Frequently Asked Questions
If any question is not answered below, please refer to the WPC Official Rulebook.
What equipment is used in APF/AAPF meets?
The APF/AAPF uses a monolift for squatting and specialty bars for every lift, meaning a Texas squat bar or Bulldog/Mastadon squat bar is used for the squat, a Bulldog or Sabertooth bench press bar is used for the bench press, and a Texas/Okie/Frantz deadlift bar is used for the deadlift.
What kind of knee equipment is allowed in the raw division of the APF/AAPF?
Absolutely no knee equipment is allowed in the standard raw divison! That means no knee sleeves or knee wraps! Knee sleeves and knee wraps are allowed in the equipped division of the APF/AAPF. UPDATE September 2015–APF approved a “Classic Raw” division which allow knee wraps and sleeves. Separate American Records will be kept, but the IL State Raw Records will still be kept under the standard APF Raw Division. Additionally, on the APF National and WPC World Stage, only the standard Raw division will be included.
Raw and Equipped? What the heck is the difference?
For most of the 30+ year history of the APF/WPC, only one division for equipped existed–and it allowed multiply squat suits, briefs, bench shirt, and knee wraps. The only required equipment was a singlet, but most lifters opted to use some sort of supportive equipment. In the past 5-6 years, “Raw” powerlifting has become increasingly popular, and the APF adopted a Raw Division. Unlike the standard division of the APF which allows squat suits and bench shirts, the Raw division only allows a belt and wrist wraps. The new “Classic Raw” division additionally allows knee wraps or sleeves. If you are a new lifter to the sport, and do not even know what a bench shirt or squat suit is, you likely should just enter the raw division and not worry about supportive equipment until a later date.
What is the difference between the APF and AAPF?
APF stands for the American Powerlifting Federation. AAPF stands for the Amateur American Powerlifting Federation. The only technical rule difference between the two is that the AAPF tests for anabolic substances, while the APF does not. The APF was the original organization started by Ernie Frantz in the early 1980s. The AAPF was created in 1997 by Ernie, developed to bring amateur (tested) lifting to a venue that is already established with the powerlifting community, so that all lifters may compete on the same platform. Almost all local, state and regional meets in Illinois are sanctioned by APF and AAPF. Some states only have APF meets, not wanting to worry about the drug testing. The only meets that are completely separate with the APF and AAPF are the National and World Meets. In addition, separate records are kept at the State, National, and World level with the APF and AAPF.
While the only technical difference is that of testing, the practical difference is that the APF is the place for the higher level of competition. The AAPF is a better place to start for the novice or the younger, beginning lifters, and is the place for those lifters who choose not to take any banned substances. AAPF lifters are certainly not all novice lifters, however, as many great lifts and lifters are in the AAPF. While the APF is not tested, however, it does not mean that all the lifters are quote “juicing.” Many lifters who lift in the APF as opposed to the AAPF due it for the higher level of competition.
So, again, in short, the only technical difference between the APF and AAPF is that the AAPF conducts drug testing while the APF does not. The drug testing the AAPF is done on 10% of lifters in a meet by urinalysis. The banned substance list only includes anabolic steroid type substances, not like the IOC or NCAA banned substance list which includes other drugs. If your test comes up positive in the AAPF, you will immediately be banned for life from the AAPF. You can immediately lift in the APF, however. If you have taken banned substances in the past, you must be “drug free,” or off of banned substances for five (5) years before entering the AAPF. While practically this limit is hard to enforce, if is always difficult to determine how long some substances may take to leave your system. Some lifters have tested positive after supposed being off for 18 months to 2 years or more. You are playing with fire if you enter the AAPF before the five year time period is up, and remember that the first positive test is a lifetime ban.
What’s with all these different organizations that go along with the APF? The WPC? AWPC? What are all of these organizations?
