Deadlift- Competition Rules

Figure 3.1

The information in this section will give understanding of how to train and compete in the deadlift for the sport of Powerlifting.


Step 1. Getting Set

Somewhat different than the Squat and Bench Press, the Deadlift does not have a start command. The lifter is able to start their lift when the Chief Referee announces that the “Bar is Loaded”. The lifter then has one minute to commence the lift from the time that the Chief Referee makes the announcement.



Figure 3.1a








Step 2. The Lift- Deadlift Execution

The lifter should be facing the front of the platform with the bar laid horizontally in front of the lifters feet. (Figure 3.1) The bar shall be gripped with an optional grip (Figure 3.2) in both hands and lifted until the lifter is standing erect (Figure 3.3, Clip 3.1 & 3.2). (Deadlift Rules of Performance #1)


Deadlift-Front (Clip 3.1)

Deadlift-Side (Clip 3.2)


Figure 3.2


*Figure 3.2 shows the lifter with one hand facing up and one facing down, i.e. the “optional grip”.






Figure 3.3




As the lifter stands erect, upon the completion of the lift the knees shall be locked in a straight position and the shoulders back. (Figure 3.3-Deadlift Rules of Performance #2)







Step 3. Final Position- Ending Commands

The Chief Referee’s signal shall consist of a downward movement of the arm and the audible command “Down”. (Clip 3.3) *Note: the signal will not be given until the bar is held motionless and the lifter is in the apparent finished position. (Rules of Performance #3)

Deadlift-Signals (Clip 3.3)


Any rising of the bar or deliberate attempt to do so will count as an attempt. Once the attempt has begun, no downward movement is allowed until the lifter reaches the erect position with the knees locked. (Deadlift Rules of Performance #4)

*Note: if the bar settles as the shoulders come back (slightly downward on completion) this should not be reason to disqualify the lift. Also, any foot movement that occurs after this final command has been given by the Chief Referee will not be a cause for failure.

Remember: only ONE attempt is allowed. (The lift is deemed to have commenced/started when the lifters makes a deliberate attempt or the bar is raising)

*For the safety of the spotters/loaders the Referees may deem it a no lift if the lifter drops the bar at any point when or when returning it to the floor at the end of the lift.