(May 01, 2013)


General Rules

The WPA and affiliate federations recognize the following lifts. The lifts must be taken in the same sequence in all competitions conducted under WPA rules: 1) squat 2) bench press 3) deadlift 4) total (addition of the best successful attempt of 1, 2, & 3.)

The WPA and affiliate federations recognize as valid only those lifts and/or totals performed in accordance with WPA rules of powerlifting competition in which the meet director has secured an official sanction at least 30 days prior to the event.

3.        The APA-WPA recognizes the following lifts for full powerlifting, which must be taken in the same sequence in all competitions conducted under WPA rules:

        a.         Squat               Unequipped or Equipped Divisions

        b.         Bench Press     Unequipped or Equipped Divisions

        c.         Deadlifts           Unequipped or Equipped Divisions

        d.         Total sum (sum of the three best attempt) Unequipped or Equipped Divisions

4.        The APA and WPA affiliates recognize the following lifts for Strength Sports Division:

a. Curl

b. Overhead Press

c.   Deadlift



5.        Competition takes place between lifters in categories defined by:

a.        Sex,

b.       Body Weight

c.        Age.

d.       Raw divisions

e.        Equipped divisions

f.         Unlimited Gear divisions

g.       Strength Sports divisions

The rules apply to all levels of competition whether it is a Local, State, Regional, World, International or any competition that states that it is conducted under APA-WPA rules.  Each competitor is allowed three attempts on each lift. The lifter's best valid attempt on each lift, (4th attempts for record setting purposes are not included), counts toward his competition total. The winner of a category shall be the lifter who achieves the highest total. The remaining lifters shall be ranked in descending order of total. Lifters failing to achieve a total are eliminated from the competition. If two or more lifters achieve the same total, the lighter lifter ranks above the heavier lifter.

The WPA and affiliate federations recognize and register national/world records within the age categories described hereunder:

Open: 13 years upwards (no restrictions) Athletes of any age may compete in the Open class

Youth Program – Begins at age 8 and goes up to and includes age 12

Teenage: 13-15, 16-17, 18-19

Junior 20-23

Submaster 33-39

Master 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79, 80 and upwards

M/P/F (Military/Police/Fire)


 Officially recognized bodyweight categories

a.        Men: 114½, 123½, 132¼, 148¾, 165¼, 181¾, 198¼, 220¼, 242½, 275½, 308¾, 341½, & Super heavy

b.       Women: 97.0, 105¾, 114½, 123½, 132¼, 148¾, 165¼, 181¾, 198¼, 220¼, Unlimited

c.     Special exception: male lifters ages 8-12 will have the following weight classes for record recognition: 97.0, 105¾, 114½, 123½, 132¼, 148¾, 165¼, 181¾, 198¼, 220¼, 242½, 275½, 308¾, 341½, & super heavy. After the age of 15 the weight classes will be the same as standard men's classes

*A lifter may apply for records only in the weight class or he/she competed in. if a person is in a lighter category such as the 132¼ class he/she cannot attempt to set a record in the 148¾ class. If the contest has no age categories the lifter may still apply for a record if he meets the age criteria for the record.

A chairperson or meet director may request a set of world records prior to holding an event. Records are not mailed out on a routine basis because the records change on a weekly basis. A list of state records may be obtained through your state chairperson.

Team Composition: Teams at local, state, and regional level events are designed at the discretion of the meet director. At World Championships and National Championships teams may have a total of one lifter in each weight class per team with male teams having up to 13 lifters with two alternates or reserves and female teams having up to 11 lifters with 2 alternates or reserves.  Team points at all events will be 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 for 1st-10th respective placements each weight class.  In the case of a tie between teams having the same number of first places, the team having the most 2nd places will be classified first and so on throughout the placements.

Rounds system: Only the round system shall be utilized. Each lifter takes his first attempt in the first round. The lifter takes his second and third attempt in the respective rounds even though any of these may have been unsuccessful in the previous rounds. If the lifter misses an attempt due to a misloaded bar or error of a spotter provided by the meet director, the lifter will be granted another attempt at the same weight at the end of the current round. The bar must be loaded on a progressive basis during a round from lightest to heaviest. The lifter is never allowed to take a lower attempt on his next lift in the following round.

Lifting order is determined by the weight on the bar. Each lifter must give starting weights for all three lifts at the weigh-in. The lifter is allowed to change, "but only once", the first attempt for each lift. If he is in the first group this weight may be changed up to 5 minutes before the first round for that lift. If he is lifting in the following group, the weight may be changed up until the time when not less than 5 attempts remain for the previous group. An exception to this rule is the deadlift, where the lifter may change his attempt up until the point that the lifters name is called as being in the hole.

All squat rack heights should be given prior to warm ups.

 Permitted weight use competitions at any level may be conducted in either pound or kilo sets.

Special rulings for middle school, high school, novice, Special Olympics, and prison competitions:

Lifters in the competitions/divisions listed below may wear shorts and tee shirt instead of the standard one piece lifting suit:

In prison meets however, if they are going to apply for a national or world record a one piece lifting suit must be worn. Those lifting in a novice division and wearing shorts and tee shirt may not set records. Middle school and High School students may wear shorts and tee shirt at school meets and/or local level meets which offer high school or middle school divisions. At all meets that are state level or above they must wear a standard lifting uniform.

Age categories:  Lifters must compete in their own specific age categories or the open division.  An exception to this rule is a master lifter may compete in lower master age brackets if he/she wishes to compete against younger master athletes but may not set records outside of their age division. 

II. Equipment and Specifications

Platform must be large and secure enough to assure safety for the lifter,  spotters and loaders. Boundaries shall be clearly marked for the knowledge of coaches and officials. This is the area in which there can be no coaches or spectators. No one is allowed on the platform except the lifter, designated spotters/loaders and referee's.  Coaches do NOT belong on the platform. Other officials are allowed in the platform area as designated "as need arises".

Bar and Discs: All bars must be of the Olympic style and not the standard 1 1/8th type. Although not required, specifically designed squat and deadlift bars may be utilized but must conform to allowable range of dimensions listed in bar specifications. The bar shall be well knurled or grooved and conform to the following: total length shall not exceed 7.5 feet with distance between collar faces not less than 4.27 feet or more than 4.76ft. Diameter of bar shall not exceed 30mm. or be less than 27.5mm. An exception to this will be the squat in which an 8 foot squat bar may be used instead of a 7.5 ft bar. Weight of the bar with collars shall be 55 lbs. the bar must have diameter machine marking or be taped so as to measure 31.6 inches between the machining or tape.

