USA Powerlifting Texas



Dear Coach/Lifter,
Thank you so much for your interest in attending the upcoming USA Powerlifting National Championships.  There are many rule similarities between the USA Powerlifting and THSPA/THSWPA which will make for an easy transition to the national level of powerlifting and beyond.  We have put together a comprehensive list of rules that differ from our respective organizations, with an explanation of the difference, so that you will be better prepared when attending our competitions.  The 3 qualifier meets being run in April (you can find out more about these meets here will be a great place to work out any kinks in lifting form and have any rules questions answered.  Lifting at these meets will give a good indication as what to expect at national level competition.  It is our intention to prepare everyone as much as possible for their national championship.  Some suggestions we have include:

  1. Lift raw in the qualifying meet to simply hit the minimum qualifying total.  This allows lifters to correct any form issues with light weight to insure qualification.
  2. Since the qualifying totals are low, make sure that all 3 opening attempts equal the qualifying total and use 2nd and 3rd attempts to break records.  Check the USA Powerlifting Texas State Records ( for raw and equipped records.  Several of these records have not been set yet and I know that our lifters could easily set them.
  3. If you have questions about your lifters form or technique, we suggest posting a video online and contacting myself or Curt St. Romain for some advice and suggestions for improvement.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call or email myself or Curt St. Romain. We will answer your questions as best as possible.  We look forward to seeing you lift.  Train smart.

Christy Cardella
USA Powerlifting Texas State Chair

Rule Differences

USA Powerlifting Rules

THSPA/THSWPA Differences

1 Age Categories: Open(14+), Teen (W),Teen I (14-15), Teen II (15-16), Teen III (17-19), Sub-Junior (14-19), Junior (20-23) USA Powerlifting is divided by age divisions and not by school classifications.
2 Weight Classes

Men lb. Range (lb.) Women lb. Range (lb.)
52.0 114.50 up to 114.50 44.0 97.00 up to 97.00
56.0 123.50 114.51 – 123.50 48.0 105.75 97.01 – 105.75
60.0 132.25 123.51 -132.25 52.0 114.50 105.76 – 114.50
67.5 148.75 132.26 – 148.75 56.0 123.50 114.51 – 123.50
75.0 165.25 148.76 – 165.25 60.0 132.25 123.51 – 132.25
82.5 181.75 165.26 – 181.75 67.5 148.75 132.26 – 148.75
90.0 198.25 181.76 – 198.25 75.0 165.25 148.76 – 165.25
100.0 220.25 198.26 – 220.25 82.5 181.75 165.26 – 181.75
110.0 242.5 220.26 – 242.50 90.0 198.25 181.76 – 198.25
125.0 275.50 242.51 – 275.50 90.0+ 198.25+ 198.25 and above
125.0+ 275.50+ 275.50 and above
USA Powerlifting does not offer a 220 pound class for the women’s divison.
3 Personal Equipment: All items worn on the platform MUST be CLEAN, UNTORN and in a good state of repair or they will NOT pass the equipment check procedures. Support briefs or support underwear are NOT allowed. Obscenities or profanities are NOT allowed on any attire to be worn in the competitive area. Leotards are NOT permitted. Hats are NOT permitted on the platform. The lifter may wear professionally made headbands. USA Powerlifting requires an equipment check of all equipment to be worn on the platform, this is done before the weigh-in or the night before. Support Briefs will NOT be allowed.

The only thing that may be worn under your lifting suit is a pair of underwear without legs.  No boxers or boxer briefs.

4 A T-Shirt or supportive shirt (the supportive shirt shall be of one-ply stretch material) of any color or colors must be worn under the lifting suit during the performance of the squat and bench press, but is optional for the men in the deadlift. A combination of the two is forbidden. Women must wear a T-Shirt or supportive shirt while competing on all lifts. T-shirts must be worn during the squat.
5 The T Shirt is subject to the following conditions:(a) It does not consist of any rubberized or similar stretch material.

(b) It does not have any pockets, buttons, zippers, collar or V-neck.

(d) Is made of cotton or polyester or a mixture of cotton and polyester. Denim is not acceptable.

(e) It shall not have sleeves which terminate either below the elbow or at the deltoid. Lifters may not push or roll the sleeves of the T-Shirt up to the deltoid when competing in USA Powerlifting competition. T-Shirts must not be worn inside out. The “Support Shirt” as used in the squat and deadlift may be “sleeveless”.

(f) Is plain, the official T-Shirt of the contest or bears the badge and/or inscription of the lifter’s nation, national / regional federation or sponsor. Powerlifting federation references are limited to USA Powerlifting, NAPF or IPF. That which is offensive or likely to bring the sport into disrepute is not allowed.

Under Armor shirts are considered a rubberized or similar stretch material so they are NOT allowed.  T-shirts should be a standard cotton t-shirt. Cut-off sleeves are not allowed.
6 Socks: (b) They shall not be of such length on the leg that they come into contact with the knee wraps or knee cap supporter.(d) Socks may be worn in the squat and bench press. Shin length socks must be worn to cover and protect the shins while performing the deadlift. USA Powerlifting requires knee length socks for the deadlift.
7 Belt : Competitors may wear a belt. If worn, it shall be on the outside of the lifting suit. Materials and Construction of the belt are as follows:(a) The main body shall be made of leather, vinyl or other similar non-stretch material in one or more laminations which may be glued and/or stitched together.

(b) It shall not have additional padding, bracing or supports of any material either on the surface or concealed within the laminations of the belt.

