WHAT IS THE CPU?
The Canadian Powerlifting Union is a federally registered non-profit organization. It was formed in 1982, as the Canadian affiliate of the International Powerlifting Federation, to oversee and regulate all IPF style powerlifting in Canada.
HOW IS THE CPU ORGANIZED?
Currently, the CPU has affiliates in all provinces except New Brunswick (none in the Territories). Each provincial association governs it's own affairs, and sanctions local and provincial contests. The CPU sanctions the annual Regional and National Championships.
DOES THE CPU RECEIVE ANY GOVERNMENT FUNDING?
No. While the CPU does meet many of the requirements for sport funding, the one area where it falls short is membership levels. Normally, sport organizations must have over 5000 members nation wide to be funded, or be an IOC recognized sport. The IPF is working to get us into the Olympics, but until then, we have only our own resources. Some provincial affiliates have received funding from provincial sources, but this has been dwindling over the past years.
WHAT IS THE STANCE OF THE CPU ON PERFORMANCE ENHANCING DRUG USE?
Our mandate is to be DRUG FREE. Performance enhancing drugs are tested for in the CPU, both in-contest and out-of-contest, in accordance with the the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the same agency that the IOC (Olympics) use. At all CPU contests, there is the possibility that you will be drug tested, though testing does not actually occur at all contests. In short, a first offence violation for steroids or similar will result in a 2 year suspension, and loss of any existing records you may hold. A second offence will get a lifetime ban, and loss of all records again. See the Anti-Doping page for more details.
If you are called for a test, either at a contest or an out-of-contest test, and refuse to take the test, you will suffer the same penalties as if the test was a positive result.
HOW (and WHY) DO I JOIN?
CPU Memberships cards are sold online using ESportsDesk. Fees are set by each province, depending on any provincial funding received, and the needs of the local association. Look here for contact information for your province. Else look here for more information regarding memberships.
CPU Memberships are sold and active for one calendar year after you purchase it. If you purchase on November 1 2014, your card will be active until November 1, 2015. Do NOT wait until the day of a contest in November to join! By getting your membership early in the year, you get a full year of provincial newsletters if they exist, it supports your organization by giving them capital to provide services all year, and softens the blow of having to pay an entry fee and membership when you do compete.
HOW ARE THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS ORGANIZED?
The CPU nationals are broken up into the standard age divisions, Junior, Open, Master (1, 2 & 3) for Men and Women, in both 3 lift powerlifting, and single lift bench press. All of these events are held together in one location, typically between January 1st and March 6th of each year. The location changes each year, with bids to host the event being accepted at the CPU's annual executive meeting the year before.
HOW DO I GET TO LIFT IN NATIONAL AND WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS?
At the national level, you must lift in a previous contest with a total that meets or exceeds the qualifying total for your particular age and weight division within 2 years of that national contest. Starting in 2017 lifters must have regional experience(Centrals, Easterns or Westerns) prior to lifting at a National event. Additionally, many provinces will require that you participate in certain contests within your province.
To lift in a World Championships, you must lift in the corresponding national championships, and finish at least 3rd in your class. For a full detailing of the process, look to the CPU Constitution and Bylaws.
HOW CAN I MAKE MY VOICE HEARD?
All provincial and national executive council members are elected by normal democratic process, usually at annual membership meetings. Terms of office vary, four years for CPU council members. The CPU annual meeting is held the day before the national championships, in the city where it takes place. If you think something needs changing in the CPU, then voice your concern to your provincial leaders, who can then raise the issue at the national meeting.
I'D LIKE TO VOLUNTEER, WHERE DO I START?
All CPU members are encouraged to get involved. Any organization such as ours is only as strong as the members who are willing to work hard to keep it going and progressing. If a meet is coming up, and you are not lifting, contact the meet director or your provincial head, and volunteer to be a spotter or loader, work at the table, or whatever they need. You may find you enjoy it enough to want to become a referee, run meets yourself, or run for provincial or national office. It's a lot of fun, and you don't have to train so hard for it!
