Guides Olympic Lifting Training Notes

New Competition Rules

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New Competition Rules

Competition rules is the most important document for each sport, they regulate a lot of aspects and procedures, such as: weight categories, equipment and its standards, algorithms for conducting the weighing procedure, competitions and awarding, duties of judges.

To tell you the truth, I personally learned the competition rules from what I heard from my coach as he taught us everything: how to get on the platform, how to drop the bar correctly, what the judges panel stands for and what mistakes can occur. I dealt with the competition rules as a document first time when I got into the junior team and I was very surprised how much information it contained and, if honestly, I did not understand why I needed to know all that.

If you are an amateur athlete and competition in your life is more of a fascinating hobby, then the information provided by the coach will be enough not to mess up during the participants´ performance, warm-ups, competitions and awards if you have to attend them, of course. But if you are a professional athlete, then knowing the rules of your sport is mandatory. It would be strange if an athlete lost a medal at  international competitions, if he dropped the barbell before the judge’s command… simply because he has never heard of that.

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I agree with the opinion that it’s not so important for the athlete to know all the sections – we can leave the judging panel protocols to the judges, but I would recommend you to read the sections regarding athletes, competitive exercises and equipment carefully.

A link to the current rules of weightlifting competitions 

The rules are constantly being improved in order to increase the entertainment part and optimize the competitions themselves, that´s why the international federation publishes updates which must be ratified and accepted by them.

I remember some interesting facts about the rules changes from the trainer’s stories such as the cancellation of the Press exercise in 1972, the change in the allotted time for each set from unlimited – up to 3 minutes and then up to 1 minute, a change in the barbell weight from 2.5 kg to 1 kg and so on.

Recently, the most ambitious rule changes were adopted on July 6, 2018 in Tashkent at the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Congress. New weight categories for men and women and a number of changes in the competition and equipment rules were approved. This has been the ninth change in weight classes in weightlifting since 1905. Previous weight categories had been in force since 1998.

A link to the current rules of weightlifting competitions

In 2019, some amendments to the rules were also made and today we will list and analyze them:

  1. The section on competitive exercises (Two lifts) clarifies that after the Clean, the athlete must fully straighten his knees and stand motionless. Meaning that starting a Jerk with soft or springy knees is a mistake;
  2. Lowering the bar to the platform from any unfinished position is also a mistake;
  3. It is forbidden to touch the barbell with shoes;
  4. In the Venue, Equipment, Documentation the concept of Challenge Card is introduced for the first time. With this card an athlete or team members have the right to challenge the decision of the judges and the Jury. Each athlete is given one card;
  5. The concept of Video Playback Technology (VPT) is introduced;
  6. It is described that the main VPT task is to review the judges’ or the Jury’s decision, if it is in doubt or if the Jury disagrees with the decision of the judges.
  7. The presence of VPT at the senior, junior and youth world championships, as well as at the senior and youth Olympic Games is mandatory;
  8. In the Athlete`s outfit section it is said that the athlete has the right to wear one pair of shorts that should not be longer than the lifting costume;
  9. The norm has been introduced in the Technical officials section that at the senior, junior and youth world championships, as well as at senior and youth Olympic Games, the number of Jury members is 5, one of them is the President;
  10. The decision of the Jury cannot be challenged except for the procedure for using the Challenge Card;
  11. If the decision of the majority of the Jury differs from the decision of the judges, the Jury has the right to review the decision of the judges and / or their decision on the basis of the VPT analysis;
  12. All actions of the Challenge Card are performed by the Technical Controller if the Jury has authorized its use;
  13. The secretary of competitions issues a Challenge Card to an athlete;
  14. The Regulations section clearly describes the appearance, standards and sections of the Challenge Card;
  15. The Regulations section describes VPT standards: the number of cameras, camera angles, purpose;
  16. The procedure for applying VPT when using the Challenge Card is also indicated: the Jury has the right to use VPT if the athlete or team representative submitted the Challenge Card before the next set. The technical controller must immediately stop the competition. The Jury does not have a limit on the number of views of a controversial decision or attempt, but they are obliged to make a decision as quickly as possible;
  17. If the athlete or team members need to file a protest, they must transfer the Challenge Card to the Technical controller;
  18. The athlete has the right to file a protest only once, but if the Jury satisfied the protest, the Challenge Card is returned to the athlete and he has the right to file a protest.

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For those who would still like to compare the changes between the rules of 2018 and 2019, we suggest to check this link as the information is presented in a comprehensible and convenient way:

    And as we usually say at our competitions: we wish objectivity to the judges and big kilos and new records to athletes!


Photo by: ©IWF ( 

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Sergii Putsov

Author: Sergii Putsov
Head of Sport Science, PhD

Experience: 20 years
Best ResultsSnatch – 165 kg,
C&J – 200 kg

Sergii Putsov, Ph.D., is a former professional weightlifter and National team member, achieving multiple medals in the 94 kg weight category at national competitions. With a Master’s degree in “Olympic & Professional Sport Training” and a Sport Science Ph.D. from the International Olympic Academy, Greece, Sergii now leads as the Head of Sport Science. He specializes in designing training programs, writing insightful blog articles, providing live commentary at international weightlifting events, and conducting educational seminars worldwide alongside Olympic weightlifting expert Oleksiy Torokhtiy.

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