Powerlifter v. Strongman v. Bodybuilder v. Crossfitter | Shots Fired!

Cavino Johnson January 21, 2015 Training Articles
Powerlifter v. Strongman v. Bodybuilder v. Crossfitter | Shots Fired!

My heaviest barbell bench press is 425 pounds. My heaviest deadlift is 520 pounds. My heaviest squat is 495 pounds. They are my 1RMs aka One Rep Max. I can do a standing bicep curl with 100 pound dumbbells for a couple reps. Barbell curl with 175, and rep out dumbbell shoulder presses with the one hunnits.

Here’s My Take

Those seem to be impressive numbers but only because the average person, with little to no training experience, can’t put those numbers up. I’m a bodybuilder. I love reps and sets. My friend, on the other hand, pulls over 700 on the dead, 500+ for reps on the bench, 600+ on the squat. He doesn’t bother too much with curls, and to him my one hundred pound shoulder presses are laughable. He’s a powerlifter. I know some people that go on a 48 inch vertical several times, followed by a weird “pull up” that involves, I don’t know, every part of the body. After that, he reps a lower weight in deads, followed by a 400 meter “sprint” then 3 dozen or so full on sit ups. He loves crossfit.


I admit, openly, that I don’t know anything about powerlifting. I know they lift insane amounts of weight in various ways. I’ve watched them and strong man competitions on t.v., and I am always gawking, jaw on the floor, as I watch them do what looks impossible… at least until they do it. It’s beyond impressive. Pushing their bodies to unimagineable limits, then going past that. It’s next level. There’s superiority there. Camaraderie. It’s admirable. The techniques, the methods, the damn heart and commitment it takes…


I watched a strongman competition, where these guys were pulling 18-wheelers… 18-wheelers. Yet, taking my trash can to the curb on Wednesday mornings can, sometimes, be the equivalent, for me. To make it even more insane, they even had these mountainous people deadlift– a car. Yes. A car. Oh, but they didn’t do it once. They did reps. They were all given a pre-set time frame to see who could deadlift a car the most times. If I get a flat tire and I, for some reason, don’t have my jack– I’m screwed!


I’ve done some “crossfit”. I even wrote a piece on my experience, and gave it fair review. You can check it out by clicking the link but overall I was fair in my assessment. Watching the “Games” on ESPN, though, I saw a different breed other than some of the participants I see in local “boxes” (that’s what they call their facilties… Box.). On the television, I see men and women, who carry a significant amount of lean muscle, accomplish some astonishing feats of endurance and strength. Snatches, sled push, some swimming might have been in there, deadlifts, etc… It was like this circuit from Hell… but these athletes were trained and had the bodies to show it. I was impressed. Very impressed.

Don’t Get Me Wrong

Yet, I will never do crossfit, again. I will never deadlift a car. I will never pull 700+ pounds off the ground. I say “never”, not because I can’t, but because I don’t want to. I have no desire to. It’s not what I train for. I love seeing these people accomplish what many feel the human body and mind and heart can’t accomplish. It motivates. It inspires. The lot of these people in their respective training avenues are certified badasses.

So, when I see and hear people from each, I’ll call them “classes”, down talk or degrade one another, it confuses me. For me, it begs the question, “Why do you think one is any better than the other?”  Is it the same as a football fan arguing with a soccer fan as to which sport is “better”? Basketball to hockey? Synchronized swimming to Fencing? Or is it a matter of an individual’s preference or pompous opinion that one sport rules more supreme than another? Whatever it is, honestly, it’s stupid.

Most of you, probably, know by now, that I’m an advocate of “to-each-their-own, the grass is greener where you water it, let them do them and you do you, and at the end of the day, find some level of respect…” It’s not me having a bleeding heart for people, and it’s not because I like brownie points. Frankly, it’s the people that irritate me that compel me to write this material for you, the people. If I’m gonna do brownie points, then I’m baking a whole batch, because I want to go against the grain of a Weight Watcher’s point system and completely blow it out of proportion. My issue with the competition amongst athletes of the different sports, is that the competition doesn’t seem to be contained within that sport. For some reason, it spills over into other avenues, and it is for the sake of saying “ours is better, yours is inferior”. The way I see it, it’s the same as taking a Honda station wagon and a Honda Accord 2-door, and waging over which is better. You have 2 cars, made by the same manufacturer, but each serves its customer for specific reasons, with specific features, to accommodate the customer’s specific demand and needs. For THAT person, their preferred automobile is perfect. It’s what they desire. Well, the same goes for the different categories of strength training.

To Each Their Own

Look, a person that would rather rep 300 pounds to failure, is no less of a person than someone who deadlifts one rep to top the next person’s best, or the person that pulls a yacht onto land with a rope between their teeth, or the person that does a burpee into kipping into a back flip into a handstand push up. For a person on the outside looking in, all of it looks crazy, insane, or even stupid. But the fact remains, and it is common, each and every one of these ventures hold trial and error, progression, defeat, victory, a constant push beyond limits, and the desire to become better than they were yesterday.

Shots Fired!

I have said it a hundred times– in an industry… the Health & Fitness/Exercise industry, there seems an ever growing population of ego maniacs that believe they are God’s gift to– I don’t know… everything. In having such a poisonous mentality, they cripple the movement. In having this holier than thou attitude, they make the industry smell like a bag of buttholes and makes it look like a shit filled roadway. I’m not sorry that I’m not sorry in saying so.


There is not one single sport in all this world that does NOT have a fan base. There is not one single true athlete that did not train damn near religiously and trained with the desire to be their best, and better than their opponent IN THEIR CHOSEN SPORT. I chose bodybuilding for what it does for me, and what it has done for me. Bodybuilding  literally saved my life. I didn’t ever say that powerlifting, strongman, crossfit, or even badminton were stupid or useless. I’ve always said the sports are awesome, and the competitors were all incredible. Within the confines of the heart of each of them lies a desire and a passion, almost like an alluring song of sirens to the ears of the souls that hear them. That song drawing them nearer until they discover they have been taken and they want no parts of an escape plan. Why? Because in these captivating moments, the manifestation of triumphs, the fruition of victory, pain, disappointment, encouragement, inspiration and motivation, become things easily found by simply believing in themselves, and their fellow participants. We are all a community. We are all neighbors. Some of us just have bigger houses, while some have smaller ones that come with more nooks and crannys, and detail. It doesn’t say that either are better than the other. It just says that the original laid foundation is the same, but the construction built upon it, suits the resident.

I’ll end with this– when the time comes when I need all of you powerlifters, bodybuilders, strongmen and women, and crossfitters to come help me move out of my house and into a new one, I bet I won’t be able to find a single one of you gorilla strong sons of bitches, anywhere. Shady.

About The Author

A decade into the sport of natural bodybuilding, Cavino has won many competitions and currently holds a pro card. He also has personal training, group fitness and sports nutrition certifications that allows him to own his own private training service.