Powerbuilding: Increase Power & Build Quality Muscle with Powerbuilding Routines &
Powerbuilding is the art of pumping raw power out of a
well-developed, highly symmetrical physique. Its where pure performance meets the aesthetic
appeal. Not only being muscular in all the right places, but having the strength & power to earn the
So you want to look like a bodybuilder and at the same time compete in a powerlifting competition? Is this
possible? Yes...but just to clarify upfront, its going to be very difficult.
The first step is to understand your genetic predisposition and makeup and set your goals based
on that understanding. It pays to be realistic and practical with your goals before you try to compete in either
When it comes to competing as a bodybuilder, whether at the national or local level, you have to accept the
limitations of your individual body and structure. There needs to be a somewhat favorable, proportional
skeletal symmetry that you're born with in order to have a chance on the competitive stage of
bodybuilding. For example, someone with short legs and a long torso doesn't have the kind of proportion that is
going to get high marks by the judges. If you have some of these inherent limitations, it would be
better to aim for a lean and muscular physique and feel personally satisfied with your body rather than going after
short-term excitement on the stage.
On a positive note, if you're "inherently limited" to compete on the bodybuilding stage, that may just
be your ticket to have a great future in the sport of Powerlifting. A short torso can be advantageous to lifting
heavier in a deadlift, while short arms can aid in pumping out some explosive bench presses.
But, if you possess the best of both worlds, a symmetry that matches the award-winning
bodybuilders and a basic strength level that indicates a bright future in powerlifting, how do you train to achieve
the best possible results in both?
First of all, its important to pay close attention to your health and modify your diet and nutritional
requirements according to your goals. In order to compete in both powerlifting and bodybuilding, you'll need to use
a seasonal training approach to train in cycles that optimize different goals.
Bodybuilding demands a high training volume on a weekly basis, composed of many isolation moves
and short rest between sets. This combination of assaulting the muscle groups with lots of sets and short rests
leads to greater hypertrophy, while the isolation moves help to refine and shape specific muscles. In season, the
diet restrictions for bodybuilders can be brutal, typically eating very low calories and low carbs to drop bodyfat
as low as possible. 5-6 days of split bodypart training becomes the norm, and during the diet restriction phases,
strength levels are far from optimal.
Powerlifting is almost a completely different beast when it comes to training and eating. Isolation moves hold
very little value and the emphasis is now on big compound movements. Short rest periods become the enemy of
strength because 5-7 minutes are needed between sets to fully recover the energy and central nervous systems for
another maximum intensity set. Dieting and fatloss become pointless and counterproductive, because there's no room
to feel weak at all! On top of that, training is less frequent, with maybe 5-6 sessions in a 2
week period to maximize recovery between days.
In the powerlifting phase, its all about the 3 main lifts, the Bench, Squat and Deadlift, and
completely revolving your training to increase these lifts. Since they are intense, compound movements, greater
rest between sets is naturally needed. Infact, prolonging the routine with isolation moves can actually reduce
power in these lifts or keep it from increasing. After a heavy squatting session, calf raises are skipped over to
get home and get some much needed rest.
A Note About Bodyfat
Now that you have an idea on how to train for bodybuilding vs powerlifting, and that the best approach is to
focus on seasonally training for each one with singular focus, its important to note that you MUST be
conservative when competing in either event. During bodybuilding season, its best to give it your best
shot in one event, rather than trying to enter two events that will require you to carry very low bodyfat levels
for extended periods of time.
The longer you carry very low bodyfat levels, the more likely you are to experience muscle AND
strength loss, which will really set you back during the powerlifting season. A simple glance at most powerlifters
will clearly show that these individuals are not shy of eating in a big way. In addition to periodizing your
training in different seasons, and not trying to blend both training styles together, its equally important that
you periodize your eating habits and not be overly concerned with bodyfat levels during the
As for the few, genetically gifted individuals that were able to defy the rules and and stay
extremely ripped even while powerlifting, we would say that following the lead of these genetically gifted
individuals will cause major dissapointments for you, because most individuals just don't have the natural
disposition to stay very ripped and extra powerful at the same time.