Analysis of USA Powerlifting federation data from January 1, 2012 - June 11, 2016
In this paper we report on 47,913 officially judged contestant results from powerlifting matches from January 1, 2012 – June 11, 2016 for the USA Powerlifting Federation.
We found that age and sex to be the most complex factors in predicting powerlifting results. For women, in general, the younger the woman is, the more they can squat; the older the woman is the less they can squat. For men and women, with the one exception for women's squat, the peak age of lifting power is between the ages of 24-49, at which point lifting power slowly declines. Women's peak performance declines faster than men's peak performance. Women appear to be reach their peak sooner than men and decline sooner than men.
We also analyzed match attendance. At matches with a large number of competitors, there is a 1:1.7 ratio of women to men, approximately a 2 to 3 ratio of women to men.
Except for the lightest weight category of men, the ratio of weight to lift decreases the more they weigh. For example, a lighter person can generally lift a greater percentage of their weight than a heavier person. In addition, men in general can lift a heavier ratio of their weight when compared to women.
The powerlifting stereotype of mostly heavy men lifting extremely large amounts of weights is simply wrong. There is a large amount of variation in both age, weight, and sex.