You can participate at many levels in weightlifting competitions. Local and regional amateur competitions will not necessarily have such stringent rules and regulations as are required for IWF and Olympic competition level.
For amateur competitions, clothing rules tend to be more practical than the regimented rules of the IWF. For local gym competitions you would be expected to wear practical weight lifting clothing, as you would wear during training. Clothing should be comfortable and show your body movements. This eliminates baggy T-shirts and long shorts that could hide your knees and elbows from the judges, who will need to see these joints’ positions during a lift to ascertain whether the lift has been done correctly.
However if you are planning on taking part in weightlifting competitions at a much higher level you will need specialist clothing to comply with the rules as set down by the IWF. All clothing worn for the Olympic Games must comply with the IWF rules. The clothing regulations can be found in the IWF Handbook and are located under ‘Technical Rules’, Point 4, ‘Outfit of the Competitors’. These rules appear quite strict at first glance but on deeper investigation they are clearly practical.
The first point of the clothing rules is that all clothing worn by competitors must be clean and comply with the following: The outfit must cover the competitor’s trunk, have no collar, expose the elbows and knees and be close fitting. Competitors may wear either a one or two piece of any colour they choose. These rules of course are plainly obvious and fair. Clothing of this nature will not only benefit the weightlifter as clothing will not get in the way or be restrictive during a lift, but this clothing also allows the judges to see clearly the lift being performed.
In fact, there are many allowances given by the IWF when it comes to clothing. As long as the above rules for clothing are adhered to, the competitor may also wear a weight lifting T-shirt underneath the outfit. This must not have a collar or sleeves that cover the elbow though. If the competitor chooses to, they can wear cycling shorts over or under the outfit as long as these do not cover their knees. Socks can also be worn if you choose, but again these must not cover the knees.
As many professional weightlifters are now becoming sponsored by different brands the IWF recognises the sponsorship obligations. The rules state that each item of clothing may be branded with the sponsors logo or trademark, but that this must comply to the maximum size of five hundred square centimetres. If logos or trademarks larger than this size are displayed on competition clothing they are then regarded as advertising.