Editor, PlanetArabia Magazine
To the layperson, bodybuilders and powerlifters are two faces of the same coin, while in fact they are different.
Bodybuilders dream of lean muscular bodies. Powerlifters are fixated on maximizing their power to lift heavier weights.
Powerlifting is a form of weightlifting where strength, skill and balance are exerted in three different lifts: squats, bench-press and deadlifts. In powerlifting competitions, each competitor is given three attempts for each kind of lift, and the highest weight in each lift is then calculated to compute the total score. There are different kinds of powerlifting: raw or unequipped powerlifting, geared or equipped powerlifting and youth powerlifting.
Different lifts and lifting styles are used depending on the type of training and the individual muscles to be exercised. The following are some of the main lifts used:
The lifter must stand in front of the rack with the barbell resting on his/her shoulders. He/she must then remove the barbell from the rack, drop down to a squat position, with chest lifted and the hip joint lower than the knees, raise it back up to a standing position and return it back to the rack.
Lying on the bench, the lifter must remove the barbell with straight arms, lower it down to his/her chest and then press it back up to a straight-arm position.
The barbell is on the floor. The lifter’s chest is raised, his/her back arched. He/she must raise the bar up to knee level and then return it back to the floor.
Bodybuilding is a form of sport where bodybuilders have extremely low levels of body fat and highly muscular size and shape. They develop muscular bodies and some compete in official championships. Bodybuilders have a wider range of exercises, with both free and machine weights, as compared to other weightlifting disciplines. They concentrate more on muscle size and their body features than on actual strength.
In bodybuilding, the trainee chooses not to train the entire body in one session. This is called the “split”. The different types of splits are: push/pull workout, antagonistic muscle workout (back and chest together, arms and shoulders, and then legs in a separate session), one-body-part-a-day split, etc.
According to specialists and personal trainers, the most common injuries sustained in bodybuilding and powerlifting are shoulder and lower back injuries. Shoulder injury is caused by a dysfunction of the subscapularis, which is the muscle that stabilizes the shoulder joint and constitutes the rotator cuff. This injury occurs during the barbell bench press. The lower back injury occurs during squat and deadlift exercises.
Benefits of Powerlifting
Powerlifting improves strength in the muscles of the legs, back and upper body. Each of the lifts targets a specific type strength building. For example, the deadlift strengthens the back and the legs. Powerlifting also helps burn a great deal of calories. Intense training not only burns large amounts of calories, but also has a long-term effect on metabolism. It also increases athletic abilities and reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis.
Benefits of Bodybuilding
Bodybuilding creates lean muscle mass and streamlines the body’s structure. It can be a way of bulking up, but can also be a great way to lose weight and increase the body’s metabolism such that the body continues burning fat long after one has stopped exercising. With today’s improved bodybuilding equipment, both sexes can train. Women can use Pilates to flex and build muscles that are both graceful and strong looking.
Bodybuilding also increases stamina and endurance. It helps the body metabolize its nutrients more effectively and assists with balance and motor control. Moreover, bodybuilding is an effective “anti-aging activity”. Building stronger bones, becoming more active and mobile and building core strength are all factors that assist with “anti-aging”.
Ali Obaji, a 21-year-old powerlifter says “At first, I started powerlifting as a passtime, but then I got hooked. My tip to beginners is: don’t be intimidated by the gym or the free weights room. Everyone around you will help because they were in your shoes before they advanced.”
Ahmad Chaiban, 22-year-old professional trainer and silver medal powerlifter, advises lifters to be careful in the gym. He says “Injuries at gyms are frequent and training must therefore be done under professional guidance and with extreme care. Also, steroids and other similar drugs must be avoided because of their adverse side effects.”