Will powerlifting help my bodybuilding?
Powerlifting as a sport will not help your bodybuilding as the goals are different. The three powerlifting exercises, the barbell squat, bench press, and deadlift will help to build muscle if incorporated into bodybuilding rather than powerlifting program.
What is your why
Before we go into the details of whether powerlifting will help your bodybuilding let me ask you a couple of questions:
Why do you want to do bodybuilding?
Why do you want to build muscle?
What happens when you do?
What happens if you don’t?
These four questions will have a big impact on your life. Sit down and answer them in writing. There is plenty of research which supports that people who write down their goals and reflect on them are more likely to achieve them. Be one of those rather than the ones that don’t. Many people approach their lives like this:
What do I want
How do I get it the
Why do I want it
Almost everyone knows what they want. Fewer make a detailed plan on how to get there. Almost no one writes down why they want the things they want. If you focus on what you want you will be running everywhere and arrive nowhere. What you want changes hundreds of times a day. Making this the guiding principle will spread your resources thin and scatter your time with little to no focus. 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 you put your innermost desires and dreams center stage of your life. Your thoughts and actions will become more connected and you will be more likely to reach your goals. 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 aims to maximize your total. Your total is built from three lifts, the bench press, squat, and deadlift. For each lift, you get three attempts to establish the heaviest possible lift. The best performance on each lift gets summed up to your total.
Each lift gets judged by three judges who sit at different angles to the lift. They check whether the lifts are performed according to the rules of the federation you compete in.
The bench press is the most widely known lift of the three. You start with your arms straight and lower them to your chest while holding the barbell. The weight needs to touch the chest. After that, it will be pushed up. Many powerlifters refer to the bench press as the most technically challenged ging of the big three. This is down to the fact that it is the only one where you get a command in the middle of the lift. The bench press usually makes up 20% of your total.
The squat is the lift that many people try to avoid like the plague. The squat starts with the barbell sitting on your back. You lower below parallel and squat up from there. This completes the lift. There is only one command in the squat in a powerlifting meet. The most common challenge is that lifts get disqualified because they are not deep enough. The squat usually makes up 40% of your total.
The deadlift is the lift that most people are able to move the most weight on. The deadlift starts on the ground and the goal is to bring the weight up to the hip. There is only one command in competition. The deadlift usually makes up 40% of your total.
The main goal of bodybuilding is to sculpt the biggest, most defined body within your weight class. There are also other factors st play like choreography, stage presence, showmanship, and symmetry. The most important factors to perform well in bodybuilding are:
Your genes will determine how easy it will be for you to build muscle and how they will look. This is the factor which you cannot influence but has a big impact on performance.
Your diet is the biggest factor you can influence performance in bodybuilding. Bodybuilders are experts at what and how to eat to make them look best. At some stages, you have to eat like a monster while at other stages of the process you almost starve yourself. Always work with professionals and doctors when going to extremes.
The last factor you can Influence is your hormones. Many substances which are considered to be doping actively influence your testosterone levels. The higher the level of testosterone in your body the easier it becomes to build muscle. Of course, it becomes more complex for individuals and based on your personal medical record.
Will powerlifting help my bodybuilding
Powerlifting itself will not help your bodybuilding. The ultimate goals are far apart. Nobody cares in bodybuilding how big your total is. If you rephrase the question to “will powerlifting exercises help my bodybuilding” the answer is yes. Some bodybuilders lean more towards dumbbells, machines and pulley systems. While these exercises isolate muscles better they do not go to the maximum to stimulate multiple muscle groups. Barbell movements are great for this. A good source to check out on the crossover between bodybuilding and powerlifting is Layne Norton.