Which one is right for me?
So bodybuilders look like this:
And powerlifters look like this:
Bodybuilders are focused on muscle growth, a low body fat percentage and competing.
Powerlifters only care about how strong they are in the squat, bench press and deadlift.
Well, not necessarily.
A lot of ‘experts’ would have you believe that you’ve gotta pick one or the other. Choose strength or size.
Well what if you could have both?
In this article we’ll look at the classic opinions on both, then look at why the line between the two is becoming increasingly blurred.
“A sport involving strenuous physical exercise in order to strengthen and enlarge the muscles of the body.”
This is where most of us start off in the gym. Pick up some dumbbells and start curling. 3 sets of 8-12 reps, feel that pump. Copy what that big guy is doing.
After all, who doesn’t want to look better naked?
Serious bodybuilding takes discipline and sacrifice. Pumping those muscles full of blood everyday takes real commitment. Eating chicken and rice everyday can be even harder.
“A form of competitive weightlifting in which contestants attempt the squat, deadlift and bench press in a set sequence.”
Powerlifting is all about who is the strongest at 1 rep in their weight class. 1-3 reps of the big lifts in training, then eat whatever you like as long as you’re getting stronger. It’s a sport that’s growing in popularity all the time.
After all, who doesn’t want to be the strongest guy in the gym?
When the gains start to dry up in bodybuilding, many will turn to powerlifting to keep them motivated. As rewarding as it can be to see that 6 pack in the mirror, hitting a new squat PR can be just as special.
And there’s nothing quite like the look on a bodybuilders face when he sees you warming up with his bench press max.
So, which one is for me?
So go ahead, pick one.
Finding it difficult? Well I’m not surprised. You wanna look great and you wanna be hella strong. You’re not alone there pal.
“Powerbuilding is a combination of powerlifting and bodybuilding training principles in order to get brutally strong whilst still building as much muscle as possible.”
Powerbuilding takes elements from both training styles. A powerbuilding workout might look like this:
Squat: 3 sets of 3 reps at 90% of 1 rep max
Deadlift: 3 sets of 3 reps at 85% of 1 rep max
Leg Extension: 4 sets of 10 reps
Leg Curl: 4 sets of 10 reps
Standing Calf Press: 3 sets of 8 reps
Seated Calf Raise: 3 sets of 12 reps
The low volume, high weight squat and deadlift exercises will help to build strength in a proper periodized program. The higher reps in the final 4 movements will give you a great pump and make sure you’re isolating all the muscles in the legs.
Now that’s the workout, what about the diet? Well as you might know, how you look is more than 80% diet. What you might not realize is that your results in the gym are also highly affected by your diet and can be affected by any supplements you take.
We recommend a slight caloric surplus for a powerbuilder, with around 0.8g of protein per pound of body weight. E.g. A 180 pound man’s weight stays the same at 3000 calories a day. You should eat between 3050 and 3100 calories a day and (0.8 * 180) = 144g of protein a day.
This small caloric surplus ensures that you’re able to make progress in the squat bench and deadlift. Nothing will kill your bench press progress more than a caloric deficit. A high protein content means you will be building muscle. The surplus is so small to make sure we’re slowly building muscle and minimizing any fat gain. Think of this as a slow, clean bulk.
Sounds easy right? Well in reality it takes just as much dedication as powerlifting of bodybuilding, maybe even more.
But the rewards can be incredible. Here are examples of the rewards at the very highest level.
Meet Dan Green and Jesse Norris:
Dan Green is the strongest raw powerlifter in the world in his weight class and holds multiple world records. Jesse Norris also holds multiple world records in his weight class.
Aside from being incredibly strong dudes, they also preach clean eating and Jesse considers himself an avid bodybuilder.
Powerbuilding. Look great and be strong as hell.
Stop wondering if you’re a powerlifter or a bodybuilder.
You can do both.