Do Powerlifters Ever Convert to Bodybuilding? Any Downsides to Powerlifting First?

ucimigrate

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Hi Everyone,

I am getting back into the gym.

1. I have done Mark Rippetoe's Starting Strength. It seems to actually work quite well.

2. Last week, I tried to cut back on calories, etc. because I am so fat and out of shape. But, as Rippetoe said, I did not keep gaining the spectacular strength gains that usually people see, even from session to session.

3. I guess I will need to go back to doing the workouts, and eating 3000 - 4000 calories per day. But, if I am already fat, I worry about what will happen.

4. Even though I will never be something like a powerlifter, with their 400 lb bench presses and 600 lb squats, I wonder what they do after they have reached their goals?

Can they ever slim down again?

Can they ever turn into bodybuilders, with chiseled physiques?
 
Resolve10

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I mean I can't think of direct examples, but loads of the top natural bodybuilders dabble back and forth in the sports. I am going to just answer your bold questions first, yes they can slim down (again?) and they don't have to get huge and put on tons of fat in the first place. They can turn into bodybuilders if they want to, that is just a matter of diet and duration.

Maybe @Sean1332 can comment, I don't think he has done an actual bodybuilding contest, but he has been highly successful in powerlifting and he has gotten shredded too (looking really shredded right now actually if you follow his log).

Obviously going on a cut is going to make it tougher to gain strength compared to when you are in a surplus (for a variety of reasons), but the actual loss of strength is overstated IMO and proper management of recovery and mindset can usually solve this. Unless you are the tail end of a cut or already pretty lean you shouldn't see much of a hit.

I am wary to say too much since I don't want to get you going in the wrong direction, just keep at it man. It is probably in your head anyways, it may feel tough, but you can do well pushing the weights as you cut for now, don't overthink it.
 
Ptlhains

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Do both. Condition yourself a couple of workouts a week. You don’t need to become a bodybuilder to lose body fat by any means.
 

Norse12

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Observing from my own gym, which sponsor several international athletes in weightlifting, strongman, powerlifting and bodybuilding, it looks like the biggest guys (open weight class) stay in their sport but guys in limited weight class can mix it up.
We have one guy, 82kg bodyweight, won the regional strongman (as in, all the countries in the region) and he's pretty lean all year round and could easily compete in bodybuilding.
I've never seen the 140kg strongmen in my gym even think about leaning out to compete in bodybuilding.
I guess it also depends on whether you mean to an international competitive level, or if you mean if a powerlifter can lean out enough to get a ripped beach look - of course you can.
 
Sean1332

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I mean I can't think of direct examples, but loads of the top natural bodybuilders dabble back and forth in the sports. I am going to just answer your bold questions first, yes they can slim down (again?) and they don't have to get huge and put on tons of fat in the first place. They can turn into bodybuilders if they want to, that is just a matter of diet and duration.

Maybe @Sean1332 can comment, I don't think he has done an actual bodybuilding contest, but he has been highly successful in powerlifting and he has gotten shredded too (looking really shredded right now actually if you follow his log).

Obviously going on a cut is going to make it tougher to gain strength compared to when you are in a surplus (for a variety of reasons), but the actual loss of strength is overstated IMO and proper management of recovery and mindset can usually solve this. Unless you are the tail end of a cut or already pretty lean you shouldn't see much of a hit.

I am wary to say too much since I don't want to get you going in the wrong direction, just keep at it man. It is probably in your head anyways, it may feel tough, but you can do well pushing the weights as you cut for now, don't overthink it.
I agree with what Resolve has said here, especially in saying that the strength loss is overrated. Don't worry about your strength loss. Yes, you'll have an initial period in which workouts suck and you may not be as strong but strength can still be maintained near your best. If you're new to focusing on strength training, you could possibly still build it.

There's tons of big powerlifters that have lost weight are now shredded and there's tons of top level powerlifters that ARE shredded. Ben Pollack, who is shredded year round, just won a bodybuilding show and deadlifted 725x7 for a rep PR 36 hours before he got on stage.

I also don't want to steer you in the wrong direction either. You just need to be consistent in whatever path you choose. Inconsistency yields no results.
 
big_jewels

big_jewels

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Arnold Schwarzenegger, Franco Columbo, Ronnie Coleman, Stan Efferding .. the list goes on. The only problem I would see is some people genetically are prone to having their abs grow a ton and then have a blocky midsection from using heavy weights like in powerlifitng taking away obviously from the aesthetic of the coveted V-Taper. Another is some power lifters allow for excessive body fat, which I've seen and could stretch out the skin around the stomach and then again, when dieting down they have the loose skin hampering the aesthetics. But otherwise, in my experience, most have an easy transition =)
 
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ucimigrate

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Thanks.

As for the comment about Mark Bell, isn't he in "Bigger, Stronger, Faster"?

I myself grew up in Huntington Beach. In fact, that Christian Boeving segment was filmed at the beach of my location.
 

ucimigrate

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Thanks.

As for the comment about Mark Bell, isn't he in "Bigger, Stronger, Faster"?

I myself grew up in Huntington Beach. In fact, that Christian Boeving segment was filmed at the beach of my location.
 

BBiceps

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Arnold Schwarzenegger, Franco Columbo, Ronnie Coleman, Stan Efferding .. the list goes on.
Came to say this^

I like Larry Wheels, he competed in powerlifting, strongman and bodybuilding. He’s a good example of that you can be insanely strong and still have abs.
 
SkRaw85

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Thanks.

As for the comment about Mark Bell, isn't he in "Bigger, Stronger, Faster"?

I myself grew up in Huntington Beach. In fact, that Christian Boeving segment was filmed at the beach of my location.
His brother, Chris Bell did that film. Mark has a nice gym in Sacramento I wanna say?
 

SweetLou321

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Matt Kroc, Ben Pollock, Mark Bell, Stan Efferding, Eric Helms, Layne Norton, Jonnie Jackson, Ronnie Coleman, Josh Bryant, Mike Isreatel, I can keep naming them.

Its all diet and training related. You can add strength in a deficit, esp after a lay off. I am have been training for 13 years and competed in powerlifting for 7-8 of those and even now I gain strength most of the time while cutting, even when cutting on 1900 cals slightly dying inside. Its all in your head. Manage your fatigue and recovery and pick smart progression models and move the needle forward when you can, may not be every week but even eow is great progress.
 
Hyde

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I think, as mentioned, if someone was attempting to be the best competitive X they can be, they should focus on that first primarily.

Bodybuilding you want to minimize core growth, & powerlifting/strongman/weightlifting you want to minimize any muscle development that isn’t sport-specific when dealing with weightclasses. This is if trying to be the absolute best you can be. If you spend time bodybuilding early on, it is going to be even harder to set a 148lb weightclass ATWR. And guys who spend a decade moving huge weights never have small midsections like when they were a beginner.

That being said, many succeed despite that - it’s not all or nothing. You just might find yourself in a higher weightclass at the end of your career from some extra muscle - but who was ever ashamed of some extra muscle??

Tons of great examples of successful multi-sport athletes. Most of that best in the world crap doesn’t apply to most, so just do what gets you excited to keep going!
 

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