Thursday, August 23, 2012

This one is for Phil

Proper terms must be used properly!!! It is technical I know but I am a scientist/engineer so it comes with the territory. Someone who runs is not necessarily a sprinter, marathoner, or steeple chaser but the converse is true. I have a friend (we'll call him Phil) that refers to my training sessions as "doing powerlifting." I must inform you Phil that this is incorrect. I may lift weights but that does not make me a weightlifter or a powerlifter. Phil, please read on.

A weightlifter finishing a Snatch (above) and a powerlifter finishing a Deadlift (below)

Honestly I am a little upset while writing this. I logged onto one of my favorite sites a week or two ago and Justin Lascek big had the nerve to read my mind and discuss this topic on his site (what a jerk). I'll go over it anyway because that is just the way I am. I know all of my followers (both of you) are highly intelligent people and therefore do not want to sound like the rabble that frequent Golds Gym. These gym rats that obsessively pull on cables and bang weights around (curling in a squat rack, come on!) are not weight lifters but they are their friends likely refer to themselves as such. I will now clarify.

Weightlifters are athletes that compete in events wherein the Snatch and Clean and Jerk are contested. Three attempts are allowed for each lift and the lifter with the highest combined weight lifted (maximum Snatch weight + maximum Clean and Jerk weight) wins. If you don't train the snatch and clean and jerk you are not a weightlifter. If you don't compete in weightlifting you are not a weightlifter. Ilya Ilin is certainly a weightlifter.

Powerlifters are athletes that compete in events wherein the Squat, Bench Press and Deadlift are contested. Three attempts are given for each lift and the lifter with the highest combined weight lifted (maximum Squat weight + maximum Bench Press weight + maximum Deadlift weight) wins. If you don't train the Squat Bench Press and Deadlift you are not a powerlifter. If you don't compete in powerlifting you are not a powerlifter. Matt Kroczaleski certainly is a powertlifter.

Bodybuilders are athletes that train in any way they please (including spray on tans) to compete in physique displays that are judged subjectively. The owner of the body that most pleases the judges wins. I don't particularly like bodybuilding but I do respect it as a sport because those that excel at it have to work really hard (I also think they must have a social disorder of some sort to excel).

In my book there are even folks out there that train these lifts and compete but they are not powerlifters or weightlifters. For example crossfitters typically train all the above and in the crossfit games they will probably compete in all of the above (excepting the bench press). The difference is they compete for time/reps not the most weight lifted. This distinguishes them as Crossfitters not Weightlifters. Another case is competitive Bench Pressers or Deadlifters. They train for and compete in Bench Press only or Deadlift only or even Push-Pull events (Bench Press and Deadlift). Unless they also compete in full Powerlifting events I do not think they should be considered Powerlifters, but Bench Pressers or Deadlifters instead.

I train the Squat, Press, Deadlift, Bench Press, Barbell Row, RDL, and the Chin-up with the purpose of improving my overall strength, physique and health. I am not a Powerlifter or Bodybuilder (and certainly not a weightlifter since I do not train the Snatch and Clean and Jerk) because I do not compete. Again, a person that runs but never races does not get to call themselves a sprinter or a marathoner or a whatever.

I suppose the proper title for me is a strength trainer. Pretty lame. But who really goes around referencing themselves according to the sport in which that participate anyway? Strange people with personality disorders I'd say. I just call myself Brian and I like to lift weights. I wish I could lift more weight. I will compete in powerlifting when I can lift more weight. Until then I will not say that I am "doing powerlifting" or "doing the powerlifts" or even "training for powerlifting." I am just training (not exercising or dorking around in the gym).

What do you care anyway. I am just some dude ranting on the internet as far as you are concerned. You're gonna say what you want anyway. End rant.

I leave you with a video showing some of the 70s Big dudes competing at the USAPL National Meet

Take it easy Phil.


  1. Nicely said. I appreciate distinguishing terms as well. I am one of those dorking around at the gym in my RIPPED, Bodycombat, dabbling in circuit weights or even on the elliptical from time to time. But, I'll proudly tell my DH tonight that I was just dorking around. I love ya Bri!
    The next term I would like dissected is "sports medicine doctor". It is thrown around at the gym and in street running. I don't think those using it really know how broad that umbrella is.

  2. Man, what a great post. I feel bad for that lame "Phil" who can't get his terminology right. Well, I gotta get off this computer now and go Powerbuild. I think I might try the dead press today since I've been working on crosslift for so long. I really think that will help my form on the clean and snatch. Way to go, strength lifter!

    1. I lobbed that one up there for ya and I think with that comment you knocked it out of the park with your excessively silly wit.