This is a question that I get asked numerous times. It’s a common misbelief that you have to be a certain level or standard to compete, but this is not the case! Anyone can enter a powerlifting meet once they have gained the right membership and a point that I like to emphasise, is that the powerlifting community is SO supportive. Compared to other sports which can have quite a unpleasant competitiveness about them (athletics springs to mind), powerlifting is made up of friendly and encouraging people who want to see you achieve your best, not put you down!
In the UK, there are several powerlifting federations – some that drug test their athletes and others that don’t. This link below outlines the differences between them. I compete in the Great British Powerlifting Federation (GBPF) who are affiliated to the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) and drug test their athletes in accordance to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). You can compete in any federation you want to, but for this post I will be focusing on the GBPF as it is the federation I compete in, it is a drug-free federation and arguably one of the most competitive federations.
I would recommend finding a powerlifting club near you if at all possible as although powerlifting is simply – squat, bench and deadlift, there are rules and commands which you need to follow for the lift to be allowed. For example, on the squat the hip joint must be lower than your knee so no half squatting allowed! 😉 A club will be able to help you tweak your lifts and prepare you for a future meet. This link provides a list of all clubs which are affiliated with the English Powerlifting Association (EPA) but other places to train can be found with the help of other resources, such as Facebook. If you want to start your powerlifting venture on your lonesome, then you can find the IPF rulebook here outlining the rules and commands etc.
So now you’ve found your club, someone to help you or you’ve decided that you want to try powerlifting by yourself, next you need to get your membership to the GBPF. This can be done quite simply here. You can find competitions to enter here but in my opinion, it is better to look at which division you are in here and go on divisional website as they tend to get updated more frequently.
I hope this post has helped someone somewhere but it is the sort of information I wish I had known a few years earlier. I also think that if you want to compete, then the sooner you do it, the better as you get a feel for what it is like. It also allows you to set goals for yourself and personally, it gives me something to strive towards. A word of warning though, once you compete you may get such a massive high that you will just want to do it over and over again! 🙂