Difference Between Powerlifting and Weightlifting (With Table)

Powerlifting and weightlifting are major sports that are quite famous too. Both of these sports involve lifting heavy objects. They may sound or seem the same, but they are different from each other. Powerlifting is about three controlled lifts, also called raw lifting and class lifting. Weightlifting, on the other side, is a quite technical word that primarily focuses on two ballistic lifts.

Powerlifting vs Weightlifting

The main difference between Powerlifting and weightlifting is that powerlifting is about lifting the heaviest weight, or in other words, it focuses on lifting the heaviest in a single attempt or plane of motion. It is a strength sport that is also called raw lifting and class lifting. On the contrary, weightlifting is quite technical, and it is comprised of two movements that are executed faster.

Powerlifting is consists of three lifts that include deadlift, squat, and bench press. This sport is about weighing the maximum possible weight across the three lifts. Strict measures and techniques are used for fair compatibility. In 1964 it came into existence as an official sport with the York Barbell Company sponsorship.

Weightlifting, also called weight training it is more often technical strength training in which the participant or the individual use weight machines. Various equipment can be used for weightlifting purposes. It can be a rod, steel bar, or barbell. This sport measures the strength of the individual.

Comparison Table Between Powerlifting and Weightlifting

Parameters of ComparisonPowerliftingWeightlifting
LiftsPowerlifting majorly includes bench press, deadlift, and squatWeightlifting includes overhead movement like clean and jerk and snatch
SpeedThis sport does not have speed limitations, it allows the individual to take their time for a successful movementThis sport measure the explosive strength of the individual and executed faster
Strength UtilityThe first move requires comparatively more strengthIt is not mandatory to use maximum strength on the first move
Muscle InvolvementPowerlifters are usually more massiveWeightlifters are less muscular
EquipmentThis sport does not compulsorily involve the use of support equipmentThis sport always require support equipment
OlympicsIt is not included in the OlympicsIt is included in the Olympics program
TechnicalityPowerlifting is comparatively less technicalWeightlifting is more technical

What is Powerlifting?

Powerlifting was started as strength training in the era of Greece and Roman civilization. With the sponsorship of York Barbell Company, it came into existence in its first national meet and became an official sport in the year 1964. Previously this sport was called out as odd lifts.

In powerlifting, competitors are categorized concerning their body weight or mass. Initially, men are categorized or classified in nine categories, while women are classified in eight categories. During the sport, three attempts are given to each participant. Powerlifting is about weighing the heaviest weight across the three attempts.

The three lifts are comprised of the deadlift, bench press, and squat. In the deadlift, the barbell is lifted from the floor by fixing the arms straight and standing in the upright position. Bench press, as the name suggests, it includes lying on the back while holding the bar and reaching chest level to arm’s length. The squat is about holding the barbell on the shoulder side, bending the knees at the right angle, and standing back.

What is Weightlifting?

It has been stated previously in the early era. Weightlifting is based on the 19th century’s Traditional European concept. This sport is included in the Olympics as well. In weightlifting, three attempts are given, and initially, the total score is recorded by considering two successful attempts.

Eight divisions are categorized for men and women according to their body mass. The competition lifts include snatch and clean and jerk. Snatch is simply called single part lift, and it includes picking the weight from the floor to overhead. Clean and jerk, on the other side, are comprised of two parts. Firstly, the barbell is lifted from the floor to the shoulder height, and then it is pushed over the head.

Main Differences Between Powerlifting and Weightlifting

  1. Powerlifting is about lifting the heaviest weight, or in other words, it focuses on lifting the heaviest in a single attempt. On the contrary, weightlifting, also called weight training it is more often technical strength training by using weight machines.
  2. Powerlifting and weightlifting include lifting one or another piece of equipment or physical work as well. Powerlifting majorly includes bench press, deadlift, and squat. On the contrary, weightlifting includes overhead movements like clean and jerk and snatch.
  3. Weightlifting measures the explosive strength of the individual and is executed faster. Powerlifting, on the other side, do not have speed limits. It allows the individual to take their time for a successful movement.
  4. Powerlifting and weightlifting require strength. But for powerlifters first move is an important one, and hence they invest maximum strength on lifting the first move. For weightlifters, on the other side, it is not important to utilize their maximum power at first move only.
  5. Compared with weightlifters, powerlifters seem to be more massive because muscle work is required more extensively. Weightlifters are simply less muscular.
  6. The support equipment is important in various sports. Although in powerlifting, support equipment is not compulsorily involved. On the contrary, weightlifting always requires support equipment.
  7. Olympics programs are popular and recognized worldwide. Although powerlifting and weightlifting are strength and weight-related sports among both of these sports, only weightlifting is included in the Olympics program.


Powerlifting and weightlifting are quite common and famous sports. Both of these sports have their techniques and regulations. Although weightlifting is more technical and includes direct vertical acts. Powerlifting, on the other side, is less technical but require maximum strength in the first move. Powerlifters are more massive and muscular than weightlifters. If discussing the Olympics, then only weightlifting is listed on include in the Olympics program.


  1. https://journals.humankinetics.com/view/journals/ijspp/14/10/article-p1357.xml
  2. https://ojs.ub.uni-konstanz.de/cpa/article/view/4407

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