Powerlifting vs Strongman

Yashasvi SaxenaFeb 2 . 11 min read

Heya pretty & powerful peeps!

The countdown has begun. Just a few days before WSM. Aren’t you guys excited? I bet you’re!

Now, some of you very well know what WSM is. But, for the newbies and the ones with a freshly brewed interest in strength representation competitions, WSM stands for World’s Strongest Man. 

WSM is a competition where you represent your strength with the help of some physical activities to be called the STRONGEST MAN!

I know, I know, you’re thinking that is about lifting some heavyweights, isn’t it? I can bet, it is SOOOO NOT. 

WSM might consist of weight lifting as one of its events, but it isn’t all about it.

Aww, all the aspiring weightlifters, don’t get disappointed. There’s another championship curated only for you and your love for weightlifting. It goes by the name of Powerlifting and is concerned only with how much weight you can lift.

Okay, so cutting the chase, today we’ll be talking about both of these sports in brief and what are the factors that make these sports different from each other. 

So get your safety vests on and power yourselves up, coz we are about to begin!

Disclaimer: Please consult a doctor or registered medical practitioner before attempting any of the cures suggested on vedifly.com.


It is a sport primarily concerned with the representation of strength by the means of lifting weights. This competition consists of three events that are used to assess the performance of the competitor. Let us first talk in terms of standards.

Powerlifting Definition 

By definition, powerlifting is a competitive strength sport in which the contestants perform three types of lifts in a set sequence. 

There are three types of lifts in any powerlifting competition:


In this, the contestant lowers their hip and stands back again while holding a weight. That is, they have to do a squat while lifting the weight over their shoulders. 

Bench Press

This activity is performed while lying on a weight training bench. The contestant lays down on the bench and has to lift a standard weight while in that position. This activity judges the upper body strength of the contestant. 


This is the final event that decides the overall winner of the championship. In this, the contestant has to lift the loaded barrel kept on the ground in front of them up to the level of their hips. Their body has to be straight so that they are perpendicular to the surface they’re standing on. 

The powerlifting competitions and sport runs under the guidance and according to the defining laws of the IPF- International Powerlifting Federation, currently led by its president Gaston Parage. It is a premier global federation that believes in dope-free, high-standard competition.

How to become a powerlifter

Before starting any new sport, you must know the right way to start to maximize your chances of success. Here are some key points you must know:

Know what you’re up for

It’s not just about a weekend or holiday hustle. Powerlifting requires dedication and determination to go through all that pain and hard work. So, unless you’re not sure about it, you should not go for it.

Get to know the basics

After you’ve prepared yourself mentally, it’s time you research the basics necessities and criteria. Search for a competition, look for a federation, search the career options, and make your strategy that will lead towards your long-term goal. 

Go to a Coach

The most important step is to find a coach that understands your vision and guides you towards it. Once you’ve done all this, your coach will know what to do next!


Strongman refers to a representative of strength. In today’s terminology, a strongman is an athlete who performs various activities to demonstrate his strength in a strongman competition. 

The standard competition for the sport is WSM which is organized by IMG. 

WSM Events

Several events take place in WSM. Here’s a list:

  • Loading Race 
  • Atlas Stones
  • Vehicle Pull
  • Overhead Press 
  • Power Stairs 
  • Dead Lift
  • Keg Toss
  • Weight Throw 
  • Car Carry 
  • Hercules Hold
  • Carry and Drag 
  • Farmer's Walk 
  • Super Yoke
  • Husafell Stone 
  • Duck Walk 
  • Log Throw / Caber toss 
  • Tug of War 
  • Pole Pushing
  • Crucifix
  • Giant Dumbbell Press
  • Basque Circle/Stone Circle/Conan's Wheel 
  • Norse Hammers
  • Circus Barbel

The winner is selected based on any 5 events. A contestant who is in lead in the five events is considered the winner.

How to become a strongman 

The steps are no different from Powerlifting. The basics before starting any sport are the same.

Strongman weight classes

Here are the weight classes for all categories of both the strongman and strongwoman championships.

Open Strongman:


Lightweight: Up to 181 lbs

165 pounds – 75 kg

181 pounds – 82.5 kg


Middleweight: 182 to 220 lbs

198 pounds – 90 kg

220 pounds – 100 kg


Heavyweight: 221 to 275 lbs 242 pounds - 110 kg

275 pounds – 125 kg


SHW: Over 275 lbs

308 pounds – 140 kg

308+ pounds – 140+ kg



Lightweight: up to 220 lbs

198 pounds - 90 kg

220 pounds - 100 kg

Heavyweight: over 220 lbs

242 pounds - 110 kg

242+ pounds - 110+ kg

Novice and Teens:


Lightweight: Up to 220 lbs

220 pounds - 100 kg


Heavyweight: Over 220 lbs

220+ pounds - 100+ kg


Open Strongwoman:


Lightweight: Up to 132 lbs

123 pounds – 56 kg

132 pounds – 60 kg


Middleweight: 133 to 165 lbs

148 pounds – 67.5 kg

165 pounds – 75 kg


Heavyweight: 166 to 198 lbs

181 pounds – 82.5 kg

198 pounds – 90 kg


SHW: Over 198 lbs

199 -242 pounds – 110 kg

242+ pounds - 110+ kg


Lightweight: Up to 165 lbs

165 pounds - 75 kg


Heavyweight: Over 165 Lbs

165+ pounds - 75+ kg

Novice and Teens:

Single Class

Lightweight: Up to 165 lbs

165 pounds - 75 kg

Heavyweight: Over 165 lbs

165+ pounds - 75+ kg

Powerlifting vs Strongman

Both the sports are for the representation of strength. But they differ in terms of the activities taken as the standards to prove the strongest man standing. These difference in activities and the deciding pattern is what demarcates them from each other.

Do strongman power lift?

Answering this question, we can say that Strongman does perform some of the activities that are common to powerlifting. But because powerlifting is a whole sport, the answer to this question will be no.

I hope you’ve got all your doubts cleared and questions answered. An added tip is, if you want to pursue any of these sports then research some of the top athletes of these sports. Closely study their journey. This can prove to be of help to you. 

All the best!

More from Vedifly