Q: How do I compete in a USA Powerlifting event?
A: You must be a registered member of USA Powerlifting. You can purchase a membership here. Memberships are good for the calendar year in which they are purchased. Minimum age is 8 years old – there is no maximum. You do not need a coach, but it is highly recommended that you read the Lifter’s Handbook & acquaint yourself with the rules. You can also find the most recent version of the full rulebook here. If you plan to compete in more than 1 division, you must purchase a membership in each division (i.e. Competing in both the Teen & Open divisions requires both a Teen & Open membership.)
Q: I competed in High School powerlifting, how is this different?
A: In a sanctioned USA Powerlifting full-power meet you will compete in 3 disciplines: Squat, Bench, & Deadlift. The main difference here is that you will do the deadlift in place of the power clean. You will also be required to adhere to the equipment rules as indicated in the rulebook (i.e. You must wear a singlet, undershirt, & socks that cover your shins during deadlift.)
Q: What equipment is needed to compete?
A: The bare minimum for equipment is:
– single-ply singlet (no supportive material)
– undershirt made a synthetic textile (i.e. cotton, polyester, nylon, or a blend of these, with no supportive material & no pockets. Shirt must also not be a V-neck.)
– socks that cover your shins for deadlift
Q: Do I have to wear a belt?
Q: What shoes are allowed?
A: Most shoes are allowed on the platform including Chucks, Vans, Jordans, & any standard squat shoe, deadlift slipper, or sneakers. You MUST wear footwear on the platform – you cannot be barefoot. Shoes also cannot have any protrusions (think spikes or grips) & cannot be standard household slippers.
Q: Can my equipment have words on it?
A: Please click here for all logo restrictions (Page 70, Item 5). The most common infraction we see is lifters wearing a club name or gym that is not an official USA Powerlifting club team. Logos of the equipment manufacturers or commodity sportswear companies are allowed (think SBD, Nike, Adidas, etc.).
Q: What about my belt?
B: Belts must follow the same rules as t-shirts & singlets (the same logo restrictions as above). In addition, you may not put any stickers, buttons, etc on your belt. You’ll be asked to remove them or cover them with tape.
When in doubt about equipment, please email your meet director or State Chair (that’s me, Kate Jones – email@example.com). Including pictures would be helpful. It is also a good idea to attend early equipment check the night before a competition to ensure all equipment is approved.
Q: What if I don’t make weight?
A: As long as the competition you are entering does not have a qualifying total, you will be allowed to compete at whatever weight class you weigh in at. For most local competitions there are no qualifying totals. Keep in mind weight classes are in kilograms & you must be BELOW the weight class you are signing up for (i.e. If you sign up for the 75kg weight class, you must weigh in at 165.34lbs or below. In addition, you may not compete at a weight class higher than the one you entered if you weigh in at the lesser weight class. i.e. If you weigh in at 164lbs, you may not compete in the 82.5kg weight class.) It is also worth noting that if you do not make weight, there is a possibility you will not compete in the same flight as the other competitors in your weight class, which can be a disadvantage. You also may not receive a medal as they are ordered well in advance of competition. You can find a list of weight classes here (page 69).
Q: Can I have my trainer/boyfriend/gym buddy lift off for my bench press?
A: No. For insurance purposes & to ensure all athletes have an even playing field, a single spotter will be assigned to lift off for all competitors in each flight.
Q: Can I weigh in the day before at early equipment check?
A: No. All official weigh-ins will take place 2 hours prior to competition. You may weigh yourself on our official scales at early equipment check, but you must still weigh-in prior to competing the day of competition.
Q: What if I’m on a medication?
A: Make sure you check the WADA list of banned substances (select Weightlifting as your sport) and, if needed, apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption. Keep in mind, TUEs are not guaranteed. USA Powerlifting is a drug-free organization & at least 10% of participants are randomly tested at each meet. Failure to comply to the drug-free commitment may result in a 3-year suspension from competition.