What Is The Difference Between Powerlifting And Olympic Lifting?

There are many different types of lifting that you can do as you work on building up your muscle. Bodybuilding, powerlifting, and Olympic lifting, we want to focus on the later two. These two have a few primary differences that make them so different, which classifies them as very unique sports. Powerlifting focuses on strength performed in three main lifts.

It utilizes a lower rep range, and a slower tempo of movements during training. On the other hand Olympic weightlifting incorporates aspects of not just this sheer strength, but also power, speed, and mobility. Using movements that are very technical and are performed at a high tempo. 

Any type of weight training has well established benefits, for example the reduction in risk of osteoporosis, as well as an improvement in posture, fat loss, and even the bettering of mood and memory. But, knowing which type of lifting best suits you can actually be hidden in your DNA.

There are unique genes in your body that are linked to how well you can tolerate intensity and what volume of training is best for you. This is very similar to how the Alpha-actinin-3 gene has a variation that has been found in almost every Olympic sprinter.

This is not so different for professional lifters. You may be best suited to powerlifting, or you may be better suited for Olympic lifting. 

Your body can be naturally attuned to focus on strength performed in three lifts, such as is with powerlifting, or your body may be attuned to the multi-requirement training of Olympic weightlifting

Are powerlifters or weightlifters stronger? 

When asking if weightlifters or powerlifters are stronger there are a few things overall you want to have a look at. When you are watching at the gym, it can be a bit difficult to tell a powerlifter from a weightlifter. Both of these are very muscular and sometimes have hulking frames.

Powerlifters will often be bigger however, yet weightlifters will have less body fat overall. If you are comparing powerlifters and weightlifters, obviously you will have to take into account that each competitor/ individual is different, and so it depends on the personal strengths. Generally though, powerlifters have more strength than weightlifters do. 

This is generally due to the strength training, powerlifters are able to build an impressive amount of muscle and mass. The greater strength and power they have, they will be able to produce more power they have to lift. This makes sense as powerlifting competitions are based entirely on picking up the heaviest weights. 

Weight lifters focus more on speed and technique. They do not have to lift the heaviest weight in order to win, however they do need to lift the weight from the ground all the way above their head, powerlifters on the other hand do not, they only need to lift the bar a few feet off the ground and then set it back down. 

Does powerlifting help Olympic lifting? 

Olympic lifting and powerlifting can be useful to each other, however, they are not interchangeable as they are very different in how they are performed and the kind of weight training that they provide.  

Olympic lifts can certainly be useful to powerlifters, however you need to have already mastered the squats, bench press, and deadlift. Weightlifting exercises can also be used by powerlifters to encourage hypertrophy, to increase strength and stability, and also to develop more powerful movements of the upper and lower body. Olympic lifts are not always useful to powerlifters, some lifts would be a waste of time for powerlifters with very little carryover. The same can be said vice versa. 

However, Olympic lifting is a lot harder in comparison, it requires stellar mobility, more speed, it has more technicalities, and it often requires more training than powerlifting does. For this reason, Olympic lifting can be very useful to powerlifters, however powerlifting is not as useful to Olympic lifters, as there is no real need for it.

Olympic lifts require a lot more technique and talent than powerlifting does, and so while powerlifters have a lot to gain from putting some Olympic lifting into their routine, the same cannot be said for Olympic lifters. Power lifts are actually far easier to master than Olympic lifts, Olympic lifts can take 6 to 12 months to achieve reasonable efficiency in these lifts, and it can take upwards of years to master them.

It is really better for Olympic lifters to just focus on building their strength and experience in Olympic lifts

Why powerlifting is not an Olympic sport.

There are many strength based activities in the Olympics, we see these every time the Olympics comes round. But, why is powerlifting not an Olympic sport? There are plenty of strength based Olympic sports, why is powerlifting not one of them?

There have actually been many proposals from the International Powerlifting Federation to the International Olympic Committee asking for powerlifting to be recognized as a sport in future Olympic Games. 

Yet this proposal has been rejected for a few reasons, some of which are inequality of genders on the examination board, a lack of participation in at least 3 multi-sport games and a lack of sport for all commissions. 

The IPF claims to have always been compliant with the regulations, and they continue to ask for powerlifting to be recognized as an Olympic sport. However, it looks like there are efforts to improve powerlifting as a sport and to improve the mark of this sport upon the world.

There are a few other reasons why powerlifting won’t be included in the Olympics, for some there are many different federations out there and each has their own specific and niche set of rules. 

Another issue is the drug testing, as doping has always been an issue in competitive strength sports, due to the multiple federations that overlook powerlifting as a competitive sport, there is too wide of a variation of views on drug testing rules.