“All the world's a stage” helps to make the distinction between these two fitness lifestyles. Both have rather dense, powerful muscular strength systems. However, powerlifters train just with heavy weights, albeit lifting those weights alone is pretty impressive.
Strongmen tap into their inner creative natures to present a display of strength that is not only impressive, but often unique to that particular strongman. You will see a strongman conducting tests of strength in often unconventional ways: bending nails and horseshoes, ripping phonebooks and full decks of cards, or lifting weights with people resting on them.
Of course, to perform such feats, you must develop a foundation of strength in all aspects. Develop your muscle control and tendon strength; keep your endurance and overall vitality high at all times; empower your ligaments and maintain flexibility; build your muscular strength system down to the teeth (quite literally, Joseph “The Mighty Atom” Greenstein could bite through steel chain links).
Acquiring such a level of fitness in itself is a bit of a show, requiring a great deal of time and dedication. However, once you do have such strength, you should focus on developing a skill unique to strongman history. Slim “The Hammer Man” can leverage 70 lb hammers using just grip strength only inches from his face. Chad Netherland, holder of the most Guiness Records in martial arts, held two Cessna planes from taking off for a full minute. Logan Christopher pulled an 880 lb antique firetruck with his hair.
To quote Gladiator: Are you not entertained?
Can you challenge yourself to leave a mark in strongman history?