 12-16 week run on 531 along with eating your brains out, followed by however you contest prep would be a great log...
      1. fueledpassion's Avatar
        fueledpassion -
        Originally Posted by napalm View Post

        I think it'd be a great idea. Are you doing any contests in the near future?

        A 12-16 week run on 531 along with eating your brains out, followed by however you contest prep would be a great log...
        Well I'd planned on doin a few contests next summer/fall...

        Maybe 3 contests total. Still need to gain bout 20lbs of mass before I cut down for a show..
      1. napalm's Avatar
        napalm -
        Originally Posted by fueledpassion View Post
        Well I'd planned on doin a few contests next summer/fall... Maybe 3 contests total. Still need to gain bout 20lbs of mass before I cut down for a show..
        How long is your normal contest prep?
      1. fueledpassion's Avatar
        fueledpassion -
        I think I'll give myself 14 weeks. That leaves me about 5-6 months to figure out 20lbs of mass.
      1. napalm's Avatar
        napalm -
        Originally Posted by fueledpassion View Post
        I think I'll give myself 14 weeks. That leaves me about 5-6 months to figure out 20lbs of mass.
        1st, in that timeframe, 531 would put 50-60 lbs on your big lifts. Caveat: you have to do the bulk of the program as written. The beauty of it is you can tailor your assistance pretty much any way you want.

        2nd, With a caloric surplus, IMO 20 lbs is easily achievable.

        Just let me know if you want to know the nuts and bolts...
      1. 12345's Avatar
        12345 -
        It's commonly thought that there are two methods of training: structural training and functional training. And once one's training becomes too much of one, then there is benefit and progress to be made by implementing the other.
        Structural training is training that affects one's frame and build - structure. Functional training has to do with performance.
        For example, a bodybuilder whose leg development has diminished or plateaued will surely benefit from more functional training for awhile. So, if said bodybuilder were to increase his 1-rep max in the Squat from 500 to 700lbs, then it's reasonable to assume that his leg size would increase as a result.
        There is no absolute best way to train, but rather to vacillate between functional and structural training or to combine both types in single cycles.
        Personally, I believe the Westside Barbell methods of training are superior to others as they incorporate the Maximal Effort method, the Dynamic Effort method, Repetition Failure method, restoration training, plyometrics and general and specific conditioning training. This eliminates the need to constantly find a new set&rep scheme to avoid accommodation. It's actually a rather complicated system to employ correctly and to its fullest potential, but when done, I believe it offers the best way to achieve specific, continuous gains in size and strength.
      1. CountryLiftin's Avatar
        CountryLiftin -
        fueledpassion, I agree 531 will be good for you. Get on it. Feel free to step into my log if you want to know more, or one of the other guys.

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