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USPF Nationals Judging: Fair or Flawed?

In the wake of last weekend's USPF Nationals, a number of comments have been made which have been critical of the judging at the meet. Most of those comments have been made anonymously. However, meet competitor Glenn Baggett has come forth publicly with certain issues which he experienced. Baggett specifically mentions judging in the bench press as being inconsistent and rules being changed. Further, he asserts that multi ply lifters were targeted and that the federation was using the meet to set an example.

Baggett: "They had a hard on for anything not above the nipple line on the bench. I trained to touch the F6 emblom on my shirt as it is normally a safe area, but not on Saturday. For some reason the judging seemed very sporadic in who and where you were allowed to touch. They bombed all the multiply guys out if you had even a hint of an arch!

The judges from RI stood around and followed the multi-ply guys around when gearing up and made some weird rulings before the meet. Mark Bell was asked to remove his small briefs that were approved for use in the equipment check, this was right as he was starting to warm up. When he went to put on his shirt it got even more weird, like he was wearing an illegal shirt to hit those huge benches.

Baggett on the rule changes: "... when I asked for rules interpretation, I was told to just bench and I would be told if it was good or not. I enjoyed the experience and would like to push myself but do not change the rules on the day of the meet. I was not the only one who noticed this."

He continues: "It seemed that some judges adopted the new rules to go into effect on Jan 1, 2010 on July 3-4th, 2009."

Baggett finishes by saying that a lot of lifters have indicated that they will not be back to compete at future Nationals: "If I have ever seen a fed trying to make a statement, this was it. I feel sorry for Steve as he did a great job to build up the USPF Nationals and make it a place people wanted to compete again, and after what I heard from alot of lifters, they won't be back to compete at nationals or worlds again. They may be back to a small group of lifters again for Nationals next year."

Good luck the others who lift in the USPF and thank you for being welcoming to me while was there. Great lifters caught in a world of shit!"

Baggett's comments at Powerlifting Watch and Outlaws.

Comment viewing options

if these videos are anything to go by
the judging looked fine. The bench sternum ruling looks far softer than the current IPF interpretation. Certainly some blatent belly benching going on, but to be fair considering some of the recent USPF benches I've seen on this site I figured they were ignoring the sternum rule. If you're going to start enforcing a rule after letting standards slip, I think the lifters should be clearly informed in the technical meeting.

Squat judging looked good. Some great squats from Charles Bailey, I don't know who any of the others are apart from Mark Bell

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgTJsKSoX3o

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkyAbaRXsgY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqfJbDnC1aI

judging between day 1 and days 2 and 3 were like night and day.

also, there were two sets of rules, WPF and USPF. WPF = press and rack, no start (only instated when making a world record attempt)
USPF = start and rack, no press

when a lifter went to make a world record, he started the bench, and was told to rack it back as he didnt wait for start. the ref got confused and asked what he wanted to do since he admitted his mistake. he had already lowered the bar to his chest, but attempted it again right away and missed it. luckily he got it on his 2nd.

if the refs cant even keep it straight how is everyone else supposed to.

also, wpf = no baby powder, USPF = powder.

how about one set of rules for one meet guys. thatd sure be nice.

you pay to lift in what ever fed you like. u dont like how things are going? confusion, lack of organization, rules, last minute changes during the meet etc, send them a message. take your membership card, rip it up and dont compete with that fed anymore. hit them where it hurts, their wallet.

it is a shame,i always heard good things about the uspf

OZlifter wrote:
if these videos are anything to go by
the judging looked fine. The bench sternum ruling looks far softer than the current IPF interpretation. Certainly some blatent belly benching going on, but to be fair considering some of the recent USPF benches I've seen on this site I figured they were ignoring the sternum rule. If you're going to start enforcing a rule after letting standards slip, I think the lifters should be clearly informed in the technical meeting.

Squat judging looked good. Some great squats from Charles Bailey, I don't know who any of the others are apart from Mark Bell

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgTJsKSoX3o

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkyAbaRXsgY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqfJbDnC1aI

thanks for the comment , but only one of those squats was called good.

Big Daddy!

