View Full Version : What defines "integrity" in powerlifting?

Travis Bell
05-28-2013, 01:37 PM
As happens occasionally after a meet where a few lifters set large PR's, those lifts will come under intense scrutiny.

When these lifts don't match up to what people feel they should see on video or what they have in mind, of recent past those people accuse lifters of ruining the integrity of powerlifting.

Or it's said that lifts "back in the day" had more integrity.

My question is what defines this?

In a sport where the rules are largely subject to different circumstances, the definition of integrity can mean different things to different people.

05-28-2013, 05:16 PM
People get too wrapped up trying to compare lifts. Each fed is different. If guys just worried about meet day comparisons they would be much better off. Integrity is a subjective term that doesnt fit our sport. Pride is more important. If one can be proud of ones own lift then nothing else matters.

Travis Bell
05-28-2013, 06:51 PM
That has always been my opinion Scott. Well said.

When I see guys running down the current state of powerlifting, saying that it's ruining the integrity of powerlifting I just get confused.

If you do something to intentionally to hurt or impair your competitors performance - THAT would hurt the integrity of powerlifting

But I just don't understand, if you don't like someone's squat, that's an opinion.

What people fail to realize is there just flat out are different corners of powerlifting. I've competed in the USAPL, NASA, APF, Raw Unity, UPA, RPS and SPF and I adjusted my performance accordingly to each federation.

Single ply, raw, multiply, I've had a pretty fair exposure to different levels.

The fact is you are never going to see a multiply squat dunked butt to ankles. The gear will not let you do that. - that doesn't ruin the integrity of powelifting, it is what it is. It's multiply squatting. Guys are going to parallel, not any further than they have to on that given day in an effort to win.

Single ply equipment today is way way way more advanced than single ply of the 80's and 90's. That doesn't ruin the integrity of powerlifting. It is it's own class of powerlifting

Raw is the easiest way to compare lifters, but even here you get into knee wraps, wrist wraps, belts what have you. Knee and wrist wraps are also much better than they were years ago. You can't deny it.

If people just lifted to better themselves and were not so worried about what everyone else was doing, they'd be much better off.

I compete to win just as much as the next person, but if I don't see something I like on a video or whatever, I don't feel the need to run someone else down. I just keep getting stronger and move on.

05-28-2013, 07:17 PM
Let's be honest, we all know what are good and bad lifts. I just hate obviously bs lifts. If something is borderline I'm fine with it. Tie goes to the runner type of thing.

Travis Bell
05-28-2013, 07:38 PM
And I completely agree. Blatantly bad lifts, super high squats, obviously unlocked benches or what have you, but that will happen here and there.

Judges will get caught up in the moment, lose focus or whatever and throw a white when they should have gone red.

I just get stuck when people put the entire weight of success or failure on lifts that are borderline.

chris mason
05-28-2013, 07:51 PM
Travis, you are right, and the bottom line is the people that say that have no fucking idea what they are talking about. There have been bad calls, bad judging, and anything and everything else you can think of since Hoffman first help put together an official powerlifting meet.

People always like to think morality was higher, and things were better in the past. Nothing could be further from the truth. People are who they are and the only things that change are societal norms and mores.

Chris Rodgers
05-28-2013, 08:00 PM
I like all of the points so far made by the others.

Another thing to add, I don't think a lot of the people who bash lifts on internet have any idea what it's like to sit in a judges chair for an entire meet. It is not easy and we, as humans, make errors. I think I am a fair judge, but I don't give out any gifts. I absolutely want everyone in the meet to go 9 for 9 and hit PR's, but I am not going to give you a white just for that reason. I remember about 6 or so years back I red-lighted a very good friend and training partner on his 3rd attempt squat that he needed to stay in the meet. It was 850 lbs and he took it CLOSE, even the video from the front view looked pretty legit. But from my view in the chair, he just needed to sit it a tiny bit further down. So a red he got and he thanked me for it later, after some ball busting haha.

05-28-2013, 10:28 PM
Being someone from the outside (just a homegym homebody), but also someone who enjoys following the sport of Powerlifting, I think integrity or maybe consistency seems much more important to those outside of the sport, and if you want it to grow there needs to be some type of consistency/integrity across federations. People ignorant to the sport don't understand gear so they don't relate to that. But they also could care less if it is walked out or taken out of a monolift. People want to see big weights being smashed in a way they have experienced weight training. For the growth/future of powerlifting you need some type of integrity across the sport.

For the individual and hardcore powerlifter, I completely agree what others have said. Appreciate the lift for what it is. In any game, competitors are going to take the rules to the limit (that's often how innovation comes about).

April Mathis
05-29-2013, 02:13 AM
Judges need to have integrity and not pass a 4" high squat or bench press only halfway up just because it's your friends' lifting. I don't think it's fair to blame lifters for getting white lights. No one competing is judging their own lifts, and especially with squat it can be hard to tell if you are low enough or not, especially with heavy weight, and moreso with gear on.

Everyone should be judged the same at a meet. There is a difference of opinion of what parallel is in the squat or even what counts as a locked out deadlift or an uneven extension in bench press. But I have never seen anyone that knows the rules of the sport, and especially someone that has judged, if you show them an example or a diagram and ask what they consider good, it is never very different. I have not once seen what anyone considers parallel in the squat off by more than an inch or two either way from every other person that judges. But in a meet, you can see a variance of as much as 5-6" in some cases. So you should judge exactly like you see it, or don't judge at all if just to pass friends' lifts or world records. And this should be true for every federation, because you see obviously bad lifts pass in all of them at times (and sometimes obviously good lifts turned down. I have honestly heard a judge say they threw a red light because the lift looked hard, and no other reason.).

I do think that most judges tend to be or at least try to be as consistent as possible. However, the only way you will not see obviously bad lifts passed is to have good judges at meets. That is the important thing, not which federation it is, because I have also seen good judging in all federations, depending on who the judges are.

05-29-2013, 09:11 AM
I posted something about this on facebook as well.... but in a nutshell....

As a person who actually competes I've gotten hosed a few times and been given gifts a few times. Just like any sport, the judges just call it as they see it.

Judging is and always has been subjective. The only difference in the sport's integrity is that now every sad little weeny can hide behind a keyboard and spout off online about what they do and don't like. The sad thing to see is that some real lifters are actually taking them seriously. It gets even more ridiculous when guys who lift raw or single compare their lifts to multi. It's like a pro-stock racer crying about how the top fuel guys get to go faster.....

Lift and let lift. If you don't like the judging in a meet then don't lift there.

05-29-2013, 12:08 PM
Part of integrity is on the lifter too. Everyone always talks about how "that's how the judges saw it," but if lifters look for certain meets to pass lifts, this is a part of the problem too that not many acknowledge.

Time and time again, everyone's seen that lifter at a meet with good judging go bananas about an "unfair" call or something and they pick up and run to another federation instead of realizing that they just didn't satisfy the demands of the lift. Integrity as far as judging, though a subjective nature, is sticking to the rulebook as it's fair to all lifters. Going extreme in either direction, whether requiring too much or too little, opens up bias and unfairness to the competitors and this also creates an illusion that some lifts are better than others, despite being the same weight attempted.

05-29-2013, 12:51 PM
Judges define integrity with their lights and/or enforcing of the rules. Random people on outlaws and PLwatch talk about it.

05-29-2013, 04:14 PM
Judges define integrity with their lights and/or enforcing of the rules. Random people on outlaws and PLwatch talk about it.

In the end thats right. Its all up to the person in the chair.

05-29-2013, 06:01 PM
They have been discussing this a bit over on outlaws. I always like what that Mimnaugh guy has to say about the topic.