Training | POSTED March 28, 2022

Three Ivy Training Lifters, One Powerlifting Competition

Earlier this month we had two of our Ivy Training clients, Heather and Melanie, compete in a powerlifting competition alongside our very own Ivy Trainer, Rachael. All three had a great day on the platform, hitting personal bests throughout the day.

We will provide a brief introduction to powerlifting and cover the rules of the sport, but if you’re just here for the results and videos you can click here to take you straight to the fun part.

An Introduction to Powerlifting

Before we get into the finer details of the day, it’s important to understand what the sport involves. After all, you might not have heard of powerlifting before. My grandmother used to think powerlifting and weightlifting were the same sport, and would often ask whether she needed to book flights to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympic Games. Sorry to disappoint you grandma, but powerlifting isn’t an Olympic sport! Powerlifting is a barbell strength sport that consists of three attempts on three lifts – the squat, bench press and deadlift. The lifter’s best successful attempt on each lift counts toward their competition total. Competitors are judged against other lifters of the same gender, weight class and age. In most competitions, the lifter with the highest total in each weight class will be announced the winner.

The powerlifting competition that Rachael, Heather and Melanie participated in was an unsanctioned meet, and as such weren’t divided into different weight classes. Instead, they were ranked in order of their points that were tallied at the end of the competition.

Black Flag Barbell Club Powerlifting Competition Participants

Group photo of the participants in the competition at Black Flag Barbell Club

Powerlifting Competition Rules

Let’s first cover the rules of the competition to help contextualise our results for the day. For the purposes of this blog, we will be referencing the rules outlined in the International Powerlifting Federation’s Technical Rulebook, which can be found here.

Squat

Rules:

The lifter will face the front of the platform, with bar held across the shoulders. The hands may be positioned anywhere on the bar inside and or in contact with the inner collars.

After the lifter has racked the bar, the lifter must establish their starting position. When the lifter is motionless, with the knees locked the Head Referee will give the signal to start. This consists of a downward movement of his or her arm and the vocal command “Squat”.

The lifter must then bend the knees and lower the body until the surface of the legs at the hip joint is lower than the top of the knees. The lifter must proceed to stand up with the knees locked. When the lifter is motionless in an upright position, the Head Referee will give the signal to rack the bar. This consists of a backward motion of the arm and vocal command “Rack”. The lifter must then return the bar to the rack.

Reasons for disqualification:

  1. Failure to observe the Head Referees’ signals.
  2. Failure to bend the knees and lower the body until the top surface of the legs at the hip joint is lower than the the top of the knees. 
  3. Double bouncing, more than one attempt at the bottom, or any downward movement during the ascent. 
  4. Failure to assume an upright position with the knees locked at the start and at the end of the lift.
  5. Stepping backward or forward or moving the feet laterally.
  6. Contact with bar or lifter by the spotters/loaders between the Head Referees’ signals. 
  7. Contact of the elbows or upper arms with the legs.
  8. Any dropping or dumping of the bar after competition of the lift.
  9. Not completing the lift.
Rachael Squatting

Rachael preparing to squat her third attempt of 120kg

Bench Press

Rules: 

The lifter must lie on his or her back with head, shoulders and buttocks in contact with the bench surface. The feet must be flat on the floor. The hands and fingers must grip the bar with a thumbs around grip. The spacing of the lifter’s hands must not exceed 81cm, and the use of a reverse grip if forbidden.

After removing the bar from the rack (with or without the help of a spotter/loader), the lifter needs to wait with straight arms and elbows locked for the Head Referees’ signal. This consists of a downward movement of the arm and vocal command “Start”.

After receiving the signal, the lifter must lower the bar to the chest of abdominal area and hold it motionless, before the Head Referee will vocally command “Press”. The lifter must then return the bar to straight arms’ length with elbows locked. When the lifter holds the bar motionless in the final position, the Head Referee will give the signal to rack the bar. This consists of a backward motion of the arm and vocal command “Rack”.

