Applying Physics to Weightlifting: Newtons 3rd Law

Newton’s third law of motion states, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” This means that for every force there is a reaction force that is equal in size, but opposite in direction. Simply put whenever an object pushes another object it gets pushed back in the opposite direction equally as hard.

Outside the earth this law does not exist so in space you can force an object in a direction and that object will continue in that direction indefinitely. But on earth we are subject to reaction force!

A good example of how this law affects an athlete is to think about basic ground contact while athletes are running. They propel their bodies forward by creating force off the ground and the ground reacts by throwing the athlete forward.

The same is true with squatting or jumping or any other ground-based activity. The key here is that the reaction is equal and opposite!

So when applied to training an athlete, if you can increase the force to the ground you will increase the ground reaction force. At the OPC we apply this science to our training to help our athletes overcome plateaus by increasing the athlete’s strength which increases the force they generate.

For example, we apply band tension to deadlifting for rate of force development and moving the bar as quickly and fast as possible. This develops the muscles in the hips and legs that are responsible for the production of force on the ground. We also will use progressive lateral box jumps, single leg jumps and depth jumps to propel the body and force a different response from the ground.

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