If building muscle were a simple as pushing or pulling the heaviest weight possible, bodybuilding would be easy. Since that’s basically all powerlifters do, they’d have the most exquisite physiques on earth. But the fact is, they don’t. Most powerlifters are clinically obese (with no muscle definition), perpetually injured, and, astonishingly, only marginally developed by bodybuilding standards. It’s an important subject for my readers to explore because, due to some degree of real strength-to-size correlation, so many of us get drawn by the lure of low repetitions with heavy weights.
I am 51and started powerlifting about 6 years ago. I have always kept my back flat on the bench with a closer grip and with a really high rack height like 18 on a ER rack just like what I did in college (really long arms) shoulder extended up not kept down. I have over the last 4 years tried a powerlifting style multiple times by arching my back bringing the rack height down to 14 and spreading my grip. I have given it months of training but my max is always stronger with my old bodybuilding style of bench… I can’t explain it because my range of motion is about 5 to 6 inches more on downward stroke and the same on upward stroke when using the bodybuilder style. It makes no sense! But your article is the first one that I read that states a bodybuilding bench recruits more muscles. Could that be the reason why I am stronger with the BB style? Its frustrating because everything you read states the opposite. Any theories?