If you are focused on general bodybuilding, you might not have ever looked at what powerlifters do. After all, your training regimen and general exercises are a bit different, as you’re focused on higher reps and targeted muscle growth. Meanwhile, powerlifters focus on a few tried-and-true movements, going for strength primarily. There are plenty of differences between how powerlifters and bodybuilders train and how they approach weightlifting in general, but there are a few things you could learn as well. Grab your bodybuilding apparel and get ready to learn something new from powerlifters.
Differences in Bodybuilding and Powerlifting
It’s no surprise that powerlifting and bodybuilding training splits look a bit different. After all, each has a different end goal, which affects how you train. Powerlifting focuses on increasing overall strength above all else. This relies on compound movements such as bench presses, deadlifts, and squats. If you are putting on bodybuilding clothing and aren’t powerlifting, you are probably trying to maximize muscle growth. You might not be as concerned with how much weight you can lift but more about how many reps you can complete and how you target each individual muscle.
A powerlifter might spend the entire workout completing a few sets of one or two exercises, while you go from machine to machine, aiming to effectively hit certain muscle groups. With the clear differences out of the way, here are a few things that powerlifters do that might help you break the mold and increase your workout efficacy.
Don’t Neglect Compound Movements
Bodybuilders can fall into the trap of exclusively performing isolation exercises, such as bicep curls and chest flies. While these are ideal for targeting growth, you don’t need to rely just on isolation movements to achieve hypertrophy. Compound movements target more areas at once while also helping to strengthen your stabilizing muscles, leading to an overall fuller appearance. So, if it’s been a while since you’ve deadlifted or squatted heavy, be sure to include these exercises into your regular routine.
Seek Out the Harder Option
When powerlifters lift, they try to reduce the range of motion, which can help them add more weight to the bar. The sumo deadlift is the perfect example of this. It’s a wide stance with arms inside the knees. But an increased range of motion can lead to increased time under tension and enhanced muscle growth. You should definitely put on your lifting clothes and deadlift, but you don’t need to have a goal of increasing your mechanical advantage like a powerlifter does. A conventional deadlift will be better for you to build the posterior chain, where bodybuilders are often lacking.
Incorporate Off-Seasons Into Training
The whole goal of bodybuilding is to gain size while staying lean. Powerlifters, on the other hand, are famed for putting on weight, no matter how it looks in pictures. If you look at many of the most famous strongmen in the world, at first glance, they might appear out of shape until you see them rip 1,000 pounds off the ground. Strength is their top concern, and they need fuel to maximize their power.
Too often, bodybuilders are too focused on the vanity aspect and will avoid the sacrifices it takes to put on more size and strength. That’s where the off-season comes in. Instead of aiming to stay competition-ready year-round, take a few months to put on some weight and eat in a caloric surplus. Once you cut, the results will be phenomenal and it might be what you need to win your next competition.
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