Can powerlifting help build muscle?
Powerlifting can help build muscle by providing the right stress response to the body that will drive muscle growth. Still, the most important ingredient to build muscle is food.
What is your why
Before we go into whether powerlifting helps you to build muscle, let me ask you a couple of questions:
Why do you want to build muscle
Why do you want to
What happens when you do
What happens if you don’t
These questions will make the difference between your success and failure. Research shows that people who reflect on their goals and write them down are more likely to achieve them. So start thinking and writing. Many people go about their dreams like this:
What do I want
How do I get it
Why do I want it
This is a very good way of making yourself miserable. What you want changes hundreds of times a day. Making this the focus of your life will lead to you running in a hundred directions without arriving anywhere. You will spread your resources thin and scatter your time between too many activities. This will set you up for a consumer rather than a producer mindset. Something interesting happens when you flip the order of these questions on their head.
Why do you want something
How do you get it
What needs to be done
This way your innermost desires will take center stage in your life. Your thoughts and actions will become more connected. This will make success more likely. If you want to know how this works on a psychological level read Daniel Kahneman's thinking fast and slow. Simon Sinek's TED talk on the golden circle will change your life.
The sport of powerlifting aims to establish the highest possible total. Your total is the sum of the bench press, squat, and deadlift. For each lift, you get three attempts. Out of these three, the best attempt will be counted. The sum of these best attempts is your total.
The bench press usually adds 20% to your total while the deadlift and squat make up 40% each. A big difference from lifting in the gym to powerlifting is that you get judged. There are three referees who will check whether your lifts have been performed according to the rules of the federation you participate in. You need two out of three judges to approve your lift to count it towards your total.
Powerlifting has a bias towards building more muscle. The more muscle you have the more weight you will be able to lift. Still, these muscles need to serve a purpose. This is why powerlifting might not be the best sport for building muscle.
How to build muscle
If you want to build muscle the most important ingredient is high-quality food. Lots of high-quality food. Your diet is the main lever to pull to make you bigger. Exercise only plays second fiddle to that.
Diet will determine how fast you grow. Exercise will determine how you grow. If you do not feed your body sufficiently you won’t grow.