Bodybuilding Vs. Strength And Conditioning: An Unjustified Rivalry

The fitness industry loves rivalries. You’ve probably seen some of the memes circling the internet making fun of CrossFit. Before CrossFit came along though, there was another well-known rivalry between training methods.

Bodybuilding has been scoffed at and dismissed by many strength and conditioning coaches. Likewise, many bodybuilders have touted their ability to create a bigger, stronger physique than other athletes.

One of the main criticisms against bodybuilding has been that it’s not functional for athletes. This is said to be the case because it builds more muscle than strength, which could slow down athletes. It’s also claimed to hinder work capacity and endurance.

When considering that speed and endurance are two of the most important aspects of athletic success, it’s easy to see why coaches dislike bodybuilding.

But, this claim of non-functional training is largely a myth. Bodybuilding-type training can be an effective way to gain strength and even boost work capacity in some activities. Weightlifting of almost any kind can also promote strength, speed, and power. It can also help prevent injury.

There is also no evidence that strength training will act to slow you down. Although, excessive weightlifting may hinder endurance.

The devil, as always, is in the details. Training methods are tools. Used correctly, they can help you achieve your goals. Used incorrectly, they’ll disrupt progress and cause injury.

The key to creating an effective training program is understanding why you’re doing something. This is true whether the goal is maximizing your physique or your performance in competition.

So, I decided to put together this article outlining the main differences in designing a program for strength and conditioning for athletes versus bodybuilding.

Oh, and for all the personal trainers reading this, keep in mind that the goals of most of your clients will be the same as a competitive bodybuilder: Lose fat and gain muscle.

With that in mind, let’s get started.

USP Labs or similar may be used by athletes for its ability to boost strength, power and work capacity. But, most bodybuilders will avoid the former close to competition due to the water retention and bloating it can cause.

There is some agreement between the two types of sportsmen though. Omega-3s, vitamins, and minerals are generally taken by both through supplements or fish and vegetables. Reducing calories can also hinder recovery from tough training.

So, be sure to consider the role of diet in your program, and how it may impact training and performance.


Come on, be honest, that heading got your attention. Probably because, even in an era where steroids are becoming increasingly used, these drugs still carry a stigma. But, it’s also a huge differentiating factor for bodybuilders and athletes.

This is because, for many bodybuilders, steroid use is permitted. By contrast, nearly all other sports ban steroid use. This doesn’t mean a huge amount of athletes don’t use them, but they can face a ban if caught.

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So, it wouldn’t do any harm to talk to your athletes about if they’re using them and educate yourself on different drugs that are used for a range of training goals.

All of this will help you better prepare for training athletes and bodybuilders, and deliver a better program for better results.

Richie started Hurricane Fitness in 2011. Starting out as a Boxer at the age of 11 and winning County, Provincial, National and International medals in Boxing, he began running fitness classes and personal training.

Since then he has gone on to work alongside Olympic, World and European Champions and has trained many clients, both at home and abroad, with a wide range of goals and needs.

You can find him on his website;, or on his Facebook or Instagram page.

Richie Hedderman
About author

I work for WideInfo and I love writing on my blog every day with huge new information to help my readers. Fashion is my hobby and eating food is my life. Social Media is my blood to connect my family and friends.
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