Powerlifting is a strength sport, consisting of three events: the squat, the bench press, and the deadlift. Powerlifting resembles the sport of weightlifting, as both disciplines involve lifting heavy weights in three attempts.


A powerlifting competition takes place as follows:

Each competitor is allowed three to four attempts on each lift depending on their standing and the organization they are lifting in(usually smallest w-class to heaviest). The lifter’s best valid attempt on each lift counts toward his competition total. If two or more lifters achieve the same total, the lighter lifter ranks above the heavier lifter.[1]

Competitors are judged against other lifters of the same gender, weight class, and age. This helps to ensure that the accomplishments of lifters like Lamar Gant, who deadlifted five times his own weight, are recognized alongside those of Andy Bolton, the current World Powerlifting Organization deadlift world record holder.

Comparisons of lifters and scores across different weight classes can also be made using handicapping systems such as the Wilks formula. [2]


Powerlifting, in most federations, involves three events: squat, bench press and deadlift.

At a powerlifting meet the events will follow in order: squat, then bench press, and the deadlift will be the final lift of the meet. If the federation also has an event for strict curls this will normally occur before the squat event.

Also, in some federations there are "push-pull only" meets where lifters only compete in the bench press and deadlift, with the bench press coming first and the deadlift after.


Powerlifting requires specialized training techniques that are focused on strength and explosive power. Traditional training methods dictated low repetitions with maximal weight. These practices are still true today, however training methods have advanced to include emphasis on explosive power. This may be achieved through dynamic exercises which utilize lighter weight and alternating repetition patterns.


Although powerlifting always uses the squat, bench press and deadlift as events, different federations have different rules and different interpretations of the rules, leading to a myriad of variations.

The ADAU and 100% Raw Federation allow no supportive gear to be worn by the lifter while the IPF, AAU, NASA, U.S.A.P.L and the ADFPF only allow a single-ply tight polyester squat suit, deadlift suit and bench shirt, wraps for knees and wrists, and a belt. Other federations, such as the APF, APA, IPA and WPO, allow opened or closed back bench shirts, multi-ply gear, and a wide array of gear materials such as canvas, denim, polyester etc.

In an IPF bench press, the barbell can go as low as the xiphoid process and no further in the lift, whereas in other federations, the barbell can touch the abdomen. (This shortens the distance in which the barbell is moved and is an advantage to the lifter.)

Although there are various different powerlifting organizations, the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) is considered the gold standard of powerlifting with regards to the judging of depth and the execution of the various lifts. However, this assertion is hotly debated throughout the powerlifting community.

The IPF routinely conducts random drug tests on its athletes, and is the only organization to hold competitions on every continent around the world except Antarctica.

The IPF has suspended entire member nations' federations, including the Russian Powerlifting Federation and the Ukrainian Powerlifting Federation, for repeated violations of the IPF's anti-doping policies. [3] However Russia and the Ukraine never served the full 2 year suspension.


  1. International Powerlifting Federation 2007 Technical RulesPDF (523 KiB) (PDF), p. 2. Retrieved August 12th, 2007.
  2. More on the Wilks Formula. Retrieved on 2009-07-04.
  3. Suspension of the Russian and Ukrainian Powerlifting Federation. Retrieved on 2009-07-04.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit