Bodybuilding for Powerlifters: It doesn’t do much but you should do it

I had some thoughts on the the idea that “powerlifters can learn a lot from bodybuilders” that’s floating around. Actually it’s not a new idea at all. Bob Hoffman used to run powerlifting meets and bodybuilding shows all on the same weekend. You can definitely make a pretty convincing argument that Powerlifting and Bodybuilding are two sides of the same coin. So should you train like a bodybuilder?

We’ve all heard guys try to make the case that putting size on their pecs or triceps translated to a bigger bench. Certainly the muscular-weakness paradigm is still very strong within Powerlifting. “I have weak quads” or “my triceps are holding back my Bench” are often heard. It’s interesting to note that this is largely an American phenomenon. American Powerlifting gets a lot of concepts from Bodybuilding, for instance: the necessity of Rows in exercise selection. A lot of these seem to be foreign to Powerlifting coaches outside of the US.

In my mind saying that tricep hypertrophy will increase your Bench is like saying that going to college will get you a high paying job. Yes, you have a better chance of getting that job had you not but one doesn’t necessarily follow the other. Bigger does not equal stronger. Musculature is an important part of strength, no one will argue against that. But all it’s going to do is give you is a bigger potential. You still need to train that musculature to Bench more. But maybe I’m just being a pedant.

My personal recommendation for “Bodybuilding work” is this: It can’t hurt and could help so do it, but don’t attribute more importance than it deserves. Don’t spend too much time on it. I do it on my GPP days, because it is, General Physical Preparation. I also like to use myo-reps because they save a lot of time.

In short: It doesn’t do much but you should do it.

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