When it comes to building strength at the gym, it’s easy to assume that all weightlifting is the same. After all, you just have to lift heavy objects. Well, it’s not that simple. Take bodybuilding and powerlifting, for example. At a first glance, they look the same. Bodybuilders and powerlifters usually use almost the same equipment. However, these two popular resistance and strength training forms are quite different.
But what’s the difference between bodybuilding and powerlifting? Whether you’re wondering which one is right for you or just curious about the differences between these two, read on to find out everything you need to know.
What is bodybuilding?
Everyone has seen a bodybuilding competition, even if just in movies. There, contestants perform poses to show all their muscles, and then they’re evaluated by a jury based on size, definition and aesthetic.
To achieve this, they lift heavy, concentrating on building muscle mass and definition. The goal is to have muscles as big and symmetrical as possible, using several training techniques: high-rep sets, isolation exercises, drop sets or supersets. They also typically follow a strict diet, high in protein and low in fat, since they strive for a low body fat percentage that enhances muscle definition.
What is powerlifting?
Powerlifters also have a competition, but it’s fundamentally different from bodybuilders: it involves each lifter attempting to lift the heaviest weight possible. The final score is determined by the total weight lifted in three different lifts: squat, bench press, and deadlift.
So, this type of resistance training is more focused on building strength and power. To achieve this, powerlifters use lower-rep sets and compound exercises to build strength and power. Powerlifters follow a diet high in protein and calories to support muscle growth and strength gains.
So, what’s the difference between bodybuilding and powerlifting?
While both involve lifting weights, the two disciplines are quite different in terms of goals, techniques, diet and even physical appearance.
Bodybuilding emphasizes muscle mass and definition development, with a strong focus on achieving an aesthetic physique. On the other hand, powerlifting builds strength and power in the squat, bench press, and deadlift. Typically, bodybuilders show a more defined and muscular appearance, whereas powerlifters exhibit a bulkier and more powerful appearance. However, these are generalizations — there is a considerable amount of variation within each discipline.
So which one is right for you?
Well, it all depends on your goals and preferences. If you’re interested in building muscle mass and definition and want to focus on aesthetics, then bodybuilding may be the way to go. If you’re more interested in building strength and power and want to focus on the three main lifts, then powerlifting may be a better fit. Ultimately, you can incorporate elements of both into your training routine if that’s what you’re into.
In conclusion, while bodybuilding and powerlifting may seem similar at first glance, they’re actually quite different in terms of goals, techniques, diet and physical appearance.