Discs must be used in the following range: 100lb, 45, 35, 25, 10, 5, .   For record purposes lighter discs may be used on a 4th attempt to achieve a weight of at least 1 pound more than the existing record. Discs must be clearly marked and loaded in the sequence of heavier discs innermost and smaller discs in descending weight arranged so the referees can read the numbers on each disc. The first and heaviest disc on the bar must be loaded face in, with the rest of the discs loaded face out as the weight is loaded.

Collars: shall always be used and shall be tightened snug to the discs. Collars shall be used on the outside of the plates only. They must weigh 5 pounds except when using the special squat bar, in which case they may be lighter.

Squat racks: shall be adjustable to accommodate the lifters. ER Style or Hydraulic racks must be capable of being secured at required height by pins. The monolift is allowed but not a requirement for WPA/APA competitions.

Lights: a system of lights or flags shall be provided whereby referee's decisions are made known. White represents a good lift, red represents a bad lift.  2 white lights is a good lift and two red lights is a bad lift.

Bench: the bench shall be sturdy for maximum stability and conform to the dimensions specified below:

Length not less than 4 feet and shall be flat and level

Width between 11.0 to 13 inches

Height 16  to 19 inches measured from floor to top of padded surface without being compressed or compacted. Benches shall have uprights 32-39 inches from floor to bar rest position.  Maximum width between insides of bar rests shall be 3ft 7 1/8 inches

Under no circumstances will a lifter be allowed to bring his own personal bench, bar, or other lifting equipment for use with his lifts only. Any equipment to be utilized for the competition will be determined before the contest and it shall be the same equipment that all competitors use.

III. Costume and personal equipment

1. Costume (suit)

Bench press competition: one piece lifting suit or spandex bike pants of the type that is skin tight. If one piece lifting suit is worn the straps must be worn over the shoulders at all times while lifting. If spandex bike shorts are worn the lifters tee shirt must be tucked in at all times while lifting.

Powerlifting competition: one piece lifting suit as described shall be worn except special divisions previously outlined in this rulebook.

Deadlift competition: one piece lifting suit or wrestling singlet.

General rules:

A tee shirt may be worn with short sleeves or no sleeves. Sleeves cannot cover the elbow. Follow the rules of hygiene and respect for other lifts T-shirt MUST be worn while performing the squat and bench press. Socks must be worn during the deadlift.

Women may wear protective briefs or panties and also a bra provided it does not contain wire or support. Bench press shirts and deadlift shirts are allowed. Shirts made of canvas are only permitted in the “unlimited gear division”.

The lifting costume shall consist of a one-piece lifting suit of one-ply stretch material. Lifting suits made of denim or canvas is allowed only in the “unlimited gear division”. The straps must be worn over the shoulders at all times while lifting in competition. Length of the leg must not exceed 15cm from the middle of the crotch. Measurement is taken on a line from the top seam of the crotch down the inside of the leg. Lifting suits may be up to double layer thickness in standard divisions. Cover patches are not permitted to cover any seam area. A maximum of 2 cover patches is allowed. Cover patches may not exceed 4 inch length and 2 inch width. Cover patches may not be intertwined and may not overlap each other! Cover patches must be of the same material as the item they are repairing. Cover patches must only be used to repair torn material and not to provide extra reinforcement in any area.

Socks may be worn and shall be of such a length that they cannot touch any knee wrapping or one piece knee cap supporter when in use.

Hats: hats and caps with visors are not permitted nor are hats/caps with any piece of material hanging behind the head. small caps such as wool caps that do not extend on to the neck or obstruct the eyes are permitted for the squat and bench press. Hats with visors are only allowed for the deadlift.

Emblems and logo's are allowed to be worn, provided that they are not profane in any way and do not offend any particular group of people or culture.

Belt: a lifter may wear a belt provided it is no more than 4in width or 1/2in thick and shall contain no additional padding, bracing or supports of any material, either on the surface or concealed within the laminations of the belt. the belt most be worn on the outside of the lifting suit. The main body shall be made of leather or vinyl in one or more laminations which may be glued and/or stitched together. It shall not have additional padding, bracing or supports of any material on the surface or concealed within the laminations of the belt.

                Foot attire: shoes must be worn. Footwear more substantial than basic socks must be worn. Metal cleats or spikes are forbidden. shin guards are now allowed to be worn during the performance of the deadlift, however, they must be worn ”under” the lifters socks and no lubricant or foreign substance may be applied to them.

Knee wraps: must not exceed 3.5 meter length or 3 inches width. Elasticized knee cap may be worn. a combination of the two is forbidden. When the knees are wrapped the wraps cannot extend beyond 5.9 inches above the center of the knee joint or 5.9 inches below the center of the knee joint for a total of 11.81 inches. The fabric material shall be an elastic weave primarily consisting of polyester, cotton, or medical crepe singly or in combination.

Wrist wraps: wrap around style may contain a thumb loop. wrist wraps cannot extend beyond 3 15/16 inches above and 3/4 inch below center of wrist joint. The thumb loop may now be worn during the performance of the lift if the lifter so desires. The loop must be the standard loop that comes with the wraps and not an insert sewn on by the lifter. The loop may not in any way be utilized to wrap around the bar or otherwise used for the lifter to obtain leverage during the performance of a lift. Wrist wraps shall not exceed 3ft, 3in length and 3.3 inches width. Alternately, wrist bands may be worn but may not exceed 4 inches width. a combination of the two is forbidden.

Wraps are only allowed on the wrist or knees. only wraps of one ply commercially woven elastic that is covered with polyester, cotton or a combination of the two, or medical crepe are permitted.  Rubberized substitutes are not allowed.

Elbow Wraps - Wraps may be worn only during the Squat and Deadlift competition but not during the Bench Press. They may cover the general elbow area but cannot extend to the wrist or shoulder. They may be supportive sleeves of rubberized material or elastic wrap, but must be of one single unit only, and be one meter or less in total length.

Equipment containing Kevlar is not allowed in standard divisions!

