Home Physiological Lifestyle Differences between Weightlifting and Powerlifting

Differences between Weightlifting and Powerlifting


Powerlifting and weightlifting are the two sports that aim at testing the limits of human strength. While they both have a shared goal- lifting as much weight as possible – there are a few key differences between them, as shall be highlighted in this post. The build of weightlifters and powerlifters is wildly different from that of bodybuilders. The latter aims at aesthetics mostly, while the former aims at brute strength. The powerlifters and weightlifters therefore represent what a truly strong human body is like. Thus, a midsection filled with abs is hilariously impractical in these lifts. That said, here are the differences between them.


Weightlifting requires speed, as the movement is supposed to be done quickly. The snatch and the clean have to be gotten right the first time. Powerlifting is slower in execution in comparison. It allows the lifter just a little time to adjust their lift for best results.

The tempo however, stops to matter when the weight really comes into play. When you are pushing close or beyond your limits, the movement will still be slow. However, as far as failure goes, a powerlifter will likely fail during the middle part of moving the weight, while a weight lifter will more likely fail in the start or last part of the lift.


For weightlifters, success comes from having the ability to generate high levels of power for an explosive move. The extension of the arms or legs has to be done in the quickest time. For powerlifters, success lies in having the ability to move through the first part of the lift. It is therefore a battle of momentum vs. control. Weightlifting requires the lifter to initiate and maintain the momentum, while powerlifting has more to do with controlling the weight and making sure the balance is not lost during the final part of the lift.


The loads in powerlifting are far greater than those in weightlifting. This is the reason why powerlifters are always surrounded by spotters in any event because the weights involved are usually colossal.

The biomechanics of the two lifts are also somewhat different.

Which one is ideal for bodybuilders?

Weightlifting and powerlifting need not be reserved for individuals only. They carry with them many benefits that can help you in your fitness pursuits.

For bodybuilders, powerlifting is ideal for hypertrophy. They offer greater stimulation to the muscles and can lead to dramatic increases in both size and power. The demands of this lift will help you overcome any plateaus you will inevitably hit, and help push you further than you could ever go with supersets and dropsets.

This is not to say that weightlifting does not have its place. Any athlete stands to benefit from the explosive power that this lift bestows. The use of both high force and quick contracting speeds leads to significant improvements in performance.

Performing both this lifts requires an astute adherence to proper technique. The risk for injury is far too great to ignore, and this means practicing the proper techniques and movements before attempting high loads.

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