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Powerlifting training can lead to muscle growth.
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The goal of powerlifting is to lift as much weight as possible on the three competition lifts - squats, bench presses and deadlifts. Powerlifters aren't necessarily concerned with how much muscle mass they have, provided their strength increases. This doesn't mean that more muscle isn't beneficial to your strength goals though, and you can use powerlifting training to build muscle.
Although the main goal of powerlifting is to build as much strength as possible, training like a powerlifter is an effective way to build muscle.
Keep Reps Low
Powerlifting focuses on maximal strength, for which the American College of Sports Medicine advise basing your training around heavy sets of one to six repetitions. For muscle hypertrophy, or growth, perform the majority of your training in the six to 12 reps per set range using slightly lighter weights. While some carryover exists between the two rep ranges, the one-to-six rep range is optimal for powerlifting.
Understand Muscle Growth
Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy and myofibrilar hypertrophy refer to the two types of muscle growth. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is an increase in fluid in the muscle cell and increased size of the non-contractile proteins in a muscle. In essence your muscles are getting bigger, rather than stronger. This type of hypertrophy occurs more when you're training with higher reps of eight to 20 per set, or bodybuilding-style training, according to strength coach Alberto Nunez of 3D Muscle Journey. Myofibrilar hypertrophy is more powerlifting specific, as it occurs when you use heavier weights for lower repetitions, and is the growth of contractile proteins within your muscles. The muscle itself may not appear much bigger, but you'll get much stronger.
Turn Up the Volume
You can get bigger by getting stronger, notes strength coach and elite powerlifter Jim Wendler. Performing more total volume in your training is important for building muscle, but lifting heavier weights is critical too. Powerlifting techniques ensure you don't just get stronger but build aesthetic muscular bulk too, Wendler adds.
Consider a Combination
A combination of both heavy weights for low reps and lighter weights for higher reps is best, according to trainer and pro bodybuilder Layne Norton. Low-rep work will increase your potential for growth. The three main powerlifting exercises work most of your major muscle groups, though don't particularly hit your calves, shoulders, upper back, biceps and triceps, so you may wish to include extra exercises for these areas in your program.