Plasters (bandages): two layers of plasters, bandages or band aids may be worn over the thumbs but nowhere else without official permission of the referee's. They may not be used as a strap to help the lifter hold the bar. No bandage can extend to the back portion of the hand on an injury to the inside of the hand. The referee may prohibit the lifter from any further lifting if he feels the lifter should not be lifting with any injury. if no medical personnel are available the referee has jurisdiction over the use of spot plasters.

Lifters shall be briefed at the rules meeting as to what equipment/attire is permissible. It is the lifters duty to attend this meeting. The meet director is under no obligation to check the equipment. It is up to the lifter to attend the meeting and listen to the rules briefing which explains this. If the lifter has any doubts as to the legality of his/her uniform or equipment the lifter shall produce the equipment at the rules briefing or during weigh-in session to check it's legality with a referee. If the lifter appears on the platform with a major equipment violation that appears to be deliberate, he/she will be disqualified from the event. If a lifter bleeds on the platform or equipment the meet shall be stopped until the area/equipment in question has been cleaned with bleach or a strong disinfectant.

Approved gear:  The APA/WPA does not keep an approved gear list due to the constant introduction of new gear and the reluctance of most gear companies to even inform us when they have a new product on the market. Unfortunately, we see many of these products for the first time at a meet. We do not ban any gear companies from our organization. As long as the product meets the legality issues clearly outlined in this section it shall be allowed.

Shin guards are allowed to be worn during the performance of the deadlift, however, socks must be worn over the shin guards. Shin  guards without socks are not allowed. Shin guards must not extend to a point higher than the lower border of the patella and not lower than the superior border of the ankle joint.

Lifting suits and bench press shirts, and all platform attire may consist of only one material. Shirts and suits may not consist of a combination of two materials unless lifting in the unlimited gear division, i.e. a bench press shirt may not consist of one layer of denim and a layer of polyester

Full length leg stockings, tights, leggings of any sort or hose are strictly forbidden.

Foreign substances: Foreign substances cannot be applied to platform or equipment. Spray stick-um, and chalk may be applied to the lifter or his uniform only. Oil, grease, and other lubricants on the body, costume, or personal equipment is prohibited. Only powder is allowed. powder includes chalk, talc, resin, magnesium carbonate, baby powder, or pool hall block chalk.

The lifter is not allowed to throw ammonia capsules when using them near or on the lifting platform.

Team list must be presented to the meet director before weigh in on competition day or in the event of a 2 day competition it must be presented before weigh in period on the second day of competition.  Changes cannot be made once the list is submitted.


Standard Divisions: boxer shorts are not allowed. Standard commercial athletic supporters or standard commercial under shorts of any mixture of cotton, nylon or polyester may be worn under the lifting suit. However, the garment cannot have legs and cannot extend down over the lifters thighs. Standard length grooved briefs are allowed but must meet the specifications outlined in this paragraph and must be single ply thickness.  Groove briefs must be made of polyester material only. Custom made grooved briefs are not allowed. A lifter may not wear spandex bike shorts under a lifting to suit. Spandex bike shorts are not considered to be underwear.

Unlimited Gear Divisions: Any material may be worn and longer than standard cut groove briefs are permitted such as power pants etc. A pair of briefs of any design may be worn, provided that the length of the legs does not exceed mid thigh, and that the waist does not extend beyond the mid-torso area. The briefs must be an individual article of cloth fabric. The construction may consist of multiple plies to any thickness but must, as a whole, be a singular component. Athletic supporters are permitted under the briefs.


Lifting Suits and Gear:

Standard Divisions: Canvas and denim material lifting suits are not allowed.

Unlimited Gear Divisions: Canvas material of any thickness is allowed. It must be an individual full length article of cloth fabric. Its construction may consist of multiple plies to any thickness but it must be a singular component. The straps must be worn over the shoulders at all times while performing a competition lift. The length of the leg must not extend beyond mid-thigh (medial point between crotch and top of kneecap). Women may wear a one-piece suit of comparable design to the lifting suit. Leotards with sleeves or high cut leg lines are not permitted.

Bench shirts:

Standard Divisions: Bench shirts may be of polyester or denim material but not a combination of the two. Bench shirts may be up to double ply thickness material but may not be a combination of two shirts of any type sewn together. a tee shirt or undershirt cannot be worn under a bench shirt. No combination of 2 shirts may be worn. Female lifters are allowed to wear a bra or sports bra under a bench shirt. Bench press shirts may not be triple layer thickness nor may they be made of canvas material. Velcro/open back shirts are allowed. If the lifter is wearing an “open back” bench shirt the front and side deltoids must be covered and the shirt may not be pulled down in front to expose pectorals within one inch of the nipple area of the chest.

Unlimited Gear Divisions:  Bench Shirts made of polyester, denim, or canvas may be used as can a combination of the materials. Velcro/open back shirts are allowed. If the lifter is wearing an “open back” bench shirt the front and side deltoids must be covered and the shirt may not be pulled down in front to expose pectorals within one inch of the nipple area of the chest.

Raw Powerlifting:

The following equipment rules apply to lifting in Raw divisions:

Squat:  Wrestling singlet and tee shirt.  Lifting Belt, Wrist Wraps, and Knee wraps are allowed for joint protection.

Bench Press:  Tee shirt or Tank Top.  Wrestling Singlet or spandex bike shorts with shirt tucked in pants.  Wrist wraps allowed.

Deadlift:  Tee shirt, No shirt, or tank top and wrestling singlet.  Lifting belt, wrist wraps and knee wraps are allowed.

IV. The Powerlifts and Rules of Performance

1. Squat

The lifter shall assume an upright position with the top of the bar not more than 1 inch below the top of the anterior deltoids. The bar should be held across the shoulders with the hands and/or fingers gripping the bar and the feet flat on the platform with the knees locked

After removing the bar from the racks the lifter must move backwards to establish his position (unless using a monolift type device). The lifter waits in this position for the center referee's signal which is given as soon as the lifter demonstrates control with the bar properly positioned. The signal is a downward movement of the arm and the verbal command "squat".

Upon receiving the signal, the lifter must bend the knees and lower the body until the top of the thigh at the hip (not the hip joint), is lower than the top of the knee (not knee cap). Locking and unlocking of the knees after the signal is not defined as a descent, however, the knees must be locked at the start and completion of the lift. Only one descent attempt is allowed.

The lifter must recover from the deepest point without double bouncing or any downward movement (stopping is allowed), to an upright position with the knees locked. When the lifter demonstrates control the referee gives the command to "rack" (replace the bar).

