Common Powerlifting terms for beginners

ATG – Abbreviation of  “ass to grass”. Squatting to the depth at which the hamstrings are resting on, or touching, the calves.

Baby Powder – often applied to the front of the legs in order to assist sliding of the bar along the legs on the deadlift.

Bands – Large “rubber bands” used by powerlifters to increase resistance on a specific portion of an exercise eg. The top of the Bench Press.

Bench 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 – boards used to shorten the range of motion while bench pressing. See Also Board Press

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

Cambered Bar – A bar with a bend in it. The “camber” will change the centre of gravity and can be used a tool to increase range of motion (on bench press).

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

Chalk – chalk or magnesium carbonate powder used to aid grip.

Chucks – Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star sneakers. A popular shoe for deadlift because of its flat sole and rugged design.

Deadlift Suit – A singlet, generally made of polyester or canvas, that provides support when deadlifting.

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

Deload – A time period in a training cycle where a lifter will use lower weight and/or volume to aid in recovery and prepare for a meet or a new training cycle.

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

Federation –  Federation is the word that is used to refer to any organization which holds and promotes powerlifting meets. Federations provide rules for performance and judging of the lifts, and they organize competitions and keep records.

Flight – An American term for 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. See Also Benefits of the Floor Press

Gear – Gear refers to everything that the lifter wears during lifts that is not part of “normal” clothing. This would include a weightlifting belt, any type of wrap for joints, and any special lifting suits. Originally, gear was designed to provide safety, especially in the squat. See Also Powerlifting Belts Vs Weightlifting Belts

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

The Hole – Term used to describe the bottom of the squat movement.

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

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 centre 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. Not legal in many federations.

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.

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.

Periodisation – 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. See Also Power Rack Vs Smith Machine

Pussy Pad – a rolled-up towel or Foam roll which fits on a squat bar that someone uses when they complain their back or neck gets hurt by the bar. Alters the centre of balance for the exercise, a sign of poor bar placement. Also known as a “Manpon” “Maxi Pad”

RAW – A powerlifting term used to describe lifting with minimal or no supportive equipment.

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”)

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

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

Suicide Grip – A thumb-less bench press grip.

Squat Suit – A singlet, generally made of polyester or canvas, that provides support when squatting.

“The Big Three” – the three competitive lifts in the sport of powerlifting. They are the squat, bench, and deadlift.

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.

Westside – A gym in Ohio that is led by powerlifting coach, Louie Simmons. The Westside gym has produced many champion powerlifters and the “Westside System” of conjugated periodization.

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”)

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

Wrist Wraps – Wraps used to support the wrists when lifting heavy weights.


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2 Comments on "Common Powerlifting terms for beginners"

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Garth Delikan

LOL! I love these powerlifting abbreviations and how they can also mirror and reflect your attitude and actions in real life!!

Cullen Griffin

hahaha yo this glossary of terms is hilarious.