The APF is a somewhat complex organization. It could be described that it is four organizations in one. Connected together, we have the APF, AAPF, WPC, AWPC (and formally the WPO). So what do all of these letters mean? See above for the explanation on the difference between the APF and AAPF. Branching off from the APF and AAPF is the WPC and AWPC–the World Powerlifting Congress and Amateur World Powerlifting Congress. Soon after Ernie Frantz started the APF, he wanted to have international competition for his US lifters. So, he went out and formed the WPC as the international arm of the APF. Currently the WPC has over 30 member nations, and has an annual World Powerlifting Championships. When the AAPF was formed in 1997, Ernie Frantz concurrently formed the AWPC as the international arm of the AAPF. The AWPC also has an annual World Powerlifting Championships. The difference between the WPC and AWPC are the same as described above in the difference between the APF and AAPF. The home page for the APF/AAPF/WPC/AWPC is http://worldpowerliftingcongress.com/ for more information.
If we put all of the organizations together, one could see the progression from one organization to the next as the lifter progresses in his or her lifting career. A lifter would go from the AAPF to the AWPC, then to the APF to the WPC.
Who runs the APF and WPC? And who owns them?
As was described in previous answers, the APF and WPC were started by Ernie Frantz in Aurora, IL. Let’s put the differences in the organizations as described above aside between the APF and AAPF, and the WPC and AWPC. For the purposes of this question, the AAPF is considered part of the APF, and the AWPC part of the WPC.
The APF was formed as a non-profit organization. So, no one “owns” the APF per say. The APF is controlled by a Board of Directors, and headed by a President. The APF founder, Ernie Frantz, ran the organization as its President for many years, but has since retired. Ernie then appointed Kieran Kidder to being the APF President, who also started the WPO. In October 2007, the APF Board voted in a new President and Vice President. Garry Frank was voted as APF President; Mike McDaniel was voted APF Vice President. Subsequently, every two years the President and Vice President positions are re-voted on by the Board. A list of the current APF Executive Committee or Board is available here. In addition to the Board and President that run the APF, the organization has State Chairman in most States in the US. In Illinois, Eric Stone is the Illinois State Chairman; the entire list of APF State Chairman is available here.
The WPC, on the other hand, was started as a corporation by Ernie Frantz. Ernie was the owner and President for many years in the organization, although he let the rules and other aspects of the organization be controlled by representatives of the member nations of the WPC in the Annual Governing Meeting (AGM) at the yearly WPC World Championships. In 2003, Ernie Frantz sold the corporation of the WPC to Kieran Kidder, so that he could semi-retire. So Kidder is now the owner of the WPC. At the WPC Worlds in 2007, Mike Sweeney was also voted WPC President for a 2-year term, and this position is re-voted every 2 years. Kieran Kidder remains the CEO/Owner of the WPC.
All of that being said, the majority of the paper work and administrative duties of the APF/WPC is handled by the APF Office Manager Amy Jackson. Amy has served as the secretary for the APF for over 15 years, and continues to be the silent workhorse that keeps the organization running. The contact information for most of these individuals is available on the people page of this website, or is available on either the WPC or WPO websites.
What’s with the membership fee? When do I have to pay it and why?
To lift in any APF or AAPF sanctioned event, you must have a current membership. The cost for an APF or an AAPF membership is $30. To concurrently be a member in both is $40. You must be a member the day of the event, although you may register to be a member at the weigh-ins before the meet. If you are a current member, you must present your membership card at the meet. After you first become a member, you must use the carbon copy of your application as your membership card. With a couple weeks, however, the APF will send you your card in the mail. Your APF membership is good for one year from the purchase date.
The annual fees you must pay to the APF mainly goes towards paying for the duties and salary of APF Office Manager Amy Jackson. Amy takes care of all the records, money, paper work, and administrative duties associated with running the organization. Additionally, if you break an American or World record, for instance, you receive a certificate in the mail free of any additional charge. Note that other organizations will charge for such certificates.
How do I break a State/American/World Record?
First, you need to know what the current record(s) are. Check out the records page on this website for the current State/American/World records.
Now, let’s start with Illinois State Records. First, you must compete in an APF/AAPF sanctioned meet in Illinois–meets helds outside Illinois State boundaries, no matter the level of the meet, are NOT eligible for Illinois State Records. You must also be a current Illinois resident. Then, you must compete in the sanction (APF or AAPF), weight class, and qualify for the division of the current record. You do NOT have to lift in the age divisions to break those records. You can lift in the open and break age division records, as long as your age is within the limits of that particular age group. Most importantly, you must lift at least 2.5 kg more than the current record. Finally, you must fill out the record application that will be provided at the meet and turn it in to the meet director or technical officer of the meet.