The signal to replace the bar is a backward motion of the hand and the verbal command "rack". The lifter must make a bonafide effort to replace the bar. This is defined as a step towards the racks. After this the lifter may receive aid in replacing the bar. An exception to this rule would be if a monolift is being used the lifter obviously wouldn't need to take a step towards the racks. If the lifter drops the weight after making a bonafide effort to replace the bar he will be granted the attempt. However, if the lifter deliberately dumps the bar or walks out from under the bar leaving the spotters holding the bar, the lifter will automatically be disqualified for jeopardizing the safety of those on the platform.

The lifter shall face the front of the platform.

Not more than 5 or less than 2 spotters permitted on the platform.

The lifter is allowed to enlist the aid of the spotters in removing the bar and walking out with the bar. However, when the lifter has established his starting position to perform the lift the spotters may not assist him with regard to holding weight while foot positioning, bar positioning, etc is established. Monolifts are also allowed for the squat. These rules have been established for the lifters safety.

If the lifter is using meet provided spotters and not his own, and an error is made by a spotter which causes failure of his lift, he will be given an additional attempt. the lifter may request that he be allowed to use his personal spotters rather than meet spotters if he wishes, however, he will not be granted an additional attempt if his own spotters cause him to miss a lift!

The lifter cannot hold the collars, sleeves, or plates during the performance of the lift. the edge of the hands gripping the bar may come in contact with the inner surface of the collar however.

Groups are formed at a rate of not more than 15 people in each group. This rule applies only for "Full Power" and "GEAR Bench press"

An exception to this rule is some competition from "RAW bench press"

 If a certain weight category, or under weight categories combined into one stream, claimed at least 20 athletes, should be formed by the group. The decision to accept a chief secretary.

The strongest group in certain weight category shall consist of no more than 12 athletes, other groups - not more than 15 athletes.

                If you can not divide the stream into groups of equal size, a larger number of participants should be transferred to the strongest group. Competition in the other groups have done the same day that the strongest group. In the event of the bench as a separate exercise can be formed into groups of 20 persons

Causes for disqualification of a squat:

Failure to observe signals at the commencement and completion of lift

Double bouncing or more the one recovery attempt at bottom of lift

Failure to assume an upright position with knees locked at start and finish of the lift

Failure to obtain proper required depth in performance of the lift

Changing position of the bar on shoulders after the lift has begun

Shifting the feet forward, backwards or laterally during the performance of the lifts with the exception of rocking the feet between the ball and heel.

Contact with the bar by spotters during the lift except during a safety issue or accidental contact if the referees feel it did not make the lift easier.

Contact of the elbows or upper arms with the legs

Failure to make a bona fide effort to return the bar to the racks Intentionally dropping/dumping bar or walking out from under bar when the Spotters grab the bar

Placing the hands over collars, sleeves or plates.

2.  Bench Press

a)       The front of the bench must be placed on the platform facing the center referee

b)       Lifters starting position is with the back of his head, shoulders and buttocks in contact with the flat bench surface. his shoes must be on the floor

c)       Plates or blocks not exceeding 18cms height may be used to build up the surface of the platform, but some part of the foot must remain in contact with the surface. If blocks are used they shall not exceed 45cms by 45cms.

d)       Not more than 4 or less than 2 spotters/loaders shall be in attendance. The lifter may obtain help from the spotters in removing the bar from the racks. The lift off must be to arms length and not down to the chest. The lifter may utilize his own spotters and hand off person if requested.

e)       The spacing of the hands will not exceed 31 7/8 inches (81 cm) measured between the forefingers or in the case of a reverse grip lifter, the measurement is between the little fingers). After receiving the bar at arms length, the lifter lowers the bar to his chest and awaits the referee's signal which is a verbal command of "press". Adjustments can be made without penalty “before” the command.

f)        The signal to press is given when the bar is motionless on the chest area (defined below) and under control. the bar must touch no lower than two inches below the base of the sternum/breastbone) after the press command is given the bar is pressed upward to straight arms length and held motionless until the audible command "rack" is given. Please note that the 2 inches below base of sternum rule is at the referee's discretion. It is not expected that this distance be measured and it is understood that it is very hard to sometimes make an accurate determination when a lifter is wearing certain gear. The 2 inch below sternum definition is a general guideline and is basically a common sense rule. Obviously if the bar is down to the lifters belly it is farther than 2 inches below (in most cases 8-12 inches) and is a "safety issue".

g)       The bar is allowed to stop in its upward movement but no downward movement is permitted

h)       Head movement is allowed. This includes turning or raising the head.

i)         Foot movement is allowed within reason. This includes rising on toes or heals. The feet cannot leave the floor. Shuffling of the feet is not allowed.

j)         After the command to press is given the buttocks must remain on the flat bench surface. as long as some portion of the buttocks remains on the bench and a side referee cannot see straight through the lift is permissible. if a referee can see under the buttocks he shall give the lifter a red light.

k)       If the lifter does not want a hand-off and chooses to lift the weight off  himself, he does not have to start off at straight arms length but may go straight down to the chest if he wishes. The lifter may utilize his own hand off person. However, he/she must inform his hand off person to clear the area in front of the center referee. Failure of a handoff person to clear the area in front of referee can result in disqualification of the lift.

l)         There can be no downward motion of the bar after the press command has been given, not can there be a major change in the arch of the back. If the lifter has sunk the bar into his chest before the press command has been given it is permissible, however, further sinking into the chest after the command is given is not allowed.

m)      Major uneven extension of the bar at the completion of the lift is not allowed (except in a proven, medically documented disability). In the case of medical disability the lifter must furnish documentation signed by a medical doctor substantiating the disability.

n)       Deliberate contact with the bar and the bar rest uprights is not allowed. if it is obvious that the contact was not deliberate and did not assist the lift the attempt will be granted to the lifter.

o)       The lifters feet may not come into contact with the upright supports of the bench

p)       The sleeves on the lifters shirt cannot cover the elbow during the performance of the bench press.

