Order of Competition

Date published:

1. The “Round System’

a.         At the weigh-in, the lifter must declare a first attempt for all three lifts.

b.        10 or less lifters in a session must lift in one Flight. 10-15 lifters in a session may be divided into two flights though again one Flight is preferable. Over 15 lifters must be split into appropriate Flights. Decisions on such divisions shall be made by the appointed “WPC Contest Officials” in conjunction with the competition Organizing Committee. Wherever possible lifters in the same body weight category should all compete in the same Flight. Flights should be classified ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ , etc. Flight ‘A’ will normally consist of lifters in one body weight category. Flight ‘B’ the next higher body weight category, and so on. Should the amount of lifters in any particular category necessitate that category being split into more than one Flight, then the first Flight should consist of lifters with lower totals than the second Flight and so on, based on previous best total results. Competitions combining men and women lifters may make different determinations. Where there are multiple Flights, Flight ‘A’ will complete all three rounds of the Squat (all three attempts), then Flight ‘B’ will make all three rounds of the Squat, and so on, repeating the same process for the Bench Press and Dead lift. Three unsuccessful attempts in any lift will automatically eliminate the lifter from the competition. Lifters will not be permitted to re-enter the meet as a guest lifter or to attempt a record lift. Only at local or regional contests will this be left to the meet director’s judgment. In the event that the number of lifters in a flight drops to ten or less, there will be an automatic 5 minute rest following the completion of all first attempts, then again after all record attempts.

c.         All lifters will take their first attempt in the first round, their second attempt in the second round, and their third attempt in the third round.

d.        The bar must be loaded progressively during a round on the principle of a rising bar. At no time will the bar be reduced within a round except for errors as described herein, and then only at the end of the round.

e.         Lifting order in each round will be determined by the lifter’s choice of weight per attempt. On the occasion of two lifters choosing the same weight, the lifter with the lowest lot number drawn prior to weigh-in, will lift first.

f.         A lifter will not be allowed to call for a weight lower than that attempted in the previous round.

g.         If unsuccessful with an attempt, the lifter will wait until the end of the round before attempting that weight again.

h.        All attempts taken over due to a scorekeeper’s error, loader’s or spotter’s error, or for any other reason, except failure for the lifter to be announced, will occur at the end of the round in which the error occurred, regardless of the progressive advancement of the bar. If such an error occurs to the last lifter in the round, the error will be corrected immediately and the lifter will be given the opportunity to take the attempt over within four minutes of the bar being loaded. Also, if such an error occurs to the first lifter in a round and the attempt is repeated at the end of the round with the lifter again the first lifter in the next round. Then four minutes will be allowed between the repeated attempt at the end of the round and the next attempt by the same lifter at the beginning of the following round.  These are two of the rare occasions when lifters will follow themselves.

i.         A lifter is permitted one change of weight on the first attempt of each lift. If the lifter is in the first Flight to lift, this change may take place at any time up to five minutes before the start of the first round of that lift. Lifters in following Flights are accorded the same privilege up to five attempts from the end of the previous Flight’s final round. Prior notice of these deadlines will be announced by the speaker. Oversights in making these announcements should not be at the jeopardy of the lifter. The three platform referees or “WPC Contest Officials’ shall rule on such discrepancies that arise.

j.         Lifters must submit their second or third attempts within one minute of completing the preceding attempt. If no weight is submitted within the one minute time allowance, the lifter will forfeit the next round attempt.

k.        Weights submitted for second and third attempts on the Squat and Bench Press cannot be changed.

l.         In the Deadlift, change of weight is permitted. The lifter may not change an attempt if he or she has been called to lift and the bar has been called as “ready” or “loaded”. On second attempts, the lifter shall be allowed one change in weight, and on third attempts, the lifter shall be allowed two changes in weight if he or she has been called to lift, but the bar has not been called as “ready” or “loaded”.

m.       In single lift meets, an opening attempt may be changed up to five minutes prior to the start of that lifter’s flight. Third attempts may be changed as many times as the lifter desires as long as his or her name has not been called to lift.

n.        To avoid any doubt or confusion with regards to submitting attempts, the following procedure is suggested for adoption:

The chosen weights for attempts are to be given in writing, in the form of attempt cards, to the marshal/expeditor. Different coloured cards will be used for each lift, 3 of the same colour for the Squat, 3 of another colour for the Benchpress, and 3 of a third colour for the Deadlift. The lifter or the coach will complete the appropriate attempt cards with the weight requested and sign the card. For first attempts the attempt cards will only be used when the weight given at the weigh-in is changed.

o.        If a lifting session consists of a single Flight, at least a 20 –30 minute interval will be taken between lifts in order to ensure adequate warm-up time.

p.        When there is more than one Flight in a session, the lifting will be organized on an alternating Flight basis. Consequently, a time interval between flights is not required other than the time necessary for arranging the platform. Lifters not in the first Flight will be able to warm-up while the first Flight is being conducted.

