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Thread: Para-powerlifting event

  1. #1
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    Default Para-powerlifting event

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    I'm not sure if this is the right section for something like this, and it's short notice for the particular event at any rate, but here goes.

    For anyone in the area who's interested, there is a para powerlifting event on Friday, 16 Jun 2023 in Verona, Wisconsin. The single event is a modified bench press, where the athlete's legs are strapped to a purpose-built bench. The organization running the event, Dairyland Sports is looking for volunteers.

    I volunteered last year, and while it was very sparsely attended, they are looking to grow it. I am looking at getting certified as an official at an event in Alabama in July, as the federation for it (Move United) requires three certified judges for a sanctioned event. Having enough of them locally will allow for more events and involvement, which is what the director is hoping to achieve. There has been talk of coaching opportunities down the road, which will certainly present unique challenges.

    Is any of this of any interest to folks here?

  2. #2
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    The event went well yesterday. We only had five athletes, several of whom are experienced lifters. This year, we had an experienced and enthusiastic couple helping set up and run it, which was an excellent educational experience. Next year's event, they're planning to bring in enough athletes to multiply the roster by a factor of at least four.

    The particulars on this style of bench press are strict in a lot of ways that are different from the able-bodied version, particularly with regards to the lower body - straps holding down the legs are optional, but highly encouraged. Digging in the heels on the bench is a red light. Moving the legs at all is a red light. The focus on bar control is very tight - we had some lifters red lit for relatively minor issues there.

    The center judge gives a start command. At lower levels, the athlete can request a press command from the judge, but higher levels do not allow this. The coach may shout a press command from the side, if the lifter wants.

    Spotters take the bar to assist as soon as the rack command is given by the center judge - I clarified that yes, this means the best strategy is for the athlete to lock out and just hold it until the rack command, then let the spotters initiate the rack.

    We got to see a lot of encouraging lifters and lifts. At least one of the top two also does able-bodied meets. She's a double BTK amputee - didn't get to ask her about her training or other events.

    All in all, it's a pretty neat sport, and encouraging to see more people interested in strength who might not otherwise be. Not surprisingly, there's a growing veteran involvement as well, nationwide.

    Having volunteered there last year, I knew to bring my homemade chalk stand for the competitors' use, since the hosting high school doesn't trust their students with chalk in their very well-funded weight room with the school logo-branded dumbbells, school color racks/benches/bumper plates/Cerakote bars and all...

  3. #3
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    It's an interesting read, thanks.

  4. #4
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    This weekend I attended official's certification for Move United. There are a lot of good folks involved with it.

    Unfortunately, I was unable to stay for their national meet, but if anyone's interested, it's streaming live, which should be available afterward as well:

    - YouTube

  5. #5
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    Do they use a pause at the chest? If so, why?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    Do they use a pause at the chest? If so, why?
    A visibly noticeable stop is required. The general idea is to show control of the bar, a theme that runs through a lot of the expectations overall.

    This page has the rule book and other info: Powerlifting - Move United

    They've removed a previous expectation of a particular count for the pause on the chest, and there is no press command from the judge. The athlete may have a coach shout a press command from off platform. In absence of a platform, a 16 square area may be marked off.

    For lower level events, where the emphasis is on training and getting athletes involved, sometimes the lifter has the option to request a press command be given by the center judge, but this is not present for qualifier level events, and is more for instructional purposes.

  7. #7
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    I have never heard a convincing explanation of why a pause is required for the bench but not for the squat.

    How to Fix Powerlifting? | Mark Rippetoe

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    I have never heard a convincing explanation of why a pause is required for the bench but not for the squat.
    For sake of argument, the one thing I can see about the bench is that, unlike the squat, the lifter is mashed between an immobile surface and the bar at the bottom, so requiring a pause might help eliminate bouncing that could become dangerous. That said, these rules call out bouncing, heaving, sinking, etc., so that's already covered... It's not bad, in that it's not a count or a judge's command, though, so it's not an exceptionally long wait that's required. In my opinion, an athlete choosing to have the coach give a press command is more of a liability than a strength, because: 1) At yesterday's meet, there were at least a couple of athletes who got screwed or nearly screwed by the coach waiting too long, and 2) I am aware of an incident where there were multiple concurrent lifters, and Athlete A pressed prematurely on Athlete B's coaches command, and got red-lit.

    Another consideration for this sport is the nature of the competitors. We're trying to allow athletes with multiple types of disabilities to compete without having a myriad of classifications. That's why the no leg use rule is there, to level that part of the playing field, so that, for example a single low BTK amputee doesn't have an advantage over one with a double full leg distarticulation. I think that's also why bar control is such a major emphasis - you can have athletes with neuro conditions involved, and they must be able to control the bar for everyone's safety.

    Don't get me wrong, I personally agree with what SS teaches on this, 100%. I hate the start and rack commands, but they're not going anywhere here, and I still think this is a worthwhile sport to support. International rules drive a LOT of this, too, and we all know what happens at that level of decision making...

    On a side note, would the more experienced agree with what I've noticed, that people heavily invested in a sport tend to get attached to the structure, vs. the intent? Strength sports should be focused on who is strongest that day, not who's more accurately nuanced on the rules and games part of it, but people involved for long periods of time seem to tend to lose sight of that. Strongman seems to avoid some of this, e.g. with their approach of overhead lifts and deadlifts having few to no rules other than "get it from the rack/ground to lockout".

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