If you’re new to the sport of Powerlifting, you may have heard the term ‘Wilks score’ being used and have wondered what exactly it is.
This article was written as a helpful guide for beginners to get an understanding of the Wilks score with all its main uses and stats.
You will learn what the wilks score is, how it is calculated as well as what is considered a good Wilks score and what the current Wilks record is!
What is the Wilks Score?
The Wilks score, Wilks coefficient or Wilks formula is a calculation that was developed by Robert Wilks of Powerlifting Australia as a means to assess a Powerlifter’s strength level relative to other lifters of different weight classes or genders.
It is well known in strength training that a heavier lifter is likely to be able to lift heavier weight than a lighter lifter, however, this does not always mean they are stronger overall! The Wilks score makes a direct comparison of both lifters much easier.
The Wilks score can be used to assess a lifter’s strength for the individual Powerlifting lifts only (The squat, bench press, or deadlift) or their Powerlifting total as a whole, and provides a score with their bodyweight normalized.
Another use for the Wilks score is assessing whether you have gotten stronger after a training cycle. For example, if your bodyweight had increased alongside your lifts, it can be difficult to assess whether you actually got stronger or if your increased lifts are just because you are heavier! Calculating your Wilks score before and after the training cycle will give you a normalized result of your strength increase, or lack thereof!
How is Wilks Score Calculated?
The Wilks score is calculated by dividing 500 by the individual’s weight, which is multiplied by various constants, the constants vary for males and females. This calculation provides the individual’s Wilks coefficient which is then multiplied by the lift or total to give the final Wilks score.
You can see the calculation below, with a table included showing each of the constant’s numerical values, both for the old Wilks scoring and the new Wilks scoring. X should be replaced with the lifter’s bodyweight and y should be replaced with the lift or total, both in kg.
Of course, we aren’t all math whizzes, so if you’d rather someone else crunch the numbers for you, I’ve created a handy Wilks Calculator to do all the work for you, all you have to do is enter your bodyweight and the lift or total you want to assess!
What is a Good Wilks Score?
A good Wilks score is anything better than your previous score! At the end of the day, as long as you’re improving, then that’s all that matters.
Of course, I know this won’t be enough for many of you so here’s a quick breakdown of what sort of level each score might represent based on your Powerlifting total. Remember, this is only a guide so don’t feel disheartened if your score is not as high as you would have liked.
|Wilks Score||Strength Level|
|0-199||Untrained/Beginner. This sort of score will be achieved by someone just starting out with weight training.|
|200-299||Novice. Should be achievable after a few months of weight training.|
|300-399||Intermediate. Most average gym goers will fall into the lower end of this category with those at the higher end being among the strongest in their gym.|
|400-499||Competitive. Congratulations! If your Wilks score falls in this category, you are probably good enough to compete at a national level.|
|500+||World Class. Only the best achieve scores of 500 or more!|
Who Has the Highest Wilks Score?
The current highest Wilks score is held by Becca Swanson with an eye-watering 952.54 points! This comprised of a 387.5kg squat, 237.5kg bench press, and a 305kg deadlift at a bodyweight of 112kg.
It’s worth noting that this was achieved fully equipped.
The highest Wilks score ever achieved raw (no wraps or multi ply suits) is 785.54 and is held by Marianna Gasparyan, comprising a 230kg squat, 132.4kg bench press, and a 217.5kg deadlift at a bodyweight of only 58kg.
You can check out the current records at Open Powerlifting, where you can sort and filter to your heart’s content!
The Wilks score is a useful tool that allows lifters to compare their strength against different weight classes and genders as well as assessing strength before and after a bulk or cut, for example.
After reading this article, you should have a good appreciation for what the Wilks score is and how it can help you with your Powerlifting goals.
You will now know how to calculate your Wilks score, allowing you to compare yourself with friends and competitors alike. Most importantly, you can assess where you are in your Powerlifting journey and hopefully this will give you the motivation to continue lifting heavy!