T Nation

Strength in Bodybuilding vs Powerlifting

Allright. Generally people are strict about believing that powerlifters are simply superior as far as limit strength goes. What I don’t see being brought up very often is the fact that a bodybuilder presumably can switch around and employ multiple,if not numerous exercises for a given muscle,while a PL person will mostly revolve around three.

So as a consequence his (PL’s) technique in those three will be quite polished as well as specific strength,while a BB could still theoretically have the PL beat in a variety of lifts the PL would term ‘assistance exercises’. Is it just to use these three lifts as the ultimate test of strength?

Its cause thats what your goal is…To be a technician in the Bench,Squat and dead…the other lifts aren’t tested in a meet if they were then people would care…
Assistance lifts…hence…assistance lifts for the primary goal…BB and PL’s have to different goals.Even though they use resistance training to achieve their goal there 2 different sports.

… these three lifts as the ultimate test of strength?

Er no, its for POWERLIFTING competition.
Specific training with a specific goal.
BTW I doubt many Powerlifters limit their assistance exercises (think of the variety proposed by Westside Barbell).

Firstly the ulitmate test of strength is really; floor to overhead, squat, bench and deadlift :slight_smile:

Anyway most PL would be stronger than a BB of equal weight etc, in most lifts. Any pressing, deadlifting or squat variants the PL would be at an advantage. This already covers alot of ground including grip strength. Sure this advantage would be greatest in the powerlifts, but would extend throught the body. I forsee that it would be some single joint lifts or machine lifts that the difference would be the least and a BB may well do better at.

So we have a PL def being stronger (comparing like for like) at;

Floor to OH
Benching
Squating
Deadlifting

Whilst BB may win;

Curls
Side raises

Not much of a contest?

Thats not to say that BB arn’t strong. But compared to a PL or Weightlifter they are gona come off 2nd best at most meaningfull tests of whole body strength.

[quote]Alffi wrote:
Allright. Generally people are strict about believing that powerlifters are simply superior as far as limit strength goes. What I don’t see being brought up very often is the fact that a bodybuilder presumably can switch around and employ multiple,if not numerous exercises for a given muscle,while a PL person will mostly revolve around three.

So as a consequence his (PL’s) technique in those three will be quite polished as well as specific strength,while a BB could still theoretically have the PL beat in a variety of lifts the PL would term ‘assistance exercises’. Is it just to use these three lifts as the ultimate test of strength? [/quote]

Lou Ferrigno and Franco Columbu have competed in strong man competitions. Take a look at their results…

depends how you train. certainly there are bodybuilders who incorporate a lot of strength and power focused training modalities in their regimen, but there are also many who do not

The main difference between the role of strength for a bodybuilder versus a powerlifter?

A bodybuilder must strive to gain the most muscle mass possible per unit of strength gain.

A powerlifter must strive to gain the most strength possible per unit of muscle gain.

If you are suggesting that a bodybuilder should be considered ‘stronger’ than a powerlifter b/c he may be capable of heavier weight on a wider variety of lifts? From what I’ve seen, pound for pound we handle a lot more weight than bodybuilders, but I’ve seen some big bodybuilders handle some scary weights. It all depends, and really doesn’t make for a very interesting topic of conversation.

Johnnie Jackson is an IFBB pro who also competes in the USPF in the 308 (I think?) class. IIRC he is competitive but nothing spectacular.

[quote]Steel Nation wrote:
Johnnie Jackson is an IFBB pro who also competes in the USPF in the 308 (I think?) class. IIRC he is competitive but nothing spectacular.
[/quote]

Yeah, 800+ lb pulls at 242 and 220 are nothing spectacular.

[quote]Stronghold wrote:
Steel Nation wrote:
Johnnie Jackson is an IFBB pro who also competes in the USPF in the 308 (I think?) class. IIRC he is competitive but nothing spectacular.

Yeah, 800+ lb pulls at 242 and 220 are nothing spectacular.[/quote]

Man, that’s just as weak as that Jeremy Hoornstra guy with his 700+ lb raw bench at 242… If he’d only stop training like a bodybuilder he might just end up with some real numbers, right?

Or how about Justin Harris…

Not saying that these guys are the norm either.

I think that the Dr. Squat vs. Tom Platz thing sums it up perfectly… Platz did 500 for 23 reps pretty much ass to grass, Dr. Squat did way more weight for singles.

