Rules and Classification
What is it?
- Powerlifting is a type of weightlifting known as bench-press.
Who can participate in Powerlifting at the Paralympics?
- Powerlifting is open to athletes with physical disabilities such as paralysis, cerebral palsy, and lower limb amputations.
- There is no classification. Participants are divided into weight categories in the same way as able-bodied weightlifting athletes.
How is it played?
- An athlete lies on their back on a bench (a kind of table). They must take hold of the bar in both hands and lower it to their chest. They then hold the bar still, before lifting it upwards to arm’s length. At the top of the lift they must keep their elbows locked.
- An athlete's head, trunk (including buttocks), legs and both heels must be in contact with the bench throughout the lift.
- Athletes can be strapped to the bench with a single belt. The belt can be placed at any point on the legs from the ankles to the hips. Athletes with cerebral palsy can use two strapping belts.
- Amputee athletes are allowed to lift wearing an artificial limb.
If you looked up ‘spotting’ in the dictionary, you would usually see explanations connected with ‘seeing’ and ‘raining’. However, ‘spotting’ in weightlifting is different and it means supporting another person during a weightlifting exercise. It is particularly common, and recommended, when doing the bench press, which is the type of weightlifting done in Powerlifting. This is because of the risks of lifting a heavy weight while lying on your back.
Spotting takes place during both training and competition. In training, the emphasis is on helping the athlete lift more than he could normally do. Correct spotting involves knowing when to help with a lift, and encouraging your training partner.
In competition, the role of the spotter is very important. The athlete may request the help of the spotters when removing the bar from the racks. Of course there is the obvious role of catching the bar in the event of an accident to prevent injury.
But the spotter cannot help the athlete in any way to lift the weight. From the moment the referee gives the signal ‘start’, to the moment he gives the signal ‘rack’, the competitor will be disqualified if the spotter touches the bar.
In both training and competition, good spotting involves knowing exactly when you should or should not intervene.