Strength Training is all about the barbell. The program I am following right now has 5 basic exercises:
- Squats – 3 times/week
- Bench Presses – twice/week
- Deadlifts – once/week
- Rows – twice/week
- Overhead Presses once/week
and 2 addons (though they are just as important):
Basically, you try to add weights to every workout – 5lbs each. For example, on Monday, I would do Squats at 135 lbs (45 lbs on each side plus the barbell is 45 lbs). On Wednesday, I would try to do 140 lbs.
Of course, you can’t add weight forever! When it starts to slow down, you’ll add weight every week. This week I’m squatting 220 lbs and next week will try to go 225 lbs.
What’s the point? Strength Training of course gives you strength.
- You will get a lot stronger by lifting more weight.
- Combine with proper nutrition, you will get a lot more muscle and achieve satisfying body look.
On the other hand, Body Building leans toward dumbbells and all the machines and cables. In my opinion, body building is a product of the industrial revolution and of modern life. Strength Training uses minimal equipments – you literally only need the barbell, some weights and an overhead bar for the pullups/chinups. And a lot of strength training movements resemble daily activities, such as deadlifts – lifting heavy things from the ground. By the way, once you get into strength training, you will NEVER, ever, lift something up from the ground with your back rounded. That’s bad form and it hurts your back!
Body building uses a lot less weight and lots more repetition. That’s why I think it’s boring. For example, I can only do 5 repetitions of Squat at 220 lbs. But with body building, I would do dumbbell curls at 20 lbs for like 20 repetitions.
- You won’t get a lot stronger because you are not lifting heavy weight
- Combine with super strict nutrition, you will get a lot of muscle and a fantastic body. Arnold Schwarzenegger is perhaps the most famous body builder of our time.
Why I think Strength Training Is Better
Now you might think Body Builder is better because it gives you better look. True! On the same level of nutrition, body building will more likely give you better result look-wise compared to Strength Training. However, you would have to spent a lot more time in the gym plus follow a very strict diet for optimal result.
Strength Training is better because:
- It takes less time to train
- It’s mental challenging! Try to lift 220lbs one more time is way more challenging than adding 5 more repetitions at 20 lbs! You really have to push boundaries to progress and that’s the beauty of it. You will really feel that you are ‘the man’ after pumping that last repetition of weights on your shoulder. Every workout is a quest that you have to conquer.
- Real men have strength AND look good
There are a ton of other reasons why Strength Training is better such as better knees, less likely for injuries, increase hormones level. You can read all about Strength Training at stronglifts.com
It’s funny because I started off with body building for a while until I found stronglifts.com. I don’t think I will ever look back. Just simply knowing that I am stronger than I was yesterday gives me this intense desire to hit the gym! A word of warning: it’s addicting. But it’s good addiction!
Back squat: 220lbs
Bench Press: 150lbs
Rows: 105 lbs
Overhead Press: 95lbs (shame!)