So You Wanna Be A Powerlifter? Registering for a Meet

In our last episode, we talked about equipment – defining the parameters of raw/classic and equipped powerlifting. Now that you’re in the know, and also have some information regarding federations from our first episode, we’re ready to choose a meet.

The first thing you’re going to want to do is find a meet you’re interested in. To do this, I’d recommend checking the websites to find your local federation (we listed websites for many of the major feds in our last blog post). Each federation will likely have ‘Open’ or local level meets that are open to all competitors. You’re also going to want to try to choose a meet that lines up with your ideal timeline for competition. Make sure to take things like vacation, major job stress, or major life events into consideration as all of these things will have an impact on your training.

Once you’re set on a meet, you’ll be faced with an entry form that will ask you a whole bunch of questions about your age, weight, and whether or not you’re equipped.


The weight classes in the IPF/CPU/USAPL are as follows:

Men – 59kg, 66kg, 74kg, 83kg, 93kg, 105kg, 120kg, 120kg+

Women – 47kg, 52kg, 57kg, 63kg, 72kg, 84kg, 84kg+

Other federations’ classes are similar, but will be listed on their entry forms – pay attention!

To compete in a given weight class, you must make weight at a weigh-in, meaning you weigh equal to or less than your category.  For example, to weigh in as a 105kg lifter, you must weigh between 93.01kg and 105.00kg, inclusively (all information taken from IPF technical rulebook).  

An important note from the author – don’t worry about cutting weight for your first meet! Dehydrating or aggressive dieting to make a specific weight class is something to worry about down the road when you’re chasing records and championships, until then – just come in weighing what you weigh, healthy, and well fed and watered.


The age categories in the IPF/CPU/USAPL are as follows:

Sub JR – 14-18
JR – 19-23
Open – 24-39
Master I – 40-49
Master II – 50-59
Master III – 60-69
Master IV – 70+

In the IPF, you change age categories January 1st of the year you hit the next threshold. For example, you are no longer a JR lifter as of January 1st the year you turn 24 (as per the IPF Rulebook).


One final thing worth mentioning is that some powerlifting meets will include a “Bench Press” portion of the meet. Only check this box if you’re looking to forgo squatting and deadlifting and compete in Bench Press Only. Sometimes this is ambiguously labeled as simply ‘Bench Press’, and people will check it thinking that if they don’t, then they can’t bench!

Hopefully that information will help you choose a meet and fill out your first meet registration without too much hassle. In our next episode, we’ll go over some programming basics and we’ll have a link to our free 9-week peaking program you can use for your powerlifting meet!

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.