Causes for disqualification of a Bench Press

a)       Failure to observe the commands at the commencement and completion of the lift

b)       Raising the buttocks off the bench surface

c)       Heaving or bouncing the bar off of the chest or a major change in the arch of the back 4.sinking the bar into the chest area after the press command

d)       Major uneven extension of the bar at the completion of the lift or pronounced, exaggerated uneven extension during the lift.

e)       Downward movement of either hand during the uplifting

f)        Deliberate contact with the bar and bar rest uprights during the performance of the lift

g)       Contact of the feet with the upright supports of the bench

h)       Contact of the bar by the spotters/loaders between the referee's signals

i)     Raising the foot completely off the floor or excessive shuffling movement of the feet after the press command has been given

j)         It is the responsibility of the lifter to inform his hand-off man to clear the area in front of the center referee immediately after the lift off. As this is a major safety issue, the center referee may at his discretion tell the spotters to take the bar. If this occurs, the lift will be declared not good.

k)       Spacing of the hands exceeding 31 7/8 inches. 

l)         If the lifter receives a hand off and does not begin at straight arms length the lift may be declared no good if the referees feel the violation was very flagrant

3. Deadlift

Rules of Performance:

a)       The bar must be laid horizontally in front of the lifters feet, gripped with an optional grip in both hands, and lifted upward with one movement until the lifter is standing erect. Stopping the bar is allowed but no downward movement is allowed.

b)       The lifter will face the front of the platform c) on completion of the lift, the knees shall be locked in a straight position and the lifter shall be standing erect. The shoulders will not be forward or rounded. it is not necessary that they be thrust back past the erect position although it is permissible if they are and all other criteria is acceptable.

c)       The center referee's signal is a downward motion of the hand and the verbal command "down". the signal shall be given when the bar is motionless and the lifter is in the apparent finished position. there is no signal to begin the lift. the lifter begins the lift on his own when he feels he is ready.

d)       Any raising of the bar or deliberate attempt to do so counts as an attempt. the lifter is allowed one pull per attempt only!

Causes for disqualification of a Deadlift

a)       Downward movement of the bar during the uplifting

b)       Failure to stand erect with shoulders held in an erect position at the completion of lift

c)       Failure to lock knees at completion of the lift

d)       Stepping backward or forward during the performance of the lift

e)       Lowering the bar before receiving center referee's signal

f)        Supporting the bar on the things during the lift in a manner that the lifter can obtain leverage (hitching)

g)       Returning the bar to the platform without maintaining control with both hands

General Notations – In all lifts after the "rack" command is given in the bench press the spotters may guide the bar back into the racks. the same holds true with the squat. Once the rack command has been given the lift is officially over. This helps promote safety on the platform.

IV. Weighing In:

The standard weigh-in session must be offered at all meets. It shall last for a duration of 1 1/2 hours, must begin at least 2 hours before the lifting starts, and end at least 1/2 hour before lifting starts.

Lifters must be weighed in the nude or underwear or may opt to weigh in wearing spandex shorts or lifting/wrestling singlet as a substitute for underwear. Lifters may not wear shoes or sneakers during weigh-in. At National or World level events meet directors have the option to extend weigh-ins but may not weigh-in competitors prior to 24 hours of the estimated starting time for a lifters class.

Illegal re-weigh:  If a lifter enters a certain weight class, steps on the scales and officially makes weight within the upper and lower limits, he is not allowed to be re-weighed to make another weight class.  In case lifters tie: if two lifters weigh the same at weigh-in and eventually tie in their totals, they shall be re-weighed. The lighter lifter shall take first place and the heavier lifter second place. However, if they still weigh the same after the re-weigh, both lifters shall share first place and the person who would normally have placed third will still be ranked third and so on. If two lifters tie for first place team scoring will be conducted by adding first and second place points and dividing them equally.

VI. Order of Competition

a) The organizer appoints the following officials: speaker/announcer, marshals, expeditors, scorers, spotter/loaders, other positions as needed.

b) The speaker is responsible for the efficient running of the competition. He acts as master of ceremonies and arranges the attempts chosen by the lifters in an orderly fashion, announces the weight required for the next attempt, the rack settings and the name of the lifter.

c)  When the bar is loaded and the platform is cleared for lifting, neat, tidy and safe, the center referee will indicate the fact to the speaker who in turn will announce that the bar is loaded and call the lifter to the platform, and tell the timer to start the one minute clock.

d) Once a clock is running for the lifter, it can only be stopped by the completion of a time allowance, by the start of a lift, or at the discretion of the center referee. it is of great importance that the lifter or coach check the height of the squat rack prior to being called as once the bar is ready, the clock is started and any further adjustments to the racks will be made within t he lifters one minute time allowance. The lifter is allowed one minute in which to start his attempt after being called to the platform. If he does not start his attempt within the time allowance, the time keeper will call time, the lift will be declared "no lift" and the attempt forfeited. When the lifter starts the lift within the time allowance, the clock will be stopped. if a lifter appears on the platform in violation of the uniform/equipment rules, the lifter shall be warned by a referee and will have whatever time is left on the clock to correct the violation and start his attempt. If this is not accomplished within the one minute time allowance, the timekeeper will call time and the lift will be declared "no lift".

e) In small competitions the lifter informs the speaker within one minute of completing his last attempt, and lets the speaker know what his next attempt shall be. In larger competitions the marshals/expediters will have this responsibility. The marshal/expediters will approach the lifter or his coach immediately after his attempt and request the weight required for his next attempt. If the lifter does not give his next attempt within one minute the speaker will be informed and the weight on the bar will be increased to the requirements of the next lifter in normal progression.

f) Scorers are responsible for accurately recording the progress of the competition, and on completing, ensuring that the three referee's sign the

g) Official score sheets, record certificates or any other documents which require signatures.

h) Spotters/loaders are responsible for loading and unloading the bar, adjusting squat racks or benches as required, cleaning the bar or platform at the request of center referee, and in general assuring that the platform is well maintained and presents a neat and tidy appearance at all times. at no time shall there ever be less than two or more than five spotter/loaders on the platform. When the lifter prepares for an attempt, the spotter/loaders may assist in removing the bar from the racks, and also in replacing the bar after the attempt. They shall not touch the lifter or the bar during the actual attempt. The only exception to this rule is if the lifter is in jeopardy and likely to result in injury, either at the request of the lifter, the center referee, or when it is very obvious to the spotter/loaders that the lifter will most likely be injured if the lift is to continue. the lifter shall stay with the bar and aid in its replacement in the rack, unless the injury prohibits the lifter from assisting.

i) If the lifter is deprived of an attempt by an error of a spotter, and through no fault of his own, he will be granted another attempt if he wishes. The correction must be made at the end of the round. If the error occurs on the last lifter of the round the center referee shall assign a time for the lifter to retake his attempt. The lifter will be given ample time to recuperate before a retake of the attempt. Persons allowed on the platform: during the actual execution of a lift, only the three referee's, and the spotter/loaders are permitted to be present on the platform. Coaches shall not be allowed at the back or sides of the platform during the lift. Coaches must remain outside of the designated lifting area.