Most Valreo belts have a small pad placed on the inside this would NOT be allowed.  Note:  This pad can be cut-out of the belt bringing it to specifications.
8 Shoes or boots:  Shoes shall be taken to include only Sports Shoes /Sports Boots; W/L, P/L Boots or Deadlift Slippers. The above is referring to indoor sports, e.g. wrestling / basketball. Hiking boots and cleated shoes do not fall into this category.   (b) No part of the underside shall be higher than 5 cm. Boots are NOT allowed, although the popular UB universal boots are allowed.  This includes Hunting and Hiking boots
9 Knees Wraps: 1. Wraps not exceeding 2 m in length and 8 cm in width may be used. A knee wrap shall not extend beyond 15 cm above and 15 cm below the centre of the knee joint and shall not exceed a total covering width of 30 cm. An elasticized knee cap supporter not exceeding 30 cm in length may be worn. Knee sleeves 30 cm in length are also legal and the medical/surgical sleeves are also an option. A combination of the two is strictly forbidden. Neoprene may be “synthetic” rubber but is only acceptable in the knee sleeve.2. Wraps shall not be in contact with the socks or lifting suit. THSPA/THSWPA allows 2.5m wraps, the USA Powerlifting allows 2.m wraps.  These can be cut if they are too long.
10 General & Alterations:  (b) Baby powder, resin, talc or magnesium carbonates are the only substances that may be added to the body and attire. Not the wraps.   USA Powerlifting allows the use of baby powder for the legs in the deadlift.  

Altered suit straps:  You may sew the straps on your suit.  But, the extra material may not be sewn down to the straps.  This creates more than 2 layers on a suit and isn’t allowed.

11 Weigh-In: 1. Weighing in of the competitors must take place no earlier than two hours before the start of the competition for a particular category / categories. All lifters in the category / categories must attend the weigh in, which will be carried out in the presence of two / three appointed referees. USA Powerlifting requires a 2 hour weigh-in.
12 The Round System:  (a) At the weigh in, the lifter or his coach must declare a starting weight for all three lifts. These must be entered on the appropriate first attempt card, signed by the lifter or his coach and retained by the official conducting the weigh in.  A lifter must submit his second and third attempts within one minute of completing his preceding attempt. The one minute will begin from the time that the lights are activated. If no weight is submitted within the one minute time allowance, the lifter will be granted a 2.5 kg increase on his next attempt. Should the lifter have failed his previous attempt and not submitted a weight for a further attempt within the one minute time allowance, then the bar will be loaded to the failed weight  A lifter is permitted one change of weight on the first attempt of each lift. The change of weight may be higher or lower than that originally submitted and the order of lifting in the first round will change accordingly. If he is in the first group, this change may take place at any time up to within five minutes before the start of the first round of that lift. USA Powerlifting all 3 opening attempts are to be entered in kilos at the weigh-in. A lifter has 1 minute to turn in his next attempt or an attempt will be entered for them.

USA Powerlifting allows you to change your opening attempt either 5 attempts, or 5 minutes before the beginning of the flight after that time you can not change the weight.

A lifter has 1 minute, from the time the bar is loaded to get the start command, NOT to get to the platform.

A flight is no more than 15 competitors.

13 Rules of performance: Squat is the same The rules for squat are the same.
14 Squat equipment:  The equipment used in a National meet is an ER rack which is a combination of a squat rack and can be changed into a bench press by the addition of a bench. Not squatting in a power rack maybe disorienting to a lifter who is use to squatting with safety bar under them.
15 Bench Press: 6. After removing the bar from the racks, with or without the help of the spotter / loaders, the lifter shall wait with elbows locked for the Chief Referee’s signal. The signal shall be given as soon as the lifter is motionless and the bar properly positioned. For reasons of safety the lifter will be requested to “Re-place” the bar, together with a backward movement of the arm, if after a period of five seconds he is not in the correct position to begin the lift. The Chief Referee will then convey the reason why the signal was not given.  7. The signal to begin the attempt shall consist of a downward movement of the arm together with the audible command “Start”. The USA Powerlifting has a ‘start’, ‘press’, and ‘rack’.  This is different than the THSPA/THSWPA’s ‘press’ and ‘rack’.  The sooner the lifter is in position the sooner they will get the “start” command. At a USA Powerlifting National meet you may not have a personal hand-off person.  A designated spotter/hand-off person will be assigned to hand-off to everyone at the meet.
16 Deadlift:  3. Failure to lock the knees straight at the completion of the lift.4. Supporting the bar on the thighs during the performance of the lift. If the bar edges up the thigh but is not supported this is not reason for disqualification. The lifter should benefit in all decisions of doubt made by the referee. The deadlift rules are the SAME.  The biggest errors that were noticed at the THSPA/THSWPA state meets were lifters supporting the weight on their thighs and not locking their knees on the deadlift.  If you have any questions about a lifters form, please ask a judge for clarification before the deadlifts begin.
17 Refrees:  8. Prior to the commencement of the Squat and Bench press the side referees will raise their arms and keep them raised until the lifter is in the correct position to begin the lift. If there is a majority opinion among the referees that a fault exists, the Chief Referee will not give the signal to commence the lift. The lifter has the remainder of his unexpired time allowance in which to correct the position of the bar or his stance in order to receive the commencement signal. Once a lift has commenced, the side referees will not call attention to faults during the execution of the lift. The starting position must be correct to get the start command on the squat or bench press.  A lifter is determined to be in the correct position when the side judges lower their arms. Judges may call squat depth from the front. It is the judges responsibility to judge all aspects of the attempt. The benefit of the doubt goes to the lifter.
18 Bombs:  6. Three unsuccessful attempts in any lift will automatically eliminate the lifter from the overall competition. He may still compete for awards on individual lifts if he makes bona fide attempts on each of the lifts i.e. weights attempted must be within his reasonable capabilities. If this is questionable the Jury will decide. In the USA Powerlifting if a lifter bombs in the squat or bench press they may CONTINUE in the competition, but will be ineligible for overall placing or team points.

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