GYMCADDY™ Explains Bodybuilding vs Powerlifting

We've mentioned before that the GYMCADDY™ team is made up of multiple Bodybuilders, Powerlifters, and Crossfitters. Usually new gym goers ask themselves if they should bodybuilder or powerlift. Some people don't know what the difference is between the two. Luckily the GYMCADDY™ team is here to explain the difference between Bodybuilding and Powerlifting. As always remember to pick up your GYMCADDY™ HERE.

Bodybuilding vs Powerlifting  

Bodybuilders and Powerlifters both have distinct end goals they are trying to meet. A Bodybuilder's end goal is to become as ascetic as possible. They are laser focused on having a great looking physique, and a low body fat percentage. A Powerlifter on the other hand is laser focused on being as strong as possible. Powerlifters will focus primarily on 3 important lifts; the benchpress, squat, and deadlift. 

So Whats The Difference in Each Training Style?

Bodybuilding and Powerlifting training regiments are vastly different. A bodybuilding program will call for high repetitions for each set to increase overall volume. It also promotes targeting the same muscle with various angles. For example, a portion of a chest bodybuilding workout might look as followed:

Flat Benchpress 3 Sets of 10

Incline Benchpress 3 sets of 10 

Dips 3 sets of 10 

Machine Chest Fly 3 sets of 10 

As you can see a bodybuilding program will attack the same muscle group from various angles back to back. You will also notice that the number of reps here total 120. This is the high volume Bodybuilders aim for when they are designing their workout plans. The high volume will promote muscle growth. As your muscles grow you'll get stronger as well, to a certain extent. 

A Powerlifting program on the other hand will focus on lower repetitions but higher intensity to promote strength gains. Unlike a Bodybuilding program that focuses on isolating a certain muscle and attacking it from different angles, a Powerlifting program will focus on overall compound exercises that promote strength and stability that will assist in the 3 main lifts. A portion of a Powerlifting program might look as followed;

Deadlift 1 set of 5 @ 50% ORM

Deadlift 1 set of 3 @ 75% ORM 

Deadlift 3 sets of 1 @ 90% ORM 

As you can see, this workout looks vastly different from the bodybuilding program posted above. You will also notice the volume of repetitions is much lower as well. The difference here is the intensity... its much higher. ORM here stands for One Rep Max, or the most amount of weight you can lift once in a certain exercise. This type of training style will promote much more strength gains as opposed to Bodybuilding. You will also notice Powerlifters usually have larger forearms, and thicker necks. 

So Which Style Should I Do?

Well thats up to you. If you're new to the gym you'll get results regardless what kind of training you're doing. You'll have to make a decision on which style to stick to after you've been lifting for awhile and the newbie gains stop coming in. But you also have to ask yourself, do you want to workout to get the ascetic look or do you want to get truly stronger? 

Well, Can I Do Both? 

Yes! You can definitely try both training styles to help you reach your goals. People who do both training styles like to refer to themselves as Hybrids. If you strictly stick to bodybuilding long enough you will encounter plateaus. These plateaus could be lack of muscle building or lack of strength building. This would be a great time to switch from bodybuilding to powerlifting. During the Powerlifting phase you will build strength and stimulate your type 2 muscle fibers. We explain type one and type two muscle fibers HERE. When you revert back to bodybuilding you will notice you will be able to workout with heavier weights. This will then promote more muscle gains. Switching between Bodybuilding and Powerlifting will also help keep your fitness career fun, engaging, and interesting.