One of the greatest indicators of human achievement is through powerlifting, a competitive sport growing in popularity over the years. Athletes attempt a maximum weight lift of a barbell loaded with weight plates, depending on the weight class that they are in. It is a sport of strength and the three main lifts—squat, bench press, and deadlift, have become the signature of what powerlifting is on a competitive level.  

In competitions there are weight classes for men and women respectively. For the former, these classes are 52 kg, 56 kg, 60 kg, 67.5 kg, 75 kg, 82.5 kg, 90 kg, 100 kg, 110 kg, 125 kg, 140 kg, 140 kg+. For the latter, these are 44 kg, 48 kg, 52 kg, 56 kg, 60 kg, 67.5 kg, 75 kg, 82.5 kg, 90 kg, 90 kg+, each in their own age and gender group. A competitor is allowed three attempts at each lift (squat, bench press, and deadlift), and the best attempt is considered for the combined total. The athlete with the highest total (in their weight class) wins.    

The sport's origins date back to ancient Greece and China, where the strength of men was put to the test as they lifted stones. It was not until the 1950s that a more modern approach to powerlifting was introduced in the United Kingdom and the United States. This opened the door for two disciplines, Olympic weightlifting, and Powerlifting. Some of the pioneer powerlifters did not or would not do the Olympic lifts, so they created their own competitions, variations, and rules for the sport.  

Between 1950 to 1970 several competitions, World Championships, and records were achieved, all of which made it more popular and made it clear that it needed a functioning governing body that regulates the sport and supports athletes from all over the world. That is how in November of 1972 the International Powerlifting Federation was founded and in 1973 the first IPF World Championship was held in the United States.    

In 1975, during a World Championship in Birmingham, England, it finally seemed like the IPF had achieved what it had worked so hard for. Sixteen countries participated, but more importantly, the format of future IPF events was created. This format is the one that is still implemented today. Even though women had been competing for years, it was not until 1980 that the first Women's World Championships took place in the USA.  

Powerlifting is not an Olympic sport yet (its inclusion is in the process), but it was recognized as a Paralympic sport (bench press) in 1984 and has been part of the World Games since 1981.  

International Powerlifting Federation

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