Bodybuilding vs Strongman: Which is Right for You?

April 14, 2023

Bodybuilding and Strongman are two popular training styles that have been around for decades. While both require dedication and hard work, they differ in terms of their goals, objectives, and training characteristics.

In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the differences between these two styles of training to help you determine which is right for you.

So whether you’re a beginner or an experienced lifter looking to switch things up, read on to find out which style of training is best suited for your needs.

What Is Bodybuilding?

Bodybuilding is a form of exercise that focuses on building muscle mass and strength through targeted weight lifting and resistance training. Unlike strongman, which emphasizes raw power, bodybuilding prioritizes aesthetic muscular development. Individuals who want to build their physiques, increase their strength and endurance levels may opt for bodybuilding.

Bodybuilding has many potential benefits, such as

  • Improved physical performance
  • Increased bone density
  • Better mental health
  • Reduced risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes

To achieve the desired body shape through bodybuilding, individuals should follow a balanced diet that provides sufficient protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, and other essential nutrients for muscle growth.

What Is Strongman?

Strongman is a type of functional strength training that focuses on developing overall strength and conditioning. Strongman competitions test athletes’ abilities to lift, carry, and throw heavy objects in various events.

Unlike bodybuilding, the goal of strongman training is not just to build muscle size but rather to build strength, power, and endurance. Strongman exercises involve traditional lifts such as deadlifts, squats, and presses as well as more novel movements such as Atlas stones, farmer’s carries, and log presses.

bodybuilding vs strongman

#1: Bodybuilding vs. Strongman: The Differences in Training Style

Bodybuilding and Strongman training styles differ significantly from each other.

  • Bodybuilding is a training style that emphasizes hypertrophy and muscle definition, while Strongman focuses on power, endurance, and maximum strength.
  • Different types of equipment are required for each type of training – bodybuilding requires a lot of barbells, dumbbells, and machines while Strongman utilizes large objects such as kegs, tires, stones, and logs to perform exercises.
  • The type of training you choose depends on your goals and personal preferences. If you want to build muscles or compete in bodybuilding competitions, then bodybuilding may be the right choice for you.

But if you want to work on your strength, power, and endurance while engaging in challenging outdoor activities like log-carrying or tire-flipping then Strongman may be the perfect fit for you.

#2: Bodybuilding vs. Strongman: Differences in Exercise Selection

Bodybuilding and Strongman are two fundamentally different forms of training and sport.

The main difference between bodybuilding and strongman is the focus on aesthetic goals versus functional strength and power.

  • Bodybuilders tend to use isolation exercises that target specific muscle groups, with a heavy emphasis on biceps, triceps, chest, back, and abs. These exercises are designed to create a sculpted look that emphasizes muscle definition and size.
  • In contrast, Strongman exercises are largely compound movements that target multiple muscle groups at once. These include movements like the deadlift, squat, and overhead press. In addition, Strongman competitions also incorporate non-barbell exercises such as tire flips and farmer’s carries which challenge the body in unique ways.

If you’re looking for a more aesthetic-focused workout plan with a focus on developing individual muscles, then bodybuilding may be right for you. On the other hand, if you’re interested in functional strength and power development through compound movements, then Strongman may be a better fit.

bodybuilding vs strongman

#3: Bodybuilding vs. Strongman: Differences in Physique and Performance Expectations

When it comes to choosing between bodybuilding and strongman, one must understand the differences in physique and performance expectations.

  • Bodybuilding emphasizes symmetry and aesthetic appeal, while strongman focuses on building functional strength and power. This distinction is reflected in the training methodology, with bodybuilders relying on isolation exercises with higher reps, while strongmen rely on compound lifts with lower reps and heavier weights.
  • The goals of these two sports are also different. Bodybuilding is centered around muscle growth and definition, while strongman is focused on maximizing strength and power output. The competitions in these sports also reflect this difference – bodybuilding competitions judge participants based on their overall physiques, while strongman competitions involve completing challenging events such as lifting heavy objects or running obstacle courses.

Ultimately, the choice between bodybuilding and strongman depends on individual preference and goals. Those who prioritize aesthetics may prefer bodybuilding, while those who want to build functional strength may opt for strongman. It’s important to note that both sports require dedication, commitment, and hard work to succeed.

#4: Choosing Between Bodybuilding vs. Strongman: Factors to Consider

When deciding between bodybuilding vs. strongman, there are several factors to consider.

  • One significant factor is diet. Bodybuilding requires strict adherence to a nutritional regimen, while Strongman relies more on whole, unprocessed foods. Training style is another crucial aspect to consider. Bodybuilding primarily focuses on isolation exercises and split routines, while Strongman utilizes compound movements and full-body routines.
  • Another critical factor to take into account is the goals you want to achieve. If your focus is on aesthetics, then bodybuilding may be the right choice for you. On the other hand, if you’re looking to build strength and power, then Strongman may be the better fit.
  • Finally, equipment requirements should also be considered. Bodybuilding typically requires basic gym equipment, while Strongman needs specialized equipment like logs, atlas stones, and sandbags.

Ultimately, it’s essential to evaluate these factors and determine which approach aligns with your goals and preferences.

bodybuilding vs strongman

Benefits of Combining Bodybuilding and Strongman Training

Combining bodybuilding and strongman training can offer a variety of benefits, including:

  1. Improved Strength: Strongman training focuses on developing functional strength, which can improve overall strength and power for bodybuilding. Incorporating strongman exercises like farmer’s walks, atlas stone lifts, and tire flips can also help target muscles that may not be as engaged during traditional bodybuilding exercises.
  2. Increased Muscle Size: Bodybuilding training is designed to build muscle mass and strength, while strongman training helps to increase muscle size and density. By combining both types of training, you can achieve a more balanced physique with increased muscle size and definition.
  3. Enhanced Conditioning: Strongman training is known for being incredibly physically demanding, which can improve overall conditioning and endurance. Combining this type of training with bodybuilding can help to increase your stamina during workouts, allowing you to train harder for longer periods of time.
  4. Greater Mental Toughness: Both bodybuilding and strongman training require a significant amount of mental toughness and discipline. By combining these two styles of training, you can push yourself to new limits and develop a greater sense of mental fortitude.
  5. Improved Overall Fitness: The combination of bodybuilding and strongman training can improve overall fitness by targeting multiple areas of fitness, including strength, power, endurance, and conditioning. This can help you achieve a well-rounded level of fitness and athleticism.

Overall, combining bodybuilding and strongman training can offer a unique and effective approach to fitness, allowing you to achieve your goals in terms of strength, muscle size, and overall fitness.

Let’s Sum Up

In conclusion, both bodybuilding and strongman training have their unique benefits and objectives. Bodybuilding aims to build a muscular, aesthetically pleasing physique, while strongman training focuses on developing strength and power for performing functional movements. When choosing between the two, it is essential to consider your personal goals, physical abilities, and commitment level required for each training style.

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