How Powerlifting Is Different From Bodybuilding

When it comes to lifting, there are different training styles. One of the most traditional and well-known forms of training is bodybuilding. According to Men's Health, bodybuilding is about aesthetics, so it uses heavy weights and higher repetitions of isolation exercises to increase muscle size and physique. This is because higher reps promote more muscle growth (per Healthline). So instead of completing one set of up to 10 deadlifts, bodybuilders are looking at reps ranging from 8 to 15. When it comes to resistance training, Healthline notes that bodybuilders focus on using barbells, machine-based weights, and dumbbells to both reduce fat and increase muscle growth. 

On the contrary, powerlifting is a training style that focuses on three major lifts: deadlift, bench press, and back squat (via Men's Health). But the biggest difference is powerlifting focuses on lifting the heaviest weight possible for one repetition. When training, some powerlifters may also add in additional lifts such as lunges or Romanian deadlifts to help with muscle imbalances and to bring more stability to the main three lifts (per Healthline).

Keep in mind that both of these training styles can be used for competitive sports, or personal training.

What are the benefits of powerlifting?

Since powerlifting focuses on low repetitions and heavy weights, it may help build connective tissue and bone density (per Healthline). In fact, one 2018 study found that higher-intensity lifting is more beneficial than low-intensity lifting when it comes to building bone and tissue mass.

According to Verywell Fit, the compound movements from powerlifting provide a great full-body workout since they target every muscle group. Unlike bodybuilding, these core lifts may have a higher chance of mimicking movements you may find yourself doing every day. Verywell Fit notes that these lifts help strengthen functional movements such as pushing, bending, and squatting. These movements can be found in various day-to-day activities such as picking up a grocery bag from the floor or pushing a heavy door open.

Powerlifting can also be rewarding mentally (as well as physically) because it's easy to measure your fitness goals. Healthline points out powerlifting uses performance-based fitness goals since it focuses on lifting the maximum amount of weight each rep. This style may help you stay motivated to work out and reach your health goals.

It's important to note that powerlifting can be very challenging; thus, having proper technique is crucial for safety and preventing injury. Seek a trainer so you can be sure you are performing the movements safely and correctly, and consult a doctor if you have any concerns about whether powerlifting is right for you. If you're new to resistance training, Verywell Fit doesn't recommend starting with powerlifting.