What Is Powerbuilding?

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June 12, 2020

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Powerbuilding is a style of strength training found in Sweat's BUILD program that has so many benefits, and even those who are new to heavy lifting can try it! 

What is powerbuilding?

Powerbuilding is a combination of two different training styles: powerlifting and bodybuilding. It uses three specific exercises — the deadlift, bench press and squat — to help you build strength, lift heavier and increase muscle mass. 

Powerlifting exercises aim to develop strength in the major muscles of the body while bodybuilding focuses more on developing muscle size and symmetry. With bodybuilding, the focus is less on strength and heavy weights, and more on building muscle mass with lighter weights and high reps.

By adding elements of these two training styles together, it becomes possible to do both — allowing you to increase muscle mass and strength through powerbuilding!

Why is powerbuilding used in Sweat's BUILD program? 

Sweat’s BUILD program is designed for women who are serious about lifting - whether you’re new to this training style or already incorporate weight lifting into your routine.  

The program focuses on lifting performance with the aim to improve your 1RM (or “one-rep max”) over time.  

For many women, powerbuilding is a way to feel good, strong and accomplished. It’s all about celebrating your achievements and pushing your body to perform at its best. The emphasis is on what your body can do, not just what it looks like. 

BUILD is a gym-based program and it’s appropriate for women who are brand new to lifting heavier weights, as well as those who have been hitting the weights for a while.  

Unlike Sweat’s other programs that have just four beginner weeks, there are 12 beginner weeks in BUILD to help you get started safely, giving you the time to master the correct form. You’ll begin with lighter weights to ensure you have the correct technique, giving your body the time it needs to adapt physically and mentally to this new training style.  

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What does a powerbuilding routine include?

Powerbuilding combines elements of both powerlifting and bodybuilding. The training styles might seem quite different — for example, powerlifting is about getting stronger. One of the best ways to build stronger muscles is to lift heavy weights with fewer repetitions (a maximum of one or two reps). With bodybuilding, where the goal is to build larger muscles, you should be focusing on doing more reps (sets of 12-15 reps) with less weight.  

A powerbuilding program like BUILD uses a bit of both of these strength training techniques to gradually increase your muscle mass. Basically, it means starting a workout with heavy weights and fewer reps to build your strength, then moving on to lighter weights with more reps to help encourage muscle growth.  

What to expect from BUILD

BUILD encourages you to improve your performance in the gym. You’ll work towards increasing the weight you’re lifting while developing your muscle mass. 

During the 12 beginner weeks, you’ll build a solid foundation through a combination of traditional set training, supersets, bodyweight training and weighted circuits. There’s also an optional Glutes & Abs session available weekly to help increase strength and endurance, as well as two low-intensity cardio sessions.  

After the beginner weeks, you’ll progress to a mix of set training and supersets centred around one of the primary movements - the deadlift, squat and bench press. There are also low-intensity cardio sessions to complete and optional resistance workouts available for experienced lifters.  

Taking the time to allow your body to rest and recover is SO important, which is why the BUILD program includes two weekly recovery sessions.  

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Ready for your first workout?

Are you ready to try powerbuilding?

Powerbuilding might be a fairly new training style, but it has become really popular in a short amount of time.

Our advice for women who want to try powerbuilding is to go for it! Be patient with your training and remember that if you put in the work, the results will come. Appreciate your wins along the way, even if they seem small. Building muscle mass takes time and it is a long-term commitment but as so many women in the Sweat Community know, it can do so much for your confidence.

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* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.


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