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Why powerlifting is better than bodybuilding [Article]

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Aug 7, 2019 9:30:00 AM


Why powerlifting is better than bodybuilding

Why powerlifting is better than bodybuildung

Powerlifting is better when it comes to raw strength. Bodybuilding is the better road to travel if you want to get big and lean. The choice is yours.
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What is your why 

Before we go into the details of why powerlifting might be better than bodybuilding, let me ask you a couple of questions: 
  • Why do you want to powerlift 
  • Why do you want to change your body 
  • What happens when you do 
  • What happens if you don’t 
These questions matter to your success. The make all the difference between fulfilled and empty. Research shows that successful people are very deliberate with their time. A good way to get into that groove is to write down your goals and reflect upon them. When was the last time you did that? Many people go about their lives like this: 
  • What do I want 
  • How do I get it 
  • Why do I want it 
This is a great way to get your knickers in a twist. What you want changes hundreds of times a day. It highly depends on who you are with, what you do and where you are. Making this the center of attention will spread your resources thin and scatter your time between too many activities. If you chase all rabbits at once you will catch none. Something interesting happens when you flip these questions on their head: 
  • Why do you want something 
  • How do you get it 
  • What needs to be done 
This way you will focus on your innermost desires at every turn. Your thoughts and actions will become more connected and ultimately reality. 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. 
For me, the big turn around in my life started when I started a journal. Since I started my marriage improved dramatically and my salary went up by 30%. The journal I have stuck with is the self journal from best self. I can highly recommend it to achieve your goals and you can check it out via this link. 

What is your fitness goal 

There are many different goals you can pursue in fitness. The most common are:
  • Losing weight 
  • Getting ripped 
  • Getting healthy 
  • Getting strong 
Whatever your personal goal is will determine whether powerlifting or bodybuilding is the better fit for you. There is no better or worse when the goal is not clearly defined. 
Many people get losing weight completely wrong. Losing weight is mainly a function of how much you eat. The fewer calories you eat, the more weight you lose. Diets are only good if you can stick to them at a reduced intake of overall calories. Weight loss is all about counting calories, not which trendy diet you follow or how much you exercise. 
Getting ripped is an extreme form of dieting. Again going to the gym plays no or only little part in it. Most people get ripped at around 10% body fat. Some are genetically better suited to get ripped while others aren’t. The main point is that it usually sucks to maintain this state for a prolonged period of time. Bodybuilding is the most likely sport to get you ripped as it actively rewards a ripped physique. 
Getting healthy depends on the kind of shortcomings you are experiencing. Bodybuilding or powerlifting won’t do a lot of good for you on that front either. They are too extreme for rehab purposes. 
If you want to get stronger powerlifting and bodybuilding help. Bigger muscles lift bigger weights. This is the bodybuilding part of the argument. Two muscles of the same size lift different weights based on their cellular structure and how well the nerves respond to an input. That is the powerlifting side of the argument. 
Whatever you want to achieve get clarity first and then lick the right tools. It won’t work well for you if you bring a knife to a gun fight. You might still win, but your chances are a lot slimmer and you better be damn skilled with a knife. 


Bodybuilding is the sport of aesthetics physiques. At least bodies which are deemed pleasing based in the rules of bodybuilding federation you compete in. Competitors will be judged on:
  • Size of their muscles 
  • The symmetry of their muscles 
  • Definition of their muscles 
  • Stage presence 
  • Choreography 
And many other topics based on the show. Bodybuilding is all about pleasing the judges who will score you. In the end, you might just please them rather than the crowd to win. All in all, bodybuilding is about being the biggest in the room and putting on a great show.

What bodybuilding is good for 

Bodybuilding is great to learn about the anatomy of the human body, dieting and looking impressive. You will learn about aesthetics and how to present yourself on a stage in an appealing manner. You will also grow a lot of muscle along the way. 
The downside of bodybuilding is that you probably will be more likely to be exposed to steroids. To form a bodybuilding physique you will not get around the anabolic supplements to be successful in the sport. This is something you might want to consider before fully committing to bodybuilding. 


Powerlifting is the sport of the total. Your total is the sum of three lifts. These lifts are the bench press, squat and deadlift. For each lift you get three attempts to move the maximum possible weight. The best attempt for each lift gets summed up intro your total. Based on your total you will be ranked against the other competitors. 
A big difference to lifting in the gym is that you are being judged. The referees observe your lift from different angles. Two out of three have to approve it so that it qualifies. You have to have at least one qualifying attempt for each lift to make it on the leaderboard. 
Your powerlifting total usually splits 40/40/20. The deadlift and squat each contribute roughly 40% to your total while the bench press usually adds 20%. You can see from these numbers that strong legs are important to be a successful powerlifter. 

What powerlifting is good for 

Powerlifting forms grit and attention to detail. It takes years to develop strength and steady practice on the same three movements. The focus is on what you can do rather than how you look while doing it. It is also less likely that you will travel into steroids than with bodybuilding, even though it is not uncommon in the sport for the most elite athlete es to be found taking steroids.
The disadvantage of powerlifting is that it can be very hard on your bone structure, especially the lower back, and cause injury. 

What is your personality 

What is also important to consider when you decide on a fitness regimen is whether it fits your personality. Ask yourself the following questions: 
  • Do I like to be looked at? 
  • Do you take a lot of care of your appearance? 
  • Are results or looks more important to you 
  • Do you like to work with a barbell 
  • Do you like the same things over and over or prefer a bit of variety 
  • Who do you want to be 
This will help to get a little clarity around whether you want to go into bodybuilding or powerlifting. I personally think they between the two bodybuilding is better suited to extroverts and powerlifting to introverts. 

Why powerlifting is better than bodybuilding 

Powerlifting is better than bodybuilding when you want to get strong and lift heavy weights. It might also be the better choice when you want to feel less pressure of getting into steroids. 
Powerlifting is definetly the less preferred option if you want to look your best and learn about proofed dieting. A powerlifting mindset is less likely to set you up for success for this than a bodybuilding one. 
The good news is that the two sports are so close in nature that you can still switch. Some very good bodybuilders became also good powerlifters and vice versa.

Topics: Powerlifting