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Thread: Powerlifting Terminology

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    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Dec 2004

    Powerlifting Terminology

    This is intended to become a glossary of powerlifting terms that people new to the sport can refer to. I actually made it for another forum, but I'm sure it will get more use here. If you think of entries that I'm forgetting, I've overlooked, or misrepresented, please post a reply and I'll modify it.

    ATF - Abbreviation of "ass to the floor". Also known as "ATG", meaning "ass to grass". SEE "full squat"

    Bands - Large "rubber bands" used by powerlifters to increase resistance at the top/end of exercises like the squat, bench press, and deadlift.

    Bench (press) Shirt - A shirt used in competitive powerlifting to increase the poundages lifted and add shoulder stability. Bench press shirts are generally made of 1 or 2 layers of polyester or denim.

    Boards - 2x4inch boards used to shorten the range of motion while bench pressing and strengthen "lock-out" strength.

    Bomb-out - To fail at every attempt at one of the competitive lifts (squat, bench press, deadlift) in a powerlifting meet.

    Box Squat - Squatting down onto a box. Box squats can be used to gauge squatting depth or as an exercise by itself.

    Briefs - "Underwear" worn in competition or in training while squatting to increase support and poundages.

    Cambered Bar - A bar with a bend in it. The "camber" will change the center of gravity and can be used a tool to increase range of motion (on bench press), increase comfort on the shoulders (in the case of a "buffalo bar"), or strengthen weaknesses in the squat (w. the "cambered squat bar").

    Chains - Heavy, large diameter chain used by powerlifters to increase resistance at the top of exercises such as the squat, bench press, and deadlift.

    Deadlift Jack - A simple lever used to prop up a barbell off of the floor to make loading and unloading weights easier and faster.

    Dime - A slang term for a 10 pound plate.

    Erector Shirt - A polyester shirt used in the squat and deadlift which helps the lifter maintain proper posture throughout the lift.

    flight - A grouping of lifters at a powerlifting competition. In larger competitions, lifters will be divided into groups called "flights" and compete taking turns making attempts within their flight.

    Floor Press - A bench press variation used to strengthen the top half of the lift. To perform the floor press, the lifter lies on the ground and lowers the barbell until the back of the triceps touches the floor, then the weight is pressed back up.

    Full squat - Squatting to the depth at which the hamstrings are resting on, or touching, the calves. Also known as "ATF (ass-to-floor) squats" and "ATG (ass-to-grass) squats".

    Gear - Equipment. Sometimes used as slang for anabolic steroids.

    Glute-Ham (Bench) - A special bench used to hit the glute and hamstring muscles. The lifter lies face down on the bench and does a combination hyperextension and leg curl to bring his/her upper body up to a position perpendicular to the floor.

    Groove - The path the barbell should follow in the competitive lifts.

    "in the hole" - The third lifter in line to lift at a powerlifting competition.

    (The)Hole - Term used to describe the bottom of the squat movement.

    IPF - The International Powerlifting Federation. The largest international powerlifting organization. It is a drug-tested federation and limits shirt and suit usage to single-ply polyester.

    "Ironman" - a term for "Push-Pull"

    Knee Wraps - A long piece material used to wrap the knees and provide support and assistance in the squat and, sometimes, the deadlift.

    (The) "lock-out" - The last few inches in the range of motion in the bench press, squat, or deadlift.

    Manta-Ray - A piece of hard plastic which fits on the bar and is used to make squatting more comfortable and raise the center of gravity - changing the stress of the exercise.

    Miss - A failed attempt.

    Monolift - A special kind of squat rack that enables the lifter to unrack and squat the weight without walking it out.

    Nickel - A slang term for a 5 pound plate.

    "on deck" - Being next in line to lift at a powerlifting competition

    Open-Back - Term used to describe a [/b]Bench Press Shirt[/b] that has been cut down the center of the back.

    "opener" - The first attempt of a squat, bench press, or deadlift at a powerlifting competition.

    "parallel" - Squatting depth at which the crease at the hip is parallel to the top of the knee. Also called a "half-squat" by olympic lifters.