Adjusting equipment while on the platform: A lifter shall not adjust his costume or wrap within the vicinity of the platform. The only exception to this rule is that he may adjust his belt.

 Progressive loading of the bar: The bar shall be loaded progressively. The lifter requiring the lightest attempt being first. The bar, except in rare situations cannot be reduced in weight once a lift has been performed with the weight announced. It is a necessity that the lifter or his coach observe the progressive loading of the bar and be ready for his attempt at the chosen weight.

Attempt priority rule: A lifter taking his first attempt must precede lifters taking their second and third attempts with the same weight. Also, a lifter taking his second attempt must precede lifters taking their third attempts with the same weight. All first attempts must be taken in round one, all second attempts must be taken in round two, and all third attempts in round three. Fourth attempts may be taken at the end of the third round. Fourth attempts may be taken for purposes of setting a world, national, regional, or state record. a fourth attempt is for record purposes only. it may not be applied to the total and considered as an attempt within the competition. A lifter must have successfully completed his/her competition attempts before attempting a record attempt.  Lifter will not be granted a 4th attempt if they were unsuccessful with any competition attempts.

Minimum amount of weight increase between successful attempts: In WPA recognized competitions the weight of the barbell must always be a multiple of 5 lbs (2.5 kg). The progression must be at least 10 lbs between the first and second attempts and 5 lbs. between the second and third attempts.  Special plates 1¼, 1 lb, ½ pound plates may not be used for standard attempts.  They are to be utilized for 4th attempts only.

Exceptions to this rule:

a) A request for 5 lbs. between the first and second attempts indicates that the lifter does not want to take a third attempt.

b)  Progression by 5 lbs. between the first and second attempts in the case of a female lifter during the bench press between her first and second attempt. Females must go by the standard weight increases for squats and deadlifts.

c) In record attempts made outside of the competition, the weight of the barbell must be at least one pound in excess of the current record. This record attempt must be taken in the normal sequence of increasing weight during the competition and not at the completion of lifting.

Loading errors or incorrect announcements by speakers:

a. If the bar is loaded to a lighter weight than originally requested and the attempt is successful, the lifter may accept the successful attempt or elect to take the attempt again at the weight originally requested. If the attempt is to be re-taken at the originally requested weight, the lifter may take the attempt at the end of the round to allow him/her sufficient recovery time.

b. If the bar is loaded to a heavier weight than originally requested and the attempt is successful, the lifter will be granted the attempt. However, the weight may be reduced again if required by the other lifters. If the attempt is not  successful, the lifter will be granted a further attempt at the originally requested weight.

c. If the loading is not the same on each side of the bar, any change occurs on the bar or discs during the lift, or the platform is disarranged and the lift is not successful, the lifter will be granted a further attempt.

d. If a loading error occurs during the second attempt of a lift and the progression, because of this error is only 5 lbs., the lifter may accept the successful attempt and go on to his third attempt if he wishes, with no penalty for only making a 5 lb. jump. In WPA recognized competition the lifter shall not be penalized for an error of a meet official. If the lifter wishes to try the attempt again with the amount he specified, he will be granted an additional attempt. If the attempt with the amount he originally specified is unsuccessful he will be given credit for the successful lift with only a 5 lb. jump.

e. If the speaker fails to announce a lifter at the appropriate weight, then the weight on the bar shall be reduced as necessary and the lifter shall be allowed to take his attempt.

f. Three unsuccessful attempts in any lift will automatically eliminate a lifter from the competition. if prior to being eliminated, a lifter has set a record in one of the other lifts and the proper officials were present, the lifter will be granted the record in that lift. He will not be allowed to continue with the competition however.

g. On completion of a lift, the lifter shall have 30 seconds to leave the platform. Failure to comply after being warned shall result in disqualification.

h. If a lifter suffers an injury and the referees or meet director feel the lifter should not continue lifting, he shall retire


a. Any lifter or coach, who by reason of misconduct upon or near the competition platform is likely to discredit the sport, shall receive one official warning. If the misconduct continues the referees will disqualify the lifter and order the coach to leave the venue. This rule applies even if it is the lifters last lift of the day at the competition. Any lifter who strikes an official or any other individual at a competition will be permanently banned from all WPA registered competitions (APA, CPA ect). Any lifter who causes a disruption which seriously interferes with the efficient running of a competition, or interferes with lifters preparing for a lift, will be suspended from WPA registered competition for 3 years.

b. Any certified WPA referee who through his actions is obviously showing bias towards a lifter or partiality will be permanently suspended from being a referee and will no longer be certified. Under no circumstances will referees question judgment calls made by another referee while on the platform. Referees must never argue among each other on the platform.

c. If a lifter assaults an official, competitor or spectator, the meet director shall notify the WPA in writing within 3 days of the incident. Written complaint should include the name and address of the lifter involved. The meet director is required to report any assault to local law enforcement authorities immediately and obtain a copy of the law enforcement agencies police report. A copy of this report shall be sent to the APA-WPA office within 24 hours. The lifter will be permanently suspended from the WPA and will not be allowed to compete in any event run by an organization registered with the WPA (such as APA or CPA).

d. All articles of lifter’s costumes and personal equipment shall be clean, neat and presentable. At the discretion of the referee, a lifter will not continue in the competition if he/she does not conform to this standard.

e. Excessive “psyching up” such as hitting and swearing shall be limited at the referee’s discretion.  A warning shall be issued if minor swearing was involved.  If the offense was flagrant and intentional the lifter will be disqualified.

VII. Referee’s

The referee's shall be three in number (one center & 2 side referee's). The center referee is responsible for giving the necessary signals for all three lifts. The three referees may seat themselves in what they consider to be the best viewing positions around the platform for each of the three lifts. Referee's should position themselves in the best viewing position, and may have to lean, shift, or leave their chair to do so.

