The deadlift is the simplest test of strength that exists. You throw some chalk on your hands and you see how much weight you can pick up off of the floor. Like the movement itself, the rules for the deadlift in Powerlifting are relatively simple compared to the rules for the squat and the bench. Let’s break it down.

As in the preceding two lifts, as soon as the announcer calls, “the bar is loaded!” you have one minute to walk out onto the platform and get set. In the deadlift, there is no start command. So long as you start within a minute, you may begin the movement whenever you please. “All” you have to do is stand up with the weight. If it only it were so simple… In any case, as soon as you stand up, set your shoulders back and ensure your knees are locked out. Once you’ve done this, make eye contact with the head referee. They will give you the the only command that there is for the deadlift, “Down”!

Once you get the “Down!” command, return the bar to the floor while maintaining both hands on the bar. You have to make some attempt at not completely dropping the bar. You’re not required to do a slow eccentric and you don’t have to lower the bar down completely under control. Just make sure you keep both hands on the bar. If you don’t, you’ll lose the lift.

The lack of rules regarding the Deadlift starting position are more important than the rules that do exist. We’ll start with grip. First, both hands have to be on the bar. Other than that, you can place your grip where ever you want so long as it is inside the collars.

Secondly, you can take whatever stance suits you the most so long as your feet stay inside the plates. There are no rules regarding how close or how far apart your feet have to be. If you want, you can put your toes to the plates. If you want, your heels can touch. Most people either take a very wide sumo stance or a conventional stance which typically features the heels about a foot apart.

It is important to note that if you struggle with your grip, you cannot use wrist straps in a powerlifting meet. However, you can use as much chalk as you want. I’d highly recommend that everyone carries at least one block of chalk around with them just in case you go to a gym where it isn’t widely available.