What is the Catch? Clarifying Weightlifting Exercises and Terminology

by Samuel H. Gardner, MS, CSCS, RSCC, USAW, USATF, Timothy Dombrowski, MS, CSCS, RSCC, USAW-ASPC, and Jeremy D. Gough, MS, CSCS, RSCC
NSCA Coach January 2013
Vol 2, Issue 1

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This article covers commonly used terminology from United States of America Weightlifting (USAW), plus it contains illustrations of the basic positions for weightlifting exercises.

Weightlifting (often referred to as Olympic weightlifting or Olympic-style weightlifting) is a highly used form of training by sport performance professionals. The competitive movements of weightlifting are the snatch and the clean and jerk. The benefits of weightlifting movements include increased balance, coordination, strength, speed, and rate of force production.

Two of the most desired physical qualities in athletes are speed and strength, because most sports require quick and explosive movements. The amount of force an athlete can apply to the ground, and how fast they can apply that force, will help determine how fast they can run, how high they can jump, or how quickly they can change direction, all of which are required in most sports.

Powerlifting incorporates lifts that require heavy loads, but lower velocity of movements; whereas weightlifting uses loads performed at a much higher velocity. As a result, weightlifting and weightlifting variations in conjunction with powerlifting movements may be better suited for developing strength, power, and speed due to the utilization of a greater rate of force production.

Although weightlifting movements are commonly utilized in the field of sport performance for the development of enhanced physical qualities, the terminology frequently varies between coaches. A consistent use of vocabulary is needed for greater application and understanding between coaches and programs. The purpose of this article is to present commonly used terminology from USA Weightlifting and common verbiage from sport performance coaches in numerous athletic settings, as well as describe the basic positions and terminology for the weightlifting exercises.

This article originally appeared in NSCA Coach, a quarterly publication for NSCA Members that provides valuable takeaways for every level of strength and conditioning coach. You can find scientifically based articles specific to a wide variety of your athletes’ needs with Nutrition, Programming, and Youth columns. Read more articles from NSCA Coach Â»

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Samuel H. Gardner, CSCS,*D, RSCC

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Samuel Gardner has been a strength and conditioning coach with the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), the Golden State Warriors National Basketba...

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Timothy Dombrowski, CSCS, RSCC

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Tim Dombrowski is currently the Assistant Sport Performance Coach at Kennesaw State University for Olympic Sports. His primary responsibilities includ...

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Jeremy Gough currently serves as the director of sport performance at Kennesaw State. Gough was a graduate assistant in the strength and conditioning...

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