Why Do Powerlifters Look Fat? (Explained)

Why Do Powerlifters Look Fat

Here’s Why Powerlifters Look Fat?

Strongmen with a lot of body fat are often seen in the open category, where there is no upper weight limit. Strong athletes can move more weight since they are heavier, so adding extra fat to their bodies is advantageous.

When we think of the term athlete, I bet we all have a similar mental image. Whatever the sport, it’s often a lean, muscular person with the odd six-pack thrown in for good measure. This is particularly accurate when you consider an athlete who works out in the gym.

Why then do many strong athletes, such as strongmen, weightlifters, and powerlifters, appear to be so obese? Why are people gaining weight at the same gym I go to lose weight? Surely it defies logic for someone to be so unfit and overweight while competing at that high level in a strength sport?

Well, whether you think that makes sense or not, here’s why.

Strongmen with a lot of body fat are often seen in the open category, where there is no upper weight limit. Strong athletes can move more weight since they are heavier, so adding extra fat to their bodies is advantageous.

But this isn’t the whole story because many strongmen athletes don’t have excessive amounts of body fat. Why do some have fat and others don’t?


Powerlifters may resemble one another in that they have a lot of muscle, but genetics also play a significant impact. If you look closely, you’ll notice that each athlete has varied amounts of muscle distributed throughout their bodies in various places.

Strongman competitors may have enormous quadriceps and legs but little arms, or they may have enormous shoulders and chests but small legs.

Not only that, but a strong athlete’s physique is also greatly influenced by height and body proportions. When observing how each of them raises, this is very obvious.

Additionally, a great deal of where different athletes flourish and struggle might be attributed to heredity.

You’ll undoubtedly notice this for yourself if you lift weights. It’s possible that you naturally excel at bench press and shoulder press but have greater difficulty with squats.

This can also be seen frequently in a strongman. Even the most devoted and powerful strength athletes struggle with some events.

So what does a Strongman’s weight have to do with any of this?

We just discussed how a strength athlete’s physique, strengths, and weaknesses are greatly influenced by heredity.

However, being the strongest all-around is the goal of a strongman. Being a strongman requires athletes to be proficient across the board, not just in one area where they excel. Each athlete must therefore train in a method that makes them their best in each event by working with their unique body.

Some people may see this as an opportunity to get skinny and slim down, while others will gain a lot of weight to gain strength, fat included.

Some strongmen athletes who are bigger and thicker than others perform better. Although it is often the case, speed and endurance sports favor smaller and slimmer athletes.

Societies Expectations

We are frequently reminded in today’s society how harmful and risky being overweight is. Obesity and extreme weight gain can cause a variety of health issues, including early mortality.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that obesity and fat are linked to unhealthy lifestyle choices.

Additionally, the stigma associated with being overweight contributes significantly to thousands of people’s melancholy and anxiety throughout western civilization.

It’s simple to understand where this idea of what a strength athlete should look like comes from when you combine this with the idea that gyms and weight lifting are connected to slimming down and developing superior physiques.

Is being fat an issue for powerlifters at all?

Many people place a high priority on building muscle and reducing fat. It’s stronger and leaner, giving you the best of both worlds.

But everyone has different aspirations, and for many people (including powerlifters and strongmen), power is the key to success. For those people, physical appearance and appeal are secondary considerations.

This is even more true for competitive strength athletes because these individuals don’t give a damn about their appearance and purposefully gain weight to gain an advantage over others.

A fantastic illustration of this is Eddie Hall in the latter stages of his strongman career. People will constantly push themselves and take risks in competitions as it is in their nature to gain an advantage over their rivals. Any sport or competitive endeavor shares this trait.

To improve power at the expense of their health, many strongmen and strength athletes will accumulate enormous quantities of weight.

Not all athletes experience this, but Eddie Hall did. Eddie Hall even acknowledged that his body size wasn’t sustainable over the long term and made the decision to lose a lot of weight after winning the 2017 World Strongest Man title.

Benefits of carrying extra fat in strongman

It’s normally quite difficult to increase strength and muscle mass without also increasing body fat. Fat, muscle, and strength all go hand in hand. For precisely this reason, many athletes—including bodybuilders—will go through phases of bulking and reducing.

This criterion applies to naturally talented athletes, but it is possible to bend it with the aid of some questionable outside drugs.

Even in nature, robust animals like bears and hippos tend to accumulate fat on their bodies.

Therefore, you could argue that carrying a little extra fat in the pursuit of power and muscle is more natural and healthy than being completely shredded and cut as we see in the media all the time, provided you’re not horribly obese or significantly overweight.

Additionally, when performing heavy lifting, it is more likely that carrying a little extra weight will safeguard your joints and organs than being destroyed. This is a generalization, of course, and will differ from person to person depending on their DNA, as was previously said.

Powerlifting Categories

The large athletes that we’ve come to identify with strongman and powerlifting typically compete in the open category, where there are no weight limits.

Numerous other classes, like those in boxing or MMA, have weight requirements that must be met.

On competition day, it’s far less typical to find athletes in these categories who have a lot of body fat.

During training, it’s not unusual to see them strolling about with a little bit more body weight, but when it comes time to compete, they usually lose weight to improve their strength to bodyweight ratio.