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Equipment for the Squat

This is an excerpt from Powerlifting by Dan Austin & Bryan Mann.

As a powerlifter, you must become familiar with the equipment and rules for the organization in which you lift. If you are planning to lift in more than one organization, make sure you are familiar with each organization's rules because there is a good chance that there are differences.

The rules you are about to read apply to lifters who lift in the United States of America Powerlifting (USAPL). The following rules meet the guidelines associated with the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) and International World Games (IWG).

Lifting Suit

  • A full-length, one-piece lifting suit must be worn during competition.
  • The squat suit must be made of a single-ply stretch material without any patches or padding.
  • When attempting a squat, straps must be over the lifter's shoulders at all times.
  • The suit can be of any color or colors.
  • Squat suit seams and hems cannot exceed 3 centimeters (1.18 in) wide and 0.5 centimeters (0.19 in) thick.
  • Seams used for protection or strengthening may be a maximum of 2 centimeters (0.78 in) wide and 0.8 centimeters (0.31 in) thick.
  • The leg length of the suit may be cut a maximum of 15 centimeters (5.9 in) and a minimum of 3 centimeters (1.18 in). Measurements are taken from the crotch down the inside leg.


  • You are required to wear a shirt while performing the squat.
  • You can wear a T-shirt of any color or colors.
  • Your shirt cannot be made of rubberized or stretch material.
  • Your shirt cannot have pockets, buttons, zippers, collars, or a V-neck.
  • Your shirt cannot have reinforced seams.
  • The shirt must be made of cotton or polyester or a combination of the two.
  • Shirt sleeves cannot come past the elbows or over the top of the deltoids. Sleeves cannot be rolled up to the deltoids.
  • The T-shirt cannot be worn inside out.


  • When lifting on the platform, you must wear some type of footwear, either in a tennis shoe or boot form.
  • Shoes with cleats or spikes are not allowed.
  • The bottom of the shoe should be no higher than 5 centimeters (1.9 in).
  • The bottom of the shoe must be uniform on both sides.
  • You may wear sports shoes, sports boots, weightlifting or powerlifting boots, or deadlifting slippers with a patterned molding.


  • Socks must be clean.
  • Socks can be of any color or colors with a manufacturer's logo.
  • Socks cannot be so long that they come in contact with your knee wraps or cover your knees.
  • You may not wear full-leg stockings, tights, or hose.

Knee Wraps

  • Knee wraps keep the ligaments warm and help you out of the bottom of the squat.
  • Knee wraps cannot exceed 2 meters (78 in) in length and 8 centimeters (3.14 in) in width.
  • Knee wraps cannot extend beyond 15 centimeters (5.78 in) for a total of 30 centimeters (11.81 in) from the center of the knee joint.
  • Knee wraps cannot be in contact with your lifting suit or socks.

You can wrap your knees in one of two ways. You can start from the top or the bottom of your knee and work the wraps completely around the knee or you can wrap around your knee once, then crisscross the wrap around once and finish by working the wrap around your knee. Regardless of which option you choose, make sure the wraps are tight and you are comfortable with them. If you like your knees wrapped very tightly, it is better to have your coach or handler wrap them as he will be able to wrap your knees much tighter.

Wrist Wraps

  • Wrist wraps help keep the wrists stabilized.
  • Wrist wraps cannot exceed 1 meter (39 in) in length and 8 centimeters (3.14 in) in width.
  • A loop may be attached to the wraps for securing but cannot be worn over the thumb or fingers when lifting.
  • Wrist wraps with hook-and-loop patches or tabs for securing must be no more than 1 meter (39 in) long.
  • Wrist wraps cannot extend beyond 10 centimeters (3.9 in) above or 2 centimeters (0.78 in) below the center of your wrist, not totaling over 12 centimeters (4.72 in).
  • A standard commercial sweat band can be worn, provided it does not exceed 12 centimeters (4.72 in) in width.

Powerlifting Belt

  • A belt helps stabilize the torso and keep you upright during your lift.
  • The belt must be made of leather, suede, or other nonstretch material either glued or stitched together.
  • The belt cannot have extra padding, braces, or supports either on the surface or laminated in the belt.
  • The belt buckle can have one or two prongs or a quick release such as the lever belt.
  • On the outside of your belt, you can have your name, nation, state, or club.

The dimensions of your belt must not exceed the following:

  • Maximum width of the belt: 10 centimeters (3.9 in)
  • Maximum thickness of the belt: 13 centimeters (5.1 in)
  • Maximum belt buckle width inside: 11 centimeters (4.3 in)
  • Maximum belt buckle width outside: 13 centimeters (5.1 in)
  • Maximum width of the tongue loop: 5 centimeters (1.9 in)
  • Maximum length between the end of the belt and tongue loop: 15 centimeters (5.9 in)

If you are planning to lift in a USAPL sanctioned meet, expect to have all the lifting gear you will use in competition inspected.

More Excerpts From Powerlifting