Competitions can be great fun, but also scary and intimidating! We've put together some info at the bottm of this page which may be helpful.
What are the rules?
If it's your first time competing then our guide at the bottom of this page will help you greatly! But if you're looking for everything else then we always refer people to the IPF Technical Rule book. It covers everything that the referees will be looking for, approved equipment and much more!
You can see the rule book here.
All equipment must be IPF approved if applicable (belt, singlet, wrist straps etc),in good condition and clean on the day.
All equipment must be IPF approved if applicable, in good condition and clean on the day
You'll also find our competition day guide (at the bottom of the page) useful.
The Wilks Formula is used to compare the strength of powerlifters against each other despite the different weights of the lifters.
You can find out your wilks score here.
We are proud to be drug free. As an athlete it is your responsibility to make sure that you comply with this.
You can check your medication here.
We recomend that you check all your supplments against Informed Sport.
You can check here.
But if in doubt - don't take them!
The information below is the response to many of your requests regarding a more detailed explanation of how international selection for the Classic team is made. We have received the following information from the GB Team's Head Coach Lawrence Farncombe:
The goal is to pick the best possible lifters available to represent Great Britain.
Congratulations on entering your first powerlifting competition!
Powerlifting is a great sport – competitions are friendly and supportive environments. We all want everyone to their best and we want you to enjoy the sport as much as we do so you’ll come back to smash more PBs in the future. We’ve put this pack together to help you understand the rules and what to expect on competition day. If you have any questions, you only need to ask and any one of our officials, committee or members will be happy to help or point you in the right direction.
Weight and age classes are in accordance with IPF/BP rules.
You should select your weight class at the point that you enter a competition. If you want to change your weight class you need to let us know before we announce the flights for the competition. This is usually just after the closing date for the competition.
Age classes are:
Female weight classes:
Male weight classes:
For your first competition we would always advise against trying to cut weight to get into a particular class – enjoy the build up and the day, see what you can do in a competition under the IPF rules and get a bit of experience in. Don’t put extra pressure on yourself to try and lose weight as well, you’ve got enough going on with it being your first competition.
It’s always a good idea to figure out where you’re going and how long it will take you before you head off so check your route. Check if there is parking on site or nearby or where public transport takes you in relation to the venue. Allow yourself plenty of time for travel so you aren’t panicking about being late.
Pack what you need the night before. We’ve included a checklist at the end of this – add to it if you need to and get it all packed up and ready the night before. This includes your food! Quite often you can purchase food at venues or nearby but take ample food with you to be on the safe side. And pack stuff you are used to eating and won’t upset your stomach on the day.
Have a think about what your first attempt will be at each lift. You will be asked for these at weigh in. Be realistic. Remember – it doesn’t matter where you start, it matters where you finish. Getting an easy first lift in sets the tone for the rest of the day so choose something that you could hit for 3-5 reps any day of the week.
Check the weigh in and lift off times. These are listed on our website on the competition entry page.
Get a good night’s sleep!
Arrive with plenty of time before your weigh in time. Weigh in lasts 1 ½ hours and is called by lot number so it makes sense to give yourself plenty of time. Weigh is ONLY open for those 90 minutes so if you are late you will not be able to weigh in and not be allowed to compete.
When you arrive at the venue, find somewhere to settle yourself and make your way to the weigh in room. Lists will be displayed at the venue of the weigh in order. This is done by lot number and lifters are called in order. If you miss your call, you will have to wait until the end so make sure you check your number.
When you are called to weigh in you will need to have your British Powerlifting membership card with you and some form of photo ID (passport or driving licence). DO NOT FORGET THIS! You will also be asked to complete a drugs test form. If you are given this whilst queuing for weigh in, make sure you do it before you go in. A pen is also always useful!
Weigh in takes place in a private room. When it is your turn you need to hand the official your membership card, completed drug form (or complete in the room) and photo ID. You will then be asked to remove your clothing down to your underwear to stand on the scales.
Please be aware that boxer shorts are not permitted, nor are padded bras (see section on appropriate attire). If you need/want to, you can remove all your clothing and weigh in naked. The official will also take your opening attempts for each lift at this point.
