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  • Writer's pictureNorth Shore Barbell

How To Qualify For the National Powerlifting Championships

Updated: Mar 6, 2021

With the New Zealand Powerlifting Federation (NZPF) calendar being turn upside down due to 7 weeks of country-wide lockdowns, a lot of lifters are left scratching their heads when it comes to qualifying for the National Classic (Raw) Championships.

There are two pre-requisites to qualify for nationals:

  • Compete at your relevant regional or island championships

  • Exceed the nationals qualifying total in competition in the 12 months before nationals (Exact details further down the page)

This year with the North & South Island Championships being canceled lifters must compete at regionals as a pre-requisite for nationals qualification.

Aside from the above, here are the steps you need to take to qualify for the New Zealand National Powerlifting Championships:


1. Make sure the NZPF/IPF is right for you:

Most obviously, if you used steroids, the NZPF is not for you as it is a drug tested and drug-free powerlifting federation. As an aside you should check that you're pre-workout and other supplements don't contain any banned substances. We wrote an article on this that you can find here.

Other considerations:

  • "Raw" powerlifting in the NZPF does not allow the use of knee wraps

  • The NZPF uses a stiff barbell (Usually Eleiko) for all 3 power lifts

  • Weigh-ins take place 2 hours before lifting commences

If you're drug-free and are ok with the above, then the NZPF is probably the place you'll want to compete!


2. Sign up with your local NZPF affiliate:

As previously mentioned, you have to compete at the regional championships in order to be allowed to compete at nationals. The region relevant to you is based on where you live in New Zealand:

Things you'll need:

  • Proof of identity

  • An emergency contact


3. Sign up for the regional championships:

Once you've paid for your annual registration with your local NZPF affiliate, you can sign up for the competition relevant to you.

Sign up here:

Things you'll need to know:

  • Your weight class

  • Your age class

  • Your best lifts in competition (if you've competed before)

Pro tip: the competition schedule is fluid, so make sure you're free for the entire competition so you don't have to pull out last minute.


4. Make sure you've got the right equipment:

When competing at regionals or above, you need to ear a soft suit (Wrestling singlet) at least. There are a number of optional extras that most lifters choose to wear, however:

  • Knee sleeves

  • Wrist wraps

  • Powerlifting belt

  • Specialised footwear such as squat shoes and deadlift slippers

When competing in an IPF or NZPF competition, only certain brands and products are certified. So make sure whatever you're purchasing is on the approved list.

Pro tip: If you like the look of A7 gear, you can use our discount code at - "NSBB"


5. Lift at the regional championships:

But don't just lift:

  • Make weight. If you don't make weight in your nominated weight class, you lift as a guest (Not part of the competition)

  • Hit the nationals qualifying total for your age & weight class

NZPF Raw 3-lift Nationals qualifying totals (kg's)


Other things to consider:


Some lifters may be wondering whether they can get a dispensation, allowing them to miss regionals, as they may have not been able to train for a few months while locked up in their homes.

In short, unless you have an illness, injury, or a legitimately valid excuse you will still be required to compete.

Changing of age class:

In short, age classes don't matter when qualifying, and any individual can choose to lift as an open age class lifter at regionals and not have it affect qualifying for nationals in their appropriate age class.


20-year-old, 66kg lifter

Lifter competes at the Auckland Championships in the open age class because there's more competition. This lifter can still lift in the junior 66kg class at nationals.

The same is true for the opposite. Provided the lifter hits the qualifying totals, they can lift as a junior at their regional championships and as an open lifter at the national championships.

Changing of weight class:

The only way you can compete in a different weight class from what you compete in at regionals is if you've done another NZPF meet in the past 12 months.

You can only lift in a class you've lifted in during a competition and also hit the nationals qualifying total.


25-year-old male lifter

Lifter competes at Auckland Cup in November 2019 and totals 505kg at 82.2kg bodyweight (83kg class)

Lifter competes at Auckland Championships in July 2020 and totals 522.5kg at 87.1kg bodyweight (93kg) class

Lifter competes at National Championships in October 2020 in the 83kg class

In the above scenario, the lifter hit a qualifying total in both the 83 & 93kg classes, allowing them to compete at the national championships in either class.

Flexible dates:

The NZPF executive committee has announced that this year they'll allow lifters to lift in regions that aren't their own to qualify for nationals if the dates don't work for them.

I.E An Auckland based lifter can lift at the Wellingt & Central championships to qualify.


NZ Nationals is awesome for a number of reasons (Not just the after-party) and we reckon that 2020 is probably going to be the biggest yet, with well over 200 lifters and some fierce head-to-head competition.

This will be the 4th year that a North Shore Barbell crew has been in attendance and we can't wait to see everyone!


After some new Powerlifting Gear and live in Australia or New Zealand?

Head to and use the code NSBB2021 for 10% off A7 Equipment

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