Bench press

Bench Press


  1. The bench shall be placed on the platform with the head facing the front or angled up to 45 degrees.
  2. The lifter must lie on his back with head, shoulders and buttocks in contact with the bench surface. The feet must be flat on the floor (as flat as the shape of the shoe will allow). His hands and fingers must grip the bar positioned in the rack stands with a thumbs around grip. This position shall be maintained throughout the lift. Foot movement is permissible but must remain flat on the platform. The hair must not hide the back of the head when lying down on the bench. Pony tail is preferred.
  3. To achieve firm footing the lifter may use flat surfaced plates, or blocks not exceeding 30 cm in total height and a minimum dimension of 60 cm x 40 cm, to build up the surface of the platform. Blocks in the range of 5 cm, 10 cm, 20 cm, and 30 cm, should be made available for foot placement at all international competitions.
  4. Not more than five and not less than two spotter / loaders shall be on the platform at any time. After correctly positioning himself, the lifter may enlist the help of the spotter / loaders in removing the bar from the racks. The lift off if assisted by the spotter / loaders must be at arms length.
  5. The spacing of the hands shall not exceed 81 cm measured between the forefingers (both forefingers must be within the 81 cm marks and the whole of the forefingers must be in contact with the 81 cm marks if maximum grip is used). The use of the reverse grip is forbidden.
  6. After removing the bar from the racks, with or without the help of the spotter / loaders, the lifter shall wait with straight arms elbows locked for the Chief Referee’s signal. The signal shall be given as soon as the lifter is motionless and the bar properly positioned. For reasons of safety the lifter will be requested to “Re-place” the bar, together with a backward movement of the arm, if after a period of five seconds he is not in the correct position to begin the lift. The Chief Referee will then convey the reason why the signal was not given.
  7. The signal to begin the attempt shall consist of a downward movement of the arm together with the audible command “Start”.
  8. After receiving the signal, the lifter must lower the bar to the chest or abdominal area (the bar shall not touch the belt), hold it motionless, after which the Chief referee will signal the audible command “Press”. The lifter must then return the bar to straight arms length elbows locked. When held motionless in this position the audible command “Rack” shall be given together with a backward motion of the arm.

Rules for the disabled competing in IPF single lift Bench press championships.

Bench press championships shall be organized without a special division for disabled lifters e.g. blind, sight impaired, mobility impaired. They may be assisted to, and from, the bench. Assisted to mean “with the help of the coach or/and with use of crutches, sticks/canes or wheelchair”. “The rules of competition apply equally to that of the able bodied. For lifters who have an amputated lower limb, a prosthetic device shall be considered the same as the natural limb. The lifter shall be weighed in without the device, with compensatory weight added according to the established fraction chart. Refer to WEIGHING IN item 5. For lifters with dysfunctional lower limbs that require leg braces or similar devices for walking, the device shall be considered as part of the natural limb and the lifter shall be weighed in wearing the device.

Causes for Disqualification of a Bench press

  1. Failure to observe the Chief Referee’s signals at the commencement, during or completion of the lift.
  2. Any change in the elected lifting position during the lift proper i.e. any raising movement of the head, shoulders, or buttocks, from the bench, or lateral movement of hands on the bar.
  3. Heaving, or sinking the bar into the chest or abdominal area after it is motionless in such a way as to make the lift easier.
  4. Any downward movement of the whole of the bar in the course of being pressed out.
  5. Bar is not lowered to chest or abdominal area i.e. not reaching the chest or abdominal area, or the bar is touching the belt.
  6. Failure to press the bar to straight arms length elbows locked at the completion of the lift.
  7. Contact with the bar or the lifter by the spotter / loaders between the Chief Referee’s signals, in order to make the lift easier.
  8. Any contact of the lifter’s feet with the bench or its supports.
  9. Deliberate contact between the bar and the bar rests support.
  10. Failure to comply with any of the items outlined under the Rules of Performance.


For more a more detailed explanation and rules of performance,
refer to IPF’s Technical Rulebook