    Partials - A word used to describe performing an exercise through only a portion of the normal range of motion. For example, bench press 'partials' might mean only performing from the chest to halfway up. There are many exercises that could be categorized as 'partials', such as high box squats, board presses, etc.

    (to) Pass (a lift) - to give up one or more attempts at a competitive lift in a powerlifting competition.

    Periodization - Organizing training into cycling 'periods' of varying intensity and/or volume to allow for better recovery and training adaptation.

    Power Rack - A rack that has safety bars to catch the barbell if a trainee fails a lift.

    Push-Pull - Bench press and deadlift

    (A) "Quarter" - Slang for a 25 pound plate. (See also: "Wheel", "Nickel", "Dime"

    RAW - A powerlifting term used to describe lifting with minimal or no supportive equipment. In most powerlifting organizations, the "raw" division allows only the use of a belt and knee wraps.

    "Reds" - A powerlifting term used to refer to the signal/lights judges give to indicate a failed or illegal attempt in the competitive lifts. (See also: "Whites")

    Reverse Hyper - An exercise in which the lifter stabilizes his/her upper body prone on a bench and the legs are kicked upward, stressing the lower back, hips, and hamstring muscles.

    Safety Squat Bar - A special bar used for squat training that has extra padding around the neck and changes the center of gravity.

    sled - A sled used by powerlifters for general conditioning and/or to strengthen muscles for the competitive lifts.

    Sticking Point - A point in the range of motion for squat, bench press, or deadlift where the lifter often fails the lift.

    "stone" - A unit of measurement for weight. 1 stone equals 14 pounds or 6.35 kilograms.

    Supersuit - See SQUAT SUIT

    Suit Slippers - Lycra stockings used to make putting on a squat or deadlift suit easier.

    Squat Suit - A singlet, generally made of polyester or canvas, that provides support when squatting and, sometimes, deadlifting.

    Total - The sum of the three lifts performed in a powerlifting competition - squat, bench press, and deadlift.

    "touch and go" (bench press) - A bench press without a pause at the chest. Some bench press competitions are "touch and go" and competitors may begin pressing as soon as the bar touches the chest rather than waiting for a judge to give the "Press!" command.

    Trap Bar - Also known as a 'hex bar'. A special barbell usually made in the shape of a square or hexagon. The lifter steps inside of the barbell and deadlifts and/or shrugs the weight.

    tucked elbows - a style of benching in which the lifter keeps his/her elbows rotated inward and closer to the body, placing emphasis on tricep strength.

    USAPL - The USA Powerlifting federation. One of several powerlifting federations in the United States. It is an affiliate of the IPF.

    Weight Releasers - A device used to add resistance at the top of a movement that "releases" the added weight at the bottom of the movement.

    Westside - A gym in Ohio that is led by powerlifting guru, Louie Simmons. The Westside gym has produced many champion powerlifters and the "Westside System" of conjugated periodization. Westside is probably most famous for its use of bands, chains, and boards in their training.

    "(A) Wheel" - slang for a 45 pound plate. (See also: "Quarter", "Dime", "Nickel")

    "Whites" - A powerlifting term used to refer to the signal/lights judges give to indicate a successful attempt in the competitive lifts. (See also: "Reds")

    WPO - The World Powerlifting Organization. A professional powerlifting organization offering prize money to competitors. Double and triple-ply suits and shirts are allowed. A monolift is used for the squat.

    Wrist Straps - Straps used to help the lifter hold onto the bar.

    Wrist Wraps - Wraps used to support the wrists when lifting heavy weights.
    Last edited by Sensei; 06-25-2007 at 03:37 AM.
    A child does not learn to squat from the top down. In other words, he does not suddenly make a conscious decision one day to squat. Actually, he is squatting one day and make the conscious decision to stand. Squatting precedes standing in the developmental sequence. This is the way a child's brain learns to use the body as the child develops movement patterns. Therefore, a child is probably crawling, rocks back into a squatting position with the back completely relaxed and the hips completely flexed, and stands when he has enough hip strength. This approach makes a lot of sense and can be applied to relearning the deep squat movement if it is lost. -Gray Cook
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