If you asked any new trainer in the gym why he’s there, you’ll likely get one of three answers. First, “I’m here to get bigger”. This is to be expected. The second answer will probably be “I’m here to get stronger”. Again, this is a very reasonable goal. Finally, the most likely answer will combine the two and will sound something like, “I’m here to get bigger AND stronger”. (For the sake of this exercise, we’ll ignore those trainers seeking to lose body fat).
Now, the goal of getting bigger and stronger is quite a reasonable one. It’s very hard to do one without the other. If you lift weights to get bigger, you’ll get both bigger and stronger. And, if you lift weights to get stronger, there’s a good chance (provided you allow yourself a caloric surplus) that you will get bigger. For the beginner and intermediate trainer, the goals and the means to achieve them are fundamentally similar. The same exercises which deliver a solid base of muscle – the deadlift, bench press, and squat – happen to be the movements that athletes practice to become stronger as well.
It is when an athlete begins reaching the higher echelons of his sport that attention suddenly needs to be paid to narrowing down the focus of training. At this point, the weight trainer should decide whether he would like to continue being a ‘good’ bodybuilder and powerlifter, or if he wants to become ‘great’ at EITHER bodybuilding or powerlifting. Even in a sport full of chemically assisted genetic freaks, there are no two-sport athletes. To become a star bodybuilder, you have to make volume training your focus, and integrate a great deal of isolation movements to help etch detail into the muscle groups. Of course the heavy movements are useful for adding and keeping size. However, the amount of weight you use is irrelevant and affects nothing onstage.
On the other hand, trainers must make some serious adjustments if their goal is to exceed in the field of powerlifting. If your goal is to bench 400, squat 500, and deadlift 600 (or more!) then you’ll need to re-evaluate your training and remove some of those aspects which are tied primarily to bodybuilding. You’ll suddenly be training with lower repetitions and more weight. You’ll take longer breaks between sets. As a result, your pumps will subside and you will lose some of that size you’ve worked so hard for. Your total numbers on the major lifts will skyrocket – but you must be prepared for the loss of overall muscle size. Man cannot serve two masters, and despite their similarities, bodybuilding and powerlifting are two very different beasts.
It should be noted that many bodybuilders do find success for overcoming plateaus by employing powerlifting training routines. Likewise, some powerlifters often use bodybuilding techniques not only to improve their appearance, but to help add additional strength by hitting any weak body parts in their system which may be the weakest link in powerlifting movements. Select which field it is that you’d like to be a star, and run with it!
No comments yet.
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.