USAPL Meet Commands


One of my clients is having her first USAPL meet in a few weeks, so I wanted to put some content out aimed at getting first-time competitive lifters comfortable with competition calls.

Take a look at the video and outline below to learn how to get all the white lights in your next meet!


Squat Commands

Start Command: You will receive the “Start” command when you walk the bar out and your knees are locked.

Rack Command: You will receive the “Rack” command when you complete the lift and your knees are locked out before the spotters help you put the bar back into the rack.

Reasons for red lights or no-lift: 

  • Moving your feet after the “Start” command and before the “Rack” command
  • Not going below depth – Crease of hip must be below the top of the knee
  • Double-bouncing or double-effort – The lift must be one continuous movement
  • Missing the commands – Do not start the descent until you receive the “Squat” command. Likewise, do not rack the bar before you receive the “Rack” command
  • Dumping the bar: If you feel like you can’t stand up with the bar, the spotters will assist you. Never dump the bar off your back. That is a huge safety risk and could result in you being removed from competition.


Bench Commands: 

Start Command: You will receive the “Start” command when the bar is un-racked and you are holding the bar with elbows locked out.

Press Command: When the bar is fully lowered to the chest and is paused motionless you will receive the “Press” command

Rack Command: When the lift is completed and the arms are fully locked out, you will receive the “Rack” command

Reasons for red lights or no-lift: 

  • Not listening to commands – Starting the lift before the “Start” command or racking the weight before the “Rack” command, or missing the “Press” command, or pressing too early
  • Feet do not remain flat on the floor for the entirety of the lift, or head or rear do not remain on bench.
  • Double-movement: If the whole of the bar dips and is not one continuous movement. Please note that there can be an “uneven” lockout where one arm locks out before the other, however, the entire bar may not move downward after the press.

Deadlift Commands

Bar Is Loaded: The head judge will announce “Bar Is Loaded” when it is time for you to step onto the platform

Down: When the lift is completed, you will receive a “Down” command when you complete the lift

Reasons for red lights or no-lift: 

  • “Soft” lockout – Sholders not fully erect at the completion of the pull
  • Ramping: Using your quads to support the weight during your pull
  • Hitching: Double-movement caused by re-bending the knees
  • Dropping the bar – Don’t drop the bar. Make sure your hands remain on the bar until it is motionless on the ground and control the bar as you bring it to the floor.
  • Missing commands: Lowering the bar before the “Down” command

Leave a Reply

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: