USA Powerlifting to Reinstate Original Weight Classes, Adds Two New Women’s Categories

The USAPL is making some big changes now that they are no longer affiliated with the IPF.

Big changes are happening at USA Powerlifting (USAPL). On the second episode of the USAPL podcast, which aired on Nov. 12, 2021, the show’s host, Ryan Carrillo, was joined by USAPL President Larry Maile to talk about the future of the organization now that it is no longer part of the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF).

We have labored under a system that was difficult…for a lot of lifters, a lot of the time. We have the chance to reverse that now.

Part of that chance includes adding two new weight categories to their sanctioned competitions. After receiving feedback that lifters were unsatisfied with the weight categories available, USAPL will return to “old weight classes” and add two new weight categories for the Women’s division.

USAPL Weight Classes

Below are the new weight classes:

Men’s Division

  • 52 Kilograms
  • 56 Kilograms
  • 60 Kilograms
  • 67.5 Kilograms
  • 75 Kilograms
  • 82.5 Kilograms
  • 90 Kilograms
  • 100 Kilograms
  • 110 Kilograms
  • 125 Kilograms
  • 140 Kilograms
  • 140+ Kilograms

Women’s Division

  • 44 Kilograms
  • 48 Kilograms
  • 52 Kilograms
  • 56 Kilograms
  • 60 Kilograms
  • 67.5 Kilograms
  • 75 Kilograms
  • 82.5 Kilograms
  • 90 Kilograms
  • 100 Kilograms
  • 100+ Kilograms

The return to the original weight classes and the new additions will be instated on Jan. 1, 2022. Additionally, USAPL will switch to the DOTS scoring system, which scores strength performances based on gender and weight class. Check out the full episode of the USAPL podcast where Maile and Carillo announce the new weight classes around the 9:30 mark:

USAPL is hopping into the foray of International competition via their Pro Series, which currently has a prize pool of $235,000. Carrillo mentioned that they didn’t dive in with a one million dollar prize pool right out of the gate because USAPL “wants to grow responsibly…to deliver the best product possible so that the lifter experience is great.”

Maile seconded that notion. Much of Carrillo and Maile’s focus seemed to be on the experience of USAPL’s lifters and ensuring that USAPL is reliable for them. Maile continued:

We want to develop something…sustainable, that lifters can count on year after year after year.

USAPL’s demand appears to be high following IPF’s vote to expel them for not being WADA compliant. Per Maile, six countries requested to be affiliates of USAPL (he did not say which countries specifically) and four international federations offered USAPL to be affiliates of them (again, he did not say which federations). Working with other federations, although on the table, is not the primary objective of USAPL at the moment.

Our focus, really, at this point is internal…but it would be nice to visist foreign countries and do invitational meets.

A chunk of that internal focus was listening to what their lifters wanted, including returning to the former weight classes. With smaller jumps in weight between classes, it will be more feasible for lifters to bulk or cut to move up and down classes, should they choose to do so.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by USA Powerlifting® (USAPL) (@usapowerlifting)

[Related: Singer Adele Says She Can Deadlift 160 Pounds In “One Night Only” Interview with Oprah]

USAPL Pro Series

The inaugural USAPL Pro Series features a prize pool of $235,000. The Series will build to the Pro Series Finals at the Arnold Sports Festival in 2023. Lifters will need a USAPL Pro Card to compete can be obtained by ranking in the top five of a raw division or top three equipped division at USAPL Nationals or competing in the 2021 Virginia Pro. A USAPL Pro Card offers access to compete in the following events:

  • Virginia Pro — December 2021
  • Arnold Sports Festival — March 2022
  • USAPL Nationals — June 2022, Las Vegas, NV
  • UBU Expo (Formerly Europa Games) — June 2022, Dallas, TX
  • UBU Expo — July 2022, Orlando, FL
  • UBU Expo — August 2022, Phoenix, AZ
  • Virginia Pro — December 2022
  • Arnold Sports Festival (Pro Series Finals) — March 2023

We will see which lifters rise to the top as the USAPL ventures into running its own competition series.

Feature image: @usapowerlifting on Instagram