Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Is there an objective rationale of what is "better": Powerlifting or Bodybuilding

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Is there an objective rationale of what is "better": Powerlifting or Bodybuilding

    Hi guys,

    i find myself often in a discussion with friends over this topic. My friends are usually the "bench and curls 4-5 times a week" - guys and i am having a hard time to explain to them that powerlifting is "better" overall. So, my own preferences/biases aside, what does "better" even mean and is it actually better?

    Better could be:
    - more health benefits
    - compliance is better as in it is easier to do it for many many years
    - Maybe: Given a good nutrition, a powerlifter might look as good as a bodybuilder (is that true)
    - risk of injury is lower
    - mortality
    - girls like someone more if he is strong compared to he "just has a big biceps"?
    - ...

    I would love to have a discussion with you guys, but lets try to be as objective as possible and lets try to put our bias aside. Help me figure out to answer my question in the best possible way so i have good arguments when i am talking to my "lets do 300 curls before we go to the nightclub" friends. Of course i am interested in the answer myself. Maybe theres no good reason to do powerlifting other than personal preference.

    If you have a good argument - a study would be great as a backup

    Cheers

  • #2
    Training style can only be "better" or "worse" within the context of a unique individuals training goals. You need specific training to achieve specific goals. If someone's goals are bodybuilding then a bodybuilding program would be "better" than a powerlifting program. I saw Jordan say when someone asked him a similar question that BBM programming would be under training for the goal of maximizing muscle gains at all costs. Likewise, a bodybuilding program would be a poor choice for someone who's main goal is a maximum powerlifting total. If your friends just want to bro out and build a huge chest and arms and don't really care about anything else, then what they are doing is probably specific enough to their goals that it wouldn't even be worth trying to convince them otherwise.
    Last edited by PWard; 11-29-2018, 11:00 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by PWard View Post
      You need specific training to achieve specific goals.
      I basically agree to that, but:

      Originally posted by PWard View Post
      Training style can only be "better" or "worse" within the context of a unique individuals training goals.
      Who says that "training goals" should be subjective only? Maybe there are objective goals that should play a big role in choosing a goal? I have the goal of being a porfessional painter, but maybe its not the smartest idea because of "poor income for most of these people" so one would advise to seek out a different profession?

      Originally posted by PWard View Post
      If someone's goals are bodybuilding then a bodybuilding program would be "better" than a powerlifting program.
      No debate here. The "why" should someone choose such a program if he tries to look at it long term and objectively is the question? Same goes for powerlifting obv. Are there some objective meassures to decide?

      Originally posted by PWard View Post
      I saw Jordan say when someone asked him a similar question that BBM programming would be under training for the goal of maximizing muscle gains at all costs.
      The "...at all costs" is the part that is interesting here. Or, to put it differently, in a scenario where personal preference doesnt play a role, what are the benefits of one over the other? One might argue, that even if bodybuilding is your long term goal, you should still start with two years of powerlifting first so you have a good foundation to build on (dont know whether that might be true)

      Originally posted by PWard View Post
      Likewise, a bodybuilding program would be a poor choice for someone who's main goal in a maximum powerlifting total.
      Maybe it wouldnt as a start. Maybe it is advisable to do two years of bodybuilding to you learn "all" the exercises and have a bigger portfolio to choose from later in your powerlifting career. I dont know,... but that might be true?
      Last edited by jab; 11-29-2018, 11:23 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by voluntarySquatship
        1) Lots of ways to be a powerlifter and lots of ways to be a bodybuilder. That throws the whole discussion into the water but let's pretend that's not the case.

        In my opinion, it's better to be a bodybuilder without psychologic issues true bodybuilders usually have.

        In general, 2) bodybuilders are more generally developed, 3) sufficiently strong, 4) better work capacity and 5) better looking. 6) You will rarely see any benefit from just having a better SBD in real life.

        ​​​
        1) I probably meant it as: Training for strength (as the only main goal and not careing about maximal hypertrophy) compared to training for muscle hypertrophy (as the only main goal and not about strength)

        2) I made the same argument in my last posting, is that true?

        3) I know that Austin & Jordan spoke about the health benefits that someone gets from strength training and the threshhold someone needs to overcome to get all the health benefits.I think i remember Austin saying, that we dont know where this threshhold is but it is supposed to be very low (i.e. not a 405lbs but maybe a 225lbs Squat). So i would agree on that - probably

        4) Does work capacity have any positive effects after a certain threshold in real life? Is it better to be able to run a marathon than being able to jog every day for 20min? I dont know, hence my question?

        5) Subjective but ok, thats fine with me. BBs bulk a lot i guess, so are they year round better looking or are we talking about the bro who kinda tries to have a clean diet and just does a lot of isolation exercises for 5 sets of 10?

