How Does Scoring Work In Powerlifting?

How Does Scoring Work In Powerlifting

Powerlifting is a weight-classed sport in which competitors at a meet attempt to lift for one repetition the maximum weight in each of three lifts: bench press, squat, and deadlift. This must be done within the allotted three attempts per lift, which must increase in weight. The heaviest completed lifts of each type are added together to form a total, which is the basis for scoring.

Scoring in Powerlifting

Given this structure, scoring must combine the three lifts and the various weight classes, generally using one of three aggregate scoring methods: the Dots Score, the Wilks Coefficient, and the IPF Score. These methods are employed by different powerlifting governing bodies around the world.

Regardless of the method used, the objective of the lifter is to earn the highest total and therefore score. While these coefficients are used to determine the overall winner of the meet, category winners are declared based on the highest total within each division of gender, age, and body weight.

Classes in Powerlifting

Powerlifting competitors are divided into weight classes. The men’s weight classes most commonly used in domestic competition are 52 kg, 56 kg, 60 kg, 67.5 kg, 75 kg, 82.5 kg, 90 kg, 100 kg, 110 kg, 125 kg, 140 kg, and 140 kg+. The women’s weight classes most commonly used in domestic competition are 44 kg, 48 kg, 52 kg, 56 kg, 60 kg, 67.5 kg, 75 kg, 82.5 kg, 90 kg, and 90 kg+.

The men’s weight classes most commonly used in international competition are up to 53 kg (Sub-Junior/Junior), 59 kg, 66 kg, 74 kg, 83 kg, 93 kg, 105 kg, 120 kg, and 120 kg+. The women’s weight classes most commonly used in international competition are up to 43 kg (Sub-Junior/Junior), 47 kg, 52 kg, 57 kg, 63 kg, 69 kg, 76 kg,[40] 84 kg, and 84 kg.

Powerlifting competitions are also divided into age brackets as follows: 14-18 (Sub-Jr), 19-23 (Jr), Any age (Open), and 40+ (Masters). Competitors are divided both by age and by weight for medals, and each of the scoring systems can be used to choose the overall contest winner.

Dots Score

The Dots Score (or Dots Coefficient) is a method for comparing powerlifters competing in different weight classes. The Dots Score is simply calculated as the ratio of the weight lifted to body weight of the lifter.

The resulting scores can then be compared across lifters in different body weight divisions. Note that this can be applied equally to individual lifts as well as the lifter’s total. The Dots Score has seen increasing adoption, given that some feel the Wilks coefficient and IPF Score disproportionately favor lifters with heavier body weight.

Wilks Coefficient

The Wilks Coefficient is multiplied by the lifter’s total to generate a score that can be compared with a lifter in another category. The Wilks Coefficient is calculated as follows:

Coeff = 500 / (a + bx + cx^2 + dx^3 + ex^4 + fx^5)

where the variables in the denominator are defined as:


Some feel that the Wilks Score disproportionately favors lifters competing in heavier weight classes.

IPF Score

IPF stands for International Powerlifting Federation. The IPF uses their own scoring system, which they regularly update. The IPF scoring system operated similarly to the Wilks coefficient system in that they both multiply the total of the lifter by a coefficient.

However, the IPF coefficients are set based on the event in which the lifter competes, as well as the body weight of the lifter. Some feel that this score is the gold standard due to the rigor that the IPF subjects its scoring system to during internal reviews. The IPF score is calculated as follows:

IPF GL Coeff = 100 / (A-B*e^(-C*Bodyweight))

where the constants in the denominator are set as:

Men’sEquipped Powerlifting1236.251151449.218664.01644
Classic Powerlifting1199.729391025.18162.00921
Equipped Bench Press381.22073733.79378.02398
Classic Bench Press320.98041281.40258.01008
Women’sEquipped Powerlifting758.63878949.31382.02435
Classic Powerlifting610.327961045.59282.03048
Equipped Bench Press221.82209357.00377.02937
Classic Bench Press142.40398442.52671.04724


How do you score points in powerlifting?

Points are scored in powerlifting by lifting the heaviest weight possible for a single repetition in each of three lifts: bench press, squat, and deadlift. The lifter’s best successful attempts are then summed into a total. The total is used to determine the lifter’s placement within their category of gender, age, and body weight. This total can also be put into one of three formulae to determine the lifter’s points relative to lifters of any demographic.