Registration Confusion: Tips & Tricks

Meet directors get a lot of questions. Seriously… a lot of questions. Some are self-explanatory and easy to find when an athlete takes the time to read the federation’s rule book. However, the federation rule book can be cumbersome and confusing.

Recently I’ve been getting the same question from experienced and novice athletes alike: “What am I supposed to fill in on the registration form?” I have theories why this is confusing, including: every federation’s form is different, divisions and classes across federations aren’t uniform, the registration tool one meet director uses is different than the other. The list goes on.

MeetPhoto1It goes without saying that you need to complete the name and contact information of the form, and of course be sure to include payment whether online or via paper (check) when you complete your registration. (Don’t forget to pay for your federation card if the fed you are competing in requires one.)

The majority of the issues around the meet registration form come from sections that ask what division and weight class you plan to compete in. To help you navigate the confusion, here’s a quick glossary that you can reference when completing your registration no matter what federation you are competing in…

**Disclaimer: I am the RPS Texas state chair. These descriptions here are inline with the RPS Rule Book. If you’re not competing in an RPS meet, this information will be helpful, but you should reference the rule book of your federation.**

Event refers to the lifts you will be competing on the platform. Here’s how they break down:
– Full power: This means you will compete in all three lifts: squat, bench and deadlift.
– Ironman (push/pull): This means you will compete in only the bench and deadlift.
– Bench only: This means you’ll compete in only the bench press.
– Deadlift only: You guessed it… you’ll only be competing in the deadlift.

Weight class:
Weight classes are defined as your body weight falling UNDER the name of the weight class. Signature weight classes for men and women are 148lbs, 165lbs and 181lbs. Those numbers indicate the TOP weight in that weight class. For instance, if you weigh 177lbs, you would compete in the 181 weight class.

Some athletes cut down a weight class for competition. This is not recommended for new lifters, but if you must cut down a weight class (ie: going from 177lbs to 164lbs to compete in the 165s) talk to an experienced athlete or coach about how to do this right. Cutting adds a whole new layer of complexity to the meet for any athlete – for some it’s part of the experience and sport – but it doesn’t have to be.

Division refers to the personal equipment or gear you want/plan to wear during the meet. The biggest thing to note is that, for raw lifters, division is most relevant for squats. Because I am the RPS Texas State Chair, I’m going to give the division definitions specifically for RPS. These definitions are different across feds, again please read your federation rule book so you are confident in your division choice.

– Raw classic: Lifters may wear neoprene or elastic knee sleeves during warm-ups and in between official attempts. But once summoned to the platform, the sleeves must be pulled down onto  competitors shin and calf. Knee wraps are not permitted. If knee wraps are to be worn, the Raw Modern division applies. Belt and wrist wraps are allowed.

MeetPhoto3–  Raw modern: Knee wraps shall not exceed three (3) meters in length or three (3) inches in width and must be of a single layer construction. Multiple ply /layer knee wraps or sleeves are not allowed. A single layer knee sleeve can be worn, but wraps and sleeves may not be combined. Knee wraps must be secured by using the “cinch” method. Securing knee wrap with Velcro is not acceptable. Knee wraps may not touch the socks or the lifting suit when upright. Contact is allowed during the execution of the lift. No objects are allowed under the single knee wraps.

*Knee Sleeves will still classify lifters in RPS as Raw Modern, however for national rankings, those who wear a single layer knee sleeve during the squat will be identified in the results to be eligible for the “Raw Without Knee Wraps” division. It is the responsibility of the lifter to inform the Scoring Table of their intent to be classified for the sans wrap rankings. At the completion of each successful squat the lifter will demonstrate to the head referee by peeling down their knee sleeve with minimal effort to establish that they are wearing the appropriate knee sleeve. The head judge will signify to the scoring table that the equipment has passed inspection.

– Single ply: one knit or woven layers is allowed. All single ply equipment will be inspected and tagged at weigh-in and checked again on the platform in the event of a record.

– Multi ply: two (2) woven layers of material is allowed. Read your federation rule books for specifics. If you are multi ply, you know it.

Class is the designation of the athletes you want to compete against. As in, do you compete in a drug-tested or non-drug tested class? Have you totalled pro or elite? If so, you would not register as amatuer.

In the RPS, if you are “PRO” that means you have broken the elite or pro total threshold and have either opted out of being tested for PEDs or are knowingly on PEDs and will register in this class regardless of your total. If you are “elite” this means you totalled pro, but without the use of PEDs and will pay the fee to take a drug test at the meet. If you are “amature” you have not totalled the appropriate amount and you are not using PEDs. Most first-time platform lifters fall in this category.

Fire/Police and Military also make their selection under class. Many federations offer Fire/Police and Military classes, which allows individuals with service designations the opportunity to compete against each other during the meet, and in RPS at the state and national level as well. You can compete in more than one “class”, ie: amateur, police/fire if you so chose to – for a fee, of course.

Age Division:
Simply defined, your age group.
– Open: Anyone can compete in this age division. There is no age qualification. Competing in this age group will place you against all the other open competitors in the meet, and in the world.
– Junior: 14-19
– Sub-masters: 33-39 years of age only.
– Masters: 39+

*Some of the age groups have sub-age groups, i.e.: Juniors and Masters. Some federations do not offer a sub-master age division. This is specific to federation, so please be sure to pay attention to the rule book and fully understand which age group you are in. Also, some classes are limited to specific age groups. Again, all of this will be outlined in your federation rule book – read it! Side note: Powerlifting Watch does not recognize the sub-master age group in their rankings.

Broken down into these four sections with definitions, you are now well armed to register for your meet. If you still have questions, ask your meet director. If you are registering for the upcoming RPS Texas Max Madness event, hit me up – – and ask away. I love hearing from our lifters and answering your questions!


Written by: Dana “SweetDee” Rygwelski