Are You Giving Back?

Written by Ivy Knight

We all talk about the fact that the sport of competitive powerlifting is male dominated but are what can we do about that? If anything at all? We can’t say for sure, but nothing happens without action. So how can you give back. Show up and be force for change in the sport.


Refs/Judges- Most federations have a pretty lengthy process to become a referee.

What’s the process?

Most federations require that a prospective referee must be a part of the federation for a certain amount of time.

Then they must do a written test, which if you’re past college, all tests are hard lol.

Then they must go through a hands-on, in-meet, practical where they are required to make calls as a referee while a more seasoned referee critiques their calls. Many time, they will correct them on the spot.

Referees are required to judge a specific amount of meets a year to be considered a referee. They also must do a specific number of gear-checks, computers time, control the score cards and other jobs, as well as take an additional written test before they can move up from State to National and National to International. Each test gets harder.

These referees dedicate their time and energy to make sure that the sport is held to a certain standard. A good referee judges lifts, not follower counts, or your personality and lifestyle. They give their time, energy, brain space to make sure that the meets run smoothly and that the sport continues to thrive.


Probably one of the most difficult jobs at meets but someone has to do it!

It’s been said that women shouldn’t spot but many women have proven that to be a myth. Just check out the work being done by The Full Send Initiative. They’re training anyone who wants to learn to properly spot lifters, no matter the load.

Support Staff

What is support staff?

In some feds, support staff that run computers, score cards and expediting must have some sort of certification. If this sounds like your jam, ask your state chair what you have to do to get certified.

But not all the support staff has to be certified. Meet Directors need people to handle entry, help with organizing, set up and break down… so many things! And all you have to do is ask!



There are brands that give back to the sport by sponsoring meets, paying for their athletes meet fees and creating products according to rules books and the specs of most federations. These things aren’t free. They use profits from sales to make this happen.

Where are you buying your gear from?

If it’s not from a company who sets up booths at meets, who show up for the sport how will the sport grow? 

We can also learn a ton from pages like the Main Event Project who made it their mission to create change for female lifters in powerlifting by making sure that we’re seen as a part of the Main Event not just the side show. And they are for sure making noise! Not only have they expanded weight classes for women in almost all the federations donations and sales go to sponsoring meets around the country, covering fees for athletes and they are continuing to come up with ways to help women and the sport to continue to grow.


At the very least, you can show up to meets in your area. Pay the admission fee and cheer on all the lifters.

Showing up and making even one special by yelling their name can make a difference.

If you only go to meets as a lifter, you’re missing out. Watching meets not only motivates you but it helps the meet directors be able to put on more meets and seeing a full audience encourages the lifters.

There are so many ways to give back to the sport! Where do you fit in? Without giving back we won't have a sport to be a part of.


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