Platz would get squished flat by a 1000 lb bar (unless maybe if he were training specifically for it) and Hatfield would fall over dead long before he reached rep 23 on 500 lb ATG squats (unless he had trained for it specifically).

Come on people, what purpose does comparing apples to oranges serve?

Haha, not to mention that the USPF records that he hasnt been “good enough” to break are held by Ed Coan and Hoornstra.

Yeah. Jo Jack hasn’t been successful in powerlifting in the same way that Jim Wendler wasn’t successful in powerlifting with his 1000lb squat.

[quote]Cephalic_Carnage wrote:
Stronghold wrote:
Steel Nation wrote:
Johnnie Jackson is an IFBB pro who also competes in the USPF in the 308 (I think?) class. IIRC he is competitive but nothing spectacular.

Yeah, 800+ lb pulls at 242 and 220 are nothing spectacular.

Man, that’s just as weak as that Jeremy Hoornstra guy with his 700+ lb raw bench at 242… If he’d only stop training like a bodybuilder he might just end up with some real numbers, right?

Or how about Justin Harris…

Not saying that these guys are the norm either.

I think that the Dr. Squat vs. Tom Platz thing sums it up perfectly… Platz did 500 for 23 reps pretty much ass to grass, Dr. Squat did way more weight for singles.

Platz would get squished flat by a 1000 lb bar (unless maybe if he were training specifically for it) and Hatfield would fall over dead long before he reached rep 23 on 500 lb ATG squats (unless he had trained for it specifically).

Come on people, what purpose does comparing apples to oranges serve?

[/quote]

In that case it depends on how you deffine strength.

There is also a difference between max weight lifted and max force generated. I read a study that compared explosive o-lifters to powerlifters in the squat (I can’t seem to find the article). They measured force generated. The o-lifters generated more force but couldn’t lift as much weight. They could however accelarate a smaller weight faster and generate a higher force.

In that case, who is “stronger”?

I agree, apples and oranges.

[quote]IainK wrote:
Firstly the ulitmate test of strength is really; floor to overhead, squat, bench and deadlift :slight_smile:

Anyway most PL would be stronger than a BB of equal weight etc, in most lifts. Any pressing, deadlifting or squat variants the PL would be at an advantage. This already covers alot of ground including grip strength. Sure this advantage would be greatest in the powerlifts, but would extend throught the body. I forsee that it would be some single joint lifts or machine lifts that the difference would be the least and a BB may well do better at.

So we have a PL def being stronger (comparing like for like) at;

Floor to OH
Benching
Squating
Deadlifting

Whilst BB may win;

Curls
Side raises

Not much of a contest?

Thats not to say that BB arn’t strong. But compared to a PL or Weightlifter they are gona come off 2nd best at most meaningfull tests of whole body strength.

[/quote]Too many gave good responses so I had to pick something.

So what we’ve established so far is:
-bodybuilders may fare better in some single joint and machine exercises (for example leg press,hamstring curl,tricep extension,curls)
-technique makes some difference in powerlifting performance. It’s not huge like weightlifting but it probably makes SOME difference. Like a bodybuilder does not have to try to find the proper technique to suit poor leverages for deadlifting,benching,stretch reflex manipulation etc.
-a bodybuilder will or has the opportunity to switch exercises around,which discourages consistent development in specific lifts to some extent.

I may be wrong but I don’t think the last two facts are very often brought up in introductions to weights. So the beginner is left with the idea that high repping weight will discourage optimal limit strength development. May it be so, but how much difference do those factors that are usually not mentioned make? How drastic is the difference really? I think ignorance about those factors may be skewing people’s,beginners’ perceptions for the worse.

[quote]Alffi wrote:
IainK wrote:
Firstly the ulitmate test of strength is really; floor to overhead, squat, bench and deadlift :slight_smile:

Anyway most PL would be stronger than a BB of equal weight etc, in most lifts. Any pressing, deadlifting or squat variants the PL would be at an advantage. This already covers alot of ground including grip strength. Sure this advantage would be greatest in the powerlifts, but would extend throught the body. I forsee that it would be some single joint lifts or machine lifts that the difference would be the least and a BB may well do better at.

So we have a PL def being stronger (comparing like for like) at;

Floor to OH
Benching
Squating
Deadlifting

Whilst BB may win;

Curls
Side raises

Not much of a contest?

Thats not to say that BB arn’t strong. But compared to a PL or Weightlifter they are gona come off 2nd best at most meaningfull tests of whole body strength.

Too many gave good responses so I had to pick something.

