Frequently asked questions


What are the rules for competing in USA Powerlifting federation?

Many of your questions can be answered in our Lifter's Handbook.  

Please also see USA Powerlifting Rulebook for more detailed information.   

It is the lifters responsibility to know the rules. 

Where are the weight classes?

How to I become a member of USA Powerlifting?

Purchase your membership online. You will need to show proof of membership at lifter check-in on meet day.  This can be done by printing your membership card OR showing your card via electronically.

How much does a USA Powerlifting Membership cost?

The pricing for each division for both annual and auto-renew memberships is as follows:

You may select more than one division.  For example, Open and Masters, $70.  Open and Teen, $70.  If you intend to compete in the Open division, you must select Open.

NEW Lifetime memberships also available.

How do I qualify for Nationals?

Do I have to have a team to compete in the USA Powerlifting Georgia High School Meets?

No, both individuals and teams are allowed to compete without a coach, even though we encourage lifters to bring a coach. 

What do I need to know about State and American Record attempts?

Please check the USA Powerlifting Lifters Database for current records.

State Records can be set at all local, regional, national and international events.  These records will be automatically recorded.

American Records can be set at state level meets and higher.  If attempting to set an American record, it is your responsibility to let the scoring table know so that we can have National level referees in place to judge your lift.  


Where do I find information on USA Powerlifting Drug Testing?

Please check out the USA Powerlifting's Anti-Doping page to find more resources.

Drug Testing.  What is it and how does it work?

USA Powerlifting requires all Meet Directors to drug test a minimum of 10% of the competitors participating in every sanctioned event. This is a literal requirement – eg: with 51 competitors, 6 tests must be done. All open American Records must be tested. All World Records must be tested. All returning Open National Champions must be out-of-competition tested with little or no advance notice prior to defending their title.

If you enter this event, you may be selected to be drug tested.  Lifters are notified by the Drug Testing Officer (DCO) generally at the completion of the lifting session.  If you have completed all your attempts and want to leave prior to the awards ceremony, you must check in with the DCO to make sure you have not been selected for drug testing.  This includes if you have weighed in and decided not to lift, injured yourself during the competition and withdraw or bomb, you are still in the drug testing pool.

Failure to be available when called for drug testing will be considered a doping failure and subject to a possible 4 year suspension.

I am taking medication prescribed by my doctor.  Is that ok? 

Medications prescribed by your doctor may be considered a prohibited substance.  You must check all your medications.  If the medication is prohibited, it may be allowed by receiving a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).


I'm interested in competing in a USA Powerlifting event.  What do I need to know?

A good place to start is with the USA Powerlifting Lifter's Handbook.  We also recommend coming  to one of  Upcoming Events to get a feel of what a USA Powerlifting event looks like.  

I've never competed before, what are the basics I need to know about the squat, bench and deadlift rules?

What is difference between Raw and Equipped lifting?

Raw/Unequipped lifting is defined in USA Powerlifting competition as using only the following gear and accessories as previously described above:

Equipped Lifters wear single-ply squat suits, bench shirts, and deadlift suits. 

If I am lifting Raw, what equipment do I need to have?

The only things that are required are a singlet, t-shirt, long socks to deadlift and shoes. You must wear standard underwear that is not supportive when competing (no spandex). In the raw division, you are allowed to wear knee sleeves (neoprene), a belt and wrist wraps. For more specific equipment rules see our rulebook.  USA Powerlifting Rule Book

- High School Only meets allow form fitting shorts and a t-shirt instead of a singlet.




There are 3 commands for the Bench Press.  "Start", "Press", "Rack".  You must wait for all your commands!






Please read USA POWERLIFTING LIFTER'S HANDBOOK , p. 7-13 and Appendix A, for specific requirements for lifter attire.  Each item has its own specifications and will be rejected if not in compliance. 

Please see our UPDATE to Apparel Policy and Approved Club and Gym logos

Apparel may be plain, i.e of a single/multi-color fabric with no logos or emblems. 


Apparel may bear the logo or emblem of;

The logos or emblems of commodity sportswear brands^ not on the “Approved List of IPF Equipment Manufacturers” nor on the addendum of approved logos or emblems established by this rule “Sponsor’s Logos”, may be worn only on t-shirts, shoes or socks, where the logo or emblem is printed or embroidered and is no more than 5 cm x 2 cm in size (note, manufacturer logo/emblems on shoes are exempt of the 5 cm x 2 cm requirement and may be any size.)

All Equipment MUST be clean, not torn and in good repair AND meet our equipment specifications as outlined in our rulebook/handbook.  

Place all required attire/equipment that you plan to wear/use for this competition on the equipment check table:



NOTE: Although we do not check underwear, you must wear standard underwear that is not supportive when competing (no spandex).  NO SPANDEX OR SUPPORTIVE UNDERWEAR IS ALLOWED IN COMPETITION!


Proceed to the designated rack to get your rack heights for squat and bench.  Most Georgia meets will use the ER rack.  All ER racks are the identical as far as rack and safety measurements.  

Record your rack heights.  You will need for weigh-ins.

for example


ALL USA POWERLIFTING MEETS HAVE A 1.5 HOUR WEIGH-IN.  NO WEIGH-INS THE NIGHT BEFORE!  Weigh-ins will start 1.5 hours before lifting starts.

WEIGH-INS are most often done by Lot Number.  Your Lot Number is indicated on the roster.  Please know your lot number and be ready in line to weigh-in.  Refer to meet schedule for weigh in time. If you are not ready to weigh in when called, you will go to the end of the line. 

WEIGH-IN in approved undergarments or less.  Youth lifters must be accompanied by coach or parent and weigh-in in t-shirt and singlet. 


You will be asked to initial your lifter card.  Please check your recorded bodyweight and openers for accuracy.


Eat and Hydrate!

Be prepared with planned warm ups!  Don't just wing it.  

Check the lifting order on and know what flight you are in!  If you missed weight, your flight may have been changed to reflect your new competition division.

USAPL uses the round system.  All flights lift in order of increased weight on the bar, lightest to heaviest.  All flight A will do their first attempt squats in this order, then second attempts, then third.  Please be aware that lifting order can change from first attempts to second and third based on the attempted weight. Flight B immediately follows after the last lifter in flight A, so be ready!

FLIGHT A will go first so they warm up first.  If you're in Flight B, please do not enter the warm up room until it is necessary for you to start warming up.  Keep the warm-up area for people warming up!

A good plan is to get to the staging area (area behind the platform), anywhere from 8-10 minutes before you lift.  Don't wait till last minute and miss your attempt!  


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