Who else has the nuts to lift anywhere?You are a true inspiration:)

I don't see any of those prima USAPL donna looking for the best competition haha

The USPF and the WPF(world org) has some differences in rules. In the bench the USPF has a start & rack, the WPF has press and rack. The uspf rules were followed unless you were attempting a world record. I can only speak to the Fri rules meeting, but I thought it was explained and questions that were asked were answered.
I think the overall problem is with so many federations(I think there is close to 30) the rules of performance really very. Squat depth and how low the bar can be in the bench are the 2 big ones. If you train most of the time one way, it is very difficult to change.
I think the all the lifters were very professional in the platform performance

Yes I will admit that there is always some frustration in bombing, and yes according to the rules imposed, my lifts were sloppy. Not from not pressing the weight, no other infractions just a difference of 1/2" on where I touched. We all train to get it right, I never trained to belly bench at this meet, I went by the rule book and the current videos of passed benches to adjust my training. My frustration came from watching the same bench passed on other platforms. I have been known to get upset but then when I think about it cool off and become open to more discussion, but the representatives from RI were assholes and this is not something I have changed my mind on!

I enjoyed the experience and want to see the USPF grow, as it is another place to test yourself and with good standardized rules, but I have to say that there were issues that I felt were wrong. Some USPF refs/committee members made me feel like an inmate and I'm not the only one. Was I targeted for discrimination, I don't think so, but I saw how others were treated and watched, this is not right at any level. Tim, you even made a comment on another board that Bell should be watched as he was a questionable lifter, is this the right attitude to have for someone who's team put this fed back on the map?

The USPF lifters were like family to me and opened their arms and welcomed me in, this is powerlifting at it's best. I got to meet great people and some I had hoped to meet as I look up to their lifting. Ed Coan was an awesome guy and someone I was waiting to meet, I have even more respect for him now as a person as he took his time to help me out, he was busy but made time for others. This is powerlifting at it's best!

In closing on this subject, I feel that the bench rule is right for this federation but the enforcement of the rules was not seen in the past year in any video coming out of the USPF meets. I use video to learn as the rules are always subjective to who enforces them in any federation. I look forward to trying again and getting it right, I hope that what we get from my questioning of this rules enforcement is consistency. We did this in the multi-ply feds about squat depth and we are now moving in the right direction. I hope that dialogue is allowed and not seen in the same light as in the "Nazi" fed of the world, that would be a shame for a fed on the brink of really making an impact again and not just being a side note.

Squat depth was fair, no doubt. Though I'm still peeved that my 2nd attempt squat got a single red light for depth when it was clearly deep as all hell.

bench judging was inconsistent at best. Now granted I did not press my first two attempts w/o downward motion and that was fairly red lighted, I was also told I was belly benching, whatever.

I brought all three benches down to the same spot, twice I was told that I was belly benching, for my third attempt I flattened out my arch a little on the advice of my teammate, brought the bar to same spot and got two whites...

inconsistent. but not unfairly applied.

I would also have to agree that there was a general feeling that some of the judges were attempting to intimidate the lifters. Not my usual experience at a USPF meet, where I have lifted my entire (with one push/pull exception) short powerlifting career.

and Tim, you have no official standing for the USPF stop pretending to speak for the federation. It really makes me sick that I'm associated with you at all even if its just for lifting in the same federation.

You do not represent me or anyone USPF lifter I know of, you are considered a joke.

It was a very tough meet, like I've said I have only lifted full meets in the USPF and I STRUGGLED to get through this meet.
---
A winner says "I'm good, but not as good as I ought to be;" a loser says "I'm not as bad as a lot of other people".

www.wildirongym.com

To reiterate my comments from the discussion of the USPF Nationals, my view is that the judging was strict but did not appear prejudicial. There was some political strife present at the meet, but I think it is a mistake to think that this necessarily resulted in funky judging. I did not love the strictness on the bench, because I think some of the rules they were enforcing are sort of petty - but they are the rules! And if we don't like them, we need to roll up our sleeves & change them, even if that takes a long time. I encourage everyone to remember that its the lifters who make the meets, that sometimes it takes a while for an organization to come together, & that almost everyone who refs is trying his or her damnedest to be fair.

