Here’s What Changed in the IWF’s 2018 Rule Book

The International Weightlifting Federation has made some updates to their official rule book, “Technical and Competition Rules and Regulations.” The 2018 update was just released on New Year’s Day, and we’ve noted some of the most interesting changes below.

Perhaps the most notable change, and one that’s getting some attention in online weightlifting circles, is that the following prohibition is no longer included in the rulebook:

Touching the head with the bar; hair and any items worn on the head are considered to be part of the head.

This is a rule that was rarely enforced in the past — it’s not hard to find examples of lifts in which the barbell comes into contact with the hair of long-haired athletes.

The precision of the scales used in competition has also changed. Previously, there was a maximum variance in precision of 10 grams. The precision has now changed to allow a fifty-gram variation.

There’s also been a clarification to the rules surrounding a tie. Previously, the rulebook stated that, “the sequence / order of the competition applies when a bodyweight category is divided into multiple groups.” It now reads,

In the case of tie(s) in different group(s), the athlete(s) who competed earlier in time will be ranked higher regardless the attempt number at which the athletes reached the relevant result.

Other changes to the rulebook include that competitions can be held on multiple platforms simultaneously and participants can now be entered by their member federation using an online entry system.

If you’d like to read more, click through to the IWF’s 2018 Rule Book and scroll all the way to the end, where the last two pages are used to outline the changes.

Editor’s note: a previous version of this article stated the precision of barbells had changed to 50 grams; in fact it was the precision of the scale that had changed.

Featured image via @iwfnet on Instagram.


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Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of things.After Shanghai, he went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before finishing his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and heading to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like BarBend, Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.No fan of writing in the third person, Nick’s passion for health stems from an interest in self improvement: How do we reach our potential?Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.