The squat is the first event of the powerlifting meet.
Here is a list of equipment that can be worn during the squat, if competing in a RAW powerlifting event:
- Knee Sleeves
- Knee wraps CANNOT be worn in raw powerlifting, unless you are signed up for the Raw with Wraps division.
- Wrist Wraps
- Heeled or flat squat shoes
This equipment is allowed but is not required! For a complete list of approved equipment, see the link below.
In a competition, hitting depth is one of the most important parts of the squat. In USA Powerlifting. depth is achieved when your hip crease is below your knee crease, breaking parallel. The image below describes this point. If your hip crease does not drop below your knee crease, the referees will call a failed lift.
There are 2 commands in the squat, “SQUAT” and “RACK.” The timing of these commands is explained below.
Here is the progression of the squat:
- After the head referee calls “Bar is Loaded,” the athlete is free to walk out to the platform and unrack the bar
- When the athlete has walked out and their knees are locked, the head referee will say, “Squat.”
- The athlete will then squat down (to depth) and stand back up.
- When the athlete is standing erect (hips locked and knees locked) the head referee will say, “Rack”
- With the help of the spotters and loaders, the athlete can walk the bar back into the rack.
Here are a few common reasons for disqualification in the squat:
- Jumping the commands
- If the athlete proceeds before the referee has given commands, the athlete will fail the lift.
- Squatting too high, missing depth
- If the athlete does not squat all the way to depth, the athlete will fail the lift.
- Movement of feet after the squat command was given or before the rack command is given.
- Once the squat command is given, the athlete cannot move their feet until the referee has given the rack command. This would include taking a step to regain balance.
- Failing to stand up and lock knees at the completion of the lift.
Bench is the second event in the powerlifting meet. Bench is probably the most boring event to watch at a powerlifting meet but as a lifter, bench is the lift that requires the most thought and attention.
Here is the equipment that you are allowed to wear in a RAW bench event:
- Wrist wraps
- Flat or heeled shoes
- Belt (not common but allowed)
*Note, elbow sleeves are not allowed in the USAPL
There are 3 commands in the bench press; START, PRESS, RACK. Bench commands are some of the easiest to forget so it is important to practice the commands in the gym before a meet! In the USAPL, the spotter is allowed to give you a hand off. Before lying down on the bench, make sure you tell the spotter exactly how you want the hand off!
Here is the progression of the bench
- When the chief referee says “Bar is Loaded,” the athlete can walk onto the platform, lie down on the bench and unrack the bar.
- When the athlete’s elbows are locked, feet are flat on the ground, butt and head are touching the bench, the chief referee will say, “START.”
- When the bar is motionless on the athlete’s chest, the referee will say, “PRESS.”
- When the athlete’s elbows are locked again, the referee will say, “RACK.”
In the USAPL, your feet must remain flat on the ground through the duration of the lift. Your feet can slide forward or backwards but they cannot be lifted from the ground. Your head and butt must remain in contact with the bench at all times
Here are a few common reasons for disqualification in the bench press:
- Failure to follow the commands
- You must wait for the referee to give each command before proceeding with the lift
- Lifting head off of the bench
- Lifting butt off of the bench
- Lifting feet off of the ground
- Any downward movement of the bar in the course of pressing it out.
- Failure to lock out elbows at the completion of the lift.
Deadlift is the last event in a traditional powerlifting meet and arguably the best part of the meet!
Here is the equipment that you are allowed to wear in a RAW deadlift event:
- Knee High Socks (required)
- Flat shoes or deadlift slippers
- Wrist wraps (allowed but not common)
There is 1 command in the deadlift; DOWN. The athlete is allowed to deadlift in either the conventional stance or the sumo stance.
Here is the progression of the deadlift
- When the chief referee says “Bar is Loaded,” the athlete can walk onto the platform and walk up to the bar
- When the athlete is ready, they can pick up the bar and begin the lift.
- When the athlete has locked their knees and their shoulders are back, the chief referee will say “”DOWN.”
- The athlete then lowers the bar to the ground.
In the USAPL, the athlete’s hands must remain in contact with the bar until it has made contact with the ground. The bar does not need to be softly returned to the ground but the athlete cannot “drop” the bar after the down command has been given.
Here are a few common reasons for disqualification in the deadlift:
- Failure to follow the commands
- You must wait for the referee to say down before lowering the bar to the ground.
- Dropping the bar back to the floor
- The athlete’s hands must remain in contact with the bar.
- Hitching the bar
- Hitching is considered up and down motion of the bar against the lifter’s body to aid in moving the weight
- Supporting the bar on thighs during the lift
- Any downward movement of the bar in the course of lifting.
- Movement of the feet during the lift.
- The athlete can rock between the heel and ball of the foot but stepping backwards or forwards is prohibited.
- Failure to lock out knees or “stand erect” at the completion of the lift.