Bench Press Competition Rules

Drug Test Screening

  • The LaHaye Student Union reserves the right to perform random drug testing.
  • Failure to comply with the drug test, will be an automatic refusal to participate in the event.
  • Failure to pass the drug test will result in an automatic disqualification from this event and possibly any other event held by the LaHaye Student Union.


  • Clothing shall consist of Liberty Way
  • For purposes of the Bench competition lifters may wear T-shirt and shorts if so desired. It may be of any color or colors
  • T-shirts must be one ply
  • Shirts must be made either exclusively of cotton or polyester, or a mixture of cotton and polyester
  • This will be a Raw meet, meaning that there will be NO use of bench shirts, BUT belts and wrists wraps WILL be allowed.


  • Elbow pads and sleeves are not permitted
  • Shirts may not consist of any rubberized or similar stretch material.
  • Shirts may not be ribbed.

Equipment Regulations

  • Any equipment that is used, must viewed by the head judge before the competition begins.  The participant will be notified as to whether his/her equipment is appropriate before the competition begins.  Lifting with unqualified equipment, as deemed by the head judge, while disqualify the lift as a no lift

Wrist Wraps and Lifting Belts

  • Wrist Wraps and Lifting Belts are permitted. 
  • Competitors are encouraged to wear a belt.  If worn, it shall be on the outside of the lifting clothing.
  • Materials and construction should be leather or vinyl/nylon.  Anything outside of this will be viewed by the head judge


  • The use of oil, grease or other lubricants on the body, clothing, or any personal equipment is strictly forbidden
  • Baby powder, lifting chalk, pool hall chalk, resin, talc or magnesium carbonate are the only substances that may be added  to the body and/or attire
  • No foreign substances may be applied to the equipment or wraps

Bench Press-Rules and Performance
Weight Classes

  • Men: Male lifters will compete in the following weight classes: 114, 123, 132, 148, 165, 181, 198, 220, 242, 259, 275, 308, SHW
  • Women: Female lifters will compete in the following weight classes: 97, 105, 114, 123, 132, 148, 165, 181, 198, and UL (198+)


  • The head of the bench will be set facing the Head Referee   
  • The lifter must lie on his upper back with shoulders and buttocks in contact with the flat bench surface.  This position shall be maintained throughout the attempt.
  • Not more than four and not less than two spotter/loaders shall be used for each lift.  The spotters will be provided by the LaHaye Student Union.  The Lift Off will be at full arms length.
  • The index finger cannot be outside of the smooth ring of the bar. Fingers outside of this regulation will be determined as a no lift by the judge
  • Reverse grip is strictly forbidden
  • After receiving the bar at arm’s length, the lifter will lower the bar to the chest and await the Head Referee’s signal to begin pressing up
  • There must be a soft pause in which NO bouncing is permitted of the bar as the lifter must await the signal to press up the bar.  The command “Press” shall be given to inform the lifter that the bar can be lifted.  For hearing impaired participants, signals will be coordinated with the lifter/s before the lift begins
  • After the command “Press” is given, the bar is to be pressed upwards to straight arms length (lockout) and held motionless until the audible command “Rack” is given

 Causes for Disqualification of a Bench Press include:

  • Not coming to weigh in on Friday, November 2nd between 11:00AM - 5:30PM, will result in disqualification.
  • Failure to observe the Head Referee's signals at the commencement or completion of the lift
  • Any change in the elected lifting position during the lift proper, i.e., rising of the shoulders or buttocks from their original points of contact with the bench, or lateral movement of the hands on the bar
  • There must be a soft pause in which heaving or bouncing the bar off the chest are NOT allowed.
  • Allowing the bar to sink into the chest after receiving the Head Referee's signal
  • Any notable uneven extension of the arms during the lift
  • Any downward movement of the bar in the course of being pressed out
  • Contact with the bar by spotter/loaders between the Head Referee's signals, at the Head Referee's discretion
  • Any contact of the lifter's feet with the bench or its supports
  • Deliberate contact between the bar and the bar rest supports during the lift in order to make the press easier

Order of Competition

The Round System

  • At the weigh-in, the lifter must declare a starting weight for the Bench Press. Opening attempts must be entered on the appropriate first attempt card, signed by the lifter and retained by the official conducting the weigh-in
  • The lifter must notify the staff of the weight they wish to attempt, and they can decide the third lift up until they take the bench.
  • Responsibility for submitting attempts within the time limit rests solely with the lifter
  • When a group consists of less than 6 lifters, compensatory time allowance shall be added at the end of each round as follows: For 5 lifters add 1 minute; 4 lifters add 2 minutes; 3 lifters add 3 minutes. Three minutes is the maximum allowance permitted at the end of a round
  • The bar must be loaded progressively during each round on the principle of a rising bar. At no time will the weight of the bar be lowered within a round except for errors, and then only at the end of a round
  • Lifting order within each round will be determined by the lifter's choice of weight for that round
  • If unsuccessful with an attempt, the lifter does not follow himself, but must wait until the next round before he can attempt that weight again
  • If in a round an attempt is unsuccessful due to a wrongly loaded bar or spotter error, the lifter will be granted a further attempt at the correct weight. However, the extra attempt can only be taken at the end of the round in which the error occurred. If the lifter also happened to be the last lifter in the round, he shall be granted a three-minute rest prior to making his attempt
  • A lifter is granted one change of weight on the first attempt. The change of weight may be higher or lower than that originally submitted and the order of lifting in the first round will be changed accordingly. If he is in the first group, this change may take place at any time up to within five minutes before the start of the first round. The following groups are according a similar privilege up to within time attempts from the end of the previous group's last round. The speaker shall announce prior notice of these deadlines
  • A lifter must submit his second and third attempts within one minute of completing his preceding attempt.  If no weight is submitted within the allowance the lifter will forfeit his next round attempt
  • The lifter cannot change the second round but can change the third round weight only once
  • Lifters and/or coaches may ask why a lift was turned down
  • The lifter has up to three minutes from the time it is announced that the bar is loaded until they lay down on the bench. - failure to begin the lift within this time will result in disqualification for that lift.
  • Three unsuccessful attempts will automatically eliminate the lifter from the competition
  • Other than initial removal of the bar from the racks, the lifter will not receive any help from the spotter/loaders in positioning himself for an attempt.  If help is needed, the lift will be ruled a “no lift”
  • You must be a current residential student or LaHaye Student Union member to compete in the Bench Press Competition