NO, California judges were not used except Gordan Santee was used Saturday for a bit (on 1 platform) for bench. Scott Laymen was used a flight or two also. they used CA judges sunday for bench only and DL only. Denison had got new shirts for some of the judges and Jeffries used this a reason to exclude Ca judges. IN reality they wanted to make an example of people from CA. True that there was no preferential treatment (other then maybe Karebels benches being called off chest while others called for belly benching the same way).

Executive board passed more defined rules to take effect today regarding chest definition. Basically its the nipples? I am NOT a belly bencher, but without a shirt I can not touch nipples when benching. Will be interesting to see who shows up next year. Also Nationals in Rhode Island next year (over Chicago!), maybe they will get 11 open lifters like last year!

Lastly CA counts for roughly half the USPF membership, yet Jeffries and Isabell seem to run USPF with no regard for CA. Steve Denison needs to make a change! People lift because of Steve!

Gratton wrote:
Big Daddy!

Who else has the nuts to lift anywhere?You are a true inspiration:)

I don't see any of those prima USAPL donna looking for the best competition haha

thanks I'll make some adjustments to my bench and see what happens.

burned westcoast wrote:
NO, California judges were not used except Gordan Santee was used Saturday for a bit (on 1 platform) for bench. Scott Laymen was used a flight or two also. they used CA judges sunday for bench only and DL only. Denison had got new shirts for some of the judges and Jeffries used this a reason to exclude Ca judges. IN reality they wanted to make an example of people from CA. True that there was no preferential treatment (other then maybe Karebels benches being called off chest while others called for belly benching the same way).

Executive board passed more defined rules to take effect today regarding chest definition. Basically its the nipples? I am NOT a belly bencher, but without a shirt I can not touch nipples when benching. Will be interesting to see who shows up next year. Also Nationals in Rhode Island next year (over Chicago!), maybe they will get 11 open lifters like last year!

Lastly CA counts for roughly half the USPF membership, yet Jeffries and Isabell seem to run USPF with no regard for CA. Steve Denison needs to make a change! People lift because of Steve!

Let me correct you here. There were several USPF California judges used throughout Saturday's lifting. Beside Gordon Santee you had Ron Scott, Kevin Meskew, Jim Merlino, Gretchen Buerki, Scott Layman, Karen Matthews, and Pete Wilson. You also had Joe Dentice from Nevada and Micki Scheffler from Texas. Many times there were 1 and sometime 2 Calif refs on the platform depending on the various flights. There were 6 flights on each day with two platforms. The new white polo referee shirts were approved by the EC. Dave Jeffreys did not use this against Calif refs. We had to wait for approval. They were allowed to use the new shirts on Saturday and Sunday.

WPF rules take effect on January 1 for all future National meets. There is currently no definition of the chest in the WPF rulebook. We will use WPF rules in Calif after January 1.

The USPF will be fine. I've been involved with the USPF since 1984 and I'm not going anywhere. There have been things I don't like and people have ticked me off but the USPF is my home and will be till the day I die. I have submitted many agenda items over the years. Some I win and some I lose. Nature of the game. Things will be better now that we are adopting the WPF rules at all of our National meet and have the option at the local level which I will implement on Jan 1 for all Calif meets. Next year's nationals in Rhode Island will be fine. But of course if someone is still bothered by some of the turmoil and wants some smooth water somewhere else. Go for it. Hope you find it.

Overall I felt it was a tightly called, fair meet. There were a larger number of referees than usual as it should be for a meet of this size. This could account for some perceived differences as all referees are individuals, but I felt all were within the rules, as currently written.

Yes, the bench was being called tightly, though most of the red lights I saw had nothing to do with bar placement. They were watching closely of foot movement, hips off bench, foot placement, etc... all the details that are sometimes overlooked. As others have said. This was a National level meet. Remember guys, the current USPF rules do not state you can bring the bar down anywhere you want, it just does not clearly define the "chest". I know that I'll have to watch myself on the tighter definition of the new ruling, but lets be honest. The region of the belly button is not generally considered the chest...LOL. I did not see all the red lights for bar placement, but the ones I did where definitely low by the current rules..not the new one only.

