Olympic Weightlifting vs. Powerlifting with HomeGrown Lifting near Lexington, Kentucky (KY) and serving the United States

Olympic Weightlifting vs. Powerlifting with HomeGrown Lifting

Olympic Weightlifting vs. Powerlifting


When you’re new to the world of lifting, the terminology can get confusing. For example, it seems like someone that lifts weights simply does weightlifting, right? Not exactly. To accurately describe the primary types of weightlifting exercises, you’re probably talking about either Olympic Weightlifting or Powerlifting, which are two very different sports. Both types of athletes use similar equipment and perform similar moves, but they do so with a very different emphasis. We’ve broken down the differences for you so you can decide which type of workout is best for your lifestyle.


What is Olympic Weightlifting? 


Olympic Weightlifting, as the name suggests, is the type of competitive lifting performed in the Olympics. The focus is on precisely performing technical lifts at a high tempo, and training is centered on the “snatch” and the “clean and jerk” compound lifts. Olympic lifts require more range of motion, flexibility, speed, and full-body explosive power than powerlifting. Workouts may emphasize building explosive power or may use other complementary moves such as deadlifts, front squats, and overhead presses. As with powerlifting, competitions are structured into weight categories, and all competitors wear supportive accessories. 


What is Powerlifting?


Powerlifting focuses on the sheer brute strength used in three core movements: the squat, the bench press, and the deadlift. Powerlifting workouts tend to emphasize being strong overlooking strong. The speed of power lifts tends to be more moderate, and the recovery breaks longer than with Olympic Weightlifting. In a competition, although strength is the focus, powerlifters are required to perform a lift within legal criteria and are judged based on their technique. Competitive powerlifters are placed in categories according to weight, but success is calculated with a WILKS score that compares lifters’ strength across all weight classes. Singlets and other supportive accessories are worn, including lifting belts, knee sleeves, wrist wraps, and lifting shoes. 


Which is right for me?


That depends entirely on your emphasis on lifting, but here are a few things to keep in mind:


  • Consider what method interests you more. Olympic Weightlifting focuses on explosive speed and technique, while powerlifting focuses on strength.

What kind of results do you want? 

  • Do you want to gain muscle quickly? Powerlifting programs grow muscles faster, which is often the goal of starting a lifting routine. The high force and low-velocity movements of powerlifting are best for developing muscle strength. 
  • Do you want to develop speed and strength as well as muscle power over time? Weightlifting’s emphasis on velocity creates a more rounded outcome, and in the long term, maximizing power requires some degree of high-velocity training.


What kind of training is available in your area? 

Due to the extremely technical nature and higher speed of Olympic Weightlifting, most lifters tend to practice powerlifting since it is somewhat more accessible. You need a highly trained instructor if you’re interested in training in Olympic Weightlifting.


  • Consider your competitive goals Powerlifting is a more casual sport, with competitions presented by powerlifting federations, while weightlifting is an Olympic sport.


Let Us Help


Ready to make your 2022 weightlifting goals a reality? Contact HomeGrown Lifting today! Call us at (502) 771-0530 or contact us online. We are located in Lexington, KY, and provide high-quality, affordable gym equipment throughout the lower 48. We can help you lift more for less.