The two rule changes below were voted on at the 2022 National Governing Board (NGB) meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada on June 13. As per organizational policy, any new rule changes approved by the NGB go into effect the Monday after the NGB meeting. These two rule changes have been added to the rulebook and appear in Addendum 2 (p. 72) of the currently published USA Powerlifting rulebook (Version 2022.2).
1. Bench Press Rule Regarding the Head
The head does not need to be in contact with the surface of the bench. There is no requirement regarding how the lifter may wear their hair while performing the bench press.
Interpretation: At no point during the lift does the head need to be on the bench. Raising the head off of the bench is not a cause for failure of the lift. The head can be off of the bench the whole time, the head can be on the bench the whole time, or the head can move between positions of being in contact with the bench and being raised off of the bench during the performance of the lift. Lifters may wear their hair in any style they want including in ways that hide or obscure the back of their head while performing the bench press.
2. Belt Specifications
The only requirement/specification for the lifting belt is that it be no wider than 10cm at its widest point. This does not include the buckle which may be wider than 10cm.
Interpretation: Any lifting belt that is not wider than 10cm at its widest point (excluding the buckle) is allowed. Buckle belts, lever belts, Velcro belts, and ratchet belts are allowed. Belts with built-in padding are allowed. Belts can be made of any material. Belts can be any thickness. The only specification that will be inspected on lifting belts at equipment check is the width. The lifting belt must adhere to all portions of the Logo and Emblem Policy (see Item 5 in Addendum 1 of the rulebook).
You can view the full rulebook at Rules & Bylaws – USA Powerlifting