Bodybuilders do strength training exercises right? Right. So, strength training and bodybuilding must be the same right? Wrong. Bodybuilders need to do a little more than simple strength training. A bodybuilder needs to use a balanced program that focuses on muscle growth (hypertrophy) and strength production, as well as muscular balance.
So, what is a strength training exercise? This is an exercise that is designed to increase the power output of the muscle. It is not specifically designed to increase muscular size, although it may be a welcome side effect. An exercise, by nature, is not necessarily a strength exercise, but the way it is performed may make it good for strength training. Lower repetitions, with heavy weight, of compound, multi-muscle group exercises are great for strength training. The bench press, squat, dead lift, power clean, military press, and other multi-joint exercises are good examples of strength training exercises, when done with high weights and low repetitions.
Strength training exercises are great for building thickness and improving overall strength. Look at powerlifters, Olympic lifters, and football players to give you an idea of the physique of a strength training athlete. This thickness provides a solid base for a bodybuilder. The strength developed through strength training also increases the amount of weight that can be used on other exercises.
Muscular size, balanced and lean, is more important to the bodybuilder than strength. Traditional strength training exercises can be used by bodybuilders to develop a strong base and increase muscular size. Performing bench presses for higher repetitions can turn it from a strength exercise into a bodybuilding exercise. Changing the body position, by slightly arching the back, pulling the shoulder blades together, and using a slightly wider grip, also increases the pectoral involvement which makes it a very valuable bodybuilding exercise.
Bodybuilders may use more refining exercises, and isolation exercises, such as pectoral flyes, concentration curls, leg extensions, etc. The increased strength, from utilizing strength training as part of the program, will increase the weight that can be used on the isolation exercises, which will increase hypertrophy in the muscles.
The multi-joint exercises commonly used in strength training can also be very beneficial to the bodybuilder for developing those ever-important muscle tie-ins, and for increasing thickness in the shoulder girdle to give the illusion of a thinner waist, increasing the ’V’ taper. These exercises also involve some of the supporting, assistance muscles that don’t get worked with other exercises.
Bodybuilding is defined as the use of exercise to improve muscular development, shape, and aesthetics of the body. Strength training, in turn, is the use of exercise to increase the functional power output of muscles. Strength training is commonly used by traditional athletes, powerlifters, Olympic lifters, and other athletes to improve their overall performance and reduce injuries. Bodybuilders can use strength training to build muscle and develop a solid, thick base of muscle and increase their overall strength. The improved strength leads to more weight being used in all exercises, which in turn leads to more hypertrophy, and the ultimate goal of a large, chiseled physique.