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Updated 2nd February 2013


Powerlifting in the Armed Forces

Although a relatively new sport within the armed forces, in comparison to the more common sports, Powerlifting is fast becoming the largest growing sport across the services.  The amount of participants each year continues to grow and with it the standard of the lifters.

The History of Armed Forces Powerlifting

The historical aspect of lifting in the services can be traced back to formal service events as far as 1988 with the inaugural RAF Championships at RAF Cosford held by the RAF Powerlifting Association.  There have also been a number of lifters across all 3 branches of the armed forces that have lifted in several organisations as individuals and by default have been considered to be representing there service.  In 2003 the Army introduced the Army Powerlifting Union and set about uniting all the services in order to promote the sport and establish a frame work for competitive lifting within the services and up to international level.  The Royal Navy Powerlifting Association formed in 2005 and all 3 services have worked hard over the last few years to gain formal recognition at their respective sport boards.  This was finally achieved in 2010 when the Combined Services Sports Board granted full recognised status.

The Armed Forces and the BDFPA

The relationship with the BDFPA began in 2003 with the RAF and the Army joining as teams.  The Royal Navy, on its creation, also joined the BDFPA in 2005.  With the granting of full recognised status the Combined Services Powerlifting Association came into being and as an overarching authoritive body for services powerlifting became the team registration for all Military lifters. All service associations and the CSPA, as the services governing body, recognise the BDFPA as the only association and body that displays the ethos and bearing required of an association with the military.  Only lifters who lift within the BDFPA can describe themselves as representing their service.


Since their creation all services have held individual championships that are recognised as divisional events in the BDFPA.  Both the Royal Navy and RAF hold 1 major event each that includes both Full Power and single lifts whilst the Army hold a bench Press, Full Power and Push and Pull events during the year. Additional to these single service events is the Inter-service Championship that sees the Police, Fire, HMP, Royal Navy, Army and RAF compete in a full power competition.  The pinnacle service event is the annual Combined Service Championships that are held at the home of the CSPA, RAF Wittering near Peterborough.  This event is quite unique as all teams enter both male and female competitors and the champions team is found by adding the combination of both Full Power and single lift events in both the male and female classes.

CSPA Organisation

 The chart below details the current structure of Armed Forces Lifting: