Bodybuilding vs. Powerlifting vs. Crossfit- Strength sports go head to head!

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Bodybuilding vs Powerlifting vs Crossfit. These three sports are what almost every gym goer does. We break down each sports pros and cons of each sport.

For those who’ve been lifting under a rock and wondering powerlifting is a sport wherein the aim is to lift the heaviest in the three most important lifts, namely the bench, deadlift and squat. Crossfit on the other hand is mainly high rep olympic lifting that is the butt of all jokes in the lifting community for it’s improper form although now it has been favored by the U.S military as well as producing some of the greatest functional athletes like Rich Froning. 

Everyone is familiar with Bodybuilding. It’s when you use a combination of compound and isolation exercises to build the most muscle mass that you can. But how functional is this muscle? Can it be used in sports? For that we need to understand what is powerlifting and crossfit are.

what is powerlifting

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What is Powerlifting?

Powerlifting training refers to building strength by training around the big 3 lifts, i.e. the bench press, deadlift and squat. This doesn’t mean you’ll not be training any other bodypart but competitive powerlifters will only be judged on how much weight they can lift in these areas. Hence aesthetics don’t play much of a value in powerlifting because the only objective is to bench the most, deadlift the most and/or squat the most. Accessory movements exist, but only to help carryover strength to the main lifts. 

As a result not many powerlifters are considered fat even though they will have an insane amount of strength. Bodybuilders tend to scoff at them as they say that powerlifting workouts don’t give equal importance for all body parts. Speaking of which, powerlifters use innovative techniques like chains, bands and the concept of periodization to grow from wee lifters to monsters who can squat close to 500kg! 

powerlifting workouts

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When comparing bodybuilding vs powerlifting it comes down to your priorities. Strength vs Muscle Mass. Powerlifters favor absolute strength and de-prioritize muscle mass growth. It’s just when you are playing with such heavy weights, an increase in muscle mass is just another of the benefits of powerlifting. Bodybuilding on the other hand does the exact opposite. No one cares what you lift as long as you look big. 

What is Crossfit?

Crossfit has very recently just exploded in popularity and the major difference in crossfit workouts is that it’s for a certain duration rather than for sets and reps like Bodybuilding. Crossfit has WOD or Workout of the Day wherein you perform a multitude of movements handpicked from Olympic Lifting, Bodybuilding and others. The problem here is that crossfit exercises are the reason why the sport is a laughing stock. Many people don’t advocate high rep olympic movements and incorrect versions of pull ups are also something that the body can not take, especially when fatigued. 

The benefits of Crossfit however are that for those specimens who endure it, it builds fantastic endurance and core strength. As a result, many crossfitters are seriously jacked. Aesthetic and gorgeous physiques coupled with the endurance of a sprinter. WOD’s don’t necessarily mean reps and sets aren’t used. It’s just that a full body Crossfit workout is considered a team building activity, unlike the individual sports Bodybuilding and/or Powerlifting. 

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Against Powerlifting, Crossfit is a high rep sport. Deadlifts are done for reps, not for max weights and the number is what you are chasing rather than the pump; in bodybuilding. 

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Here’s the thing though. Every sport by definition will have it’s pros and cons. People get sick of being regimented in Bodybuilding, eating 150g chicken breast every 10 minutes, of course this is an exaggeration but you get the point! In Powerlifting you come and only perform 3 exercises, day in and day out, although in terms of nutrition you can have burgers from Mc.Donalds. Little help this does, because now everyone thinks you’re fat even though you bench press 300kg. Lastly Crossfit an utterly confounding sport, is blamed a lot and if you identify as a cross fitter then all I can say is take care while you are performing kipping pull ups. 

This doesn’t mean that we should start being lazy and unmotivated. On the contrary, now that you know the flaws in the sport, you need to decide what to do. For the average gym goer, we’d recommend that you incorporate a bit of all of this into your training, so that you take maximum advantage of the shock your muscle receives so that you can make tremendous gains through progressive overload

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