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What is Strengthlifting?

Strength is defined as the ability to produce force against an external resistance. The squat, the press, and the deadlift are considered “Strengthlifts.”

How is Strengthlifting different from Powerlifting?

Other than correcting the nomenclature, Strengthlifting has made several important changes to the sport of squatting, pressing, and lifting heavy weights off the floor:


Determining a lifter’s weight class by conducting a “weigh-in” provides an incentive for competitors to perform dangerous and unnecessary weight-cutting activities in an effort to be heavier than their true weight-class during the competition.

Strengthlifting competitors instead “weigh-out” by stepping on the scale after competing. This ensures that the lifter’s actual weight during competition is captured to make comparisons amongst lifters in the same weight class as fair as possible.


In powerlifting events the lifter not only has to focus on perfect technical form and maximal force production, but must also listen to up to three separate commands from the judge.

In Strengthlifting, the standards of each lift are clearly communicated and it’s the competitor’s responsibility to perform the lifts to those standards. USSF judges do not participate or interfere with the lift to ensure that the competitor can focus all of their attention on the task at hand: moving the weight.

The lifts

What’s more impressive than moving a heavy weight is doing so over a significant range of motion. In the sport of Powerlifting, competitors may opt to use a high-arch and a wide grip on the bench press, and wide stance, hands inside the legs on the deadlift – altering the mechanics of the lifts and artificially shortening the range of motion. This may allow more weight to be placed on the bar, but are we really evaluating strength any longer?

Strengthlifting rules replace the bench press with the overhead press, a more spectator-friendly lift with significantly longer range of motion. Similarly, the conventional deadlift is used, meaning hands must be outside of legs during the pull, to ensure that all lifters are performing the lift with similar mechanics.

What are the General Rules?

  • The three competition lifts, as pictured above, are: the Squat, the Press, and the Deadlift
  • Competition takes place between lifters in categories as defined by sex, bodyweight, and age.
  • Each competitor is given three attempts for each lift. The summation of the best valid attempt for each  constituting a total.
  • The lifter with the highest total wins. The lifter with the highest number of points based on Wilks formula is the best lifter.
  • For a detailed rulset: click here.

USSF President: Jordan Stanton, RN, SSC, BLOC

USSF President Jordan Stanton acquired the organization in September 2018 to bring the sport of Strengthlifting to more competitive lifters around the world. As a competitor and administrator in both powerlifting and Strengthlifting events, Jordan is determined to make the USSF the most fair and accessible organization in the sport, and deliver events all around the country that are both exciting to watch and meaningful to compete in.

Outside of the USSF Jordan spends his time helping others get strong as the owner of Next Level Barbell in Portland, Oregon and as a Barbell Logic Online Coach.

Jordan’s best competitive lifts include 295 kg squat, 119 kg press, 210 kg bench press, and a 303 kg deadlift.