[Note that other States may handle their State Records differently. How the State Records are handled are up to the discretion of the individual State Chairmen of the APF. Some State may, for instance, allow State Records to be set at any APF meet, no matter if the meet is held in State, as long as the lifter is a State resident. Non-Illinois residents should check with their State Chairman.]
American Records are very similar. Again, you must compete at an APF/AAPF sanctioned meet, but this time it can be anywhere in the US. You must be a United States resident also (citizenship is NOT required). Then, you must again compete in the sanction and weight class, and qualify in the division of the current record. And, most importantly, you must lift at least 2.5 kg more than the current record. Sometimes an American record will be broken by a smaller amount, like by 0.5 kg. But this will only happen if it was broken in conjunction with a World Record (see below). So, sometimes, you can break it by less than 2.5 kg, but it still must be in the regular 2.5 kg breakdowns of the weights. Finally, again, you must fill out and turn in the record application at the meet. The record application is available online here.
World Records are a bit more difficult to break. To break a WR, you must compete an APF/AAPF National meet or a WPC/AWPC International or World meet. World Records can ONLY be broken and National or World meets, not at local/state/regional meets. Of course you must compete in the sanction and weight class, and qualify in the division of the current record. You can exceed the current record by as little as 0.5 kg. The record breaking plates will most likely be available at National and World meets. And finally, you must fill out and turn in the proper record application at the meet.
When breaking records, the WPC rule book does allow lifters to take 4th attempts, outside of the competition. These 4th attempts will not be counted towards your total for the meet. You must have completed a lift that is within 20 kg of the current record. These 4th attempts, however, are only allowed for World Records. Thus, because WRs can only be broken in National or World meets, you can only get 4th attempts in National or World Meets. 4th attempts are not allowed at local/state meets at ALL, nor are they allowed to solely break State or American records.
One “issue” with breaking records is that the meet must have the proper referees for records to be broken. For State or American records, three certified APF National Referees be judging the lifts. One or all of those officials may be WPC Officials as well. At National meets, at least two of the judges must be certified WPC Officials, and the third an APF certified referee for World Records to be broken. And at World meets, all three judges must be WPC Officials, and two must be from different countries. The official scale of the meet must also have been officially certified with the last 6 months for World Records. These issues should all be taken care of by the meet director, however, so lifters need not worry about them for the most part.
Another “issue” with breaking records is that 3-lift records can only be broken in 3-lift meets. The powerlifting records of squat, bench press, deadlift and total must be broken while competing in a 3-lift powerlifting meet. In addition, bench only and deadlift only records can only be broken at bench only, deadlift only, or push-pull type meets. Full meet lifters can NOT break these records unless they are able and do cross-enter into multiple events in the same meet.
Meets where the meet director runs it in pounds instead of kilograms is another a common issue when it comes to records. All records in Illinois and in the APF are recorded in kilograms. By rule (see above), IL State and American records must be broken by at least 2.5 kilograms. All lifts done in pounds will be rounded DOWN to the nearest 2.5 kg increment. So, the weight you lift in pounds, when converted to kilograms (and consequently rounded down to the nearest 2.5 kg), must exceed the current record by at least 2.5 kg. For instance, say the record that you are attempting to break is 100 kg or about 220 lbs. If you lifted 225 lbs at your meet, that would convert to about 102.1 kg, but that would be rounded down to only 100 kg for record purposes, and therefore would NOT break the record. On the other hand, 230 lbs converts to about 104.3 kg, which would be rounded to 102.5 kg and would break the current 100 kg record. All of this converting and rounding can be quite confusing no doubt. As a lifter, it would be best to figure this type of conversion out before the meet, or request that the meet director in your area use kilogram plates.
Finally, please remember that the proper record application MUST be filled out and turned into the meet director or state chairman at the meet for the record to be properly recorded. As the former APF Illinois State Chairman Maris Sternberg was fond of saying, “If there’s no paperwork, the record doesn’t exist!” The paperwork should be provided by the meet director at the meet, and only takes a minute or two to complete. Note that at Illinois meets, if the State Chairman is in attendance, you need not worry about getting the officials signatures, that will be taken care of for you. BUT, at other meets, it is advisable that you seek out the referees and officials and get them to sign your application. Many meet directors do not take the time to get their officials to sign the paperwork, and often will cost their lifters a record due to incorrect filing of the record application. All in all, however, make sure you fill out a record application if you break a record.