2.   The competition Organizing Committee will appoint the following officials:

a.            Speaker-Announcer

b.            Time Keeper (Preferably a WPC referee)

c.            Marshal/Expeditors

d.            Scorers

e.            Records Processor

f.             Loaders/Spotters

Additional officials may be appointed as required, e.g. doctors, paramedics, etc.

Responsibilities of these officials are:

a.         The Speaker is responsible for the efficient running of the competition, and acts as Master of Ceremonies. The speaker arranges the attempts chosen by the lifters in an orderly fashion, dictated by weight, and if necessary, lot number, and announces the weight required for the next attempt along with the name of the lifter. Additionally the speaker announces, in order, the three lifters succeeding the lifter on ‘deck’. When the bar is loaded and the platform cleared for lifting, the head referee will indicate the fact to the speaker, who will in turn announce that the bar is ready and call the lifter to the platform. Attempts announced by the speaker should ideally be displayed upon some type of scoreboard erected in a prominent position. The speaker is also responsible for announcing the deadlines that pertain to the ‘Round System’ – the approach of the time limit for changing first attempts, 5 minutes before the commencement of a first Flight, 5 attempts before the commencement of a following Flight.

b.        The Time Keeper is responsible for accurately recording the time lapse between the announcement that the bar is ready and the referee’s signal for the commencement of the attempt by the lifter. The Time Keeper is also responsible for recording other time allowances whenever required, e.g. after an attempt the lifter shall leave the platform within 30 seconds (Refer to item 8.(i), this section).

Once the clock is running for an attempt, it can only be stopped by the completion of the time allowance, the start of the lift, or at the discretion of the head referee who shall inform the Time Keeper immediately. Consequently, it is of great importance that the lifter or lifter’s coach check the height of the squat racks and any bench pressing requirements, if details have not previously been collected, prior to being called, as once the bar is announced as being ready, the clock will be started. Any further adjustments to the equipment must be made within the lifter’s one minute allowance. The definition of the start of an attempt depends upon particular lift being performed. In the Squat and Bench Press, the start coincides with the referee’s commencement signal. In the Deadlift, the start is when the lifter makes a determined attempt to raise the bar. It is the Time Keeper’s duty to stop the clock at these defined starts so that any buzzer that may be connected to the timing device will not distract the lifter.

c.            Marshals/Expeditors are responsible for collecting the weight required for next attempts from the lifters or their coaches and passing the information without delay to scorer’s table and speaker preferably in the form of the suggested colored attempt cards. The lifter is allowed one minute between completion of one attempt and submitting to the marshal/expeditor the weight required for the next attempt. The timing of this operation is the responsibility of the marshal/expeditor, under the auspices of the head referee.

d.            Scorers are responsible for accurately recording the progress of the competition, and on completion, ensuring that the three referees sign the official score sheets.

e.            The Records Processor is specifically accountable for all world records broken, for collecting the details and initiating the paperwork information.

f.             Loaders/Spotters are responsible for loading and unloading the bar, adjusting squat or bench rack requirements as necessary, cleaning the bar or platform upon request and agreement of the head referee,  and generally ensuring that the platform is well maintained and of a neat and tidy appearance at all times. At no time shall there be less than two or more than five loaders/spotters attending to the platform.

g.     When the lifter prepares for an attempt, the loaders/spotters may assist in removing the bar from the racks. They may also assist in setting up for a squat should the lifter stumble or lack good control, and in replacing the bar after the attempt. However, they shall not touch the lifter or the bar during the actual attempt, i.e. during the period of time between commencement and completion signals from the head referee. The important exception, for the spotters, to this rule is if the lifter has obviously failed with the attempt, is in jeopardy of injury, or the head referee or lifter has requested intervention, then the spotters should assume control of the bar and weights and assist the lifter in replacing the bar back on the racks.

3.     The officers of the WPC – the President, Chairman/General Secretary, Head of the Technical Committee, Vice Presidents, appointed Officers-at-large, will appoint five “WPC Contest Officials” to oversee all World Championships and rule on any contentions that may arise. These five officials shall be from a minimum of three countries all of which have representation at the championships. At internationals less than World Championships the officers of the WPC will appoint three “WPC Contest Officials” for the same purposes, at least two of which must be from different countries represented in the competition.

4.     During a competition taking place on a platform or stage, only the lifter, the lifter’s coach, the three referees on duty, other meet officials recognized by need, and the loaders/spotters will be allowed around the platform or stage. During the execution of a lift, only the lifter, designated loaders/spotters and the three referees on duty are permitted to be present on the platform. Coaches shall remain back from the platform. A coaching area should be defined by the appointed “WPC Contest Officials”. Personal, non-designated spotters are not permitted on the platform for the Squat or Deadlift. One personal non-designated spotter is permitted to lift-off on the Bench Press, however, once the bar has been correctly positioned at the lifter’s arms length, the personal spotter must quickly leave the platform area to a discreet position.

5.      Lifters shall wrap and ready themselves for lifting off the platform. Only minor adjustments requiring no assistance may be made on the platform. Likewise, removing wraps, belts and costume shall be performed off the platform. Items such as chalk, inhalants, talc, etc. should be utilized with propriety on and around the platform area.

