IPF Formula

Why it was time for a new IPF Formula

There are several reasons why the IPF decided to use a new IPF formula to calculate the IPF Relative Points.

1.The current formula was developed more than 25 years ago with data gathered between 1988 and 1994. The available dataset then was not as extensive as it is today.

2. At that time, there were fewer women taking part in competitions; therefore, only a small dataset could be used for the analysis, especially for women.

3. Supportive lifting apparel has changed and improved over the last few years, altering the applicability of the previous formula for today’s lifters.

4.Training methods have improved and powerlifting has become more professional, hence the sport and its athletes have evolved thus the body weight formula must reflect this evolution.

5. Bench-press-only championships in both classic and equipped formats for men and women of all age categories now take place on an international level. There had been no analysis as to how the previous coefficient fit the single-life event across these formats.

6. World Classic Powerlifting Championships are now a feature of the international calendar, the coefficient must now reflect and cater to this format of lifting at the international level.

7. The IPF weight classes changed in 2011, hence reformulation of the coefficient is appropriate.

8. Athletes in general have on average, changed bodyweight and body composition over the last 30 years since the creation of the previous formula. It was time for an updated formula that reflects the changing athlete profile.

As you can see from the above, powerlifting and its athletes have changed significantly since the previous formula was conceived. Therefore, it an evaluation of the previous formula was indicated to determine its continuing validity and applicability.

The evaluation process

During the last twelve months, the IPF received several proposals for alternative formulas for consideration. Five of these proposals were considered appropriate for further detailed analysis and scientific comparison. All of these proposed methods had advantages and disadvantages so the objective was to find the best model for all powerlifters.

Such an analysis requires not only mathematical, statistical and analytical knowledge, but also knowledge in sports science and biomechanics. Moreover, such an analysis was deemed best conducted by independent sports scientists. For this reason, the IPF asked experts for help.

Dr. Tobias Mayer and Prof. Dr. Christian Maiwald reviewed and evaluated the shortlisted proposals and discussed them with respect to the scientific reasoning and theoretical background of the modelling approach. The complete evaluation report is part of this announcement, see below.

According to their evaluation, two of the analysed methods were considered particularly promising. Although one method was based on an analytical model (methodology for calculating relative strength performance) and the other method proposed to model the lifters’ performance as a lognormal function of body weight, the results of both models were very similar.

In their analysis, however, the two sports scientists came to the conclusion that the method developed by Joe Marksteiner provided more fairness when all sub-disciplines and all performance levels were taken equally into account. This method, now called the IPF Formula, will subsequently replace the current Wilks Points as of 01/01/2019.


The advantages of the new formula

1.This is a fair system for all lifters at all performance levels (not just elite level) and for all sub-disciplines in powerlifting.

2.The new IPF Formula differentiates between men and women, classic and equipped powerlifting, classic and equipped bench press.

3. The new formula is based on a data set of 20,000 individual best performances across several years.

4. It can be updated by simply changing the co-efficient when and as necessary.

5. The new formula has been analysed and evaluated by independent scientists.

The new formula

While the new formula is more complex, it still uses lifter body weight and their Powerlifting Total or Bench Press Total to compute points.

IPF Formula  *updated 4 January 2019

IPF Points Proposal

IPF Evaluation Report

IPF Evaluation Report Addendum


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