The impacts of CrossFit vs powerlifting

Maggie Jensen

Powerlifting and CrossFit have become well known in the fitness industry.  

Powerlifting is a strength sport where an athlete competes in three movements: squat, bench press, and deadlift.

A study done by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states a person’s caloric demands increased by 15% with powerlifting.

Powerlifting also increases bone density, which helps with aging and decreases the chances of osteoporosis. 

Powerlifting can also help with other athletics such as wrestling, boxing, discus, shot-put, and football. 

On the other hand, CrossFit is a high-intensity form of training that incorporates strength training, weightlifting, endurance, speed, flexibility, and power, just to name a few. 

According to Healthline, CrossFit’s benefits include increasing your maximum amount of oxygen during a workout session and improving physical strength and health. 

CrossFit also burns more calories than powerlifting and even more during recovery.

Two Lake County athletic professionals discuss their very different training methods regarding powerlifting and CrossFit.


David Anderson

David Anderson

David Anderson, a personal trainer, and the boy’s track coach at Grayslake North High School started powerlifting his last year of college.

             “I wanted to understand the science behind how athletes can move two to three times their body weight with ease,” says Anderson.  

When working with an athlete, Anderson stated that it is all about figuring out the athlete’s strengths and weaknesses and turning them into strengths.

For powerlifting, you have to be able to move not only your body but also the implement itself. 

Powerlifting requires balance, coordination, speed, and power generation.            

According to Anderson, being a powerlifter requires creativity, especially during a pandemic. 

He says that you have to be creative with your tools available and figure out ways to train the body differently than you usually would. 

According to Anderson, powerlifting had broadened his training horizons and helped him with everyday physical activity and maintaining his immune system. 

For long term health, Anderson says that powerlifting allows for better longevity of your muscles. 

The longer you train with weightlifting, the use of your tendons, ligaments, and muscles will get used to it and gain strength quickly but also prevent the degrading of muscles when you get older.  

While powerlifting is a tremendous workout for strength training, CrossFit is considered a high-intensity workout involving endurance with a mix of strength training. 

Tyler Hansen, a physical education teacher at Grayslake North High School and girls track throwing coach has been training with a CrossFit emphasis for ten years. 


Tyler Hansen

Tyler Hansen

Out of all the training methods Hansen had tried, CrossFit was enjoyable while providing him with the best results.

            “With CrossFit, there’s never an end to the list of movements that you can be trying to get better at or learn for the first time,” Hansen says. 

When Hansen is creating a program for an athlete, like Anderson, he takes the athlete’s strengths and weaknesses into consideration.

By going outside of the gym, Hansen has cut his run time for both short and long distances, which he describes as his weakest athletic performance.

            “I feel like there are very few physical tasks that I could not perform in life if the need be, and that is because of the varied approach of movements, loads, and time domains that CrossFit challenges you to get better at,” stated Hansen.

While powerlifting and Crossfit have different objectives, these two sports require discipline in forms of training, nutrition, and motivation which can provide a basis for a healthy lifestyle.