Will powerlifting make me bulky?
No, powerlifting will not make you bulky. The genetical makeup of your body and your diet are the main factors which make you bulky. Powerlifting only creates a lifestyle that is more likely to make you bulky than yoga.
What is your why
Before we go into the details of whether powerlifting makes you bulky, let me ask you a couple of questions:
Why are you interested in powerlifting
Why do you want to change your body
What happens when you do
What happens if you don’t
These questions make all the difference between your success and failure. Research shows that people who reflect and write down the reasons for their actions are more likely to succeed. Sit down and write the answers to these questions down. Many people go through their lives like this:
What do I want
How do I get it
Why do I want it
This way of thinking sets you up for failure. Putting what you want in focus will make you run in hundreds of directions and arrive nowhere. What you want changes hundreds of times a day. Making this the guiding principle of your life will spread your resources thin and scatter your time between too many activities. Something interesting happens when you flip the running 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 thoughts and actions will become more connected and success more likely. If you want to know how this works on a psychological basis 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 build the biggest total. You total consists of three barbell lifts. These lifts are the bench press, deadlift, and the squat. For each of these lifts, you get three attempts to score the highest weight. The best attempts of each lift get summed up into your total.
Compared to the gym another major difference is that your lifts get judged. There are three referees present who observe your lifts from different angles. They decide whether your lift was performed according to the standard of the federation you are competing in. You need two of the three judges to agree that the lift was good for it to qualify.
The bench press usually makes up 20% of your total while the squat and deadlift contribute around 40%. Beginners usually have a bigger discrepancy between the squat and deadlift.
Powerlifters strive to pack the most amount of power into as little space as possible. Weight classes keep tabs on this. Ultimately a bigger body will move bigger weights. Powerlifting is therefore biased to get you bigger and bulkier.
How you get bulky
Getting bulky is influenced by two major factors, your genes and how much you eat. Your genes will determine how your body will grow and where you find it hard to pack on muscle and where it is easy. This determines the shape of your body. English bulldogs are bulkier than other dogs of the same size because they have been bred that way. The same happens to you and your genes.
The second influencer good intake. The more food you eat, the bulkier you will get. If you are not active while you eat a lot you will put on fat. If you work out like a beserker and eat a lot you might even put on muscle.