I'm not going to buy into the east coast - west coast conspiracy theory either. Any internal strife within the EC was kept there. The referees worked hard to create a fair meet for the lifters. My personal appreciation to them all.

Robert Harris
Las Vegas, NV

Robert Harris
Las Vegas, NV

Time to work on making some adjustments to my bench.
Hopefully I'll do better at worlds.

I was there I saw the judging was inconsistent at best. But as Thad told me you have to be a true Professional Like Lance Karibell, He mad the proper adjustments on the Bench press and mad his lifts.

I think its Crazy to change the way we have been calling bench pressing the day before the meet. I was not affected by the ruling I competed in the bench only on Sunday, got my lifts, but I have shorter arms, so I cant belly bench.

Steve Denision is a Great Guy, has done a great job in the USPF the 7 months I have been Power lifting for.

Fact: More than 50% of the USPF Members are from CA.

I lifted on Saturday on the red platform. I knew that with Scott Layman and Jim Merlino on the sides and Karen Matthews at the head, my squats were gonna have to be deep. Not ass to calves, but my hip crease had sure as hell be below the knee. No surprise to me since they have judged my lifts before and red lighted me for sketchy lifts. Same with the benches, but I had the advantage of having teammates lifting on Friday to let me know that touching too low was going to be a red. I touched higher and had no problems, except for blowing the left arm off my F6. I've lifted in the USPF since '94 and the judging hasn't changed. It's the same strictly judged single ply fed it's always been.

Dave Muro

Its sucked that I got called into work.
I was looking forward to this event.

Hey Priest to bad you had to go to work.It was alot of fun and a great meet.Some cry babies but you get some of them at all the meets.They seem to make the most noise,Speaking of babies how is yours coming along. Anyway we all miss you and Dawn here in California can't wait until you guys return.See ya later bro

Glenn Bagget said what he said so what half the people who make comments on this site don't put there names on what they have to say so I respect his opinion. I think the jugjes did fine I smoked my opener 3 times cause I belly benched and missed a command the 242 class all fought to stay in the meet. Glenn was the unlucky one who beat himself as we all did a few times. I know one thing he is a strong as a mother@#$% and will be back again. We all need to work on our game now we know what to expect.But its stupid to sit and bash a fellow lifter cause he spoke his mind. Glenn you know what you got to do now so get to work .

I wished i was there. I hit some training prs and was looking forward to this big event.

She is due next month. Good times.

I will be there next month at scots meet(multiply) then the Olympia(single ply). call me.

There are always going to be people who arent happy with judging or theyre performance. It happens. All I can say is try to adjust.
And give everything on the platform.

How did yall do?

Glenn Bagget said what he said so what half the people who make comments on this site don't put there names on what they have to say so I respect his opinion. I think the jugjes did fine I smoked my opener 3 times cause I belly benched and missed a command the 242 class all fought to stay in the meet. Glenn was the unlucky one who beat himself as we all did a few times. I know one thing he is a strong as a mother@#$% and will be back again. We all need to work on our game now we know what to expect.But its stupid to sit and bash a fellow lifter cause he spoke his mind. Glenn you know what you got to do now so get to work .

Judging will never be perfect all the time. Its a hard job no doubt. But it was very flawed this past weekend.

Glenn Baggett wrote:
Yes I will admit that there is always some frustration in bombing, and yes according to the rules imposed, my lifts were sloppy. Not from not pressing the weight, no other infractions just a difference of 1/2" on where I touched. We all train to get it right, I never trained to belly bench at this meet, I went by the rule book and the current videos of passed benches to adjust my training. My frustration came from watching the same bench passed on other platforms. I have been known to get upset but then when I think about it cool off and become open to more discussion, but the representatives from RI were assholes and this is not something I have changed my mind on!

I enjoyed the experience and want to see the USPF grow, as it is another place to test yourself and with good standardized rules, but I have to say that there were issues that I felt were wrong. Some USPF refs/committee members made me feel like an inmate and I'm not the only one. Was I targeted for discrimination, I don't think so, but I saw how others were treated and watched, this is not right at any level. Tim, you even made a comment on another board that Bell should be watched as he was a questionable lifter, is this the right attitude to have for someone who's team put this fed back on the map?