During the weigh in you will also be asked for your rack height for the squat and bench press. This is your responsibility. A rack will be made available for you to check the appropriate heights and officials will be available to help you adjust the rack. You either need to report these to the official at weigh in, or report them to the desk before you start lifting. NB It’s always a good idea to wear the shoes you will use when squatting to get this rack height accurate.
Once you have finished weighing in the official will give you some attempt cards. You need to write your name on these and sign them for use during the competition. If you are unsure what to do with them (covered in the Competition section),just ask one of the officials.
Following your successful weigh in feel free to relax until you need to start warming up.
Announcements will be made before the competition is due to start. Lifters will be given ample warning of the start times of flights. Once all competitors are weighed in, the lifting order for the first attempts will be posted on the scoreboard. Competitions run with an ascending bar (i.e. the weight on the bar is set at the lowest first attempt and rises to the highest before being reset for 2nd attempts). This means that where you are in the lifting order may change – try to keep an eye on it.
You are able to change your opening attempt up until 5 minutes before the start of the flight or before the last 3 lifters of the previous flight (if there is one before you). Be sensible about this. If you are warming up and it all feels heavy or you are struggling, drop the weight on your opener.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. The table will announce when this cut off is approaching; once it has passed you will not be able to change your opener.
Competitors will be called to the lifting platform by name. You must wait for the loaders to finish loading the correct weight onto the bar and for the centre referee to give the call ‘bar loaded’. At this point you can walk onto the platform to take your attempt. Once the centre referee calls ‘bar loaded’ you have 1 minute to reach the platform and get set up for your lift.
Once you have taken your attempt you need to complete your attempt card for your second lift. Write the next weight you wish to attempt in the box marked ‘2nd’ and hand it in to the table. This cannot be lower than the weight you have already attempted. You have 1 minute from the time you leave the platform to do this. If you do not hand your next attempt in in time you will be allocated the same weight if you failed the previous attempt or 2.5kg more than your previous attempt if it was successful.
Here is a link to the IPF rulebook and it includes the standards and commands for each lift.
But, this is long and wordy.
Don’t worry, we get it....here are the highlights you need for each lift:
When you get onto the platform all the refs will have one of their hands in the air. Once you unrack the bar and are in a satisfactory position, the side refs will lower their hands. This gives the centre ref the signal that they believe you are ready to start the lift. They are looking for your knees being locked and you being upright.
If there is any reason they don’t do this the centre ref can ask you to rerack the bar and seek an explanation for them not giving the signal. You will be told what this is and asked to set up again. If this happens, don’t panic. Take a deep breath, keep calm and set up again. You have plenty of time.
Once you are in your established starting position the centre referee will give the audible ‘Squat’ command with a downward movement of their hand. They will be quite loud to ensure they are heard over any spectators. DO NOT SQUAT BEFORE THEY GIVE THIS COMMAND.
When you squat, one of the things the referees are looking for is adequate squat depth. Adequate squat depth is when the crease of the hip joint is below the level of the top of the knees. If you are in doubt in training, try filming from the side. If you have to pause the video and draw a line on it to see your depth, you might want to try squatting a bit lower. The referees don’t have the benefit of smart phones and drawing lines – they see what they see in the split second you are doing it.
Make it convincing.
You must return to a fully upright position unassisted by the spotters. No double bouncing at any point in the lift. When the lifter is motionless the centre referee will give the audible ‘Rack’ command along with a backward motion of the arm. DO NOT RACK THE BAR BEFORE THEY GIVE THIS COMMAND.
If you fail a squat, do not ‘dump’ the bar. The spotters are there to make sure you do not hurt yourself if you fail, they will help you back up and into the rack with the bar if you can’t lift the weight. But they also don’t want to be left holding whatever it is you tried to lift and curling it back onto the rack. Be kind to the spotters – competitions are very long days for them and they want to keep you safe.
Read page 17 of the rules for a full list of reasons for disqualification of a squat.
The bench press will be set up with the head facing the front of the platform and the centre referee. When you walk onto the platform you can ask for a centre or side hand off if you want one. Talk to the spotters and tell them what you want. Be specific so they can help you as much as possible. You cannot ask for a random person to help you unrack. No matter if they are your regular training partner, only the official platform crew are permitted to unrack for you in competition.
