What is Powerlifting?

Powerlifting is a sport for ALL Blind and Visually Impaired Athletes. Powerlifting will increase and develop an athlete’s physical strength and skills regardless of their sport. The scientific evidence exists that any form of strength training will improve any athlete’s performance.

Distinct from Olympic Weightlifting, a sport made up of two lifts: Snatch and the Clean-and-Jerk, where the weight is lifted from the ground to above the head.

Powerlifting comprises three lifts:

The Squat:

The lift starts with the lifter, taking the bar loaded with weights out of the rack on the lifter's shoulders and standing erect. At the centre referee's command “Squat” the lift begins. The lifter bends his knees and descends into a squatting position with the hips slightly below parallel position. The lifter returns to an erect position in their own time and at the referee’s command “Rack” the bar is returned to the rack and the lift is completed.

The Bench Press:

With his or her back and head resting on the bench, feet flat on the floor, the lifter takes the loaded bar at arm's length. Note that this is normally assisted by the spotter/loaders. At the centre referee's command “Start” the powerlifter lowers the bar to the chest. On the chest the bar must be hold motionless until the referee gives the "Press" signal. The lifter presses the weight to arm’s length with the elbows locked. At the completion, the referee calls “Rack” and the spotters assist the bar back into the rack.

The Deadlift:

The Deadlift is often described as the king of the powerlifting disciplines. In the Deadlift, the athlete grasps the loaded bar which is resting on the platform floor. The Powerlifter pulls the weights off the floor and assumes a standing erect position. The knees must be locked and shoulders back with the weight held in the lifters' grip. At the centre referee’s command “Down” the lifter returns the bar to the floor under control.

Powerlifting competitions may comprise Bench Press only, Bench Press and Deadlift (Push-Pull) or all three lifting disciplines. There are three referees who indicate whether the lift is a pass or fail via white and red lights.  A majority decision applies so, for example, two white lights only are required for a Good Lift.

IMPORTANT NOTE – Lifters may be assisted onto the platform and into the correct starting position by their coach.

Athletes are categorised by sex, age and bodyweight. Each competitor is allowed three attempts of each lift, the best lift in each discipline being added together to create an overall total. The lifter with the highest total in their respective category will be declared the winner. In the event where two or more lifters achieve the same total, the athlete with the lightest bodyweight wins.

How can I get involved in Powerlifting?

Weight training is a common means of exercise for a blind and partially sighted individual as it requires little start-up expenses and can be achieved at home or in a gym. If you want to be involved in the sport more competitively and to compete against able-bodied individuals, powerlifting is one of the few sports where a visually impaired athlete can compete on an equal basis.

Where can I get involved with Powerlifting?

For more information on where you can get involved with Powerlifting, visit the International Blind Sports Association (IBSA) powerlifting webpage: http://www.ibsasport.org/sports/powerlifting/  or https://www.britishpowerlifting.org

Further Information:

If you require any further information about Powerlifting with a visual impairment please email: info@britishblindsport.org.uk