This is a very basic and general guide to taking part in a Scottish Powerlifting (SPA) competition and a good grounding for competing in British and International competitions.


Membership forms can be downloaded, or you may join online, by following the ​link on our website​. Current fees will also be found on the website. Payment can be by cheque or postal order or BACS. Membership should be taken out as early in the year as possible, and must have been obtained ​before entering your first competition.

SPA is affiliated to British Powerlifting, so by joining SPA you are also joining British Powerlifting.


Competitions are held throughout the year and details can be found on the ​Calendar page of the website. Competitions are usually advertised on both the ​SP Facebook page​and ​web page​ and entries normally open 8 weeks before and have a closing date 2 weeks prior to the competition.

There are separate entry forms for each competition and entry forms can be downloaded​​from the website for postal reply or you may enter online. Competition entry fees should be paid no later than the closing date of the competition. Payment can be by cheque or postal order or BACS. It is important to indicate what competition you are entering and quote your membership number on any BACS payment.

No competition entry is confirmed unless payment is received by the closing date, which is usually 2 weeks before the competition. Make sure you also put your membership number on your Entry Form.

When entering an SPA competition any change of bodyweight category from that stated on your entry form, must be made no later than the closing date of the competition (therefore usually 2 weeks before).

Some competitions require a Qualifying Total (QT) to be achieved in a competition before you can enter. Qualifying Totals for an SPA competition, if required, are on the SPA website. For a British Powerlifting competition the QT’s will be found on the British Powerlifting ​website​,as will the “Qualifying Procedure”.


Scottish Powerlifting competitions are run under IPF rules. A link to the rulebook can be located on our website or go to ​the IPF website​.

All new lifters should familiarise themselves with the rulebook, in particular in relation to the rules specific to competition lifting, and also lifters personal equipment and clothing.


There are 2 competition disciplines within IPF powerlifting, “classic” or unequipped lifting, and equipped lifting.

In both disciplines, lifters must wear a one piece IPF approved lifting singlet or leotard, and wear footwear that must be some form of sports shoe or lifting footwear. Women must wear round neck T shirt under the lifting singlet for all lifts. Men must wear a t-shirt for the squat and bench-press only. All lifters must wear knee length sock when competing in the deadlift.

Both disciplines are allowed to wear wrist wraps and a lifting belt and non-supportive underwear and socks. Compression shorts or t-shirts are not allowed

Classic or unequipped lifters are not allowed to wear a supportive singlet or leotard or T shirt, but can wear knee sleeves (not wraps).

Equipped lifters are also allowed to wear a supportive singlet or leotard (“Squat Suit”) and a supportive shirt for the bench press (“Bench Shirt”). Equipped lifters are also allowed to wear knee wraps instead of knee sleeves.

Specific technical details concerning equipment and clothing can be found in the ​IPF Rule Book,in particular reference to officially sanctioned clothing and logos.

Please check ​the approved list​ before purchasing any clothing or equipment for use in competition.


Competition lifting can be a very different experience from lifting in the gym.

Competition technique requires considerable practice in order to satisfy IPF competition rules. It is also important to ensure that you understand the competition and platform protocol.


Lifters are required to weigh-in before they compete. Make sure you have entered in a weight class that you will be able to make weight in. If you don’t weigh-in for weight class you entered, you will not be allowed to compete in the competition.

The weigh in lasts for one and a half hours and the competition starts half an hour later e.g. weigh in 0900 – 1030, lifting starts 1100. You must show your ​Membership Cardat the weigh-in. This also applies to GB competitions. You must show your passport at an international competition.

You will be weighed in and also asked for your opening attempts for all 3 disciplines, all of which will be written on your ​Lifter’s Cardby the Referee.

You will be given a ​Drug Testing form which should be completed and signed by the lifter and handed to the ​Announcer’s Table

You should tell the ​Referee if you need​ BLOCKS to assist your position in the ​Bench Press.This will be noted on your ​Lifters Card.

You will also be given a bundle of ​Attempt Slips. If you wish to change the opener you gave during weigh in, you should complete the appropriate slip and hand it into the ​Announcer’s Table.

An ​Attempt Slip, completed and signed, has to be handed in to the ​Announcer’s Tableindicating your next attempt after your first and second attempts of each discipline. You have ​1 minutefollowing the completion of your attempt to do this.

Sample Attempt Slip for Squat:


After the ​Weigh-inyou should go to the Competition Platform to have your ​Rack Heightchecked against the Competition Racks that will be used in the Squat. This info will be entered on your ​Lifters Card.

If you think you will need to have a ​different Rack Height to the Standard Height of the Rack for the Bench Press you should ask to check this out,and again this info should be entered on your ​Lifters Card. Following the Weigh-In, Lifters are placed in a group or ​Flight which is the order they will begin lifting in each discipline.

Lifters are normally placed in a group which is determined by bodyweight, they are then placed in order of their declared opening weights.

The timing of each Flight, and the order, will be announced by the ​MC or Announcerfrom the ​Official Table before the Competition begins.


Make sure you understand when your Flight is due to begin, before you begin your ​WARM UP.

Allow adequate time to warm up and prepare yourself to begin lifting.

After warming up make sure you are in the ​Competition Area ready to take your Lift when called.

You are ​allowed 1 Minuteto enter the Platform ​properly dressed and equippedand begin your lift from the time the Announcer calls​‘Bar Loaded’. Once on the platform, the only adjustment you may make is to your belt.