WHERE DO I GET ENTRY FORMS?
Entry forms for most local contests get posted here on the CPU website. Check your local organizations website, or by contacting your local provincial president.
WHAT HAPPENS AT A CONTEST?
A lot of new lifters comment they had no real idea of what to expect at their first contest.
Here is a brief rundown of what to expect. We will assume a contest of about 20 lifters.
1) The Weigh-In
- The contest entry form will specify the time of the weigh-in. At some time prior to the weigh-in, the officials drew your name from a hat, and assigned you a random "lot number". Lifters are weighed in by order of their lot number, with your name called when it is your turn. The weigh-in officials will determine a few items:
- What weight class you will be in, by your body weight. (see below for information about the weight classes). Possibly also the age group, if applicable for the contest.
- You will also be expected to provide your opening lifts for the Squat, the Bench and the Deadlift. These numbers must be in kilos! Please have these ready beforehand, so you don't slow things down by trying to find a calculator.
- You will usually be asked for your "rack heights". Sometime before the weigh-in, find the competition squat racks and bench if it is adjustable. The adjustment positions will be numbered. If you are 5'2", you'll have a hard time following a lifter that is 6'4" unless they know where to set the rack.
- You will be asked to show your CPU membership card, here and/or at the Equipment check, to prove your membership is valid.
- You will also be asked to show your True Sport Certificate, here and/or at the Equipment check along with government issued picture ID.
- Weigh-in's last 90 minutes, and the contest starts 30 minutes after that. In other words, 2 hours after the start of the weigh-in.
2) Equipment Check
- EVERY single item that you wear when you compete must meet the CPU/IPF technical standards, as defined in the Rules. This includes, suits, wraps, shirts, socks, underwear, shoes, and belts. The equipment check is usually combined with the weigh-in in some fashion, shortly before or after, sometimes by the weigh-in officials, sometimes by other officials if available.
- They also may check your membership card, True Sport Certificate and picture ID at equipment check.
3) The Contest
- During the weigh-in, you submitted your opening lifts. The squat comes first, so the officials will arrange the lifter cards in order, so that the lifter with the lightest squat will go first. The next heaviest requested weight goes next, and so on. The names will be called by the announcer, like "John A is up, he will be followed by Joe B, and Tom C" and so on, as the lifters go. Once all lifters have done their first lift, they start over with their second attempt squats. So you're thinking "but how do they know what I want for my second lift?" During the weigh-in, you may have been given a small stack of "attempt cards". Here is how they work: as soon as you are done your first lift, you have (according to the rules) one minute to fill out one of these cars with your requested amount for your second (or third) lift and turn it in to the score table.
- Once everyone has done their three rounds of squats, the process is repeated for the Bench Press, and again for the Deadlift.
- Remember earlier I said we would assume a contest of 20 lifters? The rules state that if there are more than 14 lifters, they must be broken up into groups. The reason is simple, to avoid too long breaks between lift attempts. So, or group of 20 would be divided up, probably according to weight classes, usually the lighter lifters in the first group, and the heavier in the second. The first group would do their 3 rounds of squats first, and then the second group would do their squats.
- One advantage of this is that while the second group is doing their squats, the first group can be warming up their bench press. Similarly after the bench, the first group warms up for deadlifts while the second group benches. This reduces the time between the lifts and speeds up the contest.
SO WHO WINS?
In simplest terms, whoever lifts the most is the winner. But since the lifters are always broken into weight classes, and often into age groups, it is a good idea to find out beforehand who you are competing against directly.
HOW DO THE WEIGHT CLASSES WORK?
There are 8 weight classes (Junior and Sub-Junior ages have one more at the lighter end of the scale). Look to the IPF Rules or the national qualifying standards page to see them listed. Find out what range you fall into, and look to the higher number. For example, if you weigh 81.3 kilos, you fall into the range between 74 and 83, so you are in the 83 kg class.
HOW DO THE AGE GROUPS WORK?
