Guest Blogger: Jay Krause
Some people may tell you that it is just important to get off the couch and go exercise in any way. Those people would be wrong. At a base level, yes it is important to remain active and train on a regular schedule, but that is not sufficient. Whether you are on again off again at the gym, go a couple times a week, or have been doing two-a-days for years, you have to walk into the gym each day with three things: a goal, a plan of action, and a protein shake.
My training history is very sport specific for volleyball and very focused on conditioning, so I came out with major imbalances in terms of strength. When I came to McMaster University, I gave up the world of highly competitive sport. This caused a lot of problems for me because I had drive, a competitive attitude, but lacked a direction. Being aesthetically focused, I started to program my training in a bodybuilding style and was happy with my progress and balance, but it wasn't what I needed. Thus started my exploration into different styles of training and methods to achieve different goals and results.
"I don't do this to be healthy, I do this to get big muscles." - Markus Ruhl (IFBB Professional Bodybuilder)
Bodybuilding is the quest for aesthetic perfection; the ultimate body. If asked about bodybuilding, a person would think of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jay Cutler, and Kai Greene. However, everyone in the gym who has the primary goal of increasing muscle size or physical appearance is a bodybuilder. With that in mind, it is certainly the most popular type of goal, but also the most commonly misprogrammed style.
The programming for bodybuilding starts with base level multi-joint movements, but involved a high emphasis on isolation exercises to create the proper balance in muscle size and definition. The training is designed to stay in the hypertrophy range, typically between 8 - 12 reps for 3 - 5 sets per exercise.
"I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds." – Henry Rollins (Author, The Iron & The Soul)
Powerlifting is a sport dedicated to three basic lifts: deadlift, back squat, and bench press. The ability to focus all of your efforts on a single motion will prove to incredibly challenging, making powerlifting as much a mental game as a physical contest.
Training programs for powerlifters are designed to create the highest possible one rep max in competition for the three lifts. The programming stays very heavy, often going right to 1-3 rep maxes on the major lifts, then incorporate a variety of supplementary exercises using a 5x5 or other strength oriented style. Overall, the entire focus of a powerlifting program must be pure strength and power, without any importance placed on body composition or unnecessary accessory work. If a 1000lbs squat is your goal, then powerlifting is for you.
"The snatch, clean and jerk should be active movements from start to finish. There should never be a moment when things are simply happening; you have to make them happen at all times." - Greg Everett (Olympic Weightlifter and Coach)
Olympic Weightlifting is the pursuit of the Snatch and the Clean and Jerk. Both movements are incredibly explosive, strength focused, and near to impossible to master. A weightlifter will program their training with a very heavy focus on those two movements, and use a variety of styles of training: strength focused (supportive movements: front squats, pulls, etc...), skill development (practice), and power/explosiveness.
Olympic Weightlifting provides a competitive outlet that is not as raw as powerlifting, and includes a very heavy emphasis on technique, and the ability to smoothly and accurately execute the lifts. Whether a national contender, local competitive athlete, or just an average joe in the gym, the draw to Olympic Weightlifting is the constant improvement of strength and style!
No matter what style of training and goals you decide to pursue, the most important part is finding a program that matches to your goals and follow it for a minimum of a couple of months. Changing programs, adjusting workouts, or any unplanned modifications will most likely take away from the effectiveness of the program and tamper with your results. Long story short, choose bodybuilding for size, powerlifting for strength, or olympic weightlifting for skill. If you are ever unsure, then just do a little bit of each and call it Crossfit!
Jay Krause @jkrause07
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