You join a gym, you buy the supplements, you buy the shoes (generally Nike is the preferred shoe of the ‘lifter’), and you have decided that you want to be a bodybuilder, inspired by posters of Jay Cutler, Dorian Yates, Ronnie Coleman, and the great Arnold. The first point of call seems to be to just pick up a weight and start banging out some dumbbell bicep curls, and as time goes on, you lift heavier, but you’re starting to notice that you’re not really gaining new muscle. The problem lies in powerlifting.

Powerlifting, to start

Okay so there is no actual problem with powerlifting, it is an extremely intense sport that tests the strength of the athlete on a whole other level. Powerlifting is a sport in which the athlete attempts to lift as much as weight as they possibly can for one repetition in the squat, bench press, and deadlift. The subdivisions in powerlifting go according to weight, age, experience, and whether or not the athlete is ‘raw’ or ‘geared’, which may sound menacing but it simply refers to whether the athlete is using supportive equipment or not. It is quite an intricate sport, to better understand it, click here. Different examples of powerlifting routines can be seen here.

Bodybuilding

Before we carry on, bodybuilding must also be defined, or described, to better understand the point that this article is trying to make. Bodybuilding is a sport in which the athletes essentially build their bodies for the aesthetic appeal, by using weights as a means of progressive resistance in order to build their musculature. All that means is that bodybuilders compete to look their absolute best on the stage, whereas powerlifting competitions involve lifting their heaviest weight. Click here for a deeper look into what bodybuilding routines would look like. (While some bodybuilding, and powerlifting routines may be based on similar principles, it is important to remember that bodybuilding focuses on weight to stimulate muscle growth, while powerlifting focuses on increasing the amount of weight for strength.)

The difference

Now that those two have been clarified, there seems to be a confusion between the two, and there’s a growing trend of people who are aspiring ‘bodybuilders’, but are constantly talking about setting a new personal bench press record. For example, if you are a powerlifter, it will make all the difference if you are squatting 10 or 20 kg’s more than what you were last week or month, but if you’re focus is bodybuilding, then it really makes no difference as to what weight you are using, as long as you are stimulating the muscle to grow.

This is not to say that bodybuilders use low weight, they are still incredibly strong, and there is still a particular element to muscle building through strength. There is also a place for it in bodybuilding, especially during the very early phases of bodybuilding because it not only gives the lifter a stronger sense of will, but will also lead to physically being better and less prone to injury. However, there comes a point where you need to look at whether you want to be a bodybuilder, or a powerlifter because knowing that distinction will make all the difference in the world.

To break it down even more, a bodybuilder will use weight as a means to grow their musculature, to not only grow bigger, but to also be very defined, or “ripped”, for the purpose of having the best looking physique. A powerlifter will not be focused on what their appearance is, or how good their physique looks, their main goal is to lift heavier weight than everyone else. The most important thing is to know what your goal is. Do you want to be big, and ripped? Or do you want to lift the most weight in your gym? If your goal is to be big and ripped, then you don’t need to make sure you hit that 200 kg mark on the deadlift just because you did 190 last week, rather focus on weights that will help stimulate growth of the muscle, because in the end, that is what you want.

PowerBodybuilding

Now you might be wondering if there is way that you can achieve both, have a great looking, shredded physique, but at the same time be able to lift the most in the gym. Bodybuilders do have strength days, which focus on compound movements with a 3 rep max weight, this is done to introduce shock to the muscles to induce new muscle growth. But there is a new method that has recently come to light, and is gaining some popularity, which allows one to be strong, but ripped as well. PowerBodybuilding is what it is known as, and in essence it calls for one big strength movement, followed 2 or 3 bodybuilding movements. For example; say it is your leg day and you apply this technique. You would start off with squats, but instead of aiming for a rep range of 8-12 to induce hypertrophy, you would look at doing 3 sets of your one rep max (a weight you can only move for one repetition), but with particular emphasis on beating your previous one rep max. You would follow this up with exercises such as leg extensions, leg press, and hamstring curls, but aiming for the 8-12 rep range for hypertrophy.

Surely all this weight will hurt?

Regardless of whichever training method you follow, heavy weight training will at some point take a toll on the body, and one of the most common areas that are battered are the joints. Joint problems develop very easily in someone who has been weight training over a period of time, and in some it can take months, others it can take years. One way to make sure that your joints are protected is through a range of supplementation; omega 3 fatty acids, coconut oil, as well as cissus. To see a full range of joint health supplements, click the following link



When it comes down to it however, it all depends on you. Where do you want to go with your body, functionality, or aesthetics? Maybe both? Perhaps, you want to switch from being a powerlifter to a bodybuilder, or vice versa? It’s up to you, and your individual goals, but it is critical to know where you want to go, and once you have honed in on that desire, never let anything stand in your way of achieving your goals.

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