Jun 29, 2016

Bodybuilding, Weightlifting, or Powerlifting?

Although many people use the terms interchangeably, bodybuilding and weight lifting are quite different sports.

Bodybuilding is about the definition, symmetry, and proportion of the muscle groups.  Weights are used only for training.  Competition involves measurement and display.

Weightlifting is about getting as much weight into the air as possible.  It requires exceptional body strength but not necessarily definition or symmetry -- you can even have a belly.    Sajad Gharabi, the "Incredible Hulk" of Iran, has quite a bit of body fat.

Weightlifting predates bodybuilding by centuries.  "Strong men" once performed in circuses and carnivals, and had vaudeville routines.

Strong Man Contests are still popular.  Competitors lift everyday objects like rocks and tires.

And giant balls.

As an Olympic sport, weightlifting has two segments:

1. The snatch: lifting the barbell over your head in one continuous motion.

2. The clean and jerk: lifting the barbell to your shoulders, and then over your head.

The world record for the snatch goes to Behdad Salimi (471 pounds), and for the clean and jerk, Aleksey Lovchev (582 pounds).

Powerlifting is an amateur weightlifting sport involving 3 segments:

1. The squat: bend your knees with the barbell on your shoulders.

2. The bench press: push the barbell up from a supine position.

3. The deadlift: lift the barbell from the ground to hip level and back.

The world record for a raw squat (without wraps) goes to Eric Lilliebridge (960 pounds), and raw deadlift goes to Benedict Magnusson (1014 pounds).

Since there is less risk of injury than in Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting is popular in high schools and colleges.

Many gay men prefer bodybuilding, since there's more definition and more body on display -- weightlifters typically don't even take their shirts off -- and you're supposed to be appreciating the aesthetic beauty of the human form.

But there's a beauty about raw strength, too.  Weightlifting has its moments.

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