International Powerlifting Organization

1st edition July 16, 2012
Last updated August 5, 2014


a. General contest rules

5. The International Powerlifting Organization  (IPO) recognizes the following lifts, which must be performed in the designated sequence in all applications conducted under IPO rules:

- Squat
- Bench Press
- Dead Lift
- Total

6. The highest total of the best successes of each lift will result in a Total. Winner of the competition will be determined by highest Total, (no fourth attempts may be included in the total).

7. The IPO additionally recognizes and registers World / American records (in kilograms) for the same lifts within the age and body weight categories as follows:

b. Age categories

From 24 years to and including 39 years of age

A teenager, Junior, and Master can also compete in the Open class.



From 40 years to 80 and upward

From 40 years to and including 49 years of age
From 50 years to and including 59 years of age
From 60 years to and including 69 years of age
From 70 years to and including 79 years of age
From 80 years to and including 89 years of age
From 90 years upward

Junior: From 20 years to and including 23 years of age.

Teenage: From 13 years to and including 15 years of age

              From 16 years to and including 17 years of age

              From 18 years to and including 19 years of age

- Competitive lifting shall be restricted to competitors aged 13 years and over. The lifter must have attained minimum age on day of the competition where age limits are imposed.

- The day a teenager turns 20 years he or she is no longer a teenager.

- The day a junior turns 24 years he or she is no longer a junior.

Rule Clarification:  A lifter must compete in any particular competition at his attained age on the day of the competition.

c. Body weight categories


52.0 kg Class up to 52.0kg
56.0 kg Class from 52.01 to 56kg
60.0 kg Class from 56.01 to 60.0kg
67.5 kg Class from 60.01 to 67.5kg
75.0 kg Class from 67.51 to 75.0kg
82.5 kg Class from 75.01 to 82.5kg
90.0 kg Class from 82.51 to 90.0kg
100.0 kg Class from 90.01 to 100.0kg
110.0 kg Class from 100.01 to 110.0kg
125.0 kg Class from 110.01 to 125.0kg
140.0 kg Class from 125.01 to 140.0kg
140.0 kg + Class from 140.01 to Unlimited


44.0kg Class up to 44.0kg
48.0kg Class from 44.01 to 48.0kg
52.0kg Class from 48.01 to 52.0kg
56.0kg Class from 52.01 to 56.0kg
60.0kg Class from 56.01 to 60.0kg
67.5kg Class from 60.01 to 67.5kg
75.0kg Class from 67.51 to 75.0kg
82.5kg Class from 75.01 to 82.5kg
90.0kg Class from 82.51 to 90.0kg
100kg Class from 90.01 to 100kg
100+kg Class from 100.01 to unlimited

Point Scoring

Point scoring for all Team Championships shall be 12, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, for the first 6 places in any body weight category. 

In World, International, and National Championships only six competitors from each team shall score points towards the team total. These six competitors will be selected before the competition begins and shall be the six highest placers of the competitors from a particular team.

In the case of a tie in the points of national teams, the team having the largest number of first places within the six point scoring competitors will be ranked first. In the case of a tie between two teams having the same number of first places, the one having the most
second places will be ranked first, and so on through the 6 places.  If two or more teams all have first places the Reshel Formula will be used to determine the winner.  The Reshel points of all 6 team members will be totaled.  the higest Reshel total is the winner.
For all IPO sanctioned contests lifters entered in the event must be members of a National Organization.   Each country may decide the method of team selection for the particular country.

2. The competition Organizing Committee

will appoint the following officials: 

3. Additional officials

will 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 timekeeper

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 timekeeper is also responsible for recording other time allowances whenever required, e.g. after an attempt the lifter shall leave the platform within 30 seconds. 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 timekeeper 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 Dead lift, the start is when the lifter makes a determined attempt to raise the bar. It is the timekeeper’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. The record keeper

is specifically accountable for all world records broken, for collecting the details and initiating the paperwork information, and is responsible for accurately recording the progress of the competition, and on completion, ensuring that the three referees sign the official score sheets.

e. 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.



a. Signals

required for the three lifts are as follows:



                  An audible comand of "start" to lower the bar to the chest.
                 An audible command of "Press" when the bar is motionless on the lifters chest.
                 Completion. An audible command of "Rack", when the bar has been pressed to straight-arm’s length.


Once the bar has been replaced in the racks or on the platform at the completion of the lift and the referees will announce their decisions by means of the lights. White for "good lift" and red for "no lift".

The three referees may seat themselves in what they consider to be the best viewing positions around the platform and should remain seated during the execution of the lift, (don't ask the spotter to move. to get a better view. lifters safety shall take priority over any thing else).

The head referee must bear in mind the need to be easily visible to the lifter performing the Squat and Dead Lift and be positioned accordingly. To avoid any distractions to the lifter the head referee should remain motionless between signals.

The side referee should not impose upon the spotter’s duties but should make adjustments to their own seating position and may lean sideways or forward during a lift to obtain the best viewing vantage.

Side referees during the squat must be positioned exactly to the side or front of the squatter and not to the rear. Spotters for the squat must provide a window for the side referee to view the Squat. Obstructions to viewing must be corrected before the lift begins.

