Powerlifting -
Pressing on the Bench

Power, speed and coordination skills are required for this sport: Since 2014, athletes have been able to participate in powerlifting competitions at the Invictus Games.

Both those with wheelchairs and those without wheelchairs compete with each other, using the same competition facilities. The competitors take part in separate weight classes. Powerlifting is a technically demanding sport in which the competitors are able to score by mobilising their maximum muscle strength from the upper body, in particular from their arms.

But how does this sport actually work? This is the sequence in eight steps:

  1. From the time the competitor’s name is announced, the first lift attempt begins – and the time permitted for completing it is two minutes.
  2. Throughout the lift, the head, shoulders, buttocks, legs, and both heels must remain on the bench or touch it.
  3. During the lift attempt, the competitor must always grip the bar with the thumbs and other fingers wrapped safely around the bar. The inside of the index fingers should never be outside the 81-centimetre markings on the bar.
  4. One round proceeds as follows: After lying down on the bench, the competitors can choose whether they want to take the bar from the rack by themselves or with assistance.
  5. Only the Official Chief Spotter and/or the spotter positioned at the side of the bench are permitted to assist the competitors in taking the bar from the rack. The assisted lift off must be to arm’s length only, and not down to the chest.
  6. As soon as the competitors have taken over firm control of the bar, they must hold this position with their elbows turned inwards slightly (elbows completely straight) until the ‘Start’ command and the signal are given.
  7. The competitors must have firm control of the bar, at arm’s length and with their elbows completely straight (subject to any special medical conditions). The head referee decides when these conditions have been fulfilled, and as soon as this is the case, he or she gives a loud and clear ‘Start’ command. At the same time, the referee must also give a visual signal, which is the downward movement of the outstretched arm.
  8. The lift attempt: Having firm control of the bar, the competitor must now lower the bar to the chest, hold it there, and then press it upwards again. During the powerlifting competition, three rounds are completed for scoring. All participating competitors must complete the relevant rounds successively, first in the sequence of the lifting weight chosen. The competitors themselves choose the lifting weight. The lift attempt must be successful before competitors can make a new lift attempt with a heavier weight. Each competitor is permitted a maximum of three lift attempts.

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