During Competition when you have ​completed a liftyou or your Coach have ​1 minute to get your next Attempt Slipto the Table. If you have successfully completed a lift, but don’t hand in your next attempt on time, then your next lift will be increased from your last attempt by 2.5kg.

In a ​Competition Lifters have ​3 attemptsto complete a Lift in each Discipline and Best Lift in each Discipline is carried forward to provide a ​TOTAL,which is the sum of the 3 best Lifts. The ​Winnerin each Weight Class is the ​Lifter who achieves ​the Best Totalin their class.

The Competition takes place on the ​COMPETITION PLATFORM.

On the ​Platform the Competition is adjudicated by ​3 Referees. There are ​2 Side Refereesand a ​Centre Referee.

The ​Centre Referee is in charge of the Lifting on the Platformand controls the signals that indicate whether the Lift was successful or not as determined by the IPF Rules.

Each Referee will signal when they consider the Lifter is ready to commence the Lift. and then will signal if they consider the Lift is successful or not. These signals might be a series of ​Lights or Flags or Hand Signals.

If a Lift is considered a ​Failure, the Referees might hold up ​Coloured Cardsto indicate why they considered a Lift was a failure​.

In larger Competitions a 2​ndset of Referees,​ sit alongside the Platform and adjudicate on the Lifting on the Platform in case of dispute.

The ​Centre Referee will give the Lifter a ​series of Commands and ​Signalsduring the completion of each Lift.

Failure to obey these ​Commands or Signalswill result in a Lift being ​failed.


There are 3 recognised ​Competition Lifts,completed in this order.


The Commands for each Lift are:


When the Lifter has removed the Bar from the Racks ​is motionlessand considered standing erect and in control, the ​Centre Refereewill give the signal to begin the lift. The signal shall consist of a ​downward movement of the arm and the audible command “SQUAT”.

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 then return to an upright position.

When the Lifter is motionless (in the apparent final position) the ​Centre Refereewill give the signal to “RACK” the Bar.

Only then can the Lifter replace the Bar in the Racks. The Lifter must make an effort to replace the Bar themselves.


The Lifter must lie on the Bench on their back, with head, shoulders and buttocks in contact with the Bench surface. The feet must be flat on the floor. His hands and fingers must grip the bar positioned in the Rack Stands with a thumbs around grip and their forefinger or hands must be in contact or cover the rings on the Bar indicating the 81cm maximum width spacing. This position shall be maintained throughout the lift. The hair must not hide the back of the head when lying down on the Bench.

After removing the Bar from the Racks, with or without the help of the Spotter/ Loaders, the Lifter shall wait with ​straight arms, elbows locked for the ​Centre Referee’s signal.

The signal shall be given as soon as the Lifter is motionless and the bar properly positioned.

The signal to begin the attempt shall consist of a downward movement of the arm together with the audible command ​“START”.

After receiving the signal, the Lifter must lower the bar to the chest or abdominal area (the bar shall not touch the belt), hold it motionless, after which the ​Centre Referee will signal with the audible command “PRESS”. The Lifter must then return the bar to straight arm’s length, elbows locked.

When held motionless in this position the audible command “​RACK” shall be given together with a backward motion of the arm.


No Command is given to commence the Lift

The Lifter shall face the front of the Platform with the Bar laid horizontally in front of the Lifters feet, The Bar is gripped with an optional grip in both hands and lifted until the Lifter is standing erect.

The Centre Referee’ssignal shall consist of a ​downward movement of the arm and the audible command “DOWN”.

On completion of the Lift the knees shall be locked in a straight position and the shoulders back. The signal will not be given until the bar is held motionless and the Lifter is in the apparent finished position.

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


Open: from the day he/she reaches 14 years and upwards (no category restrictions need apply).

Sub-Junior: from the day he/she reaches 14 years and throughout the full calendar year in which he/she reaches 18 years.

Junior: from 1 January in the calendar year he/she reaches 19 years and throughout the full calendar year in which he/she reaches 23 years.

Master I: from 1 January in the calendar year he/she reaches 40 years and throughout the full calendar year in which he/she reaches 49 years.

Master II: from 1 January in the calendar year he/she reaches 50 years and throughout the full calendar year in which he/she reaches 59 years.

Master III: from 1 January in the calendar year he/she reaches 60 years and throughout the full calendar year in which he/she reaches 69 years.

Master IV: from 1 January in the calendar year he reaches 70 years and upwards.



Sub-Junior & Junior only-up to 53.0 kg

59.0 kg Class up to 59.0 kg

66.0 kg Class from 59.01 kg up to 66.0 kg

74.0 kg Class from 66.01 kg up to 74.0 kg

83.0 kg Class from 74.01 kg up to 83.0 kg

93.0 kg Class from 83.01 kg up to 93.0 kg

105.0 kg Class from 93.01 kg up to 105.0 kg

120.0 kg Class from 105.01 kg up to 120.0 kg

120.0+ kg Class from 120.01 kg up to unlimited


Sub-Junior & Junior only-up to 43.0 kg

47.0 kg Class up to 47.0 kg

52.0 kg Class from 47.01 kg up to 52.0 kg

57.0 kg Class from 52.01 kg up to 57.0 kg

63.0 kg Class from 57.01 kg up to 63.0 kg

72.0 kg Class from 63.01 kg up to 72.0 kg

84.0 kg Class from 72.01 kg up to 84.0 kg

84.0+ kg Class from 84.01 kg up to unlimited​.