Weightlifting vs Powerlifting:  What is the difference? - Mammal Strength

Weightlifting vs Powerlifting: What is the difference?

Weightlifting vs Powerlifting: 

What is the difference?

Olympic weightlifting is often mistaken for powerlifting in the usual gym environment, with weightlifters being asked what their max Bench is and vice versa.

Both require you to lift the max amount of weight in each of the competition lifts. You get 3 attempts at each lift to try and get the highest weight on the bar. The goal is to get the biggest total which can be found by adding up the largest weight lifted in each of the competition lifts.     

Here is a little table illustrating the difference between the two sports.

Olympic Weightlifting


Lifts performed in competition:

  • Snatch
  • Clean + Jerk

Lifts performed in competition:

  • Squat
  • Bench
  • Deadlift

Scoring system used: Sinclair

Scoring system used: wilts

The competition bar goes up in ascending order, the weight of the bar on the platform cannot be lowered after he weight has been put on the bar

Each competitor competes in the same slot number for each round of the lifts

The bar gets changed for each person's attempt meaning they get the same rest time in between attempts.

Along with strength weightlifting focuses on explosive power and extensive technique work in order to perform the overhead lifts.

Aims to develop maximum muscular strength


In summary, powerlifting consists of using maximum strength in 3 different foundational lifts, involves a lower repetition range but maximum weight, and allows for a slower tempo. Olympic weightlifting meanwhile involves explosive power, speed, technique and momentum in order to be able to execute its two lifts successfully.  

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