So what we’ve established so far is:
-bodybuilders may fare better in some single joint and machine exercises (for example leg press,hamstring curl,tricep extension,curls)
-technique makes some difference in powerlifting performance. It’s not huge like weightlifting but it probably makes SOME difference. Like a bodybuilder does not have to try to find the proper technique to suit poor leverages for deadlifting,benching,stretch reflex manipulation etc.
-a bodybuilder will or has the opportunity to switch exercises around,which discourages consistent development in specific lifts to some extent.

I may be wrong but I don’t think the last two facts are very often brought up in introductions to weights. So the beginner is left with the idea that high repping weight will discourage optimal limit strength development. May it be so, but how much difference do those factors that are usually not mentioned make? How drastic is the difference really? I think ignorance about those factors may be skewing people’s,beginners’ perceptions for the worse.

[/quote]

Why? How is any of that information going to change how anyone trains?

Many powerlifters do lighter assistance work in higher rep ranges…many switch these around on a weekly basis.

At least some bodybuilders consistently squat and pull heavy for low reps.

I think most people actually involved in those sports at the higher levels train appropriately for themselves. Beginners make all kinds of mistakes…the ones you are worrying about are just a drop in the bucket. Beginners should get to lifting with strong, experienced guys, or at least listening to them to get on track as fast as possible.

Masturbatory topic in my opinion.

[quote]Stronghold wrote:
Steel Nation wrote:
Johnnie Jackson is an IFBB pro who also competes in the USPF in the 308 (I think?) class. IIRC he is competitive but nothing spectacular.

Yeah, 800+ lb pulls at 242 and 220 are nothing spectacular.[/quote]

I guess I didn’t remember correctly.

[quote]Stronghold wrote:
Steel Nation wrote:
Johnnie Jackson is an IFBB pro who also competes in the USPF in the 308 (I think?) class. IIRC he is competitive but nothing spectacular.

Yeah, 800+ lb pulls at 242 and 220 are nothing spectacular.[/quote]

When did JJ deadlift 800+ at both 242 and 220?

[quote]Steel Nation wrote:
Stronghold wrote:
Steel Nation wrote:
Johnnie Jackson is an IFBB pro who also competes in the USPF in the 308 (I think?) class. IIRC he is competitive but nothing spectacular.

Yeah, 800+ lb pulls at 242 and 220 are nothing spectacular.

I guess I didn’t remember correctly.[/quote]

What’s his other lifts like…??

A big deadlift does not a great powerlifter make.

Doesn’t say what meet, but this is part of an interview with JJ:

[ Q ] For the record, what are your best lifts?

  At that one show I did a 2127 pound total, for the three lifts. In competition, I've deadlifted 814 pounds, and I weigh 216 pounds. That was three weeks before the Nationals. My best squat so far is 826 pounds. This year I was headed to break 900 pounds, but that will have to weight until next year.

[ Q ] And your best bench press is?

  My best bench press is 525 pounds. This year it was getting to where I was doing that for a few reps. Put it that way. I had to give up on powerlifting this year when I hired Tom and focused on getting ready for these shows.

[quote]undesired08 wrote:
Doesn’t say what meet, but this is part of an interview with JJ:

[ Q ] For the record, what are your best lifts?

  At that one show I did a 2127 pound total, for the three lifts. In competition, I've deadlifted 814 pounds, and I weigh 216 pounds. That was three weeks before the Nationals. My best squat so far is 826 pounds. This year I was headed to break 900 pounds, but that will have to weight until next year.

[/quote]

Holy crap. That’s freakin huge.

Jon Cole, bench 600+ squat 900+ DL 880+, at around 260 in 1972 pre suit.

Also split Clean 440 split snatch 340, Milt press 440 BN Press 400 and could throw a baseball 100 yards, and beat the WR holder in the AAU nats in Discus in 1969.

Pat Casey, 600 bench 800 squat 700 DL long before anyone dreamed of suits
lying tricep extension 325 x3,
Dips 300+ for reps
BD inc (over 45 degs) 200+ Dbs
etc etc.

Most PLers I trained with had a wide range of strength in a wide range of lifts.

Remember Lou F. embarassing himself with his failure at locking out a 275 jerk in superstars.

I trained with a 60kg 19 year old in 1974 who could jerk 292lb …after cleaning it…I felt so embarassed for Lou that day…sure Barney Oldfield made him feel okay…

and shouldn’t this have been put on the bbing board where they all would agree with you anyway…

last athletic bber was Grimek…