On an aside with records, if you break an IL State, American or World record, you will receive an official record certificate in the mail from the APF Office, free of extra charge to you.
What are the differences in the rules with the APF and other federations?
In powerlifting, an abundance of federations/organizations exist. It is difficult to keep track of all the different rules and supportive gear and equipment allowed. If you are not familiar with powerlifting rules at all, the below might not make a whole lot of sense to you. If so, just skip down to the bottom paragraph.
So, here is a very shortened explanation of the major differences between the APF and other federations. First, as far as supportive gear, in the APF (and AAPF) standard equipped division, single or double ply poly, denim, or canvas suits, shirts, and briefs are OK. You can only wear one suit, one shirt, and one pair of briefs, however, and each of those must be one whole piece of gear. As far as the briefs, those with legs are allowed to be worn under the suit. On the bench shirts, the velcro back and open back/split neck shirts are OK. The bench shirt, however, cannot be pulled down so far that it is off the shoulders and making the arm pit crease visible. Knee wraps up to 2.5 meters are allowed. On the equipment used in competition, we allow the use the monolift squat rack, as well as specialized barbells for each lift. On rules, during the bench press, we use the “Press” signal. We allow 24 hour weigh-ins before the competition as well.
In recent years, “Raw” powerlifting has become more and more popular. Thus, the APF has adopted a separate Raw division, as has APF Illinois. In the APF “Raw” division, the only supportive equipment allowed is a belt a wrist wraps–no knee supports of any type are allowed. In the newly created “Raw Classic” division, knee wraps or sleeves are additionally allowed. On the National and World stages, the APF and WPC also recognize a “Single-Ply” Equipped division. This division only allows single-ply polyester gear on the suits, briefs and shirts. All other rules are the same. Note that APF Illinois does not offer this division at most local meets.
Those are the most common supportive gear, equipment and rules types of concerns that could be different than other federations. Here is the full rule book for the APF/WPC to look at the full rules. It is highly recommended that you familiarize yourself with the full rule book before entering an APF meet, and pose any questions you have to a certified APF referee. One thing to keep in mind is that no supportive gear is required. The only thing that is required in the APF is a one piece suit or singlet. As far as how the APF rules compare specifically to other federations, you would have to check with those other federation rule books.
How do I qualify for the National/World meets of the APF/WPC? And what’s with all these different National/World meets?
First, there are a few different National and World meets of the APF/AAPF/WPC/AWPC. As far as National meets, the APF/AAPF annually holds the following meets: APF Equipped Nationals, APF Raw Nationals, and AAPF Nationals. To qualify for the Open division at APF Equipped Nationals and the Open Equipped division at AAPF Nationals, you must hit the following qualifying totals at an APF/AAPF meet before entering the National meets. You do not need a qualifying total to enter APF Raw Nationals or the age divisions in APF Equipped AAPF Nationals, nor in the Raw division in AAPF Nationals. You merely need to have totaled in an APF/AAPF sanctioned meet. Qualifying totals and qualifying meets need to have been completed within the calandar year prior or current year of the National meet. So, for a 2015 National Meet, a lifter must have competed before Nationals in 2014 or 2015.
On the World level, there are only two meets, WPC Worlds and the AWPC Worlds. To qualify for WPC Worlds, you must place first through third at APF Equipped or APF Raw Nationals. Otherwise, you must contact the APF Office to see if there is room on the US team for you as an alternate, after the National meets have taken place. Usually there are alternate spots, especially in the age divisions. To qualify for AWPC Worlds, you must place first through third at AAPF Nationals. Again, you can also apply for an alternate spot on the US team, after AAPF Nationals.
What about the WPO? What happened to it?
The WPO or World Powerlifting Organization was organized as a professional (paid) organization created and run by Kieran Kidder. It held its annual WPO Finals at the Arnold Classic Fitness Expo for a number of years. The APF and WPC were the qualifying organization to the WPO. Kidder saw the WPO as the “Pro Division” of powerlifting, separating it from the APF/WPC similar to what bodybuilding does when competitors recieve their “Pro Card.” The WPO awarded cash prizes to the winners.
