Shrugged Collective

What’s the difference between Powerlifting and Weightlifting? – N&P


What’s the difference between Powerlifting and WEIGHTLIFTING?

This is a common point of confusion with new fitness strength athletes, and for good reason.

The sport of Powerlifting includes the back squat, bench press and deadlift. It’s pretty straight forward, until you consider the name itself. Despite that “power” part, this sport is actually characterized by relatively slow, high-force lifts.

While the intent might be to move the barbell as quickly as quickly as possible, the barbell still grinds slowly to lockout. 

The powerlifting mentality, from out friend Mark Bell


In contrast to Powerlifting, Weightlifting is lightening fast. As opposed to the powerlifts, the highest observed power values in the gym (by far) are found during the Olympic lifts. I know, the names don’t doesn’t make any sense. But can you blame the powerlifters?

Outside of some modern day Star Wars fans willing to play Jedi Knight, I don’t think anyone wants to actually refer to themselves as a Force-lifter. Sounds too much like a cult, right?

I guess we’re going to have to make do with these names. Fortunately, both sports are still amazing. We recommend you explore them both.




Chris Moore is a writer, recovering meathead, fledgling raconteur and rabid imbiber. He's also cohost and resident potty mouth on Barbell Shrugged, a weekly podcast devoted to Crossfit, strength, fitness and all things brash. His experience is drawn from over twenty-years spent training for and competing in American Football, Powerlifting, a bit of strongman and a dash of mixed martial arts. Also, it's possible that he's had one too many cups of coffee. A caffeine fever is a hell of a thing, you know?


  • After watching the videos and getting an understanding between the both I think weightlifting involves much more strength and energy than powerlifting. Yeah it’s difficult to deadlift a barbell with high amount of lbs/kg attached to the side but with weightlifting your doing a clean and jerk and lifting that bar straight over your head. But that’s my opinion maybe you’ll disagree.

    • Well, both include extreme levels of strength. But yes, WL is tougher from a movement perspective. That keeps the loads down, compared to a deadlift, etc.

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