Many contests feature competitions for lifters of similar ages, reasoning that someone who is 57 years old should not be compared to someone in their 20's. To this end, PL has been broken up into Sun-Junior: 14 to 18 years, Junior: 18 to 23 years, Master, with breaks every 10 years starting at 40, up to 60 plus. If you don't fall into these groups, because you are between 23 and 40, you are classed as "Open". Actually, lifters of any age can enter into the Open category if they wish.
Age categories all change on the start of the calendar year, not birth dates. For example, Master 1 starts on Jan 1 of the year you turn 40, regardless of your actual birth date.
DOES THE CPU TEST FOR DRUGS AT CONTESTS?
Yes, performance enhancing drugs are tested for in the CPU, in accordance with the the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the same agency that the IOC (Olympics) use. At all CPU contests, there is the possibility that you will be drug tested, though testing does not actually occur at all contests. In short, a first offence violation for steroids or similar will result in a 2 year suspension, and loss of any existing records you may hold. A second offence will get a lifetime ban, and loss of all records again. See the Anti-Doping page for more details.
HOW DO I GET MY NATIONAL RECORD LISTED?
If you have broken or set a national record at a contest, in order to claim the record, a record application must be completed. There are simply too many age and weight categories for the CPU to know that a record lift has happened at every event, so we rely on the lifters to inform us. This can be done by clicking here. This must be done within 7 days of the record lift.
Whether at the Provincial, Regional, National or even World Championship level, the basic routine is the same.
Show up for your weigh-in/equipment check and wait for your name to be called.
Start warming up about 1/2 hour before your session, and wait for your name to be called to lift.
Be sure to get your lift and next attempts in within the one minute allowed.
Follow the routine of the contest as it progresses, and HAVE FUN!
FAQ GETTINGS STARTEd:
HOW DO I TRAIN FOR POWERLIFTING?
This is like asking... How high is the sky? There are too many possible answers. In general, your training will center around the big three lifts, the squat, the bench press, and the deadlift, and supplemental exercises that will assist them. Look for exercises that use multiple muscle groups and joints. Like close grip benches rather than tricep extensions. Squats rather than leg extensions. Rows rather than bicep curls.
There are many philosophies of training out there, so try them all, but work most at finding the one that works best for you. Look to the CPU Links page for some good places to start, or the CPU Training forum.
WHERE DO I TRAIN?
Powerlifters tend to be treated with disdain by many gym owners. We make too much noise, drop the weights and wreck their floors, mess the place up with chalk, and intimidate the "general fitness" crowd. It's a gym for god's sake! Not a living room! Even if none of these items are true, they still think this. So if you find a gym that is PL friendly, try to keep these behaviours to a minimum, and work at inspiring the spandex crowd, not scaring them. You might need them to spot you one day.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO START?
Find a coach or mentor! Someone in your area that has been into PL for a while, has been in a number of contests and knows the ropes. But give him the respect he deserves. He's probably giving up his own time, or rearranging his own workout routines to help you. A good mentor can be invaluable. Nothing is worse than getting to your first contest and finding out that those bodybuilder types who told you that your squats were "super deep" really meant "a mile high".
WILL I GET INJURED BY HEAVY WEIGHTS?
I'm not going to say that injuries don't happen, but they are less common than most people think. Our bodies are capable of great feats, as long as it is done correctly. A coach will teach you the right way, and you should never suffer serious injury beyond the "aches and pains" type. Sore muscles are good!
HOW MUCH SHOULD I BE LIFTING BEFORE I ENTER A CONTEST?
If you can lift the bar itself, you are ready! That might be a simplification, but any lifter with more than one contest under his belt will tell you that the first contest is more about learning how the meets flow, how it is to lift without mirrors, with judges telling you what to do, and judging yours lifts. There is no way to get that experience in training. Don't worry about how much you are lifting, because NO ONE else will be. We've all been there. After a few contests, you will be able to relax and think about the weights. Not the first time!