Chapter 14 – Resistance Training and Spotting Techniques

Posted by on Feb 9, 2013 in Exercise Technique, Review Topics | 0 comments

Instead of covering topics on specific questions I missed, I decided to cover an entire chapter this time.  Chapter 14 is fairly short, and a fair deal of it is just diagrams of different exercises, what muscle groups they utilize, and how to correctly perform them.  Fortunately I know a great online resource for that, more on that later.


There are a number of different ways to grasp the bar, you should know about these because they can have different effects on muscle activation

  • Pronated / Overhand – Palms facing down or away from you
  • Supinated / Underhand – Palms facing up or towards you
  • Neutral Grip – Halfway between the two, palms facing towards each other
  • Hook Grip – Instead of wrapping your thumb around and over your other fingers, you wrap your fingers around your thumb.  This allows you to pick up more weight than you may have otherwise been able to.
  • Open / False Grip – Any grip in which you do not wrap the thumb around the bar, also known as the “suicide grip” during the bench press

Five Point Body Contact Position

When performing exercises on a bench, with your back on the bench the NSCA book calls out a specific stable position you should always maintain.  Since this takes up the majority of their section on stability and positioning, you should probably know it for the CSCS exam.

  1. Head is placed firmly on the bench
  2. Shoulders and upper back are firmly and evenly on the bench
  3. Buttocks are evenly and firmly positioned
  4. Left foot on the floor
  5. Right foot on the floor


Holding your breath during an exercise has a fancy name, called the Valsalva Manuever.  The maneuver greatly increases the stability of your trunk by increasing the pressure in your abdomen, which stabilizes your entire upper body by creating a rigid, fluid filled “ball” if you will of high pressure.  Think of it like any normal ball, when it’s filled to the max it’s more “stable” that is, you could stand on it easier or do anything off it easier with more stability.  If it’s not full, it’s less stable.

This doesn’t come without drawbacks, as holding your breath through a sticking point in a heavy exercise will increase your blood pressure.  The NSCA recommends only holding your breath for 1-2 seconds so as to minimize the negative effects.

Weight Belts

Short version: they help make your valsalva maneuver more effective; they get the ball more rigid. However using the belt also removes the opportunity to train the core simultaneously during the exercises you use it on.


This section I found a little excessive, but nonetheless it is a necessary one to know.  I’m going to try and break this section down into a few salient points:

  • Always spot closer to the weight on dumbbell exercises
  • Don’t spot power movements
  • Use more spotters for heavier loads
  • For complex heavy movements the spotters should be at least as strong and experienced as the athlete

Resistance Training Exercises

The NSCA book contains an extensive section going over a variety of exercises.  There is a great online resource for this:

There’s a huge amount of detail, including a muscle map, an exercise and muscle directory.  If you need to know what muscles an exercise uses, or what exercises to use to grow a certain muscle, is a fantastic resource.

No Comments


  1. Resistance Training & Program Design part 1A | CSCS Exam Guide - [...] ← Chapter 14 – Resistance Training and Spotting Techniques [...]

Leave a Reply