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Competition Bench Press Rules

Bench Press Meet Rules The following are basic rules for competiting in the bench press. However exact rules may vary depending on what federation or organization you compete in. These rules outline the mechanics of a regulation competiton bench press. The equipment allowed will depend on the specific bench press meet you enter.


1. The lifter must lie on their back with head, shoulders and buttocks in contact with the flat bench surface. Shoes MUST be FLAT on the floor/built up surface. This position MUST be maintained throughout the attempt once the "PRESS" single has been given.

2. To achieve firm footing, the lifter may use plates/blocks. The entire foot MUST be flat on the surface.

3. The lifter may have a lift-off from a spotter/coach which MUST be taken at arms length not down at chest.

4. The spacing of the hands may NOT exceed 81 cm(31 7/8") measured between the forefingers. A reverse grip is permitted provided that the distance between the little fingers does Not exceed 81 cms.

5. After receiving the bar at arms length, the lifter shall lower the bar to the chest and await the signal. Before receiving the signal, the lifter may make position adjustments without penalty.

6. When the bar is MOTIONLESS on the chest, the signal will be given. The signal consist of the audible command "PRESS".

7. After the signal to commence the lift has been given, the bar is pressed upward to straight arms length and HELD MOTIONLESS until the audible command RACK is given.

8. The bar is allowed to stop during the upward motion but is NOT allowed any downward movement of either or both hands.


1. Failure to observe the signals at the commencement or completion of the lift.

2. Any change in the elected lifting position during the lift,i.e,, any raising movement of the head, shoulder,buttocks, or feet ONCE the "PRESS" signal has been given.

3. Heaving or bouncing the bar off the chest (any downward movement of the bar after the "PRESS" signal has been given).

4. Any uneven extention of the arms at the completion of the lift.

5. The bar may stop; if in the opinion of the referee, the safety of the lifter is in jeopardy, the RACK signal will be given.

7. Contact with the bar by the spotter/loaders between the referee's signals.

8. Contact of the lifters feet with the bench or its supports.

9. Deliberate contact between the bar and the bar rest upright during the lift which would aid the press.


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