- Bodybuilding: sport where the goal is aesthetics, to look muscular, lean, larger and “ripped”. Competitions are judged by who looks better…
- Powerlifting: sport where the goal is to lift the heaviest weight in one of three of the powerlifts, bench press, deadlift or squat. Competitions are judged by who lifts more…
For bodybuilders, it’s all about “how can I look better–get more development” and strength is a by-factor or secondary concern. It’s about how much muscle can I gain while losing a lot of fat so I can get huge, ripped, and vascular (veiny).
For powerlifters it’s all about how much weight can I lift. How can I get stronger… how can I improve my technique… how can I get better than the next guy at putting more weight on the bar and lifting it.
You’ll hear many bodybuilding pros say that nutrition is 80% of bodybuilding because what you put into you mouth has a BIG effect on the fat that gathers around your waist… or the muscle that grows on your biceps. So nutrition is a big part of bodybuilding and always will be, because the focus is on looking large and strong but with very low bodyfat.
In Powerlifting, nutrition is seen as a part of being in the right weight class at the meets. If you are a lighter lifter then it’s important to eat healthy to stay in the lighter weight class — yet the emphasis on nutrition is still on fueling your athletic performance.
For the heavy weight lifters it’s no-holds barred when it comes to food. ( like a grizzly )
You would think the two sports would be similar because they’re both about lifting weights right? Well, the differences in exercise choice are probably the first thing you’ll notice between the two.
Bodybuilders generally employ a different exercise for each and every part of their body to try to build it up and get it larger and more ripped. On “Chest day” for instance they might do bench presses, incline bench presses, dumbbell flyes, and then finish up with a pec dec machine or something like that.
Powerlifters stick more to the basics of the squat, deadlift and bench press — with any “assistance work” (i.e. other exercises) being focused on making those lifts better. Either extra exercises or variations on those movements to “work” certain parts of the lifts. For example: low box squats with a pause in the bottom position to train to get stronger out of the deep, bottom position of the squat.
Another way to define them is that bodybuilders prance around on stages in little bikinis with fake tans and oil all over their bodies… and… powerlifters eat McDonalds every day, shave their heads and grow gotees. But let’s look a little deeper…
*A body builder normally has greater muscle mass. A power lifter generally has more fat. The body builder is proud of his V shaped body. A power lifter usually has a barrel shaped body. Of the two, power lifters are the strongest.