I once read an interview with a chap named Pat Warner. Like most interviews with ‘’slightly smaller than silverback gorilla’’ sized men with strength to match, the interview delved into Pat’s training regime. At that point of the interview the whole dynamics changed, it wasn’t your usual bodybuilder spiel about chasing the ‘’pump’’ or hitting set after set on concentration curls. Oh no, Pat was a bit more into time spent in the squat rack rather than the curl rack if you catch my drift. He was a competitive bodybuilder with a powerlifter’s story. And the interview’s angle was that bodybuilders could learn a lot from powerlifters. It was an interesting comment and one I hadn’t heard before – what could they possibly learn?
Well, that’s what I am about to share with you.
Pat sported a very different physique to many bodybuilders I had seen in the magazines and websites I had spent many hours scanning in those days. His muscle was seriously dense, his muscles were THICK and he was lean all year round. Many bodybuilders don’t operate within the lower rep ranges that powerlifters do. However the ones who do are often the ones who carry that crazy thickness across their v-tapered backs and have traps bursting out of their necks. Pat felt getting stronger meant you could get bigger and create a certain look. I agree.
Correct form, rep tempo and sessions with no ego were another take home point. Again this rung true in my young mind (this was 7 years ago) as I always witnessed people following ‘’bodybuilding’’ training and failing to lift with good form let alone any prescribed rep tempo. In doing so you were able to recruit muscle fibres more effectively and get bigger. Again, I agree.
The final element covered in the training questions and one I felt was really relevant was the fact that people who follow bodybuilding splits often lose sight of the essential basics – that’s your squats, deadlift and bench press. For all the fancy intricate isolation exercises we see (which also have their place) we sometimes forget that the ‘’bread and butter’’ exercises which will pack size on you from head to toe are the basic compound movements powerlifters use. Remember, growth comes from stress and CNS stress caused by lifting isn’t exclusive to specific limbs. This means big lifts will always prevail as the best for sheer mass!
Whatever your discipline and whatever your goals it pays to view things from a different perspective time to time.