This article will analyze the results of the 2017 IPF Open Classic World Championships. Through this analysis, we analyze historical data dating back to when the IPF first sanctioned the Classic international competition in 2012 through to 2017.

The following topics will be discussed along with a detailed analysis of each.

• Competition Statistics
• Attempt Selection
• Men’s Results
• Women’s Results

If you have been following the competition analysis blog series, some of the concepts will be repeated, but the emphasis will be on the comparing current year results to the previous years. For the new readers, I will explain each analysis in detail to ensure there is a full understanding.

It was another historical event for the IPF which took place in the Eastern European country of Belarus. This event was coined the largest open classic World Championships to date for the IPF with 231 open lifters.

As concluded from our analysis performed on last years’ Championships, it was crucial to make successful attempts and build a total in order to claim a spot on the podium. 

However, this year was a different story – lifters made less attempts, bombed more on average, and in some cases the winning totals were less than previous years.

Competition Statistics

Before jumping into the discussion on this table, I will define the “good-lift” and “no-lift” ratio. A good-lift ratio is the number of successful attempts a lifter has achieved divided by the total number of attempts, which in a 3-lift competition is 9. For example, if a lifter achieved 8/9 successful lifts they would have 89% good-lift ratio (8 divided by 9). The no-lift ratio is essentially the same thing but is based on the number of unsuccessful attempts a lifter has overall.

One data point that stood out was the high ratio of bomb outs (disqualifications) that happened during this championship as opposed to previous years. There was an increase of 2% year over year (7% versus 5%). It appears that a lot more lifer struggled with squats this year as opposed to previous years – we can see that 38% of bomb outs happened on the squat comparing to only 10% last year. The overall bomb out increase was likely caused a result of an increase in missed attempts. The no-lift ratio was up 4% year over year (29% versus 25%). Further to this point, the winners of each class claimed their titles by making on average 9% less attempts (or ~1 lift) than what was required in the previous year.

In the following graph, I’ll draw your attention to the 2017 data points. We can see that the female winners (grey bar) made the same number of successful attempts as the average lifter (green line) of the competition. On the other hand, there was still a large gap on the men’s side with the winners (blue bar) making more attempts than the average lifter (green line).



Attempt Selection



The above is a plot graph including the number of successful attempts that competitors are making as an entire population of a competition. The 2017 population (green bar) follows a similar distribution curve as the 2016 population (dotted line). The only deviation that is noticeable on this graph is that in the 2017 population more lifters made between 4 and 6 successful attempts than in 2016.

Some other takeaways from this graph were:

• Only 7% of lifters went 9 for 9 in this competition, meaning that 93% of lifters at least missed one attempt.

• Most lifters made 6 or 8 successful attempts at 23% and 22% of the 2017 population respectively.

• 15% of the population made 4 or less successful attempts. We can assume this category of lifters played a more high-risk strategy when selecting attempts.

As we calculated earlier, our 1st place lifters made on average 10% (0.90 lifts) more successful attempts than the average lifter. Based on this analysis, it’s clear to us that making key attempts is a proven strategy being used to win competitions. An assumption might be made that most world champions are playing a lower risk or conservative attempt selection strategy to ensure that every lift counts.

It may sound obvious that making more successful attempts increases your chances of becoming a champion. However, powerlifting only requires a lifter to make 3/9 successful attempts (1 per discipline) to complete a competition. This competition dynamic creates opportunities for many different strategies to be used when selecting attempts. Some examples of common strategies are:

• High Risk: Attempting your 100% max on each lift and taking the chance on having 3 attempts to make one successful lifts on each discipline

• Moderate Risk: Selecting a light attempt as your opener and jumping to 100% on your second in hopes that you will have a chance on your third attempt to try something >100% to squeeze in a few more KG on your total

• Low Risk: Building your total over 3 lifts in each discipline. Opening light, choosing a guaranteed second and then selecting your third attempt semi-conservatively based on the feel of your second attempt or based on what you will need to place.

