Powerlifting and Bodybuilding
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Although there is a big difference between a powerlifter and a bodybuilder however they have some common lessons that can be taught to any athlete who wants to get bigger and stronger. Powerlifters look for the easiest way to lift or move a weight whereas bodybuilders are always trying to find the hardest or most difficult way to lift the same weight.
A bodybuilder uses optimal hypertrophy training methods but a powerlifter will use optimal strength training methods which although similar because it involves progressive resistance they are very different. The argument or disagreement between powerlifters and bodybuilders is not something that has been going since the sport started but is actually only about 20 years old.
These days it is common to hear a powerlifter calling bodybuilding a narcissistic, drug-furled beauty contest while bodybuilders often talk about powerlifters being fat and undisciplined and nutritionally ignorant. Many years ago when bodybuilding was first started all competitors were required to do a strength test in a weight lifting contest in order to qualify.
But the truth is that you need to master both strength and hypertrophy to be a successful bodybuilder. You will be stimulating both an increase in strength as well as size when lifting a weight with any movement, which will never be exclusively for strength or hypertrophy.
Powerlifters are only concerned with the weight they are lifting whereas bodybuilders might use light weights as long as they are reaching the point of failure. To get the best out of your training in order to maximize strength development we should concentrate on two important adaptations that happen when lifting a weight.
Strength occurs when the muscle fibers become thicker which directly affects your motor cortex that instructs these muscle fibers to fire. If we keep this in mind when training, we will more than likely get better results so that we are always aware of the strength used when lifting a weight as well as the individual muscle fibers or body-parts.
Any good coach will tell you that muscle hypertrophy will always be a secondary adaptation to strength. This means that you cannot hypertrophy any muscle until you first recruit it. This recruitment comes from progressive overload of the high-threshold motor units.
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