The USPF lifters were like family to me and opened their arms and welcomed me in, this is powerlifting at it's best. I got to meet great people and some I had hoped to meet as I look up to their lifting. Ed Coan was an awesome guy and someone I was waiting to meet, I have even more respect for him now as a person as he took his time to help me out, he was busy but made time for others. This is powerlifting at it's best!

In closing on this subject, I feel that the bench rule is right for this federation but the enforcement of the rules was not seen in the past year in any video coming out of the USPF meets. I use video to learn as the rules are always subjective to who enforces them in any federation. I look forward to trying again and getting it right, I hope that what we get from my questioning of this rules enforcement is consistency. We did this in the multi-ply feds about squat depth and we are now moving in the right direction. I hope that dialogue is allowed and not seen in the same light as in the "Nazi" fed of the world, that would be a shame for a fed on the brink of really making an impact again and not just being a side note.

Glenn…I respect you and all lifters who will speak their mind and post their names and who do not hide behind “anonymous” on forum. Some of my statements will be direct at your comments and others will be directed to the forum as a whole. First off, I do not appreciate being called an asshole. I am USPF official who follows the rules to the letter and nothing else. So if you or any other lifter cannot lift by a strict standard of the rules, than you should not be lifting at a USPF National level. I pride myself on being a strict judge, not a lifter friendly judge. If I as a lift, like this weekend, have to be judge and follow the rules to the letter, than I expect all lifters to be judged in the same manner that I lift by, and follow the rules. However, lately there have been a number of issues with judges and meet officials not doing their jobs correctly and/or consistently in following the letter of the rules. This in itself has caused even more confusion and frustration for lifters than anything. When lifters are being allowed to lift in the USPF by a set of rules other than what is the correct rules, that is a probable.

For instances…when I was in all the rules meetings, twice as an official and once as a lifter, a number of CA lifters were extremely confused when it came to the BP commands because they were used to lifting in local meets with 3 commands….start, press, rack. However that is not the rule and never has been the rule. The same thing with bar placement. The rule has always read “place the bar on the chest” …not the bell. It has been that way for years. With the new rule change, all we did was clarify the location for it always seems to be a huge question for lifter and many loosely interrupt it. Also to help get more consistent judge at meets. The rule was changed, not by just the EC committee, but unanimously by the whole National Committee, Steve Denison included. We all thought it needed clarification and that is why it was passed. No one objected to it or disagreed with the need for it.

To give you even more insight to the weekend, all USPF officials had a meeting before the Nationals started and we all were directed to judge this meet strictly by the rules, period, for this is our Nationals and a World qualifier. No one was targeted, no one was singled out. To be honest, I do not know the majority of the names of most of the lifter or who they are unless I am introduced to them, so how can I single anyone out. I do not know who lifts single ply, multi-ply, etc, and could really care less, but when you lift USPF, I expect you to lift by it rules. If you bench to you bell in other federations and than come to the USPF, I expect you to bench to your chest. Know the rule of the fed you are lifting in and follow them, simple. As far as checking people equipment, we were told in the officials meeting to do so if we saw something improper. Believe it or not, the only time other official’s or I check into anything is when it was brought to our attention by other lifters. I repeat other lifter. So the lifters were policing themselves.

In closing, I will agree whole heartily that bench judging has always been inconsistent. That is one of the reasons for the bench rule clarification. We as officials have to do a better job of work off the same page and become more consistent as a group, and I think we will get there. Plus the fact of going specifically to WPF rule for all Nationals as of Jan 1, 2010, will also eliminate a lot of confusion.

Priest: Clay and myself are going to the worlds.Now Mary on the other hand made and broke World records and American records in powerlifting,single bench and deadlift I am never going to live this down.At the AAPF nationals i made two world records this year i ask her hey what happend to you,She said hey i won,I said yes but no World records.Then two weeks ago AAU Nationals we both got the same amount of records,This week she Kicked the shit out of me,After almost 32yrs with her you would think i would know when to keep my mouth closed.