6.      In competitions under WPC jurisdiction, including any competitions where world records are set, the weights used must be in kilograms, and the barbell must always be a multiple of 2.5kg. The weights shall be announced in kilograms and may additionally be announced in pounds.

Exceptions to this rule:

a.     For a world record attempt on a 4th attempt, the weight of the barbell must be at least 500 grams in excess of the current record. Such record attempts will be made at the end of the third round of the lifting flight.

b.     In a world record attempt made within the prescribed attempts of the competition. A lifter may request on a attempt, a weight that exceeds the current record by at least 500 grams. If the lift is successful, only the lower closest multiple of 2.5kg will be recorded on the score sheet and the exact weight will be recorded on the record application. Pound weights may be used if they are weighed properly and converted to kilos.

7.       In all competitions the weight of the barbell shall consist of the heaviest discs available that make up a particular weight.

8.       The head referee shall communicate all decisions taken in cases of loading errors, incorrect announcements, spotter errors, or other platform altercations to the speaker to make the appropriate announcement. Such decisions shall be first discussed with the other platform referees.


Examples of Errors in Loading:

a.     If the bar is loaded to a lighter weight than originally requested and the attempt is successful, the lifter may accept the successful attempt at the weight lifted, or elect to take the attempt again at the originally requested weight. If the attempt is not successful, the lifter will be granted a further attempt at the originally requested weight.

b.     If the bar is loaded to a heavier weight than originally requested and the attempt is successful, the lifter will be granted the attempt at the weight lifted.  The weight will be subsequently reduced if required for other lifters. If the attempt is not successful, the lifter will be granted a further attempt at the originally requested weight.

c.     If the weight is not the same on each side of the bar and the lift is successful, rules for overloaded and underloaded bars, as above apply. However, if the attempt is credited to the lifter, and the weight of the bar lifted is not a multiple of 2.5kg (ie, a 1.25kg plate was on one side only) the weight will be recorded at the lower multiple of 2.5kg. If the lift was unsuccessful the lifter will be granted a further attempt at the weight originally requested.

D.    If any change occurs with the bar and discs during the execution of the lift  and the lift is successful, provided no weight fell off the bar, the attempt will be accepted. If the attempt is unsuccessful, or weights fell off, the lifter will be granted a further attempt at the same weight.

e.     Should the platform or equipment become disarranged during an attempt and the attempt is successful, the attempt will be accepted. If the attempt is unsuccessful the lifter may be granted a further attempt at the same weight, at the discretion of the referees on duty.

f.     If the speaker makes a mistake by announcing a weight heavier or lighter than that requested by the lifter, the referees will make the same decisions as for  loading errors.

g.     All attempts that are repeated for the above reasons will be at the end of the round in which the error occurred.

h.     If a lifter misses an attempt because the speaker failed to announce the lifters’ name at the appropriate time or weight, the weight will then be reduced to allow the attempt within the round. Should this discovery disrupt the anticipation of any preparing lifters, such lifters may be granted extra time in which to prepare again, this shall be at the discretion of the referee on duty.

i.      The minimum increase between any attempts shall be 2.5kg.

j.      Three unsuccessful attempts in any lift will automatically eliminate the lifter from the competition.

k.     Other than initial removal of the bar from the racks, the lifter should not receive any additional help from the spotters in establishing position for an attempt. However, should a lifter stumble or become unstable in setting up for the Squat, the spotters should assist in steadying the lifter until control has been regained.

l.      On the completion of an attempt, the lifter shall leave the platform within thirty seconds. Failure to comply with this rule may result in disqualification of the attempt at the discretion of the referees.

m.    Any physical abnormality, handicap, or incapacity of a lifter that may cause, or potentially cause, an inability to fully comply with the rules should be brought to the attention of, and explained to, the appointed “WPC Contest Officials”. This should be in advance of the start of the lifter’s Flight. The lifter, “WPC Contest Officials” and the platform referees for the particular lifter will then confer on the matter to best accommodate any special considerations for the lifter. Deafness, blindness, limb or joint abnormalities that prevent proper straightening or extension, are examples for such special considerations.

n.     If, by reason of misconduct upon or near the competition platform, any lifter or coach is considered to have discredited the sport, such person or persons shall officially be warned. If the misconduct continues, the appointed “WPC Contest Officials” together with the referees on duty, have the authority to disqualify the lifter and order the coach and the lifter to leave the venue. The team manager must be officially informed of both warning and disqualification.

o.     All appeals against referee’s decisions or conduct, complaints regarding the progress of the competition or against the behavior of any person or persons taking part in the competition will be made to the appointed “WPC Contest Officials”. This must be done immediately following action of which there is a complaint or appeal. The appeal must be backed by the team manager and/ or coach and presented in the presence of either or both.  The appointed “WPC Contest Officials” will consider all such complaints

If deemed necessary, the appointed “WPC Contest Officials” may temporarily suspend the progress of the competition to consider the situation fully. After due consideration the complainant will be informed of any decision and any appropriate measures that may be taken. The verdict of the appointed “WPC  Contest Officials” will be considered final and there will be no right or appeal to any other body.