Back in 2007, the WPO was removed from the Arnold Classic and replaced by the USAPL, supposed due to drug testing. After the WPO was removed from the Arnold, the WPO essentially has been inactive. No word has ever been given on if the WPO will ever sanction professional meets again.
How is the “Best Lifter” determined in an APF meet?
All APF powerlifting contests have a number of weight classes for which men and women can compete. In most contests, the meet director looks to not only crown the first place winners of each weight class, but also pound for pound overall best lifter or lifters. So, we use a formula to compare lifters of different bodyweights. With getting into the statistical analysis of it all, a formula was created by using the best lifts for each weight class. The formula then creates coefficients for a lifter’s bodyweight that is to be multiplied by the total amount of weight lifted. Essentially, multiplying the coefficients times the total weight lifted creates a coefficient total that can be compared to coefficient totals from lifters in different weight classes. And, the highest coefficient total is the Best Lifter. Note that there are different formulas for men and for women.
For example, let’s say a 220 pound male lifter totals 2000 pounds and a 165 pound lifter totals 1400 pounds. First, to use the formula, all of those numbers must be converted into kilograms. So the 100 kg lifter totals 907.19 kg and the 75 kg lifter totals 635.04 kg. Using the coefficient tables (which will be discussed below), the 100 kg lifter (who weighed exactly 100 kg) would have a coefficient of 0.581300. The 75 kg lifter (who weighed exactly 75 kg) would have a 0.688550 coefficient. Then by multiplying the total weight lifted by the coefficient, a coefficient total for the best lifter is calculated. So, 907.19 kg times 0.581300 equals 527.35, and 635.04 times 0.688550 equals 437.26. So the 220 lifter would win the Best Lifter award.
For most of the existence of the APF, the Reshel Formula was used to determine the best lifter, created by a former APF Technical Officer, Greg Rechel. Recently, however, the APF adopted the new Glossbrenner Formula, created by Powerlifting USA Statistician Herb Glossbrenner. This formula, however is not really a new formula as much as a combination of two older ones. It took the average of the coefficients from the oldest formula, the Schwartz, and new IPF formula, the Wilks. Herb Glossbrenner contended that the Reschel too heavily favored the very light weight lifters, and was outdated. He also contended that, while they were both okay formulas, the Schwartz formula favored the lighter lifters and the Wilks favored the heavier lifters. So, he took the average of the two to balance them out.
The Glossbrenner formula can be accessed here if you would like to ever check it yourself. At most meets now, we use a computerized scoring system which automatically calculates the totals and coefficient totals as the meet goes on. But you can still look it up manually on the table linked.
In addition to the regular best lifter formula, the APF also has a formula for determining a best overall Master (lifters over the age of 40) lifter. For the Master Formula, the APF uses the McCulloch Numbers. These numbers work the same as the best lifter coefficients. After first multiplying the total weight lifted by the Glossbrenner coefficient, that product is then multiplied by the Masters’ Age Number. Again, the highest coefficient total wins.
What is “Elite?” What are these different total rankings and titles, like Elite, Master and Class I-IV?
In the APF, we have a set of Qualifying Rankings that ranks a lifter based on his or her total (from a full power meet; no bench qualifying rankings exist in the APF). Based on lifters’ totals, they are ranked from the highest distinction of “Elite” then onto “Master” (not to be confused with age divisions for lifters over the age of 40), and finally from “Class I” down to “Class IV” as the lowest ranking. Different qualifying rankings have been established for the APF and AAPF, and are available at the following links: APF Qualifying Rankings and AAPF Qualifying Rankings. See above for the difference between the APF and AAPF.
The purpose of these rankings are basically to give lifters a certain total number to shoot for, and to provide something for lifters to compare themselves against. These numbers were developed by the APF officials based off performances of lifters over the years, and how many lifters were able to achieve certain levels of totals. Being “Elite” means you are in a select group of very strong lifters who have totaled such a high amount of weight. Lifters can recieve patches for reaching the Master and Elite total levels. Contact Amy Jackson at the APF Office if you have totaled Master or Elite and would like patch to signify your accomplishment.