A referee should not ask a spotter to move to get a better view of the lift -if by so doing it could in any way jeopardize the safety of the lifter. Lifter safety shall take priority over anything else. However, the hands of the rear spotter may not interfere with the viewing of the top of the thighs at the hip joint during the performance of the squat.

Specific areas of responsibility of judging for referees:  All three platform officials have the responsibility of judging all aspects of the lifters on the platform. it is obvious that the head referee, from his position at the front of the platform, has a vantage point that makes it more difficult to judge some aspects of a lift, as compared to the side referee's. However, he does have the responsibility to judge all such aspects and is neither prohibited nor excused from making a judgment on certain aspects of a lift because his vantage point is not the same as side officials. Once the head referee has given the starting signal, it is recommended that he not leave his chair however he may do so if he so chooses in cases he deems might be necessary to do so.

Procedure when a referee is "blocked" out of viewing the lift in progress: If, during the lift a spotter unintentionally gets in the way of a referee's view of the lift so that he does not actually see the lift, the referee should give the lifter a white light, and the spotter be warned. The referee may leave the chair if he chooses to do so and thinks it will possibly improve his viewing of the lift, however this is “not” required.

Duties of the referees: Prior to the contest he should make sure the platform and equipment comply in all respects with the rules, the scales be working properly, assure that weigh-ins be conducted legally and proper, and assure a thorough rules briefing is conducted prior to the time that the lifting starts. During the contest he should make sure that the weight on the bar be loaded the same as the speaker announces.

All three referees should be issued loading charts. during the meet if any referee has reason to doubt a lifters integrity in respect to intentional use of invalid attire or equipment to give the lifter an unfair advantage over other competitors, the referee shall call this to the attention of the other referee's and inspect the lifter. if the infraction is major the lifter shall be disqualified from the competition. If the infraction is minor the lifter shall be warned.

Procedure of a referee seeing a fault of the lifter or lift:  He shall call attention to the fault. If the head referee or other side referee is in agreement, this will constitute majority opinion and the center referee will stop the lift at a discretionary safe point. He will then signal the lifter to "rack or down" and give the appropriate hand signal. Or he shall order the spotters to take the bar.

Procedure for a lifter to be informed of infractions which cause him to receive a red light:  A lifter receiving a red light for a light may (if he/she desires) approach a referee after completion of the lift and not during the commencement of the next lift, and ascertain why he/she received a red light. The referee shall inform the lifter as to why a red light was given. The lifter should not, however, approach and ask a referee why a red light was given, after several lifts have gone by following his/her own.

Non-influence of referee's toward each other:  Referees may not veto or overrule each other. A referee shall not attempt to influence the decisions of other referee's. There shall not be ranking of referees. All referees are equal. If a referee is partial towards a certain lifter or bias in his opinion and feels it will interfere with his judgment he will inform the other referees so he can be replaced while that lifter is lifting.

Acceptable referee communication: Referee's may consult with each other or any other official in order to expedite the competition, or to correct faults.

Proper Positioning of Side Referees during the Deadlift:  From the line perpendicular from each lifter’s side, the side judge should be located approx. 15^ forward.  This allows the best vantage point to assess downward movement at or between the hands, to assess leg assist, and to assess final position ensuring fully upright with knees locked. Under no circumstances should side judges be positioned to the rear of the lifter.

Referee dress code: Referee's should dress neat and appropriate. They shall not dress in a manner which will cause the public to view the sport in an unfavorable manner.

Flight size: the maximum number of lifters allowed in a flight is 17 lifters. Flights should be divided as evenly as possible. As an example, if 40 lifters are competing in an event each flight #1 could have 13 lifters, flight #2 could have 13 lifters and the 3rd flight could have 14 lifters or a similar setup should be utilized. Flights may be composed of any combination of bodyweight categories at the discretion of the meet director or can be set up by starting attempts with lifters having lighter openers being placed in the first flights and subsequent flights being based on the same method.

If a contest is small and a group (flight) of lifters is less than 7 lifters a compensatory time allowance will be added at the end of each rounds as follows: For 6 lifters add 2 minutes, for 5 lifters add 3 minutes, and for 4 or less lifters add 3 minutes.  3 minutes is the maximum allowance permitted at the end of a round.  If a group (flight) has 7 or more lifters no compensatory time shall be added.

*Effective April 15, 2007:  Deadlift flights may now have up to 22 lifters. This rule will not apply to any other lift.

VIII. Record Setting:

1. General conditions required for setting WPA, APA, CPA or affiliate records at world, continental, regional, and national championships sanctioned by WPA and affiliate federation’s world records shall be accepted without weighing the barbell after the lift. At this level of competition the barbell and discs must be weighed prior to the competition starting time. This will assure that the meet is run smoothly and efficiently without unnecessary stops during the competition.

Requirements for registration of world, continental, national and regional records are as follows:

a) The competition must be held under the sanction of the national federation affiliated with the WPA. All sanction request forms must be mailed to and approved by the WPA headquarters at least 30 days prior to the event.

b) All of the adjudicating referees must hold a current WPA referee's card or they may be referees of national or international rank with the IPF, USPF, USAPL, CPU, or the AAU.

             c) When using referees from the other federations listed they must be made aware of the minor rules differences that exist between the WPA and their respective federations.  This will be done via a referee clinic held before the competition.

d) All referee exams must be sent to and will be graded by WPA headquarters.

                e) The good faith and competence of referees of all members’ nations is beyond dispute. Consequently, a world or continental record can be assured by referees of the same nation.

f) Duel sanctioned meets are not permitted.

g) If a lifter competing in a full power meet sets an individual lift record but is disqualified from the competition because he failed to make the three attempts at another lift he will still retain the record he set for the individual lift provided the proper referees were present to validate that the lift was properly performed.

h) No fourth attempts for a record may be included in the total at a full meet or as an attempt within the competition at a single event meet. Fourth attempts are for record purposes only. The lifter by virtue of his lift may set a record total however.

i) The barbell and discs must weigh within 1% of their face value.

k) World records will be registered only after they are published on a central website WPA: http://apa-wpa.com/results.html and checked responsible for maintaining and fixing of World Records 1st Vice President of WPA.

l) Continental records will be registered only after they are published on a central website WPA: http://apa-wpa.com/results.html and checked responsible for maintaining and fixing of World Records 1st Vice President of WPA .

