Competition Rules

After taking control of the bar at arms’ length, the lifter must wait with elbows locked until the head Referee’s gives the ‘Start’ command and signal.

An audible command ‘Start’ must be given immediately, as soon as the Chief Referee considers the lifter has firm control of the bar, at arms length and with elbows locked.

After receiving the start command the lifter must, when readily composed, lower the bar to the chest in a fully controlled manner and without heaving or bouncing the bar visibly stop on the chest and then press it upwards again.

There must be a noticeable definitive break between the eccentric and concentric (down and up) movement when the bar touches the chest.After the bar touches the chest, the bar must not sink into the chest in such a way that it is considered to have assisted the lifter or made the lift easier in any way.

The bar must progress upwards in a consistent equal manner to result in an equal extension‘lock out of both arms’ to arms length. At no time must there be any staggered movement of the arms during the upward press phase. The bar can stop during the press phase. It must never move down towards the chest again during the press phase. Once the lifters arms are locked out and the bar is held firmly under control an audible command “rack“ together with a backward movement of his/her outstretched arm will be given by the referee after which the lifter can replace the bar back in the racks with or without assistance from the spotters.


In addition to failing to comply with any of the general requirements. The following will be considered a disqualification.

  • Starting without a signal
  • Replacing the bar back into the racks prior to the signal
  • moving head, shoulders, buttocks or feet from their original points of contact during the bench press.
  • Any heaving or bouncing of the bar into, off of the chest.
  • sinking into the chest
  • Any unequal movement of the arms during the press phase
  • Any uneven extension of both arms during the final ‘lock out’ stage.
  • If the bar hits the racks in an uncontrolled manner during the execution of the lift
  • Elapsed time - ‘Timed Out’


If the bar has hit the racks during the execution of the lift and the lifter is deemed to have gainedno advantage at all then a ‘good lift’ will be recorded by the referees.