        6) I guess that is very very very debatable. Since basicly every exercise has benefits over no exercise. So having a good/great SBD, has lots of benefits in real life. I guess the existence of BBM itself and what the guys who run she show here do, has as main motivation the axiom of being beneficial
        Last edited by jab; 11-29-2018, 11:27 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by jab View Post

          Who says that "training goals" should be subjective only? Maybe there are objective goals that should play a big role in choosing a goal? I have the goal of being a porfessional painter, but maybe its not the smartest idea because of "poor income for most of these people" so one would advise to seek out a different profession?
          Subjective or objective goals both can be counted in what I mentioned above. One could certainly argue that a powerlifter is more objective in their goals (wanting to hit specific numbers on specific lifts) and bodybuilders are more subjective (wanting to just look "good"). Either way, whatever goals someone chooses dictates what specific form of training is best suited to accomplish them. Someone might just want to improve general health, lose a little blubber, and build a social circle to help hold them accountable, and *gasp* Crossfit might actually be a better choice for said person than either powerlifting or bodybuilding. You really have to look at the unique individuals wants and needs. What is interesting I think in the objective vs subjective debate is that someone's personality will also have a lot to do with what type of training they are more drawn to. I don't think it's a coincidence that a lot of us left brain people (engineers, doctors, scientists, etc) find ourselves more on the powerlifting side of things because we are naturally objective and both love and understand numbers. That kind of thing turns off the more right brained people out there.

          Originally posted by jab View Post

          No debate here. The "why" should someone choose such a program if he tries to look at it long term and objectively is the question? Same goes for powerlifting obv. Are there some objective meassures to decide?
          Not really. It really comes down to what their goals are, and of course what motivates them and what they can comply with. Compliance arguably is more important than even goals, since someone could work the best program in the world for their goals but if it doesn't motivate them enough to comply with it then what good is it anyway?

          Originally posted by jab View Post

          The "...at all costs" is the part that is interesting here. Or, to put it differently, in a scenario where personal preference doesnt play a role, what are the benefits of one over the other? One might argue, that even if bodybuilding is your long term goal, you should still start with two years of powerlifting first so you have a good foundation to build on (dont know whether that might be true)
          Yes the at all costs is the interesting part. The average gym bro is not exclusively interested in powerlifting or bodybuilding. Their goals are a mixture of both. The optimum program for them should reflect that, as their specific goals will require specific training for both. I would also argue that bodybuilding and powerlifting aren't so different. To maximize either you're going to do a lot of the same stuff. If I were making a program to maximize hypertrophy I would definitely include some form of squatting, benching, and pulling. The devil is in the details. Volume will be a little different, rep ranges will be a little different, intensity will be a little different, exercise selection will be a little different, but for the most part they will still be picking up and putting down heavy weights and the core of their training should still be compound movements, imo. I think that the benefits to the average person to both would be the same. Both are going to increase strength and muscle mass which are important for health reasons. Both are going to improve insulin sensitivity. Both are going to improve heart health. Both are likely to pay more attention to their food choices than the average person. Both are going to improve morbidity. It's basically a wash.
          Last edited by PWard; 11-30-2018, 12:36 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by PWard View Post

            Subjective or objective goals both can be counted in what I mentioned above. One could certainly argue that a powerlifter is more objective in their goals (wanting to hit specific numbers on specific lifts) and bodybuilders are more subjective (wanting to just look "good"). Either way, whatever goals someone chooses dictates what specific form of training is best suited to accomplish them. Someone might just want to improve general health, lose a little blubber, and build a social circle to help hold them accountable, and *gasp* Crossfit might actually be a better choice for said person than either powerlifting or bodybuilding. You really have to look at the unique individuals wants and needs.



            Not really. It really comes down to what their goals are, and of course what motivates them and what they can comply with. Compliance arguably is more important than even goals, since someone could work the best program in the world for their goals but if it doesn't motivate them enough to comply with it then what good is it anyway?



            Yes the at all costs is the interesting part. The average gym bro is not exclusively interested in powerlifting or bodybuilding. Their goals are a mixture of both. The optimum program for them should reflect that, as their specific goals will require specific training for both. I would also argue that bodybuilding and powerlifting aren't so different. To maximize either you're going to do a lot of the same stuff. If I were making a program to maximize hypertrophy I would definitely include some form of squatting, benching, and pulling. The devil is in the details. Volume will be a little different, rep ranges will be a little different, intensity will be a little different, exercise selection will be a little different, but for the most part they will still be picking up and putting down heavy weights and the core of their training should still be compound movements, imo. I think that the benefits to the average person to both would be the same. Both are going to increase strength and muscle mass which are important for health reasons. Both are going to improve insulin sensitivity. Both are going to improve heart health. Both are likely to pay more attention to their food choices than the average person. Both are going to improve morbidity. It's basically a wash.
            What PWard said.