What are these different levels of referees/judges in the APF/WPC? How can I become a referee? What should I wear as a referee?
The APF/WPC has two levels of referee/judges. The first is simply being an APF National Referee. To become a certified APF National Referee, you must meet the following requirements. Note that if you do not meet the criteria, but feel you are qualified, you can request an exception from the APF Board. Contact Amy Jackson at the APF Office in Aurora to have her send you a copy of the test and a rule book. Those forms are also available online at the following links: referee test and rule book. You you pass the written test, you will need to take a “practical” test at a local APF meet sitting along side a current APF/WPC Referee. Following passing your practical, you will be send an APF Referee Patch and Card Your certification as an APF Referee is good for two years, although you must keep up your APF/AAPF membership. After two years, it is an additional $10 to renew your referee certification.
The second level of referee in the APF/WPC is the WPC World Referee. To become a WPC World Referee, you, again, must be an APF/AAPF member in good standing, and then must take another, more extensive test, and pass a “practical” test at a National or World Meet. The test for becoming a WPC referee is much long and more involved than the APF referee test, especially in that it involves a number of real situation essay questions that must be answered. The “practical” part of the test involves actually judging at a National and World meet while being watched by current WPC referee(s). Again, you must pay a $10 processing fee, and you will be issued a WPC referee card and patch.
Once you have become a referee, the standard attire for local/state meets is nicer pants (or a skirt for women), and a white shirt with the referee patch on the left breast or breast pocket of the shirt. For National or World Meets, a dark blue blazer or coat is usually expected with the referee patch again on the left breast or breast pocket, and for men a tie with the white shirt. Mainly, it is just important that the lifters can identify you as a referee/judge, and that you look professional on the platform.
APF Illinois would like to add that this sport and the APF is always looking for more referees to help at APF competitions. It is often a difficult job, and sometimes even a thankless job (although a good meet director should always thank his/her judges), but it is a completely necessary job for competitions to occur. Most of the time meet directors will feed you when you are working the competition. If you must travel a good distance to the meet, a meet director also may comp a hotel room for you for the duration of the competition, especially at National or World meets. We could always use new, quality referees. Please give back to the sport you love. In fact, email Eric Stone and he will personally cover your $10 processing fee if you are willing to take the test.
How can I get involved in the APF as a State Chairman or meet director?
If you would like to get involved in the APF as a State Chairman, first you must check if your State already has a Chairman or not. Check the list of State Chairman on the WPC website to check. If your State does not have a Chairman, contact Amy Jackson, the APF Office Manager, at email@example.com to apply to be the State Chairman The duties of the State Chairman involve running the State’s annual State Championship meet, and maintaining the State Records. The Chairman also would help set up and run any other meets that others put on in the State. As the State Chairman (or just as a meet director in general), you keep $1 from each of the new APF cards you sell at your meets.
Now, all that being said, as is listed above and elsewhere on this website, the State of Illinois does have an APF State Chairman in Eric Stone. If you are from Illinois, or your State does have a Chairman, contact Stone (firstname.lastname@example.org) or the Chairman from your State (list is linked above) about running meets. You will need to first set up things with Stone or your State Chairman, and then will need to get an APF sanction form from Amy Jackson. The form is available online here. You will need to fill out that form and send it back to Amy with the $35 sanctioning fee. After the meet, you will need to send the official results, possible drug tests, and any record application to Amy at the APF Office as well. If you are interested in running a National or World meet, you must first bid for it through Amy Jackson and Kieran Kidder. If your bid is accepted, the sanctioning fee is $250 for a National or World meet. Some other qualifications must be met for a National and World meet as well, like providing hotel rooms for judges, having proper equipment, and a number of other items. If interested, contact Amy Jackson for the full list of qualifications, or check out the list online here.
As a matter of fact, APF Illinois is looking for individuals interesting in becoming meet directors. Eric Stone would like to have 1-3 more meet directors in the State whom are willing to run some of the local/regional meets during the year. It can be quite time-consuming for the same individuals to run all the meets every year. It would better for all involved to spread the responsibility around more. It not only gets more people involved in the sport, it also allows meet directors to compete in local meets without having to run it themself. And, APF Illinois is more than willing to provide assistance in setting up and running APF santioned competitions in the state. Contact Eric Stone if you are interested.