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Raw Powerlifting is a type of competitive weightlifting that involves lifting a large amount of weight. Although few rules are associated with technique or precision in this sport, a lifter must meet specific requirements in connection with body size and the amount of weight lifted. Unlike traditional powerlifting, raw powerlifting maintains strict guidelines regarding tools and accessories competitors may use during competition.
In raw powerlifting events, competitors are not allowed to don any special clothing or use any of the other aids that are common in traditional powerlifting competitions. Although the competitions are similar in scope, traditional powerlifting allows for the use of gloves, body oil, weightlifting suits, wraps to stabilize the knees or supplements to increase a participant's strength. Raw powerlifting does not allow any of these.
Raw powerlifting competitions involve three separate events. During the squat, competitors hold barbell weights at shoulder height and bend at the knees, while bearing the weight in the glute and quadriceps muscles. For the bench press, participants lie on a weight bench to lift a weighted barbell. The bench press focuses on the strength of the triceps and deltoids. The deadlift event works many muscles in the body, and requires the individual to squat down, lift a weight bar, and return to a standing position with the bar stretched above the head.
Raw powerlifting is separated into different classifications depending on gender, body weight, and total weight lifted. There are six classification standards ranging from Class IV to Elite. Individuals are primarily classified according to their own body weight, from 97 to over 198 pounds for females and from 114 to more than 275 pounds for men. Based on their weight class, the competitor is ranked depending on how much they can lift. As per the Raw Powerlifting Federation's revised 2012 chart, a female in the 97 pound weight class, who lifts at least 289 pounds, is considered a Class IV lifter. If she lifts at least 535 pounds, she is classified as Elite. A man in the 114 pound weight class must lift at least 443 pounds to rank Class IV, while he must lift at least 805 pounds to achieve Elite ranking.
A number of different organizations promote Raw Powerlifting across the globe, such as Raw Powerlifting Canada, Powerlifting Australia, Raw Powerlifting Federation, and USA Powerlifting. Although the elements of raw powerlifting are similar everywhere, each organization may differ in its interpretation of raw powerlifting rules and guidelines. Competitors should review the rules of the organization before enrolling in competition.