Bdybuilding Vs Powerlifting: Similarities, Differences, Pros, Cons

When it comes to the world of fitness, bodybuilding and powerlifting often get confused with each other. From a typical first impression, it’s basically just big people lifting heavy things – which makes these misconceptions understandable. Even though these two sports may seem intimidating just by the amount of effort and time required for both, anyone who is looking to either gain strength or muscle mass can do both of these exercise styles without looking like the next Arnold Schwarzenegger. Differing in diet, training regime and results, let’s take a look at bodybuilders vs powerlifters and see which one is the best for you.

Bodybuilders Vs Powerlifters: Similarities

Both Require Heavy Lifting

Lifting heavy weights will be an inevitable part of both styles of exercises. No matter how opposing the results can be from one another, there is an element of strength that is absolutely necessary to progress. Strength cannot be achieved without at least focusing some attention to basic muscle building. In order to gain strength and the muscle mass necessary to take on heavier weights, a bulking phase is a must.

Eating Loads Of Food (Some Seasons)

By bulking, trainers will have to go on a calorie surplus that requires more meal sessions. This is so that the body is conditioned to use more energy, protein and other nutrients as the workout intensity amps up. Ideally, the bulking phase is meant to be healthy, which requires a certain level of macronutrient count that consists of carbohydrates, protein and fat – amounts from largest to smallest respectively. When malnourished, the body does not have enough nutrients to build muscle nor the energy to exert force while lifting.

Types Of Exercises

Deadlifts, squats, bench presses and military presses are staples for both styles of working out and are known as compound exercises. This term is used to describe routines with movements that concentrate on large muscle groups. Deltoids, trapezoids and lats are minor muscles that certainly have their uses, but serve a purpose that will be addressed later. Compound exercises engage large muscle groups that improve strength, flexibility and heart rate. Additionally, activating such a large range of muscles per exercise also dwell in the cardio category (slightly) allowing lifters to even burn calories.

Bodybuilding V Powerlifting: Differences

The End Goal

The goals of the two couldn’t be further apart despite similar exercises, phases and dedication. Bodybuilding is all about the aesthetics. Granted, muscle mass is a key component to it, but definition and details of muscles are at the forefront to complement the size that goes with it. Powerlifting, however, is purely about strength and pushing one’s limits of raw output. The results are more during each training session rather than a long term outward transformation. Despite muscle cultivation required for powerlifting, mass and cut can take a backseat if solid progress is made in strength and form.

The Cutting Phase

Bulking without cutting, if done incorrectly can just result in a pot belly and flabby arms, hence cutting is critical to perform well during each training session. For bodybuilders, cutting is a necessary requirement to achieve the aesthetics of the “ideal human male” body, however it isn’t nearly as emphasised in powerlifting. The latter certainly requires elements of calorie burning in order to stay fit and condition muscle endurance, but not to the point where calorie count becomes a sacred ritual for every meal like in bodybuilding. Strict calorie deficit is required for the cutting diet and that will inevitably force trainers to lose some mass. Bodybuilders swap between the two every season in their schedule, while powerlifters don’t benefit from a calorie deficit as much, as energy and supplementation is the most important requirements for their short powerful motions.


Although compound exercise is the middle ground that unite bodybuilders and powerlifters, the differences end there. Bodybuilders have a whole range of cardio, circuit and weight training that powerlifters do not gravitate towards. Isolation exercises that tackle smaller muscle groups like calves, deltoids and lats are muscles that add to the grand goal of looking “jacked”. These muscles add details and dimension to the overall look that contributes to the pinnacle of physical perfection (supposedly. There is a lot more to manage in the world of bodybuilding, but powerlifting isn’t easier by any means.

Powerlifting has a higher risk of injury, which means the need to have a perfect form in compound exercises is more than necessary. By lifting monstrous amounts of weight while having the perfect form, powerlifters can achieve strength that is unrivaled by any one sport in the fitness industry and is a quality to behold. Powerlifters are stereotyped as large burly men on the highest level of competition, but anyone can gain enormous levels of strength without having to look the part. Discipline in form and safety is what guarantees steady strength gains.

Bodybuilding Vs Powerlifting: Which One Is Right For You?

It’s clear that the choice is up to the individual’s wants since the end goal of these two exercises are so far apart. Whether it is to look good or to lift at a capacity like few others, the one factor that needs to be considered is time. Weight loss and sports allows for notable progression much earlier than these two exercises. People can train for decades and see improvements that may never be possible if committed for a fraction of that duration. Being careful about food is a must for any fitness goal, but the two featured archetypes take this to the extreme. If you have unwavering motivation and are looking to transform in one way or another, these two fitness styles could be right for you.

Source: United News of Bangladesh