Motivating Members

to Reach Peak Performance

LEARN MORE

Rules and Judging of the BPF and WPU

Powerlifting competitions conducted under WPU and the British Powerlifting Federation follow strict rules. Please refer to the rules on squat, bench press, and deadlift or contact us in Heanor, Derbyshire if you have any questions.

The Squat

  1. After removing the bar from the racks while facing the front of the platform, the lifter may move forward or backward to establish the lifting position. The top of the bar should not be more than 3 cm. below the top of the anterior deltoids. The bar shall be held horizontally across the shoulders with the hands and/or fingers gripping the bar, and the feet flat upon the platform with the knees locked.

  2. The lifter shall wait in this position for the head referee’s signal. The signal will be given as soon as the lifter is set and demonstrates control with the bar properly positioned. The head referee’s signal shall consist of a downward movement of the arm and audible command ‘Squat’.

  3. Upon receiving the head referee’s signal, the lifter must bend the knees and lower the body until the top surface of the legs at the hip joint is lower than the top of the knees.

  4. The lifter must recover at will, without double bouncing, to an upright position with the knees locked. The bar may stop, but there must be no downward motion during recovery. As soon as the lifter demonstrates a controlled final position, the head referee will give the signal indicating completion of the lift and to replace the bar.

  5. The signal to replace the bar will consist of a backward motion of the arm and the audible command ‘Rack’. The lifter must then make a bona fide attempt to return the bar to the racks.

  6. The lifter shall face the front of the platform, towards the head referee.

  7. The lifter shall not hold the collars or discs at any time during the performance of the lift. However, the edge of the hands gripping the bar may be in contact with the inner surface of the collar.

  8. Not more than five and not less than two loaders/spotters shall be on the platform at any time. The head referee may, at their discretion for lifter safety in addition to or instead of Meet Promoter designated loaders/spotters, designate additional loaders/spotters, providing that the maximum of five is not exceeded. Only designated spotters may remain on the platform during the lift.

  9. The lifter may enlist the help of spotters in removing the bar from the racks; however, once the bar has cleared the racks, the spotters shall not physically assist the lifter with regards to actually getting into the proper set position. The spotters may assist the lifter to maintain control should the lifter stumble or demonstrate any evident instability.

  10. The lifter will be allowed only one commencement signal per attempt.

  11. The lifter may be given an additional attempt at the same weight at the head referee’s discretion if failure in an attempt was due to any error by one or more of the spotters.

The Bench Press

Read our handy guide on the techniques for and rules involved in the bench press.


  1. The front of the bench must be placed on the platform facing the head referee.

  2. The lifter must lie backward with shoulders and buttocks in contact with the flat bench surface. The lifter’s shoes or toes must be in solid contact with the platform or surface. The position of the head is optional.

  3. To achieve firm footing, a lifter of any height may use discs or blocks to build up the surface of the platform. Whichever method is chosen, the shoes must be in solid contact with the surface. If blocks are used, they shall not exceed 45 cm x 45 cm.

  4. Not more than five and not less than two loaders/spotters shall be in attendance. The head referee may, at their discretion for lifter safety in addition to or instead of Meet Promoter designated loaders/spotters, designate additional loaders/spotters, providing that the maximum of five is not exceeded.

  5. The lifter may enlist the help of one or more of the designated spotters or enlist a personal spotter in removing the bar from the racks. Only designated spotters may remain on the platform during the lift. The lift off must be to arm’s length and not down to the chest. A designated spotter, having provided a centre lift off, must immediately clear the area in front of the head referee and move to either side of the bar.

  6. If the personal spotter does not immediately leave the platform area and/or in any way distracts or impedes the head referee’s responsibilities, the referees may determine that the lift is unacceptable and be declared ‘no lift’ by the referees and given three red lights.

  7. The spacing of the hands shall not exceed 81 cm, measured between the forefingers. The bar shall have circumferential machine markings or tape indicating this maximum grip allowance. If the lifter should use an offset or unequal grip on the bar, whereby one hand is placed outside the marking or tape, it is the lifter’s responsibility to explain this to the head referee and allow inspection of the intended grip prior to making an attempt.

  8. If this is not done until the lifter is on the platform for an official attempt, any necessary explanation and/or measurements will be done on the lifter’s time for that attempt. The reverse or underhand grip is permitted.

  9. After receiving the bar at arm’s length, the lifter shall lower the bar to the chest and await the head referee’s signal.

  10. The signal shall be an audible command ‘Press’ and given as soon as the bar is motionless on the chest. As long as the bar is not so low that it touches the lifter’s belt, it is acceptable.

  11. The lifter will be allowed only one commencement signal per attempt.

  12. After the signal to commence the lift has been given, the bar is pressed upward. The bar shall not be allowed to sink into the chest or move downwards prior to the lifter’s attempt to press upward. The lifter will press the bar to straight arm’s length and hold motionless until the audible command ‘Rack’ is given. The bar may move horizontally and may stop during the ascent but may not move downward towards the chest.

How to Perform the Deadlift

  1. The bar must be laid horizontally in front of the lifter’s feet, gripped with an optional grip in both hands, and lifted until the lifter is standing erect. The bar may stop, but there must be no downward motion of the bar.

  2. The lifter shall face the front of the platform.

  3. On completion of the lift, the knees shall be locked in a straight position and the lifter shall be standing erect (this means the shoulders are in a finished position in a natural alignment, meaning not forward/not hunched and essentially back).

  4. The head referee’s signal shall consist of a downward movement of the arm and audible command “Down”. The signal will not be given until the bar is held motionless and the lifter is in an apparent finished position. If you do not get a ‘down’ command, then you have not completed the lift to an erect position.

  5. Any raising of the bar or any deliberate attempt to do so will count as an attempt.

  6. The bar must not be supported by the thighs or used as a counterbalance at any point during the execution of the lift.

Click Here to Add a Title

Click this text to edit. Tell users why they should click the button.

Become a Member