You must lie on the bench with your head, shoulders and bum in contact with the bench. Your feet must also be in contact with the floor. If you struggle to reach the floor or get your feet flat, ask for a step or block so you can plant your feet. The platform crew will be happy to accommodate this. It’s a good idea to check this when you do your rack heights so they know you need them before hand.
You must grip the bench with a thumbs around grip – suicide grip is not allowed. Reverse grip is also forbidden. You must not grip the bar outside of the rings. If you do any of these things the centre ref will advise you to change your grip. Similarly, if you choose to wear wrist wraps, you must not have the thumb loops up on your thumbs.
Once you have unracked the bar, the side referees will indicate to the centre ref if you are ready to lift. Please keep your bum on the bench – we don’t like holding people in this position longer than necessary. The centre ref will give the audible ‘Start’ command for you to start the lift. DO NOT START THE LIFT BEFORE THEY GIVE THIS COMMAND.
You must then lower the bar to your chest and wait for the ‘Press’ command. The centre ref is waiting for the bar to be motionless on your chest. If you are wiggling it around, they will hold you there until it stops moving. And when you’ve a heavy weight on your chest a second or two can feel like forever. Once you are given the audible ‘Press’ command, you press the weight to arms length until your arms are straight with your elbows locked. DO NOT PRESS THE BAR BEFORE THEY GIVE THIS COMMAND. The centre referee will then give the audible ‘Rack’ command signalling for you to return the bar to the rack. DO NOT RERACK THE BAR BEFORE THEY GIVE THIS COMMAND.
All the reasons for failure in the bench press are listed on page 18 of the rules, but the big ones are your bum coming up off the bench or your feet coming up. Your feet are allowed to slide laterally as long as they maintain full, flat contact with the floor. Start raising your heels and you’ve got a failed lift.
This is the easiest one for commands. You start the lift in your own time. You can pull in a conventional or sumo stance. Once you have completed the lift with your knees locked and the shoulders back you will be given the audible ‘Down’ command along with the centre referee lowering their arm. DO NOT LOWER THE BAR BEFORE THEY GIVE THIS COMMAND.
Common reasons for the disqualification include ramping (using the thighs to support the bar),hitching the bar or failing to put the bar down in a controlled manner. If you drop the bar or slam it down, it can be no lift and nobody wants that. The full list of reasons for disqualification are on page 18 of the rules.
You must wear a singlet to compete. You must wear shoes at all times (no barefoot lifting). Deadlift slippers are permitted for the deadlift. You have to wear a t shirt under your singlet. You must also wear long socks for the deadlift. If you aren’t wearing long socks you will be told to leave the platform to put some on and you may time out during this time. We’ve done it before and we’ll do it again so don’t forget them!
In terms of other items you may choose to wear – belts, wrist wraps, knee sleeves, squat suits, bench shirts, knee wraps etc – please make sure they comply with the current IPF approved list which can be found here.
If you are wearing any items not currently on this list, you can be asked to remove them during the competition. If in doubt, ask us in advance and we’ll check for you.
The use of chalk is permitted to assist with grip. You can put this on your hands, back (for the bar or contact with the bench),etc. Talc is also permitted on the thighs during the deadlift. Please be sensible about where you apply it – do it somewhere where others aren’t going to walk through it and potentially slip.
Smelling salts are permitted but must not be used on the platform.
Swearing on the platform is a huge no-no. If you swear on the platform the officials will give you a warning. If you do it again, they can disqualify you. This is at their discretion.
Welsh records can be set at any Welsh competition, at National and International Competitions. British records can be set at our national championship which is the Welsh Champs. This relies on us having the appropriate referees available on the day which we always endeavour to do. Everything you need to know is in the IPF rules but you can always ask if you are unsure – there are plenty of people who are happy to help.
One of our members (who shall remain nameless) swears by bringing a roll of toilet roll to a comp....they are busy events and sometimes things like toilet roll run out. So if you bring your own, you can be smug that you are well prepared.
Powerlifting is a very supportive sport so feel free to sit and watch the lifters who come after you and give them some encouragement as well. Everyone loves to hear the crowd shouting for them.
Now for the exciting bit – prizes!
All lifters who achieve a total will be awarded a medal and/or certificate.
We may occasionally do best lifter trophies.
All awards are presented at the end of the session or the end of the day and we do like it when people stick around for this. If you need to go before the prizes are awarded, let the officials know and they can get your medal and/or certificate for you.