            I think both will have essentially equivalent health outcomes in the long run. Which ever training style makes the person the most compliant will be the best in the end. Everyone here loves strength and has a bias for it, but it's not the best or only way to go about training.

            Comment


            • #7
              I love the compliant variable in the debate.

              So lets go back to the "you talk with your 20 / 25 / 30 yo friend who never lifted other then 3 month 5 yrs back" - example, and he asks you what his goal should be and why.

              Are there any merits of telling him: Go for powerlifting?

              I would compare it like this i guess:

              Powerlifting would be better, because hitting a certain number at a certain lift will not stop as a goal even when you get older and life changes. But maybe the goal of wanting to look good so the girls like you (and obv we all have this thought instilled in some way - well, i do) will not be there anymore after (maybe) getting the cute girl or marrying. So it would be easier to comply to a thought of hitting big numbers than being in good visual shape since the latter might change "easier/sooner"?

              I really dont know, i am totally clueless how to answer this question. I do want to do my team sport again in like 2 yrs and i am building up strength so i will be good at it. After playing it for another 2-3 yrs (and retireing from it) i am planning to go back to powerlifting, maybe strongman might be an alternative - i dont know. But maybe Bodybuilding might be an alternative as well. I really dont know.

              Comment


              • #8
                You know, nobody has ever asked me what their goals should be, hahaha. Of course, the correct answer is whatever my goals are, lol.

                As a serious answer though, if someone asked me that then instead of trying to sell them on powerlifting I would probably ask them some leading questions to get a feel for what they want, and use that combined with my knowledge of them as a person and what I think would motivate them to comply the most, to form a basis for recommendation. The best way to approach to someone clueless like that in my opinion is not to sell them on powerlifting, but to sell them on training in general and then find a way to match them up with the right specific training style that they are most likely to stick with long term. The average person getting into training doesn't last but a month or two, and the hypothetical person you mentioned already has a history of not sticking with it. The most important thing you can do is help find a way that will be easy for them to stay consistent.

                Regardless, whenever one of my friends gets into training I always invite them over to my gym and teach them how to SBD. Not only is it great experience teaching someone else the proper form on the lifts, but having them workout with you is a great way to judge their interest in powerlifting.
                Last edited by PWard; 11-30-2018, 12:59 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jab View Post
                  I love the compliant variable in the debate.

                  So lets go back to the "you talk with your 20 / 25 / 30 yo friend who never lifted other then 3 month 5 yrs back" - example, and he asks you what his goal should be and why.

                  Are there any merits of telling him: Go for powerlifting?

                  I would compare it like this i guess:

                  Powerlifting would be better, because hitting a certain number at a certain lift will not stop as a goal even when you get older and life changes. But maybe the goal of wanting to look good so the girls like you (and obv we all have this thought instilled in some way - well, i do) will not be there anymore after (maybe) getting the cute girl or marrying. So it would be easier to comply to a thought of hitting big numbers than being in good visual shape since the latter might change "easier/sooner"?

                  I really dont know, i am totally clueless how to answer this question. I do want to do my team sport again in like 2 yrs and i am building up strength so i will be good at it. After playing it for another 2-3 yrs (and retireing from it) i am planning to go back to powerlifting, maybe strongman might be an alternative - i dont know. But maybe Bodybuilding might be an alternative as well. I really dont know.
                  I like powerlifting because it has very specific goals and it's very easy to test if you are accomplishing those goals. I think it makes programming for it a little easier and straightforward. It's simple, hard, and effective (lol), and it's easy to understand why you're doing what you're doing, which I think drives good compliance in most people if you can get them started in it. The process of resistance training itself is probably the biggest driver of health and wellness outcomes, rather than the type of training specifically, and powerlifting has an obvious process and goal.

                  I'd have any beginner train with a barbell and have them focus on Squat, Bench, and Deadlift (if capable) for these reasons, but I understand it's my bias and that I have a hard time thinking outside of my bias.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I agree with P Ward that training goals are subjective

                    Because the question really is: “better for what?”

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Exactly. How does one define "better"? You could ask 1,000 people and come up with 1,000 different answers. What is "better" to one person is "worse" to another.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Neither. Strongman FTW..

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Even better, don't try to convince anyone. They've already made up their mind and almost nothing you can say will change it.

                          If they come and ask how you train, then the doors open to a bunch of possibilities.

                          Comment

                          Working...
                          X