6 Reasons Why Bodybuilders are More Ripped Than Powerlifters

Although bodybuilding and powerlifting revolve around lifting weights, the goals of these sports are different. The different end objectives cause the athletes from these sports to have vastly diverse physiques.

While the bodybuilders have ripped physiques with a focus on muscle aesthetics and symmetry, the powerlifters are usually heavier and don’t show much muscle definition. In this article, we’ll try to understand what causes this disparity.

Reasons Why Bodybuilders are More Ripped Than Powerlifters

Different Goals

A bodybuilder’s goal is to build muscle mass and a powerlifter focuses on lifting heavier weights. The different goals need both types of athletes to follow different types of training routines.

Bodybuilders use training splits to work one or two muscle groups in a day and will often wait a week before training the same muscle group again. Powerlifters, on the other hand, focus on the three basic lifts – squats, deadlifts and squats and might even perform them every day.

Time Under Tension

The main objective of powerlifters is to move big weights and they try doing it as quickly as possible so it doesn’t put unnecessary tension on their muscles and joints. Bodybuilders lift weights to break their muscle tissue so it can grow back bigger and stronger.

The bodybuilders experiment with the time under tension and change it up to shock their muscles. Bodybuilders take shorter rest times between sets to annihilate their muscles while the powerlifters don’t start the next set until they have recovered from the fatigue.

Nutrition Programs

Bodybuilders follow nutrition plans which take into account their micro and macronutrients. Protein, carbs, and fats play a big role in a bodybuilder’s diet, whereas the powerlifters usually focus on meeting their daily calorie goals.

Bodybuilders stick to a strict diet and might even follow diets like keto, intermediate fasting, IIFYM, etc. Powerlifters don’t hold themselves back from any type of food if their daily calorie limit allows it. In short, a powerlifter’s normal meal could well be a bodybuilder’s cheat meal.

Higher Reps and Chasing the Pump

Powerlifters stick to lifting big weights for a smaller number of reps as their goal is to set a 1RM in a powerlifting meet. In their training, powerlifters at max could perform 5-10 reps on an exercise.

Bodybuilders use muscle hypertrophy to grow their muscles which usually makes them do 8-15 reps in every set. Bodybuilders are known to be chasers of muscle pumps and use techniques like mind-muscle connection and visualization to achieve it.

Hitting Failure and Advanced Training Principles

Bodybuilders try to hit muscle failure in every exercise and the powerlifters might train to muscle failure only when they are working on their conditioning. Hitting failure fills the muscles with blood and lactic acid which makes the muscles grow bigger and fuller which is primarily the goal of a bodybuilder.

Bodybuilders also use advanced training techniques like supersets, drop-sets, blood flow restriction training (BFR), intraset stretching and many more to torcher their muscles into growing.

Use of Machines

Bodybuilders like to use machines in their workouts to isolate their muscles and train for muscle conditioning. The powerlifter’s gyms are usually bare bone as they focus on squats, deadlifts, and bench presses.

A powerlifter will majorly perform compound movements in his workouts whereas a bodybuilder will have a combination of compound and isolation exercises in his training routine.


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