The Major Portions of a Lift and Using its knowledge to Your Advantage as a Lifter


What we will show to you today are the major portions of any lift or exercise. Like any activity a single lift can have several elements and parts and awareness to these can help you plan the weight or the approach that you will take on any major move.

In this post we will give you the portions of ANY lift or any move which means that this guide can be generally applied to any lift that you can do in and out of the gym.

Note: we will avoid using jargon anatomy terms in this post such as “hyperextension”, “abduction”, “adduction” etc as much as we can so that everybody will fully understand the message as this topic is very IMPORTANT so please pay attention.

First off (to review); we have the Positive and the Negative portion – Positive is basically is where the target muscle shortens and basically the portion where you struggle to get the weight up (either pulling it to your body or pushing it away) and the negative portion is where you lower the weight and resist gravity.

Now that we have clarified and reviewed the “positive” and “negative” parts, let’s discuss the real “portions” of a lift from ground to liftoff:

1st – “Re-rack” or “Resting” Position: Any position from where you would get the weight either from the rack or from the ground or basically where you do not exert any effort at all.

For example: In the Bench press the starting position is holding the bar which is still resting on the rack and for Deadlifts this is where the barbell is still on the ground.

2nd –  Fully Contracted Position: This is where your target muscle reaches full positive contraction; basically the top of the lift.

For Bench presses this would be when the weight is at as high as it can get and your pecs are fully contracted. For Deadlifts and Squats this would be when you are standing upright.

3rd – Bottom, Fully Stretched Position: This would be considered the bottom of every lift and this would be when your target muscle is fully stretched out as far as the exercise’s range of motion allows.

For the Bench press, this would be when the bar almost touches your nipples. With the Deadlift, this would be when the bar is on the ground.

IF YOU WOULD NOTICE: In some moves, the “resting” and the “bottom” part are exactly or almost entirely the same like wth your deadlifts. And on the contrary with some moves like the bench press; the resting or the “re-rack” position is at the midpoint of the lift. For upright rows the bottom position is basically synonymous with the “re-rack” since you don’t need to re-rack the weight to any bar and the lift starts from the bottom.

What does this mean?

This means that in some moves it is easier to use heavier weights and experiment on using higher loads even if you don’t have a spotter. On the contrary you would notice that with some moves, it would be more difficult to re-rack the weight when you’re alone after you’ve become fatigued since the “re-rack” position would fall above the bottom portion of the move like with the case of bench presses, shoulder presses, squats, etc. Basically this is applicable to almost all “pushing” moves and any type of “presses”.

What do you need to do?

Now that you are aware of the portions of the lift, you can now take advantage of this knowledge to get out your comfort zone with lifts where the bottom portion is the same with the re-rack portion – which is the case with almost all of your “pulling” moves like deadlifts, rows, pull-downs, shrugs, etc. With these moves there would not be much of a safety issue regarding starting a lift where it turns out that you cannot handle the weight. You will not even be able to get the weight off the ground in the first place.

On the contrary, special care must be taken when going all out with pressing moves where you would need to re-rack the bar after finishing a set. If you are going to use a heavier weight than usual you need to at least have a spotter on standby. Same thing, you might want a spotter to help you re-rack the weight once you reach failure.

have a spotter with bench arnold

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Best practice:  To get more out of the pressing free weight moves like bench presses, always have a spotter on at least one set, preferably the last one where you will reach for failure and go all-out. This will give you two things:

1) Safety

2) The spotter can help you squeeze in another forced rep or two

Having a spotter ready for these types of moves will also give you confidence and the peace of mind to go all out and get out of your comfort zone when doing pressing moves. I myself have this anxiety when it comes to bench presses where I always fear that the weight would come crushing down on me to the extent that I think I am slowing down my own progress, thus I always look for a spotter on at least the one set where I put more plates than usual then go all out to failure with some forced reps and negatives.

Commenting is SEXY! What are your best practices regarding these lifts we discussed above? Eat your eggs, people!

A-Lifter- Don't forget to leave your comment/feedback below.  If this article was helpful, I am sure our book Real Talk Muscle will help you even more in your quest for muscle gain. Check it out you can read the first few chapters as well.
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