Different Types of Lifting

Different Types of Lifting

The three main schools of lifting include powerlifting, Olympic lifting, and bodybuilding. If you’re new to the world of strength, these different weightlifting exercises may seem similar enough. These areas of strength all involve weight and resistance training, but the equipment and goals of each are very different. Although powerlifting, Olympic lifting, and body-building are competitive sports, non-competitive versions of these movements are quite common as well. In this article, we’ll outline a few key differences and make some suggestions for how to incorporate elements of each into your strength routines.


Powerlifting competitions are won by lifting the heaviest amount of weight possible. Contestants must only lift a single rep of weight in order for it to count. As such, powerlifting is about maxing out, or hitting your 1RM. This type of lifting is about explosiveness– how quickly your short twitch muscles can fire on command. 

Powerlifting competitions typically include back squat, deadlift, and bench press. These exercises are performed using barbells, weight plates, weight cages, and weight benches. Whether you are competing or simply working on your strength, we’ve created a whole line of equipment to help you get the most out of these powerlifting movements. One of our staff favorites is the Multi-Function Adjustable Power Cage. This cage is great for beginners and expert powerlifters alike, as it offers a huge amount of versatility. In fact, the cage is on sale at almost 50% percent off. Get yours for $199.99 today. 

Powerlifters train by focusing on low-rep sets, usually targeting between one to five movements per set. They also employ long rest sets so as to minimize muscle fatigue. As such, powerlifting does not create muscle endurance. 

In order to remain healthy, powerlifters also often focus on training other muscle groups, so that they don’t overwork certain muscles. Other common lifts include Russian deadlifts, barbell rows, and Bulgarian split squats. No matter what type of exercise you engage in, building out a full-body plan is important. Focusing too much on creating one type of muscle can lead to overdevelopment in one part of the body and underdevelopment in another. The resulting imbalance can make you more prone to injury. 

Olympic Lifting

Olympic lifting is actually a subset of powerlifting. Olympic lifts focus on a different set of movements from the traditional powerlifting trio of back squat, deadlift, and bench press. Olympic movements are a little more dynamic and often combine one or two movements from power-lifting. The most common Olympic lifts are front squats, cleans, and overhead squats. For more information on how to perform these movements, check out this guide. Olympic lifts are for the most part in-front or overhead movements, and they use the majority of the same equipment as traditional powerlifting. The two main pieces of equipment are the barbell and weight plates. Many of these movements are actually performed without the power cage. If you decide to incorporate Olympic movements into your strength routine, it’s a good idea to get something to protect your floors from the wear and tear of using the barbell without the cage. We’ve created our puzzle mats to be shock absorbent, dent-resistant, and anti-slip. They are the perfect addition to any home gym and can be easily customized to any space. 


Bodybuilding is a performative competition where contestants show off their bodies to a panel of judges. Contestants are judged on muscle size, symmetry, and definition. To compete, body-builders must train their bodies and perfect their routines. Bodybuilders are also known to go on intense cut and bulk diets, where they focus on building muscle and cutting body fat.

Although bodybuilders use barbells just like Olympic and powerlifters do, they also use a wider range of equipment, including dumbbells, resistance machines, and home gyms. The goal of bodybuilding is not strength, but rather to build muscle mass; so unlike powerlifters, bodybuilders do not lift to improve their 1RM’s. Instead, bodybuilders focus on isolating and improving the overall shape and tonality of certain muscle groups. Their workouts are defined by longer sets and shorter rest periods. At certain points in their training, bodybuilders will also include cardio training. 

Bodybuilding exercises are a lot more localized than powerlifting or Olympic exercise are. Common lifts focus on small muscle groups like triceps, lats, obliques, calves, or glutes. To incorporate bodybuilding into your regime, a great place to start is with the cable machine, as it includes all of the elements of both resistance and strength training. We have a five-piece set of cable machine attachments on sale. Get yours today!

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