So you signed up for your first powerlifting meet; congratulations! It takes commitment, consistency, and confidence to get to the point where you are ready to enter your first meet, so you can be proud of all the progress you have made just to get here. No matter how the meet goes, you have already achieved some pretty awesome feats of strength.
Here is some general information so you have an idea of what to expect on the day. This information is based on the USPA/IPL rulebook and how we run a novice meet in New Zealand. If you lift with an alternative federation or in another country, please be aware that some things may differ. Check with someone local to you.
If you want further information, the USPA/IPL rulebook is available at www.powerlifting-ipl.com
What to wear: shorts (must be above the knee), t-shirt with sleeves (no singlets, t-shirt sleeves must be above the elbow), shoes, socks. Socks that cover the shin and finish below the knee must be worn for the deadlift. These can be picked up cheaply at most Dollar Value stores or 1-2-3-Marts. Also bring warm clothing for before and after, and in between your lifts.
You can also wear wrist wraps, knee sleeves, knee wraps, lifting belts, as per the IPL rule book at www.powerlifting-ipl.com - it’s a great read if you want to fall asleep quickly.
What to bring: plenty of food and drink. Water, coconut water, or sports drinks are a good idea. Food should be mostly carbohydrate-based to give you energy for lifting.
ON THE DAY
Weigh-In, Gear Check, and Rack Heights.
When you arrive, check in at the table and collect a score card.
At weigh in, you will step on the scale and an official will record your weight on the score card.
After weigh in, get your gear checked by an official. They will want to see everything you plan on wearing/using on the platform. Shoes, socks, belt, wraps/sleeves, shorts, tshirt, headbands, etc.
Also after weigh-in, get your rack heights checked. An official will check the height of the squat rack and the bench press so that they are suitable for you. These rack heights must be recorded on your score card.
If you’re unsure of any of these things, just ask an official!
On your score card, an official will write down your opening lifts (first attempts) for squat, bench, and deadlift. You need to initial them. You can change any of these opening attempts up to 5 minutes before your flight begins lifting.
Once you have done weigh-in, gear check, and rack heights, you are free to go grab a coffee or warm up or whatever you like.
11:30am (approximately, you can begin whenever you are ready)
Flight A should begin warming up for squats. You will be told whether you are in Flight A or Flight B. If unsure, ask an official. Flight B will begin warming up once Flight A has commenced lifting on the platform.
As soon as you finish each lift, you have 60 seconds to let the table officials know what your next attempt will be. Don’t forget!
During The Lifts
For each lift, the head referee will give you verbal signals (calls) for each lift. Failure to follow the calls will result in red lights (i.e. an unsuccessful lift). We will talk you through these calls on the day, before lifting starts.
For the squat, you will hear, “Bar is loaded” and this means you have 60 seconds to get on the platform and start your lift. Once you unrack the bar and step out, WAIT for the head referee to say, “Start” and only then commence your squat. Once you finish your squat, WAIT for the head referee to say, “Rack” and only then re-rack your bar and exit the platform.
For the bench press, you will hear, “Bar is loaded,” and this means you have 60 seconds to get on the bench and start your lift. Once you unrack the bar (or have the bar handed to you by a spotter/loader or friend) WAIT for the head referee to say, “Start.” Bring the bar down to your chest and WAIT until the head referee says, “Press.” Only then can you press the bar up off your chest. Once you press up and lock out, WAIT again for the head referee to say, “Rack.” Then you can re-rack the bar and exit the platform.
For the deadlift, you will simply hear, “Bar is loaded,” and this means you have 60 seconds to get on the platform and start your lift. You do not have to wait for any further commands to start your deadlift, just pick it up. Once you have lifted that bar and achieved lockout, WAIT for the head referee to say, “Down.” Only then can you put the bar down and exit the platform. When you put the bar down your hands must stay on the bar all the way to the floor and you must ensure that the bar is still before letting go. Dropping the bar from lockout height will result in red lights (i.e. an unsuccessful lift).
There will be three referees in total: one in front of you (the head referee) and one on either side of you. You only need a white light from two out of the three referees in order for the lift to be deemed successful.
If you have any other questions, please come and ask an official. They are there for you, not the other way around!
If you want to read more, you can find the rulebook at www.powerlifting-ipl.com
Hit me up with your comments, and if I've missed anything I'm happy to include it in this post!