I am glad the judges were strict it showed me I need to work on the basics. The problem is our state meets need to be tighter to prepare us for nationals. Glenn Bagget said what he said out of emotion wich we all do at times. I would be disapointed if he did not compete in the u.s.p.f.
again. We need good lifters we all just got to learn the rules and apply them. Glenn could total 2200 or more in the u.s.p.f he has what it takes to dominate we all just got to get the little things right.

Why does USPF need to clarify were the chest is? That should be up to people with the proper learnings, lika a doktor. And doktors dont agree with you "new chest".

If you want to make big guys not belly bench it is only fair that you make small guys bench low, so you are fucking things up for everybody not just the big guys.

Chris Pappillion wrote:
I am glad the judges were strict it showed me I need to work on the basics. The problem is our state meets need to be tighter to prepare us for nationals. Glenn Bagget said what he said out of emotion wich we all do at times. I would be disapointed if he did not compete in the u.s.p.f.
again. We need good lifters we all just got to learn the rules and apply them. Glenn could total 2200 or more in the u.s.p.f he has what it takes to dominate we all just got to get the little things right.

Agreed, the rules in non-nats meets should be the same as at nats so there is no confusion. Glenn seemed like a great guy too.

Chris check your facebook brother.

When will a uspf/wpf rule book be issued for the lifters??

Anonymous wrote:
Why does USPF need to clarify were the chest is? That should be up to people with the proper learnings, lika a doktor. And doktors dont agree with you "new chest".

If you want to make big guys not belly bench it is only fair that you make small guys bench low, so you are fucking things up for everybody not just the big guys.

It has always been a question or issue for lifter wanting to know where the bar needs to be placed on their chest, plus the “belly benching” situation in the USPF is getting a little out of hand, so the 40 plus people in the National Committee meeting unanimously vote to clarify that rule to eliminate any question on actually where the bar can be placed on the chest, not the belly. We also do not need to be a doctor to define what the chest is. Just look it up in any dictionary or medical textbook and it will tell you. The chest is defined as the area between the neck and abdomen (pectoral/sternum line), so as it is now defined in the USPF rules.

Ted J. Isabella wrote:

It has always been a question or issue for lifter wanting to know where the bar needs to be placed on their chest, plus the “belly benching” situation in the USPF is getting a little out of hand, so the 40 plus people in the National Committee meeting unanimously vote to clarify that rule to eliminate any question on actually where the bar can be placed on the chest, not the belly. We also do not need to be a doctor to define what the chest is. Just look it up in any dictionary or medical textbook and it will tell you. The chest is defined as the area between the neck and abdomen (pectoral/sternum line), so as it is now defined in the USPF rules.

"The part of the body between the neck and the abdomen, enclosed by the ribs and the breastbone; the thorax."
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

"the part of the body enclosed by the ribs and sternum "
Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary, © 2002 Merriam-Webster, Inc.

"chest (chěst)
n.
The part of the body between the neck and the abdomen, enclosed by the ribs and the breastbone; thorax."
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary

The pectoral/sternum line is at the 6th or 7th rib, the breastbone/sternum extends beyond the 8th rib.

so no, that's not what a dictionary says is the chest.

Chris Pappillion wrote:
Glenn Bagget said what he said so what half the people who make comments on this site don't put there names on what they have to say so I respect his opinion. I think the jugjes did fine I smoked my opener 3 times cause I belly benched and missed a command the 242 class all fought to stay in the meet. Glenn was the unlucky one who beat himself as we all did a few times. I know one thing he is a strong as a mother@#$% and will be back again. We all need to work on our game now we know what to expect.But its stupid to sit and bash a fellow lifter cause he spoke his mind. Glenn you know what you got to do now so get to work .

I appreciate any meet that has 3 judges to verify weather a bench is good or not. One could bench at an SLP where there are no judges, just a guy 10 feet away behind a table that can’t see if the bar touches or that their butt is 2 feet of the bench. And these lifts count toward the Top 100!! WOW. Maybe we should get Congress involved to set one standard rules for all of power lifting. LOL