How is the “Best Lifter” determined in a meet?
All APFWPC powerlifting contests have a number of weight classes for which men and women can compete. In most contests, the meet director looks to not only crown the first place winners of each weight class, but also pound for pound overall best lifter or lifters. So, we use a formula to compare lifters of different bodyweights. With getting into the statistical analysis of it all, a formula was created by using the best lifts for each weight class. The formula then creates coefficients for a lifter’s bodyweight that is to be multiplied by the total amount of weight lifted. Essentially, multiplying the coefficients times the total weight lifted creates a coefficient total that can be compared to coefficient totals from lifters in different weight classes. And, the highest coefficient total is the Best Lifter. Note that there are different formulas for men and for women.
For example, let’s say a 220 pound male lifter totals 2000 pounds and a 165 pound lifter totals 1400 pounds. First, to use the formula, all of those numbers must be converted into kilograms. So the 100 kg lifter totals 907.19 kg and the 75 kg lifter totals 635.04 kg. Using the coefficient tables (which will be discussed below), the 100 kg lifter (who weighed exactly 100 kg) would have a coefficient of 0.581300. The 75 kg lifter (who weighed exactly 75 kg) would have a 0.688550 coefficient. Then by multiplying the total weight lifted by the coefficient, a coefficient total for the best lifter is calculated. So, 907.19 kg times 0.581300 equals 527.35, and 635.04 times 0.688550 equals 437.26. So the 220 lifter would win the Best Lifter award.
For most of the existence of the APF/WPC, the Reshel Formula was used to determine the best lifter, created by a former APF Technical Officer, Greg Rechel. Recently, however, the APF/WPC adopted the new Glossbrenner Formula, created by Powerlifting USA Statistician Herb Glossbrenner. This formula, however is not really a new formula as much as a combination of two older ones. It took the average of the coefficients from the oldest formula, the Schwartz, and new IPF formula, the Wilks. Herb Glossbrenner contended that the Reschel too heavily favored the very light weight lifters, and was outdated. He also contended that, while they were both okay formulas, the Schwartz formula favored the lighter lifters and the Wilks favored the heavier lifters. So, he took the average of the two to balance them out.
In addition to the regular best lifter formula, the APF/WPC also has a formula for determining a best overall Master (lifters over the age of 40) lifter. For the Master Formula, the APF uses the McCulloch Numbers. These numbers work the same as the best lifter coefficients. After first multiplying the total weight lifted by the Glossbrenner coefficient, that product is then multiplied by the Masters’ Age Number. Again, the highest coefficient total wins.