Strength Wars: Powerlifter vs. Street Workout aka Callisthenics

Posted on 09 Aug 2015 23:14


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UK based YouTube Channel called BodybuildingRev put a Powerlifter and a Callisthenics specialist against one another in their "Strength Wars" series.

BodybuildingRev hosted a powerlifter taking on a callisthenics specialist in the latest video to their Strength Wars Series. Romano represents powerlifters and Bertrand is the callisthenics specialist. Now before I get into the video and the fairness or practicality of the competition, I want to state that the video is very entertaining. You have two guys of which one is the obvious aggressor (Bertrand) who talks a lot of smack and [SPOILER ALERT!] ends up losing miserably to the powerlifter on the day of the competition. Putting the entertainment value of the video aside, I want to write about the competition itself. But before I begin, let me share the video:

Strength Wars: Powerlifter vs. Street Workout

The Competition

To test out these athletes for "strength", the head coach devised the following workout competition:

  1. Bench Press 20 reps with 100 kgs
  2. Pull-ups 15 reps with 40 kgs added to the athlete's body(weight)
  3. Dips 15 reps with 40 kgs added to the athlete's body(weight)
  4. Squats 25 reps with 90 kgs

All this is done for time so whoever finishes this bout the quickest is the winner. Not surprisingly the "powerlifter" Romano won.

Is the Competition Fair?

I understand that this competition is about strength and strength does not have to be maximal in nature. However you have a POWERLIFTER and a CALLISTHENICS SPECIALIST competing and I think doing a crossfit type drill is very very mediocre. However, I think it is acceptable because the actual competition is impractical for both lifters. Personally, I think the deadlift should have been included and the competition should have had 3 calisthenics exercises and the 3 powerlifts. However, if you watch the video you will see that both athletes fared miserably on the weighted pull-ups and dips. Neither was prepared for those lifts. Additionally, since when did powerlifters specifically train for high rep bench presses and squats? So putting it together, overall this was a fair competition.


At the end of the day, even though the competition was unfair, the calisthenics specialist will be the best at what he does and the powerlifter will be the best at what he does. You cannot do calisthenics and expect to be able to pull off some maximal strength type work and no powerlifter can train the squat, bench and deadlift to manipulate his body the way calisthenic practitioners can.

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