m) National records will be registered only after they are published on the website of the national representative of the WPA

n) If the athlete is performing in its primary age category (Masters, Teens, Junior), did not take part in the Open, and the result exceeds the record in both age categories, ie Master-Open, Teen--OPEN, etc., the records are recorded automatically in both age groups

Sanctioning competitions:

a) In order for a sanction to be granted the meet director or state chairman shall apply for the sanction at least 4 weeks prior to the planned event. Sanction fee is $25.00 for all general events and state-regional level events and $150 for all national or world level events. Sanction requests and bid propositions for all national, continental, and world level competitions should be submitted to WPA headquarters at least 6 months in advance.

b) Sanction fee must accompany the sanction request form. If a sanction request is denied, a refund will be sent to the meet director. It will be up to the discretion of the National office to refuse a sanction if another APA event has been scheduled nearby on the same date.

c) It is NOT required that meet directors run Raw or Unlimited Gear categories in their events.  It is the meet director’s option to run which categories they wish in their event. The basic men’s open and women’s open classes must be run.  Men’s Open division must consist of full weight classes.  All other divisions may be run with full weight classes or by Schwartz and Malone formulas.  The divisions that are run in a particular contest will be at the discretion of the meet director.

Formula utilized in WPA competition:

The officially recognized formula shall be the Schwartz formula for men and the Malone formula for women, and foster formula for master lifters over 40 years of age. The formula is utilized to determine the overall champion or placements in classes run by formula instead of weight classes.

Special rule for record setting at full power events:  If a competitor competes in a full power meet with the intention of setting records at the event and bombs out at a particular lift in the event, he is no longer considered competing for a placing. However, the lifter may continue to participate in the other lifts for the purpose of setting records in those lifts if the proper officials are judging the event and if the lifter has secured the permission of the meet director. This is only allowed for the lifter who is attempting to set a record of some sort (not personal best attempts).

General duties & code of conduct for chairpersons, referee's and other officials:

a) The chairperson shall maintain a set of accurate state records that must be made available to the lifters.

b) The state chairperson shall cause at least 2 APA sanctioned events to occur in his/her state each year. The chairperson does not have to be a meet director.

c) In the case of other persons directing a meet, the chairperson shall attend the meet to oversee the event and make sure it is properly conducted and shall provide the meet director with all necessary paperwork needed to get the event sanctioned and to run the event properly. The chairperson shall assist meet directors in obtaining certified referee's to officiate at their event. if the chairperson cannot personally attend a meet in his/her jurisdiction the chairperson shall appoint a responsible person who is well versed in APA policies and format utilized to run a legal competition.


Uniform Requirements:

All lifts will be performed RAW (no supportive gear). Wrist wraps, knee wraps, and lifting belt may be worn.

Uniform for Overhead Press shall be a wrestling singlet OR shorts (cut above the knee) and tee shirt.

Uniform for Strict Curl shall be a wrestling singlet OR shorts (cut above the knee) and tee shirt.

Uniform for deadlift shall be a wrestling singlet or one piece lifting suit.  Shorts are not allowed for the deadlift.


Strict Curl Rules:

1. The lifter shall face the front of the platform. The bar shall be held horizontally across the thighs with the hands palms of the hands facing outward and fingers gripping the bar. The feet shall be flat on the platform with the knees locked and arms fully extended. One foot may be in front of the other (legs staggered) as long as the knees are locked and feet are flat on the platform.

2. After he/she removes the bar from the racks, the lifter must move backwards to establish his starting position. The lifter shall wait in the starting position for the Head Referee's signal. The command is given when the lifter is motionless and the bar is properly positioned. The Head Referee's signal shall consist of an upward movement of the arm and the verbal command "curl".

3. When the curl command is given the lifter must bring the bar up to the fully curled position (bar near chin or throat with palms facing backward). The knees shall remain locked and the shoulders square or back throughout the entire lift.

4. At the completion phase of the lift, the knees shall be locked and the shoulders square or back.

5. The legs and hips may not be used in any way to generate momentum to complete the lift.  Lifter may not lean back to assist in bringing the weight up. Any thrusting of the legs or hips is forbidden

6. When the lifter has reached the finished position the Head Referee's signal shall consist of a downward movement of the hand and the verbal command "down." The signal will not be given until the bar is held motionless and the lifter is in the finished position.

7. When the bar is motionless, the Head Referee will give the signal to replace the bar. The signal to replace the bar will be a backward motion of the hand and the verbal command "rack."

8. Any rising of the bar or any deliberate attempt to raise the bar will count as an attempt.

9. The Lifter will be given an additional attempt at the same weight if failure in an attempt was due to an error if the bar has been misloaded.

Strict Curl uniform will be shorts and short sleeve tee shirt or tank top, or wrestling singlet.  Sleeves may not cover the elbow.

Causes for Disqualification of the Strict Curl

a.       Any downward movement of the bar before it reaches the final position.

b.      Failure to stand erect with the shoulders square or back.

c. Failure to, keep the knees locked and straight at during the lift.

d. Stepping backward or forward or rocking feet between ball and heel.

e. Lowering or racking the bar before receiving the Chief Referee's signal. Bouncing the bar off the thighs to start the upward motion

f. Using the hips, thighs or legs for momentum in completing the lift.  Any rising of the bar or any deliberate attempt to do so will count as an attempt.

g. Overhead press uniform will be shorts and tee shirt or tank top, or wrestling singlet.

h. Sleeves may not cover elbow.

Overhead Press:

The bar is placed on squat racks set at lower frontal deltoid height.  The lifter takes the bar out from this position (can walk back or remain in place) and establishes a starting position with knees locked and standing erect.

When the lifter is in the apparent starting position the center referee will say press and give an upward motion of the hand to indicate the lift has commenced.

The lifter presses the weight to straight arms length, locks the elbows and waits for the down command which is given when the lifter is in the apparent finished position.  Down command is given by the center referee And will be a verbal command “down” and a downward motion of the hand.

The lifter may not lean back or change the position of the back, not may he bend the knees during the performance of the lift, or do any other movement to help “thrust” the weight upward.

When the down command is given the lifter lowers the weight to his shoulders and racks the bar.

Causes for disqualification of the Overhead Press:

Leaning back when performing the lift to make the lift easier and arm stroke shorter.

Bending the knees during the lift.

Pressing the weight before the press command is given, racking the weight before the rack command is given.

Downward movement during the uplifting phase of the lift.


Those who wish to obtain a referee shirt can order one online at the APA products store