Ask any powerlifter why he or she competes and the answer will be “Because I love being strong . . . I love the camaraderie . . . Anyone of any age can participate.” Powerlifting is a very personal endeavor. Accomplishments are generally appreciated only by the lifter and a handful of family and friends. Powerlifting’s greatest prize transcends the physical trophy by shaping lives with a heightened sense of personal self-respect and confidence gained from the thrill of athletic achievement and life shaping memories.

As is still the case, lifters are looking for a place to call home. They are looking for an association where they can feel like an integral part of the organization and the sport, where they can be assured that they will be judged fairly in a place free from politics, and where objectivity reigns supreme. They are looking for consistently well-run meets with top quality equipment and spotters. Lifters show allegiance to whichever association and meet director they feel is consistent with their beliefs and where they feel confident they will be given a fair shake. In the IPA, lifters judge lifters. Testing to become an IPA judge requires that candidates must have competed for 3 years to become a local/state level judge, and 5 years for a national/international referee card.

In 1993, the IPA was created out of the perceived need for an association that met all of the expectations so dearly sought after by the US powerlifting community. The IPA motto “Lifters for Lifters” sums up the Association’s credo. The IPA never intended to take the powerlifting community by storm by selling false hopes. It offered the lifter an opportunity to become personally instrumental in the success of the organization, enjoy fair and objective judging sans politics and favoritism, separate drug-tested and non-drug tested divisions, quality meet sites, and excellent lifting equipment. The IPA follows the same general rules but with an altogether different personality.

An important cornerstone of the IPA is the varied divisions offered to accommodate all lifters. The Association offers two divisions from which lifters can choose. The Professional Division is open to all lifters regardless of their totals and it is not drug tested. The Amateur Division is open to all drug free lifters. Amateur division lifters are subject to random drug testing. All lifters who enter the Amateur Division and who total a Professional total will be drug tested 100% of the time.

In 2004, the Association recognized an upwelling of interest in an unequipped division and added the Raw division to its existing Professional, Amateur, and Elite Amateur Divisions.

Those involved with the IPA are truly powerlifting humanitarians. Their heartfelt loyalty to the sport can be seen through the camaraderie between lifters and their willingness to help one another. There is tremendous volunteerism to the IPA cause. This becomes glaringly apparent by the number of people who selflessly and freely volunteer their time at the various IPA functions year after year. The originators of the IPA weren’t too far off in their belief that lifters want to be an integral part of their Association. The IPA exists to make powerlifting all that it can be for the lifter; for everyone from the novice lifter to the most seasoned lifting great.