Procedure when a referee is blocked out of viewing a lift in progress. If during the lift a spotter unintentionally gets in the way of a referee’s view, so that he does not actually see the lift, the referee should give the lifter a white light, and the spotter is warned.

b. During the competition

the three referees on duty must jointly ascertain that:

c. During the execution of a lift

a referee observes a fault sufficient to give cause for disqualification of the lift, the procedure is as follows:

d. Intentional faults

Faults that should be considered as a purposeful intention to cheat are:

e. Faults as oversight or genuine mistakes:

The appointed Contest Officials shall determine whether winter or summer dress will be worn.



b. Insurance

c. Technical Checklist for organizers

1. Platform equipment

2. Warm up area

3. Weight in room

4. Dressing room

5. Officials room

d. Equipment & Specifications

1. Platform

All lifts shall be carried out on a platform not less than 2.46m x 2.46m (8ft x 8ft) and secure enough to insure the safety of the lifter, spotters and loaders.

The surface of the platform must be firm, non-slip and level with no discernible seams in the vicinity of the general lifting area. Rubber mats or similar sheeting materials are permitted.

Loose mats or similar sheeting materials are not permitted.

No one is allowed on the platform during lifting sessions except the lifter, the designated spotters for the Squat and Bench Press, the three referees on duty and any other meet officials as designated if the need arises.

Solely these personnel will handle any cleaning, mopping, brushing or adjusting of the platform or equipment.

2. Lifting area

Boundaries of the lifting area must be marked clearly for the knowledge of the officials, lifters and spotters. It is recommended that this area will be at last 7m long x 5m broad (22ft x 16ft). Coaches shall not be allowed at the back or sides of this area.

3. Bars & discs

For all power lifting competitions under the rules of the IPO, only disc barbells are permitted. Only bars and discs that meet all specifications can be used throughout the entire competition and for all lifts. The use of bars or discs that do not conform to specifications will invalidate any records that may have been accomplished. Different bars suited to particular lifts may be utilized providing that they conform to the specifications.

Bar Specifications:

These bars are to the standard of the Texas Power Bars or other manufacturers meeting these standards.

Regular Bar

  • 28.5mm Diameter
  • 214 cm long
  • 20kg Bar Weight
  • Center Knurling 10 cm
  • Black Oxide Finish
  • 186,000 PSI Rating

Deadlift Bar:

  • 27mm Diameter
  • 230 cm long
  • 20kg Bar Weight
  • No Centre Knurling
  • Black Zinc Oxide Coating
  • 186,000 PSI Rating

Squat Bar:

  • 30mm Diameter
  • 244 cm Long
  • 25kg Bar Weight
  • Center Knurling 30 cm
  • 143 cm Between Collars
  • 186,000 PSI Rating


4. Squat racks

5. Bench

The bench shall be of sturdy construction for maximum stability and conform to the following dimensions:


6. Lights

A system of lights shall be provided whereby the referees make known their decisions. Each referee will control a white and red light, representing a "good lift" or "no lift" respectively. The lights must be wired in such a way that they light up together and not separately when activated by the three referees. It is preferable that the lights be arranged horizontally corresponding with the positions of the three referees.

For emergency purposes i.e. a breakdown in the electrical system, the referees should also be provided with small white and red flags with which to make known their decisions, or using thumbs up or down.



a. Lifting suit

b. Undershirt/ bench shirt/ lifting suit

c. Briefs

A pair of briefs of any design may be worn, provided that the length of the legs are less than those of the lifting suit when worn, and that the waist does not extend beyond approximately mid-torso.

d. Belt

A competitor may wear a belt. If worn, it shall be on the outside of the lifting suit.


Materials and construction:

e. Socks

Socks may be worn; when worn they may not extend over the knee or on the legs so that they touch any knee wrapping or kneecap supporter. Full-length leg stockings, tights, or hose are not permitted.

Special considerations

f. Footwear

Footwear more substantial than basic socks must be worn. The only restrictions to such footwear are that no metal cleats or spikes are permitted.

g. Wraps

The fabric nature shall be elastic weave primarily of polyester, cotton or medical crepe singly or in combination. Wraps of rubber or rubberized substitutes are not permitted except as noted for the elbows.

Wraps may be used as follows:

h. Plasters

i. Health issues

j. General

k. Inspection of costume & personal equipment



1. Squat

Causes for Disqualification of a Squat

2. Bench press

Causes for Disqualification of a Bench Press

It is the responsibility of the lifter to inform any personally enlisted spotters to leave the platform as soon as the bar is secured at arm’s length. Such spotters shall not return to the platform upon completion or failure of the attempt. It is especially important for a spotter providing a center lift off to leave the platform quickly so as not to impair the head referee’s view. Failure of any personal spotters to leave the platform may cause disqualification of the lift.  One spotter or coach  is permitted to adjust the lifter on the bench before the hand off. 

3. Dead lift

Causes of Disqualification of a Dead Lift

4. General

Exceptions to this rule:

5. Errors in loading

World Records

At any IPO World Championship World records will be accepted provided that:

    1. The total record will only be the summation of the face value of the individual best lifts, and therefore must be a multiple of 2.5kg.
    2. No fourth attempts may be included in the total. Records set on individual lifts will only be valid if the lifter makes a total in the competition.