Reasons for disqualification: 

  1. Failure to observe the Head Referees’ signals.
  2. Bar not lowered to chest or abdominal area. 
  3. Any downward movement of the bar in the course of being pressed out.
  4. Failure to press the bar to straight arms length elbows locked at the completion of the lift.
  5. Heaving or sinking the bar after it has been motionless on the chest or abdominal area.
  6. Any change in the elected lifting position during the lift.
  7. Contact with the bar to the lifter by the spotters/loaders between the Chief Referees’ signals.
  8. Any contact of the lifter’s feet with the bench or its supports.
  9. Deliberate contact between the bar and the bar rest supports during the lift. 
  10. Not completing the lift.
Heather Bench Pressing

Heather bench pressing 82.5kg

Deadlift

Rules:

The lifter will face the front of the platform, gripping the bar with both hands and pulling the bar until he or she is standing in an upright position.

On completion of the lift, the knees should be locked with the shoulders back. The Head Referees’ signal to return the bar to the floor will consist of a downward movement of the arm and the vocal command “Down”.

Reasons for disqualification: 

  1. Lowering the bar before receiving the Head Referees’ signal.
  2. Failure to lock the knees straight at the complete of the lift.
  3. Failure to stand erect with the shoulders back. 
  4. Any downward movement of the bar before it reaches the final position.
  5. Supporting the bar on the thighs during the performance of the lift.
  6. Allowing the bar to return to the platform without maintaining control with both hands. 
  7. Stepping backward or forward or moving the feet laterally. 
  8. Not completing the lift. 
Melanie Deadlifting

Melanie looking fierce with a 165kg deadlift

Powerlifting Competition Results

Rachael Fisher

Weight: 67.8kg

Squat: 110kg / 115kg / 120kg

Bench Press: 72.5kg / 77.5kg / 80kg

Deadlift: 150kg / 160kg / 170kg

Total: 370kg

Points: 381.01

Rachael performed exceptionally well at her 11th powerlifting competition, placing first amongst 15 other females. She went 9/9 lifts, which means she successfully got all of her attempts. Her last competition was in September 2019, where she totalled 356kg with a 121kg squat, a 75kg bench press and a 160kg deadlift. With over a two year gap between competitions, Rach wanted to focus on beating her previous bench press, deadlift and total score in this competition, which she did successfully!

Check out Rachael’s best lifts from the day:

Heather Service

Weight: 90.8kg

Squat: 125kg / 130kg / 137.5kg

Bench Press: 72.5kg / 77.5kg / 82.5kg

Deadlift: 145kg / 150kg / 157.5kg

Total: 377.5kg

Points: 335.24

Heather is our pocket rocket, who has been training with Rachael and more recently Jake since she was 18 years old, starting in January 2019. Heather is an extremely proficient lifter, and has really dialled in her technique over the past few years. She went 9/9 lifts on the day, and definitely had a bit of room in the tank on her third attempts. Like Rachael, she last competed in 2019 where she totalled 295kg with a 105kg squat, a 60kg bench press and a 130kg deadlift. Heather continued to train hard throughout periods of COVID-19 lockdown, and the results speak for themselves! We’re excited to see where she’ll be in a few years time.

Check out Heather’s best lifts from the day:

Melanie Willems

Weight: 108.1kg

Squat: 125kg / 130kg / 135kg

Bench Press: 55kg / 60kg / 67.5kg

Deadlift: 150kg / 157.5kg / 165kg

Total: 355kg

Points: 294.38

This was Melanie’s very first time stepping on the platform, and to put up at 355kg total as a new competitor is absolutely outstanding. Mel went 6/9 lifts, missing her first attempt squat and second attempt bench press on technicality, and third attempt bench press due to a failed lift. Where she excelled, was the deadlift. Having only deadlifted 152.5kg prior to the competition, we weren’t expected 165kg on the day – especially with the way it moved! We have no doubt that with more experience in the gym and on the platform, Mel will be able to further develop her skills in the sport and will definitely get stronger along the way.

Check out Mel’s best lifts from the day:

What’s Next?

Rachael, Heather and Melanie were all invited to ProRaw Sleeves, which is a much larger scale powerlifting competition down in Melbourne next month. They’ll be competing alongside lifters from across the country.

In addition to sharing the platform with a higher calibre of lifters, the main difference between the competitions is that the girls will be categorised into different weight classes, and they will also need to wear a soft suit (think of it as the uniform of powerlifting).

Wish them luck!

Rachael Deadlifting in a Powerlifting Competition at Lift Performance Centre

Rachael attempting 170kg in her competition in 2019