Johnnie O. Jackson breaks down the hardcore truth on whether you should train like a powerlifter or a bodybuilder.

Welcome to the Hardcore Truth – our new podcast and digital series staring one of the strongest pro bodybuilders in the world – Johnnie O. Jackson. Known for his incredible physique, strength, and hardcore training sessions with Branch Warren, Johnnie is gearing up with a mic and camera to share his most valuable lessons from a career in bodybuilding and strength training. This week, Johnnie O. Jackson breaks down his background of powerlifting training and bodybuilding training – and how you can use both to enhance your physique to optimal levels.

Johnnie O. Jackson is a notable bodybuilder not only for his impressive physique. He is also known for being one of the strongest pro bodybuilders in the sport. This is due to the fact that Jackson has competed as both a powerlifter and a bodybuilder. He’s trained in both disciplines and has used what he’s learned in both arenas to enhance his success. This mentality is very similar to legendary 8x Mr. Olympia champion Ronnie Coleman.

Many believe that Johnnie O. Jackson started as a powerlifter and then became a bodybuilder. But this isn’t true. In fact, Johnnie O. Jackson started out as a bodybuilder, discovered powerlifting for some time, and then went back to pro bodybuilding. Jumping into powerlifting after already spending some time developing his physique was a blessing in disguise. It helped him look at his bodybuilding training in a new way.

Johnnie O. Jackson advises the viewers in his latest episode – “You’re only as strong as your weakest body part.” This is just as true in bodybuilding as it is in powerlifting. But with powerlifting – that notion becomes clear much faster. Powerlifting is based on raw strength. If you have a weak body part – you’ll literally be able to lift less. So for a powerlifter, the most important thing to focus on is bringing up your most negative features.

Johnnie O. Jackson took this concept and applied it to his bodybuilding career. He realized that a lacking body part is not something that should be ignored. In fact, it should become your number one focus. By introducing powerlifting training into your workout plan – you can build more strength. That strength can then be used to push harder on exercises that help sculpt your physique. Essentially, that added strength from powerlifting can help bring your lagging body parts where they need to be.

Ultimately, there are hundreds of different training styles. Some are better than others – but many are simply dependent on what works best for you and your mindset. For Johnnie O. Jackson, powerlifting training helped him push to new levels. That kind of hardcore lifting fit his personality and helped him excel. Perhaps powerlifting can be the hidden key that you need as well. And if it’s not – that’s okay. Do further research, open your mind, and find new ways that might fit best for you.

Regardless, powerlifting can be a valuable tool in your arsenal to help improve your fitness and bodybuilding goals. You can watch Johnnie O. Jackson go into full detail by watching our latest episode of the Hardcore Truth above.

Derek Dufour
Derek Dufour has been managing all digital operations on the Generation Iron Network for over six years. He currently manages a team of editors, writers, and designers to provide up-to-date content across the GI Network.