“Who’s the best lifter when parameters like size, gender and age are erased? The RGA Barbell Challenge provides an answer to that.”

Barbell Challenge has two disciplines: Light (prev. High Rep) and Heavy (prev. Low Rep) and consists of five events;

  • Squat
  • Bench Press
  • Deadlift
  • Strict Overhead Press
  • Bench Row (AKA Seal Row)

The goal for all challenges are to complete as many repetitions as possible in 60 seconds Heavy or 100 seconds Light, using a barbell load determined by body weight, gender and age. One point is given for each approved repetition. The athlete with the highest score wins.

You can compete either Live or Online:

Get your barbell weights here: Barbell weight calculator

Chalk (Magnesia) is allowed in all events, and you may use a belt in the Overhead Press. Other than that no equipment is allowed. It’s mandatory to wear clothes that makes it easy to see your knees and elbows (i.e T-Shirt/Tank top, Shorts/Thights or Hot pants).

Event rules:

Grab and get under the barbell. Await the signal to “unrack”. The timer starts now.

When squatting, thighs must be at least parallel to the floor (the hip below the top of the knee). It is not permitted to rest with the bar on the rack.


Bench Press:
Grab the barbell and await the signal. The timer starts now.

Unrack and lower the barbell to your chest, Distintly pause the bar on your chest, and then press. When your arms are straight (elbows locked out), the repetition is completed. You cannot rack the bar during the set (i.e. to rest). Your buttocks must be in contact with the bench, and the feet must be flat on the floor  at all time.

An exaggerated back-bend that significantly reduces the range of movement is not allowed (see pic below). Excessive feet movement is not allowed. “Suicide” grip is not allowed.

At least one spotter is mandatory.


Assume the position in front of the barbell and await the signal to “lift”. The timer starts now.

Pull the barbell from the floor, into an upright position, with knees and hips locked out. You’re not allowed to drop the bar from the upright position, you must lower it to the floor; otherwise the rep won’t count. Each repetition should start from a “dead stop” (“Bouncing” is not allowed).

Conventional and “sumo” style is allowed.

Overhead Press:
Grab the barbell and wait for the signal to “unrack”. The timer starts now.

Unrack the barbell, get into in position (knees locked out and the barbell on the chest) and start pressing.

When the arms are straight (elbow locked out) the repetition is completed and the next repetition can be initiated. Distinctly pause the bar on the chest in between repetitions. You cannot rack the bar during the set (i.e. to rest). It is allowed to “drop” the barbell after your last rep/attempt.

“Suicide” grip is not allowed.

Bench row:
Grab the barbell and await the signal to “lift”. The timer starts now.

Pull the barbell until it hits or touches the base of the bench; if you don’t go all the way up, the rep doesn’t count. You must hold on to the barbell until it’s back on the floor before the next repetition. Each repetition should start from a “dead stop” (“Bouncing” is not allowed).

Judging (Live Challenge only):

At least one appointed judge will count (approve/disapprove) the repetitions for each event. If there is any doubt, the judge will immediately check the video before announcing the score. The score is put on a preliminary scoreboard which will be reviewed shortly after the last event (if any notes or complaints have been made).

Any competitor who has a complaint of their or someone else’s score may forward this prior to the video review. After the review the final scoreboard is announced.

If a competitor still has a complaint after the competition, it’s possible to report this within 2 days (exceptional cases). The complaint will be reviewed, and any changes to the scoreboard will then be official within 5 days after the competition. 

  • A complaint must be specific and well motivated or it will not count.
  • Arguing with a judge can lead to disqualification or a deduction of reps. The penalty is decided by the judge and confirmed by the head judge.
  • Since some approved or disapproved reps may change at the final video review (exceptional cases) always make sure to grind out as many reps as possible in each event.

Injury (Live Challenge only):

  • If you can’t perform an event due to injury, you will receive 1/3 of the score from your lowest event score. You must be able to participate in at least three events to compete.
  • If it’s revealed that you’re not injured you’ll be disqualified fom the ongoing competition, any histortical result will be deleted, and you will most likely not be able to compete in RGA again.

Prizes (Live Challenge only):
The prizes may vary from one competition to another, but we usually give away some merchandises and sometimes a small cash prize.
Shared placings:

  • Shared 1st place: Two silver medals and one bronze (no gold). The 1st and 2nd place prizes will be split in two.
  • Shared 2nd place: One gold medal and two silver (no bronze).  The 2nd and 3rd place prizes will be split in two.
  • Shared 3rd place: One gold, one silver and two bronze. The two 3rd place prizes will be split in two.
  • Should there be more than two athletes sharing the same score, the prizes will be divided accordingly.

Drug policy:

You are not allowed to use any illegal performance-enhancing substances. Any evidence of use will lead to immediate disqualification from any ongoing competition, loss of historical results and a lifetime ban from any future RGA competition. Look here for WADA’s list of banned substances: WORLD ANTI-DOPING CODE

For any questions regarding the rules, please email us at