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Bodybuilding versus strength training

Bodybuilding and strength training. Two different training methods with two different goals. In this blog we discuss both training methods. We discuss the differences between these two methods in terms of training and goals and how they are judged during competitions. After reading this blog you will be able to distinguish between the two training methods and determine which training method suits your goal.


In bodybuilding, the goal is to increase muscle mass. Muscle growth (muscle hypertrophy) is a priority. It is important to stimulate the muscles as much as possible to get the desired results. Which weights are used in the gym to realize this are of secondary importance.

Both compound exercises and isolation exercises are important to be able to stimulate the muscles. Compound exercises such as the squat, deadlift and bench press are exercises that target a variety of muscle groups.

Isolation exercises are exercises targeting a smaller number of muscle groups. Examples of this are the bicep curl and fly. Often a rep range between 8 to 15 repetitions are chosen. During competitions, looks are judged: as mentioned earlier, muscle mass is important, but also definition of the body (dryness and hardness) and a proportioned body are points of attention for the jury.

Strength training

Strength training is mainly aimed at strengthening the muscles. Strength training can be used for a variety of purposes, such as rehabilitation, sport-specific training or when doing powerlifting. In this blog, we'll cover powerlifting, the most common strength training in the gym.

Powerlifting is a type of strength training where the most important aspect is how much weight can be moved. Good technique is important, stimulating the muscles is of secondary importance. A big difference compared to bodybuilding as you can see. In powerlifting, the aforementioned compound exercises are the most important exercises, these are the competition components. Isolation exercises serve purely as supporting exercises to strengthen the compound exercises. Powerlifters often train with short sets and few repetitions, especially during compound exercises. Think of 1 - 6 repetitions.

During competitions, the full execution of the exercise and the amount of weight being moved are judged. First, the execution must be done properly: is the squat deep enough? etc. After that, the amount of weight that is being moved is looked at. The score of the different parts are added together and the final winner is the one with the highest final score.

Tips to reach your goals quickly

Set your goals before you enter the gym: do I go for the looks through bodybuilding or do I want to increase my strength through powerlifting? Based on this you can put together a training schedule. Do not hesitate to approach fitness instructors at your gym, after all, they are there. In addition, you can learn a lot from bodybuilders like Kai Greene, Jay Cutler and Phil Heath and bodybuilders like Mariusz Pudzianowksi, Thor Bjornsson and Brian Shaw.

Can't I combine both?

There is a combination of strength training and bodybuilding, namely power bodybuilding, but this is only for a selected group. Before you start, it is important that you have mastered both the basics of bodybuilding and powerlifting. The purpose of power bodybuilding is to stimulate your muscles by means of heavy weights. If you're interested, Mike O'Hearn, the person with the most cover photo shoots in the world, is the prime example. There is also plenty of footage of him available on the internet.

In short

Whether you take Kai Greene, Mariusz Pudzianowski or Mike O'Hearn as an example, everyone started from the basics. Set goals before you start exercising and adjust your training method accordingly. Create a good training and nutrition schedule with the help of experts and the results can't fail to show. What stage are we going to see you on? Bodybuilding or powerlifting?