Wilks calculator is used to calculate the power-to-weight ratio (strength) of a particular lifter compared with the ratios of other lifters across different categories. The Wilks coefficient that we get from the calculator indicates how well or badly an individual performs (strength), taking into account his current weight, maximum weight he lifted, and gender. Therefore, lifting more weight does not necessarily mean that the lifter will have a higher coefficient in the calculator.
This calculator is specially designed for weightlifting and lifting competitions like the Olympic games. Wilks score tracks and determines which lifter performs significantly better than other lifters and is ranked as the best lifter across the categories.
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What is the Wilks coefficient?
Invented by the CEO (Robert Wilks) of Powerlifting Australia, the Wilks coefficient that we get from the Wilks calculator represents the strength ratio between all powerlifters regardless of their body weight, weight classes, or gender. It takes how much a particular powerlifter can lift and compares it against the weights of other lifters. This comparison gives you an overall idea of how much powerlifters lift on average.
It’s important to mention that it includes both genders, male and female, and indicates which powerlifter has the best performance or power-to-weight ratio. Notably, Robert Wilks’s calculator does not show the relative strength of a powerlifter, but instead, absolute strength, which compares all the lifters with all classes and genders and ranks them in powerlifting contests. Interestingly, lighter lifters usually have a better power-to-weight ratio, lifting more weight if compared to their current body weights.
The Wilks formula
The Wilks formula, which is how the calculator measures the power-to-weight ratio (strength), is used to calculate the Wilks coefficient in powerlifting. It has one universal form, used for both genders.
Wilks coefficient = W \times 500 \div (a + bx + cx² + dx³ + ex⁴ + fx⁵)
W – stands for the total weight that an individual can lift (kg)
X – stands for the total body weight of an individual
a,b,c,d,e,f – are variables or coefficients which vary between genders
How do we know what coefficients are for men and what for women? First, let’s take a look at the coefficients below.
Coefficients for men are:
- a = -216.0475144
- b = 16.2606339
- c = -0.002388645
- d = -0.00113732
- e = 7.01863E-06
- f = -1.291E-08
Coefficients for women are:
- a = 594.31747775582
- b = -27.23842536447
- c = 0.82112226871
- d = -0.00930733913
- e = 4.731582E-05
- f = -9.054E-08
How to use the Wilks calculator?
For using the Wilks calculator, you need to know some parameters first. So let me narrow it down. First, to use the Wilks calculator, you need to know the body weight of a powerlifter and the maximum weight (press) he lifted. Then, the calculator will use the formula and calculate the Wilks coefficient for a male and a female, depending on the gender of the given powerlifter.
Wilks calculator – Example step by step
Let me show you how the calculator works through an example.
If you have two powerlifters of different gender and they compete in different lifting classes, let’s see how we measure their coefficients using the calculator.
- Name: John
- Bodyweight: 102 kg
- Max weight lifted: 205 kg
- Lifting class: Heavy class
- Name: Sarah
- Bodyweight: 53 kg
- Max weight lifted: 99 kg
- Lifting class: Light class
How do we know whether John or Sarah has a better power-to-weight ratio and why?
John’s Wilks coefficient: 123.80
Sarah’s Wilks coefficient: 121.61
John’s Wilks coefficient is higher because his power-to-weight ratio is better than Sarah’s.
Weightlifting is not something people made up in the 21st Century, as most of us, not informed enough, could assume. On the contrary, it has a long history beginning in the Ancient area where it was present but significantly different. For example, people competed by lifting huge rocks to prove their manhood. The competitor who lifted the rock first a certain number of times in a row was considered the winner.
Please, do not mix weightlifting with powerlifting. These two disciplines are way different. Weighlifting focuses on squats, lifts, and pressing, while powerlifting is more about bench press, deadlifts, and squats.
To be a good weightlifter, physically, your body should have short limbs and a long torso. Lifters with longer limbs may struggle a lot when making deep squats. However, speed, quick response, and mental health are the key to success.
Generally speaking, weightlifting was never one of the top sports, but it has got more competitors and people who like to watch it through the years. In 2016, statistics said that USA Weightlifting had around 26,000 active members. This number is so small if we compare it to the fans and competitors base of other sports like football, basketball, golf, etc.
“Olympic weightlifting” was first used in the Summer Olympic Games in 1920. It is called “Olympic” only to distinguish it from other lifting disciplines like powerlifting or strongman competitions, and there is no other special reason.
Olympic weightlifting is a sport in which a competitor has to lift a loaded barbell with his body from the ground to the position over his head. There are two types of lifts used in weightlifting: snatch and clean and jerk.
Snatch is lifting when an individual takes the barbell from the ground and tries to lift it over his head in one continuous motion. It has four different styles: full snatch (mostly used in competitions), split snatch and power snatch (for training purposes), and muscle snatch.
This lifting technique is very useful for other sports. Especially for those sports in which body movement is crucial, like sprinting, jumping, etc. The snatch’s world record in the weight class of 109+ kg in the category of males set Lasha Talakhadze with the lift of 225 kg calculated with Wilks calculator formula.
Clean and jerk
Clean and jerk is a two-part lifting technique. In the first phase, called clean, a competitor takes the barbell from the ground and lifts it to the point where it gets aligned with his chin, and he supports it with his torso.
Then, in the phase jerk, the competitor, holding the barbell close to his chin, pushes the barbell up over his head. The competitor finally holds the barbell overhead with his arms and legs straight and his feet aligned with the torso and the barbell.
The clean and jerk world record in the weight class of 109+ kg in the category of males set Lasha Talakhadze with the lift of 267 kg calculated with Wilks calculator formula.
Benefits of weightlifting:
- Improves fast-twitch muscle fibers
- Enhances mental and motor skills
- Improves concentration and coordination of your body
Weightlifting is a sport where your body is under a huge pressure of weight that he lifts and thus, having good and stable shoes is a must for both amateur and professional lifters.
You should never lift some weights in casual shoes that you wear when going out with your friends. Instead, lifters buy specially designed shoes for lifting, and their prices vary between $50 and $200.
Powerlifters prefer shoes with a flat surface, especially because it may be dangerous to do deadlifts in other types of shoes. On the contrary, weightlifters mostly go for shoes with a raised heel area for the solidity and stability of their feet. Also, avoid the wiggly or slippy type of shoes because one wrong step can lead to serious injuries.
Wilks score or coefficient is measured through the Wilks calculator. The more weight a lifter can lift, the better Wilks score will be; of course, this is in a nutshell. There are some factors on which the score is dependent.
For example, a female lifter with the same weight and the same lifted weight will have a higher Wilks score than a male lifter, because naturally men are considered physically stronger. That’s why Wilks score has different coefficients in the calculator for men and women.
250 – 300 => Beginner level
350 – 400 => Competition level
450 – 500 => World top class lifter
550+ => Super rare lifter
Wilks coefficient = W * 500 / (a + bx + cx² + dx³ + ex⁴ + fx⁵)
Having a look at the Wilks formula, we can figure out what are variables on which the Wilks score is based:
– W (Lifter’s weight)
– x (Lifter’s weight)
– a,b,c,d,e,f (Wilks coefficients)