What is the Wilks score used for?
The Wilks formula is used to compare lifted weight in powerlifting between lifters of different bodyweight and gender - so you can compare the strength of men and women and lighter and heavier lifters.
Simple calculations based on how many times bodyweight you can lift is not a good indication of the strength of powerlifters, as this does not scale in a linear fashion. It would highly disadvantage the heavier lifter versus the lighter lifter.
Wilks takes the weight lifted and compares it to what elite lifters lift at the same bodyweight - and scores you accordingly.
The formula is based on research and a coefficient calculated by Robert Wilks of Powerlifting Australia and i used in most powerlifting federations around the world. To calculate the Wilks coefficient, you need to use a pretty complicated formula. We have a very easy-to-use version for you here: Wilks Calculator.
Attempts have also been made in the past to incorporate age into the equation as well - a Wilks calculator with age factored in - but it is not something that is officially supported or backed up by the science and research.
Comparison between men and women
A woman weighing 120lbs (54.4kg) squatting 400lbs (181.5kg) gets 218.29 Wilks points. For a man weighing 220lbs (99.8kg), he would need to squat 791lbs (359kg) to earn 218.54 Wilks points in order to considered stronger according to the Wilks formula.
A male and a female lifter weighing the same 160lbs/72.5kg, registering a total of 500lbs/227kg would score respectively 165 Wilks points (male) and 220 Wilks points (female).
So even though the weight of the lifters and the weight they lifted is the same, their Wilks score is very different, because men are statistically stronger than women. What is considered a good score for a woman is not for a man, for biological reasons.
...So what IS a good wilks score then?
It is going to be slightly subjective, but these are pretty ratings, based on looking at a large amount of data and talking to experts.
||You don't walk in off the street without training doing this
||This could be achieved in 1-2 years of focused effort and training for most lifters
||In smaller countries/states, this might win you a medal at the nationals
||Odds are, that in most countries you will be competing at a national level with 400+ Wilks
||Congratulations, you are going to the world championships!
||You are probably in the top 10 in the world in your weight!
||Less that 100 people in the world have ever achieved 550+ Wilks points.
||You are in the running to be the Greatest Of All Time. Only a handful of lifters have ever achieved 600+ Wilks - none of them in doping tested federations.
What is the best Wilks score ever achieved?
If we limit our search for the best Wilks score to only raw lifting in doping-tested powerlifting federations, the top three as of October 2019 is held by Ray Williams, Jesse Norris and Sergey Fedosienko.
1. Ray Williams - 593.83 Wilks Points
Ray Williams aka. "Ray Ray", competing for USA in the International Powerlifting Federation, is by most experts considered the greatest of all time in raw, doping tested powerlifting.
Since he came onto the powerlifting scene, he has been in a league of his own, absolutely dominating.
His best result is a 2452lbs/1112.5kg total at a bodyweight of 419.7/190.4kg (he is a big boy!).
Most impressive is his world record squat of 1090 lbs / 490kg.
You should probably follow "Ray Ray" on Instagram.
2. Jesse Norris - 585.83 Wilks Points
Jesse Norris of USA, competing for the USA in the International Powerlifting Federation best ever performance to date earned him the second spot in this list.
He totaled 2015 lbs / 914 kg spread on a 340.2kg squat, 199.6 kg bench press and 374.2 kg deadlift with a bodyweight of 196.8lbs / 89.3 kg, earning him 585.83 Wilks points.
3. Sergey Fedosienko - 584.96 Wilks Points
Sergey Fedosienko of Russia, competing in the International Powerlifting Federation has been at the top of the IPF for more than a decade in raw as well as equipped powerlifting.
His best raw performance is a total of 1477lbs / 670kg at a bodyweight of 128.9lbs/58.5kg, which made his Wilks score of 584.96 the third best in this list.
Now calculate your wilks score!
You should now go and play with the numbers and calculate your wilks score - current and your ambition!
What would it take you to reach elite level (500+ wilks) at your current body weight?