Some children and many adolescents use weights to increase strength or enlarge muscles. A smaller number compete in the sports of weight lifting, power lifting, and body building.


Free weights are dumbbells and barbells that are used without the external support of a machine.

Major lifts are lifts used in the sports of weight and power lifting. Also used are the power clean and the incline and overhead presses. These lifts involve the use of free weights lifted through the extremes of joint motion in a ballistic rather than a controlled fashion. They have significant potential to cause injury.1-3 In the clean and jerk, the athlete lifts the barbell in a two-step movement from the floor to the chest and then over the head; the snatch involves the same movement of the barbell performed without interruption with a different technique. The power clean requires raising the barbell from the floor to the shoulders in a two-part maneuver. The dead lift is accomplished by raising the barbell from the floor by straightening the flexed knees. In the squat lift, the athlete holds the barbell behind the head on the shoulders, squats until the thighs are parallel with the floor, and then straightens the legs. In the bench press, the athlete lies supine on a bench, holds the barbell over the chest with the arms extended, lowers the weight to the chest, and then raises it again. The incline press is similar, except that the bench is at a 30° angle.

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