• Alex Parry

3 Ways to Combine Weightlifting and Bodybuilding

Let's be honest, we're probably not gonna be lifting like Lu Xiaojun or Dmitry Klokov anytime soon, but with the right training, we might just be able to get something halfway close to their physique. In this article, we're going to be going over three ways to combine weightlifting and bodybuilding.



Method 1: Bodybuilding Movements At the End of the Workout


A simple approach, you perform all your competition lifts and variations, then all your strength work, then 2 bodybuilding exercises for 3-4 sets each. It looks something like this...

  • Snatch 4x2

  • Clean & Jerk 4x1

  • Snatch Pulls 4x3

  • Back Squat 3x5

  • Side/lateral raises 3x12

  • Bicep Curls 4x15


And you would do something like this every workout, so that if you trained 5 times per week, you would get 10 bodybuilding exercises in across the week, and about 35 total sets of bodybuilding work.

The Pros


  • It's super simple

  • It's easy to plug into any weightlifting programme



The Cons


  • You're often knackered by the time you get to your bodybuilding work, so the quality and focus can easily suffer.

  • Total bodybuilding volume may not be enough to progress certain bodyparts



Method 2: Bodybuilding Integrated Into Main Training


A more complex approach, you use high rep schemes in main exercises, as well as eccentrics and tempo work to slightly bias your main workouts towards hypertrophy. It looks something like this...

  • Snatch + Low Hang Snatch with 3s eccentric. 5 sets

  • 2 Hang Clean + Jerk. 4 sets

  • Overhead Press. 4x8

  • Tempo Back Squat 4x6

  • Bicep Curls 4x15


With this approach, the main workout now includes movements that will build more muscle, especially in the legs, back and shoulders. So all you need to do is a few isolation exercises for your arms and you're good to go.

The Pros


  • Fresh for all bodybuilding style work

  • Very high carryover of all muscle built (due to positional similarity)



The Cons


  • Higher rep schemes and tempo work doesn't prime the body for maximal lifting

  • Incredibly fatiguing workouts



Method 3: Separate Bodybuilding Days


A simple approach, in which you split your week into bodybuilding days and weightlifting days. It might look something like this...

  • Day 1: Weightlifting

  • Day 2: Bodybuilding

  • Day 3: Weightlifting

  • Day 4: Bodybuilding


With this approach, each workout has a clear and distinct focus. Some days you snatch, clean and jerk, other days you get in and build some muscle.

The Pros


  • Fresh for all bodybuilding style work

  • Mentally nice to have a single focus each day



The Cons


  • Lower frequency of weightlifting not ideal for technique

  • Soreness from bodybuilding days can interfere with weightlifting days if not planned carefully.



My Recommendations for Combining Weightlifting and Bodybuilding


For the most part, you can choose whichever option you feel works best for you. Personally, I've found success for me and my lifters by using a sort of phasic approach.


In block 1 we might use the 'separate day' method, then in block 2 we might use the 'integrated' method, and then in block 3 we might swap to the 'end of workout' method. So we go from 'most likely to interfere with weightlifting' to 'least likely to interfere with weightlifting' and aim to peak towards the end of the third block.



Bodybuilding Accessory Work for Olympic Weightlifting


I've put together a completely separate article going into detail on the exercises that you can choose, and why you might choose them. Check it out here for more detail.



Next Steps


1) Get into the gym and try some of these methods out, you'll probably find that one method just suits you and your style of training better.


2) If you enjoyed the article, consider popping your name on my mailing list for weekly training tips, programmes etc.


3) And if you want a 'done-for-you' bodybuilding and weightlifting template, why not check out this one right here. It's 12 weeks long, 4 days per week, and I've had a bunch of people use it with great success.



'Til Next Time


Alex



MSc Strength & Conditioning

Tutor/Educator for British Weightlifting