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Can you combine powerlifting and bodybuilding? [Article]

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Jun 11, 2019, 9:30:00 AM

Can you combine powerlifting and bodybuilding

Can you combine powerlifting and bodybuilding?

You can combine the two for better results by thinking about your exercise selection. Use the bench press, squat and deadlift as a bodybuilder to attack big muscle groups. Use isolated exercises like bicep curls and triceps pushdowns as a bodybuilder to Attack smaller muscle groups.
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What is your why 

Before we go into the details of whether you can combine powerlifting and bodybuilding, let me ask you a couple of questions: 
  • Why do you want to combine powerlifting and bodybuilding?
  • Why do you want to build muscle? 
  • Why do you want to get stronger?
  • What happens when you do?
  • What happens if you don’t? 
These questions make the difference between your success and failure. Research shows that people who reflect on and write down their goals are more likely to achieve their goals. I want you to sit down and reflect right now. Many people go about their lives like this: 
  • What do I want 
  • How do I get it 
  • Why do I want it 
If you make what you want the center of your attention it will drive you mad. What you want changes hundreds of times a day. It highly depends on who you are with, where you are and what you do. If you chase your monkey brain you will spread your resources thin and scatter your time between too many different activities. 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. Your actions and thoughts will become more connected. With this comes direction and focus on a goal. All of this will make your 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. 


Powerlifting is the sport of getting the highest total. This total consists of three different lifts, the bench press, squat, and deadlift. You get three attempts on each lift to establish the best result. Each best attempt will be summed up for your total. 
Your total will usually have a 40/40/20 split. The deadlift and squat will each contribute 40%. The bench press has 20% to give to your total. These are the average numbers which hold true after I analyzed 1000s if lifts from the states. 
Bigger muscles help in powerlifting. The bigger your muscles are the more weight they will move. To be successful in powerlifting big muscles are good for you. 

Powerlifting programs to consider


The sport of bodybuilding is mainly about aesthetics. Depending on which federation you compete in you will be judged based on different factors. Some of them are the size of your muscles, the definition of the muscles, symmetry in your body, choreography, presentation, and stage presence. 
Many successful bodybuilders also take acting and modeling classes to up their game on the stage. The greatest of all time like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ronnie Coleman and Dorian Yates we’re not just big, but also a great showman. 
Bodybuilding is all about big and defined muscle. The strength you get from powerlifting can help to train harder for longer in your bodybuilding


PowerBuilding is a relatively new trend in the gym which combines the best of both worlds. In PowerBuilding you want to build big, functional muscle to look like a beast and also lift like a beast. If you are interested in details, check out the PowerBuilding program that has recently been published on Juggernaut Training Systems.

Can you combine powerlifting and bodybuilding 

There are many athletes who combine powerlifting and bodybuilding. The goals of both sports build on each other. Ultimately the key to success in both sports is very different. The best way to combine powerlifting and bodybuilding is to learn from both sports for your exercise selection. Powerlifters have a tendency to snuff at isolated exercises, while some bodybuilders are skeptical on the compound lifts with the barbell. Pick from both worlds for best results. 

Further reading

Topics: Lift stronger, Fitness, Strength, Powerlifting