Powerlifting Weight Classes: Delusional Expectations

What makes heavy athletics different than track-and-field? The athletes are divided into weight classes. Why? It’s simple: bigger man lift heavier weights, at least on paper.

The main thing that determines your weight class is your height. Somebody who is 6′ tall cannot compete as a lightweight, but somebody who is 5’5″ will fit there perfectly.

Imagine the following situation. You have a man that is 6′ tall and weighs 165 lbs lean. That individual is on the skinny side of the spectrum, but this may not bother him at all when when it comes sprinting, gymnastics, dancing…etc. However, he cannot do well in a powerlifting competition by default unless he is a superhuman. At that weight a tall individual will not be able to take advantage of his levers and there will always be somebody who is 5’6″ and 165 lbs who will outlift him.


In order for the 6′ guy to do well, he has to compete in higher weight classes otherwise nothing impressive will be lifted, and the shorter people will make him look funny when it comes to squats and bench presses. The only lift which allows skinny people to lift heavy weights is the deadlift, but that only happens when you have the proportions for it – long arms. If you don’t have long arms and you are skinny, all of your lifts will not be as impressive as they need to be to make an impact in a powerlifting or Olympic weightlifting competition.

However, here comes a logical question – how can one weigh as much as the professional powerlifters without getting fat. The answer is you can’t. It’s not possible. Professional lifters carry as much muscle mass as IFBB bodybuilders. Regardless of heavy lifting and superior Bill Starresque/Rippetoesque/Russian/Extragalactic programming, you will not be able to gain the needed muscle mass. Technically, the shorter guys will have the same problem too. Currently, there are many powerlifters under 5’7″ who compete at the 100 kilo class but actually weigh 110 kilos. They take advantage of the 24 hour weight-ins and manipulate their water weight to get there. Needless to say, those pocket warriors will have hard time breaking 140 lbs without getting fat if they were natural.

Back in the day I read that you should weigh 0,5-0,7 kilos per centimeter of height. Which means that if you are 185 cm tall, you will have to be at least 0,5 x 185 = 92,5 kg in order to start taking advantage of your levers and lift weights that the smaller guys cannot touch. Question is, who can get so heavy without getting over 20 % or more body fat.

Remember: when you are in specific weigh class, you want as much as possible of your weight to be muscle. Fat helps too, but nowhere nearly as much as muscles mass. More muscle mass equals a stronger version of you, at least potentially.

Finally, we arrive at the delusional fatsos who think they can fill out their frames with fat cells. You can do that and you will definitely lift more weight. There is no question about it. Up to a certain point the barbell loves fat guts and man boobs. The non-stop bulking natural garage warriors have presented plenty of evidence for that. However, fat guys will always be outlifted by tighter and more muscular powerlifters. Who are the best powrlifters ever? Ed Coan, Kirk Karwoski, John Kuc, Lamar Gant, Dan Green, Konstantin Konstantinovs…ect. How many of those guys are truly fat? Most of them carry at least as much muscle as an average pro bodybuilder who is obviously doping all day long.

Kirk Karwoski, as natural as Ronnie Coleman

Kirk Karwoski as big as an IFBB pro (5’10” @ 275 lbs)

That’s why I always make fun of the permabulkers who think they can be 120 kilos at 185 cm @ 10-20% BF naturally. Sorry. You can’t and whoever told you so lied to you big time, or at least is a very ignorant individual. You will only get fat trying to weigh as much as professional powerlifters do at your height.

Here’s a funny fact. The popular powerlifter Dan Green is 110 kilos lean at 5’10”. Arnold Schwarzenegger competed at about the same weight, if not lighter, at 6’2″. Actually, Arnold won Mr.Olympia 1981 at 100 kilos of muscular bodyweight. What do you think happened?

In brief, being heavier will help you lift more weight. Question is, why would you get fat as hell to lift some arbitrary numbers as a natural? You are still not going to break records, unless you compete in 100% natural federations which do not exist unless we are talking about a garage meet between you and your father. I am dead serious. I’ve witnessed many gym meets and guess who won them? The steroid users going to the gym. Even at such a low level there is no way to compete against drug free lifters. And before you start talking about how there are federation which perform “unexpected doping tests”, ask yourself the following: when was the last time you’ve seen Santa? There is no such thing as professional strength athletes who are natural, not in 2015.

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