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Health and Fitness News

Training for Strength

What type of strength-training discipline is right for you?

Want to get strong? Fantastic! Now all you have to do is figure out what kind of strong you want to be.

When you’re looking for strength, you can choose from a variety of different paths: Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, bodybuilding, and Strongman competing. While these are all types of strength training, they all have different goals, produce different body shapes, and take different kinds of workouts to achieve those goals. With each discipline, the amount of resistance and the types of exercises build and shape muscles in specific ways.

If your goal is strength but you aren’t sure which type of strength training you should pursue, check out this breakdown of each one to help you decide which is right for you.

Weightlifting

Olympic weightlifters have one goal: to lift the most weight in one rep of the barbell clean-and-jerk and the barbell snatch. The goal of this training is to lift as much weight as possible with one chance to do it. Olympic lifting or weightlifting is focused not just on strength but on velocity (speed) as well. The faster you can move the barbell over your head, the better. In this world, the movements are explosive, so they constantly work on flexibility, mobility, and agility in addition to strength.

With weightlifting, you can expect every muscle in your body to work at one time. This means training is more efficient and takes less time. Compared to other types of strength-training workouts, weightlifting comes with the greatest risk of injury. Proper form, correct technique, and a gradual increase of weight are key to avoiding injury.

Powerlifting

Similar to weightlifting, powerlifting challenges you to move the greatest amount of weight in a single repetition. The three powerlifting exercises are the squat, bench press, and deadlift. For powerlifters, the primary goal is to build strength in the legs, upper body, and back. Compared to training for bodybuilding, powerlifting does not work toward developing muscle definition and appearance. Hence why some of the world’s greatest powerlifters don’t look exceptionally strong. They look big.

Since there are only three main exercises in powerlifting, you can master your form and technique. However, it’s easy to disregard other important types of exercise such as cardio. To avoid injury, proper form is required, as is gradually increasing the weight lifted as strength improves.

Bodybuilding

The goal of bodybuilders is to build muscle and increase definition. To do this, strength-training exercises must be done at a constant speed for multiple repetitions. Compound exercises like squats, bench presses, deadlifts, and shoulder presses are used to help achieve bulk while isolation exercises define smaller muscles.

Creating a workout routine that focuses on each major muscle group on different days of the week helps get the most out of each workout. For example, bodybuilders may use Mondays to work the chest and biceps and Tuesdays for abs and cardio, while Wednesday focuses on triceps and back, Thursday is a rest day, Friday works legs and shoulders, Saturday is for abs and cardio, and Sunday’s another rest day.

Strongman

To build strength with the goal of competing in Strongman competitions, you’ve got to use varying amounts of weight in a variety of ways for multiple repetitions. Strength, as well as great amounts of endurance, are needed to do the heavy lifting, pushing, pulling, throwing, and carrying, which are all a part of the competition.

The strength and endurance built while training for Strongman competitions carry over into everyday movements. And while you won’t get bored with the variety of exercises used to train for Strongman, it may be hard to find a gym with the appropriate equipment to do the necessary exercises. Because of the heavy lifting and moving of heavy weights, there is a high right for injury, so take care while training.