To successfully complete a lift in the bench press, the following rules must be generally followed during each meet. Note: Judging is more strict in larger events and especially when trying to set a bench press record. The following is a simple guideline, but rules may vary depending on the powerlifting federation that is hosting/judging the meet.
1) Once the lifter approaches the platform and onto the bench, he/she must be on the bench with his/her shoulders and buttocks touching the bench at all times. Feet must be firmly placed on the floor and as flat as possible. If lf lifters feet are unable to remain flat while lying on the bench, blocks may be used in order to help but may not exceed 30 centimeters in height.
2) A lift off is permissible and a minimum of two spotters must be on the platforms at all times, however 5 is the maximum to ensure there is no crowding.
3) The grip must be narrower than 81cm and will generally cannot be a thumb-less grip.
4) Now that the lift has begun and the bar has been un-racked, the lifter must lower the bar to their chest so that it makes contact. At this time, the lifter must wait for the signal of a judge which is usually a verbal command.
5) A verbal command to “press” or “lift” is given once the bar is stable, motionless and the lifter has complete control of the movement.
6) Assuming the lifter is able to complete the movement and lockout (full extension of the arms), the bar can be re-racked when the command, “rack”, is given by the judge.
7) If all rules have been followed and the lift was clean, a lifter will receive 3 positive lights, indicating the bench press was completed successively.
8) If any rules were broken or the lift was not completed, 1 or more red lights may appear from the judges. Any more than 1 red light and the lift will not count.
Here are some common reasons for a disqualified lift.
1- Movement of the body during the lift (shifting on the bench, movement of the feet, etc.)
2- Lift off of the feet/toes .
3- Failure to lockout.
4- Non-continuous motion of the lift.
5- Illegal support found after the lift.
6- The bar is not lowered to the chest- an illegal movement.
7- Failure to respond or follow the judge’s call to “press” or “rack”. Lifters will sometimes press before told or even more commonly, rack before commanded to re-rack the bar.
8- Contact between the bar and the bench.
9- Sinking the bar into the lifters chest to provide bounce.
10- Testing positive for a banned substance that has been banned by that powerlifting federation.