Powerlifting vs weightlifting, what is the difference? Fitness trainers answer the most googled questions

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What are powerlifting and weightlifting and how do I do them? Stylist Strong trainers answer the most googled health and fitness questions.

It’s 2020 and the words on everyone’s lips are weightlifting and powerlifting. But what’s the difference between the two?

Every week we ask three trainers from Stylist Strong some of the most-asked questions surrounding weight training and fitness. This time they’ve got all the info on what powerlifting and weightlifting, the difference between the two and how we can all start lifting.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN POWERLIFTING AND WEIGHTLIFTING?  

EMMA OBAYUVANA, TRAINER AT STYLIST STRONG

“They’re both competitive sports. In powerlifting the focus is to lift as heavy as possible in a single plane of motion, so squat, bench or deadlift. In weightlifting there are two movements, there’s snatch and there’s clean and jerk, and they are executed much faster. In weightlifting the difference is that people, the competitors, are judged on not only how much they can lift but on their technical skill and the control of the lift too.”

TESS GLYNN-JONES, TRAINER AT STYLIST STRONG

“In powerlifting everything is pretty slow and controlled. In weightlifting you have your two different movements and they’re explosive, which means they’re done in a sudden burst of movement. In both of them you’re trying to lift as much as possible, but they’re different movements.”

CAROLINE BRAGG, MASTER TRAINER AT STYLIST STRONG

“Powerlifting and weightlifting are different moves in competitions. Weightlifting lifts require skill, precision and control. Powerlifting moves are more about the amount you lift.”

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE IN TRAINING APPROACHES?

EMMA OBAYUVANA, TRAINER AT STYLIST STRONG

“In powerlifting, because the focus is on lifting as much weight as possible in one rep, the training is kind of echoing that. In weightlifting the movements are highly technical, so the training is focussed on technique and power.”

TESS GLYNN-JONES, TRAINER AT STYLIST STRONG

“With powerlifting it’s more about building strength, so you’ll have a lot of time under tension and everything will be quite slow because you’re building that strength, whereas with weightlifting you’ll break the movements down a lot. With weightlifting there’s more room for error so everything is a bit more geared towards having a really good movement pattern.”

weightlift

DO THEY BUILD STRENGTH?

EMMA OBAYUVANA, TRAINER AT STYLIST STRONG

“It’s important to remember that powerlifting and weightlifting don’t mean just going to the gym to lift some weights. Both are competitive sports and both will build muscle, but in different ways. It just depends on which you might want to compete in and which sounds more attractive.”

TESS GLYNN-JONES, TRAINER AT STYLIST STRONG

“I’d say powerlifting is better for building muscle, because you’re going to be lifting heavier loads and creating more in terms of muscle growth. However both of them are going to be pretty low reps so you’re going to be building strength more than you’ll be building muscle. I would do more of the bodybuilding if you want to build muscle.”

CAROLINE BRAGG, MASTER TRAINER AT STYLIST STRONG

“Consistency is key when starting to build muscle. It doesn’t happen overnight and key factors like sleep, nutrition and stress play a part. I would advise having a plan from a PT to help you programme.”

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