Looking below at the next graph, we can take this analysis one step further and analyze which attempts were missed the most. We can see that the results are as one would expect, with most of the missed attempts being third attempts and even more so on third attempt deadlifts. This analysis also tells us that almost 50% of all third attempts were missed – note that these were not necessarily all from the same lifter. Missing attempts can be detrimental to a competitor’s total and can cost someone their spot on the podium. We can only assume that the cause for such a high failure rate on third attempts is due to competitors jostling for a medal position (overall or individual lift), attempting to set a new record, or taking the ‘going for broke’ attitude and attempting an unplanned weight in order to jump into a spot on the podium. This is even more evident on the third attempt deadlifts as 20% more deadlifts were failed than third attempt squats (65% versus 45%).

Key takeaways: (out of 231 lifter population)

• Missed all third attempts: 19% (2016- 15%)

• Missed at least 2 third attempts: 33% (2016 -36%)

• Missed 1st attempt + at least 1 more: 13% (2016 – 6%)



The Men's Results





The above graph shows the progression of each total that was required to win each of the Men’s Division weight classes in the last 6-years. The +/- change indicated in the graph/table is the change from that 2012 winning total to the 2017 winning total.

The trend is showing that classic lifting is continuing to be more and more competitive each year. Every weight class has seen an increase since the first World Championship back in 2012, with some as high as 20%. Not surprisingly, we have also witnessed 4/8 (50%) men’s weight class winners set new record high totals this year. The trends are showing a steady incline each year in totals required to win, so we can only expect this to continue in the years to come.

Legend: (for the table below)

• Avg: The average successful total for each 1st place winner at the IPF Open Classic World Championships between the years 2012-2017.

• Max: The heaviest total performed by a 1st place winner at the IPF Open Classic World Championships between the years 2012-2017.

• 2017: This was the successful total of the 1st place winner from the IPF Open Classic World Championships.



Below displays a graph of all the men’s 1st place results along with the average and max results from 2012-2017; which are referenced in the tables above. The blue dotted line represents the current World Record (as of July 9, 2017). You will notice that there is no spread between the blue dotted line and the yellow line – this illustrates that the 2017 1st Place totals match the current world record total for most of the weight classes. (World records can be broken at any international competition)



The next graph illustrates the totals of the 1st place winners from 2017 with a stacked graph splitting out what lifts make up the composition of their total. What we can see from this graph is not only linear increase in totals as we move up through each weight class, but the changes in the % splits of squat, bench press and deadlift as an athlete moves from a light-weight to the heavy-weight category. For this analysis, I categorized the 59kg weight classes as the light weights and the 120+kg class as the heavy weights.

In the 2017 results, the bench press stays relatively the same in each weight class being around 25% of a lifters total. In the lighter weight classes, the deadlift makes up almost 6% more of a lifters total than of a heavy-weight. The squat on the other hand does the opposite, making up 9% more of a heavy-weights total than a light-weights.

When we compare these light-weight and heavy-weight averages for 2017 to the 6-year bench mark we can see that the light-weight classes remained relatively in line with the benchmarks (+/- 2%). However, the heavy-weight classes showed a much higher % of their total composition being from the squat (+5%) and less from the bench (-3%) and deadlift (-2%). We know that the heavy-weight classes are certainly not benching or deadlifting any less than they have in previous years, they have just been able to increase their squat at a higher percentage.





The Women's Results





The above graph illustrates for us the progression of each total that was required to be crowned a World Champion in each weight class in the women’s division over the last 6-years. The change indicated in the graph/table is the change from that 2012 winning total to the 2017 winning total. Almost every weight class has seen an increase with some as high as 25%.

Like the men’s division, the women showed similar trends in many of the weight classes, and show no sign of slowing down. In 2017, 3 out of the 7 weight classes set new high records for totals at this championship.

Legend: (for the table below)

• Avg: The average successful total for each 1st place winner at the IPF Open Classis World Championships between the years 2012-2017.

