Powerlifting and Strength Training Definitions

I realize there is a lot of jargon out there relating to strength training, so here is a basic list of commonly used and some personalized terms I use. I’ll add as I go.


Parallel: (Squat) Depth at the bottom of the squat. The tops of your thighs, at the hip joint, should be below the tops of your knees. This is competition standard. It is also generally the point at which you have maximal strength. Use the crease in the shorts at the hip to compare to the knees.

Bounce: (Squat) Keeping butt and hamstring tension through the bottom of the squat and beginning the upward movement without coming to a stop.

Hole: The bottom of the squat position.

Pillar Torso: A rigid thorax and abdomen during movement to maintain a neutral spine.

  • How to – Breathe deep into bottom of lungs and hold against abdominal wall. Rib cage down, shoulders flexed back and down. Should feel like your torso is a cement pillar. Applies to all powerlifting exercises.
  • Practice with a belt secured around belly at navel level. Suck in air and practice holding it low in the abdomen, flexing against the belt. You don’t have to use a formal lifting belt, a regular pants one will do. The harder you can flex against the belt, the better. It gives you spinal support. Try a body weight squat while holding in air like this. You’ll notice an instant improvement in stability.
  • Practical use: learn to do this without a belt. When lifting things, you can use the pillar torso cue to keep your spine aligned.

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One thought on “Powerlifting and Strength Training Definitions”

  1. Hi,

    My name is Jin, a filmmaker based in Portland, OR.

    We recently finished a short documentary on a young & hungry powerlifter name, Jesse Marvin. He is 23 years old, under 200 LBS and drug tested, gunning for lifting 1850 LBS in total weights this year.

    Here is link to the film: https://vimeo.com/158437829

    I would love to hear what you think of the film.

    If you like the film, please share it with people who would be interested in seeing it.

    Thank you.



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