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What are the differences between weightlifting and powerlifting


What are the differences between weightlifting and powerlifting? What does each one consist of?


It is a sport of Olympic strength , whose objective is to raise a bar loaded with discs , which determine the final weight of the set – called the dumbbell – from the floor to the full extension of the arms above the head. There are two modes: snatch ( snatch) and two times ( clean & jerk ).

In the start, the survey must be carried out once and without interruption. In the two times, as the name indicates, the loaded one ( clean ) is executed , consisting of raising the bar to the shoulders and, after a short pause, the jerk is done , taking the bar from the shoulders to the final position of the lift, above the body of the lifter.


The lifting of power , or more commonly called powerlifting , is a sport of strength that aims to lift a bar loaded with discs consisting of three modalities for it: squat, bench press and deadlift .

Although this sport is not very well known as such, its modalities are, since it is the squat, the deadlift and, to a lesser extent, the bench press basic exercises used very frequently in crossfit.

Differences between weightlifting and powerlifting

Having understood what each sport consists of, it is easy to observe the little resemblance between both beyond being included in the category of strength sports. Here the differences:

Direction of application of force and technique

The direction of force application in these sports is very different, where only in weightlifting the load has to be directed vertically above the body of the athlete , making it difficult to lift by simple physics.

That is why, although both require a lot of technique to perform a lift effectively and safely, weightlifting is one step further.

Anyone who starts practicing both, will progress much faster in powerlifting due to the simple trajectory of the movement in question, something that does not happen with weightlifting, where technical perfection is very difficult to achieve and requires years of training.

Phases of the uprising

In any powerlifting movement there must be an eccentric and a concentric phase . In weightlifting there is no eccentric part -at least in competition-, since the bar is dropped once the lift is completed.

In addition, a fundamental difference in weightlifting is that what could appear as a single movement , is divided – simplifying – into two: jerk and reception . And it is another reason why this sport is so difficult to master, needing body awareness to tighten some muscles and relax others, in addition to all the isometric work that requires an Olympic lift .

Execution speed

If we observe a weightlifting competition we will see very explosive movements -predominant of the explosive force or power-, while in a powerlifting the speed of the lifts will be very slow -predominium of the maximum force-.

This is because the force-velocity curve of a powerlifting survey is directly associated with the submaximal percentages of the MRI (maximum repetition). That is, if you want to lift the maximum weight, the speed at which the load moves will be very small.

However, in weightlifting and the very nature of it, the snatch and the two times are very explosive movements. Otherwise, it would be impossible to raise them above the body of the lifter.

It is common to confuse these two sports because of the categorical similarities and the material used to be very similar, but as you could see, have little to do with each other.

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