Bodybuilding vs Strongman – How Are They Different?

  • By: Dave Moffat
  • Date: March 22, 2023
Bodybuilding vs Strongman

Weight training has a lot of different routines and methods, which can be very confusing for people who are just starting in the fitness world.

Such variety offers a lot of room for growth, but it can be hard to tell the difference between different ways to work out that are designed for different goals.

Two prime examples of such specialized goals are found in bodybuilding and strongman training.

Strongmen focus on getting as strong as they can, while bodybuilders focus on making their bodies look better and getting their muscles to grow in a balanced way.

By going into more detail about the strategies and training methods for each goal, this article aims to give you the knowledge and understanding you need to get started on your path to becoming a successful bodybuilder or a powerful strongman, with the help of expert advice and professional insights.

What Is Strongman?

Strongman is a unique strength sport that can be considered a hybrid, similar to how mixed martial arts is for combat sports.

As the name suggests, people who compete in strongman events have to be very strong. They also have to be in great shape to do well in this physically demanding challenge.

A strongman competition is made up of many different events, such as lifting heavy objects overhead, loading heavy objects, carrying heavy weights, and medleys that combine different strength-based tasks.

One interesting thing about this sport is that competitors may not know about some of the specific events until a few weeks before a competition. This forces them to be flexible and also shows off their natural strength and toughness.

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What Is Bodybuilding?

Bodybuilding is a unique individual sport that requires dedication and discipline. During competitions, bodybuilders have been judged on their physiques, including muscle symmetry, size, leanness, and the way they pose.

The purpose of bodybuilding is to create a muscular look with an aesthetic goal in mind: as little fat mass as possible and as much muscle presence as can be achieved.

Training for this sport includes intense workouts focused on building one’s muscles, as well as having proper diet plans to reach the desired level for competition day. With hard work and consistency comes success in bodybuilding at any level.

Do Bodybuilders and Strongmen Exercise in Different Ways?

It is important to know that bodybuilders and strongmen work out in different ways because their weight training routines are designed to help them reach their different goals.

Most bodybuilders focus on using low weights often to shape their muscles, while strongmen focus on using high weights less often to improve their overall strength.

Also, the time between exercises varies. Bodybuilders need shorter breaks so they can keep up the intensity of their workouts, while strongmen give their muscles more time to recover so they don’t get too tired.

Due to the intensity and frequency of their workouts, bodybuilders are often more likely to get hurt, and strongmen need to be careful to avoid getting hurt from lifting heavier weights.

In conclusion, these two sports use different training methods to get to the level of physical skill they want.

Are Strongmen Stronger Than Bodybuilders?

When you compare strongmen and bodybuilders, you can see that their main goals are different. This means that their bodies have to change in different ways to help them reach their goals.

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Strongmen show the highest level of physical strength by lifting huge weights, which requires them to go beyond what most people can do.

On the other hand, a bodybuilder’s main goal is to get bigger and more defined muscles for aesthetic reasons. As a natural side effect, they also get stronger.

Although bodybuilders possess strength levels surpassing those of the average individual, their targeted training differs from that of strongmen, who have the specific intention of reaching the highest physical strength level possible.

So, even though both strongmen and bodybuilders have impressive physical skills, they focus on different goals as they try to reach their best.

Will Strongman Training Help You Gain Muscle?

Strongman training is a unique type of strength training that is becoming more and more popular among people who want to get stronger and bigger.

This training method focuses specifically on building functional strength, which often requires the targeted exercise of major muscle groups.

While it is true that strongmen tend to consume much larger amounts of food to support their daily workouts and bulky appearances, it is crucial to recognize that this dietary practice can lead to a mass gain in the form of body fat, not exclusively muscle.

For individuals who wish to focus solely on muscle building, it would be wise to incorporate select strongman workout techniques into their regimen while avoiding their consumption-based approach.

By doing this, you can use a professional and effective training plan to improve your strength and build more muscle mass.


The world of bodybuilding and strongmen is often misunderstood, with many people dismissing these athletes as simply “big lumps of meat.”

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In reality, these individuals have dedicated their lives to building their bodies to become stronger.

Achieving such a level of physical prowess takes a great deal of hard work, perseverance, and an unwavering commitment to their craft.

As with any subculture, there are both positive and negative stereotypes about bodybuilders and strongmen.

Even though these things aren’t true, it’s important to remember that these athletes are the best examples of discipline and determination. Not only do they have strong bodies, but they also have strong minds.

Dave Moffat
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Hi, I'm Dave Moffat the founder and Chief Editor of and certified International Personal Trainer and Certified Nutritionist. My passion has always been bodybuilding but with 15 years' experience in weight loss programs too, it's hard not to mention all that when you're working at your fitness level fullest (I hope). When Im not in the gym or spending time away from my family i often think about what advice would help others achieve theirs goals just like these inspired mine.