• Max: The heaviest total performed by a 1st place winner at the IPF Open Classis World Championships between the years 2012-2017.

• 2017: This was the successful total of the 1st place winner from the IPF Open Classis World Championships.



Below displays a graph of all the women’s 1st place results along with the average and max results from 2012-2017; which are referenced in the tables above. The blue dotted line represents the current World Record (as of July 9, 2017). You will notice that there are some deviations between the blue dotted line and the yellow line – this illustrates that the 2017 1st Place totals are lower than the current world record total in several of the weight classes.



The next graph illustrates the totals of the 1st place winners from 2017 with a stacked graph splitting out what lifts make up the composition of their total. What we can see from this graph is not only linear increase in totals as we move up through each weight class, but the changes in the % splits of squat, bench press and deadlift as an athlete moves from a light-weight to heavy-weight category. The changes in the composition of a female lifter’s total are very similar to what we saw in the men’s category. The bench press stays relatively the same in each weight class being around 21% of a lifters total – Note that this is about 4% lower than the men’s average composition. In the lighter-weight classes, the deadlift makes up almost 6% more of a lifters total than of a heavy-weight, following the same pattern as the men. The squat on the other hand does the opposite, making up more of a heavy weights total than of a light-weight.

When we compare these light-weight and heavy-weight averages for 2016 to the 6-year benchmark we can see that the light-weight classes remained relatively in line with the benchmarks (+/- 2%). However, the heavy-weight classes showed a much higher % of their total composition being from the squat (+5%) and less from the bench (-3%) and deadlift (-2%).





What we can conclude is the following:

• The squat for both men and women on average has a positive correlation, meaning that as your body-weight increases you can relatively squat more as a % of your total.

• The bench press is contributing less to the female lifters total composition than the men, while utilizing their deadlift more to build a total.

• The deadlift follows a negative correlation pattern, meaning that as your body-weight increases you can relatively deadlift less as a % of your total.


Wilks: Comparison by Weight Class and Gender
Top Wilks

The Wilks formula allows us to compare lifters across all weight classes and genders. The men and women have different formulas and coefficients that are specific for every bodyweight allowing us to calculate and assign a score to every lifter’s results and compare them on a similar scale. The graph below represents the highest Wilks score achieved this year at the 2017 IPF Open Classic World Championships by weight class and gender. The top Wilks score by a female was achieved in the 57kg class with a Wilks score of 542.53 (2016: 63kg - 527.29pts). The top Wilks score achieved by a male was in 120+kg class with a Wilks score of 585.98 (2016: 59kg – 584.74pts).

When we compare the highest wilks scores for each class year over year, we see a similar pattern. The Men’s highest wilks are yielded from the lightest (59kg) and heaviest weight classes (120+kg). For the Women’s the highest wilks scores are achieved from the middle weight classes – the 57kg and 63kg class.



Wilks Cohort


As we discovered in the results analysis, the totals have been steadily progressing each year for this championship. This would make it reasonable to think that the wilks score proportions of the entire population of lifters competing at this championship are following the same pattern. In the next table, we break out the percentage of lifters from each year that fall under each wilks bracket. For example, in the table starting from the top, 8% of lifters in 2017 had a wilks score of less than 300pts, while 37% of lifters achieved between 450-500pts.

Key takeaways from this graph:

• In 2017, less lifters achieved a wilks score of less than 400 wilks than previous years. (red circle)

• More lifters in 2017 joined the 500+ club than in other years with over 21% of lifters. (purple arrow)

In the next set of tables, we break the 2017 men’s and women’s results into cohorts by weight class to determine which weight classes were the most competitive in terms of Wilks scores. In the men’s division, the most competitive weight classes were the 59kg, 120kg & 120+kg classes with >80% of all lifters in each class achieving over 450 Wilks points - the average in other classes being 78%. On the women’s side, the most competitive classes was the 57kg class with 57% of all lifters achieving over a 450 point Wilks score – the average in other classes being only 41%.

Men’s Wilks Cohort



Women’s Wilks cohort