Frequently Asked Questions

Where do I get an USA Powerlifting membership?

Membership can be purchased online.    You can not purchase a membership at the meet.  You need a membership number before the meet commences.

What do I need to compete?

  1. You need an USA Powerlifting membership.
  2. The basic gear you will need to compete in the RAW division (without technical support gear) as follows:
    1. A single-ply singlet (a wrestling singlet will do, but if you are planning on purchasing a singlet, get a lifting singlet).  USA Powerlifting does not prescribe a certain manufacturer, but does expect certain specifications to be adhered to.  Single-ply material with a leg that extends at least 3cm to a maximum of 25cm from the crotch (as measured while the lifter is wearing the singlet).  It may be any color.  The singlet may have writing on it or a logo.  The logo may be that of a manufacturer, your name, your sponsor, your club…anything related to powerlifting.  It may not be offensive or derogatory.
    2. A t-shirt with a round collar.  The material may not be supportive.  A plain cotton t-shirt is best, with no zippers, no rubberized areas, no pockets. The shirt may have a logo which is related to powerlifting, the name of the manufacturer, your name, your team name.  It may not have any words that may be deemed derogatory or offensive.
    3. You are required to wear socks for the deadlift.  These socks have to cover your shins, so short socks will not do.  The socks may be of any color.
    4. Shoes with a flat sole.  Your sports shoes (sneakers) will do.  Hiking boots are not allowed.  The shoe may not have a heel exceeding 5cm.
    5. may not wear any supportive type underwear.  Cotton briefs are good.  Your underwear may not have “legs” and it may not be made of a stretch type material like that of a bathing suit.  Stick with cotton if possible, you can’t go wrong that way.
    6. A belt.  The belt may not be wider than 10cm or thicker than 1.3cm.  It may not have any padding or Velcro. 
    7. Knee sleeves.  Single-ply knee sleeves are allowed.  No thicker than 7cm and a maximum total length of 30cm.  Make sure you can put them on without the assistance of another person/lubricants/plastic bag or any foreign object.  If your knee sleeves are too small, you will not be permitted to wear them.
    8. Wrist wraps.  Singly-ply wraps are allowed as long as they are no longer than 1 meter and no wider than 8cm.
    9. Additional technical information on gear is available in the lifters handbook.

How do I know my squat is deep enough?

Ensure that the top of your leg at you hip is lower than the top of your leg at your knee.  Also, be sure that someone watching you can see that your hip is lower than your knee.  A referee can only judge what he or she sees.  Make your squat deep enough to be convincing.

What are the mistakes most new lifters make?

Most new lifters miss a lift for not following commands.  Nerves play a role.  The lifter is so nervous or excited for making a lift, that the lift is started or the bar racked before a command is given.  Training should include some commands, so that it is not foreign on the day of the meet.

How long will the competition take?

This depends on the number of lifters competing, how long each lift takes and the efficiency of the loaders.  Each lift may take up to a minute to be completed.  Each lifter will perform a total of 9 lifts during the meet….  There might one or two platforms, perhaps even three.  All of this will influence the duration of the competition, so it remains a difficult question to answer.

Will I be able to warm up somewhere?

Most meets offer a space to warm up.  This space will be equipped with benches, bars and weights.  The announcer typically lets you know when to start warming up, but keep an eye on the flights and know when your flight is coming up, that way you know when to get ready.

Can I weigh in the night before the meet?

No.  Weigh in starts 2 hours before lifting does and it lasts for 90 minutes. Most meets in Michigan starts at 9:00am, which means we start weigh in at 7:00am.  Yes, there is a 30 minute break after the weight-in closes and the meet starts.  During this time a compulsory rules meeting takes place and all your data is captured on the scoring system.

Am I allowed to lift my head when I bench?

No.  Your head, shoulders and butt have to make contact with the bench when you commence your lift and that position has to be held throughout the entire lift. You may not lift your head, butt or shoulders off the bench.  You may shift your feet, but you may not lift your feet or make contact with the bench supports.
If your hair is in the way of the referees being able to see the placement of your head, you will be asked to tie your hair up.

If I fail a three my squat attempts, can I continue in the competition?

Yes.  You will not achieve a total, but you may continue to bench and deadlift.

May someone I know do my bench lift-off?

Yes. This is not uncommon at competitions.
They may assist you, but have to move away from the platform as quickly as possible because the Chief Referee will not give you the “start” command until his/her view of you is unobstructed.

What happens if I don’t weigh what I indicated on the registration form?

You might be moved to a different flight, but it will not affect your right to compete.  When flights have to be re-arranged, it affects the data capturing and could cause the meet to start at a later time.
Making your nominated weight is vital at national level, but not local level.

May I get a refund if I can’t compete?

No. Registration is non-refundable.