To call powerlifting a divided sport may be an understatement: While the sport and its athlete base are growing, and though the IPF is the oldest and most prominent governing body, there are a dozen or more powerlifting federations that sanction and hold meets around the globe. With that sort of spread, there are numerous weight categorizations for athletes, along with different age divisions, equipment and drug testing protocols, etc.
The IPF set its current weight class structure for men and women in 2011, which we’ve outlined in the infographic below. Additionally, several other prominent organizations like the UPA still use an older or expanded weight category breakdown that we’ve included in the bottom half of the graphic.
It’s also worth highlighting the common breakdown the IPF uses for age categories:
- Sub-junior (18 and under)
- Junior (19-23)
- Open (24-39)
- Masters 1 (40-49)
- Master 2 (50-59)
- Masters 3 (60-69)
- Masters 4 (70+)
Full text of the graphic below:
With numerous local and international governing bodies, powerlifting doesn’t have a unified weight class system across all federations. The most prominent international powerlifting body is the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF), which updated its weight classes to the below in 2011.
53 kg (Sub-Junior/Junior only)*
43 kg (Sub-Junior/Junior only)*
*Sub-Junior is generally15-18 years old, Junior is generally 19-23 years old
Several federations use variations on the below weight class categorizations, including the UPA (with some exceptions noted below).
125 kg (some federations use 125+ as the heaviest class)
40kg (in some federations)
44 kg (not in UPA)