Know the Difference: Weightlifting vs. Bodybuilding

Know the Difference: Weightlifting vs. Bodybuilding

If you're starting a new weightlifting routine, or trying to get back into the game, it's good to know the difference between weightlifting and bodybuilding. Both of these workouts use barbells to work your muscles and increase your overall strength. Which one do you choose? Not sure what the difference is? We'll break it down. The two seem similar – especially if you're Pinterest obsessed – but they are different.

It's important to understand the difference between weightlifting and bodybuilding. Weight lifting, or strength training, is designed primarily to improve your muscular strength and endurance. Bodybuilding, on the other hand, is an aesthetic sport that's largely about adding size to your muscles.

Toning vs. building muscle: The distinction between the two is important because their approaches differ in a fundamental way. You can't change the shape of your muscles through resistance training alone. That's because muscle tone and muscle bulk are controlled by different physiological mechanisms in the body, explains Dr. Michael Smith, CSCS, a professor of exercise science at Quincy College in Massachusetts and author of Shape Up America!

Muscle tone is regulated by your nervous system, which maintains the proper amount of tension on your muscle fibers at all times – like the strings on a guitar. Muscle bulk is determined by your genetic makeup and influenced by hormones such as testosterone. In essence, resistance training can't directly change how much muscle you have; it can only make them bigger by adding bulk or stronger by increasing tone through repetitive workouts.

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