Ahh the famous Bodybuilders vs Powerlifters debate. Common sense says that powerlifters are stronger and that bodybuilders are bigger. Sounds good right. But let’s explore those claims in a little more detail right away.
You may hear that subject a lot from bros in your gym. But yo pro bodybuilders are juiced up to hell and they’re not even that strong. ”It’s all pump and steroids man!” Well this is somewhat true but at that same time not even close to reality. Yes you will hear guys like Kai Greene and other bodybuilders tell you that building muscle size and definition for the scene has nothing to do with lifting heavy weights. We’re not powerlifters they say. It’s all about technique, contraction, time under tension and breaking the muscle down so that it grows back bigger. Here’s a video of Kai Greene stressing the fact that it’s all about stretching and contraction.
Kai Greene : we’re not powerlifters
A few examples of how heavy bodybuilders can lift :
- Benchpress (1-rep max.) : 550 pounds;
- Squat (1-rep max) : 700 pounds;
- Deadlift (3 reps) : 675 pounds.
Back to the powerlifters vs bodybuilders debate :
Strongmen vs bodybuilders
This is where the difference is. Previously I told you that BB’ers weren’t that far behind powerlifters, but this simply doesn’t hold true in the case of strongmen. The world’s strongest men, like Hugo Girard, Mariusz Pudzianowski, Brian Shaw and many others are way stronger than bodybuilders. Why? Because they have functional strenght
That means they’re not only good at doing the main three lifts (squat, benchpress and deadlift) that are somewhat imaginary and movements that you never replicate exactly in real life, but they convert their strength into functional movement like lifting heavy rocks, throwing barrels very high, carrying super heavy logs and so on.
That kind of movement requires strength from the main muscle groups of course but also a lot of stabilizer muscles that don’t really help a bodybuilder win contests. You might have an argument that Mariusz, even being the strongest man in the world for a while, could do well in BB’ing and I would have to agree. That guy is a machine.
- Bodybuilders are not as strong as powerlifters in the 3 main lifts, but they could be pretty close if they focused on it;
- BB’ers are strong;
- Strongmen are way stronger than a body builder.