T Nation

Top 10 Pound for Pound Best Raw Powerlifters of All Time


What ten raw lifters have put up the most impressive totals in their respected weight classes? I recently read an article about a guy named Lamar Gant whose numbers were incredible at his weight, and I never knew he existed. For this topic I’m only interested in raw lifters (belts and wraps only). I dont find geared lifts anywhere near as impressive especially in the squat. The whole over-geared west side ‘questionable’ parallel squats don’t phase me anywhere as much as dudes with just a belt putting up big numbers going parallel or lower


The world record total holders lol? Holding records in more than one weight class too like Larry Wheels and Yury Belkin

Brett Gibbs was amazing at IPF worlds like recently. Out totaled the next weight class up.


Lamar wasn’t a raw lifter though…it wasn’t even a thing back then.


Stefi Cohen all the way.




It’s weird how they compare male and female lifters based on Wilks when it’s a different formula for the ladies, that doesn’t make sense at all. Yury Belkin weighed 40lbs more than Chakera Holcomb but totalled 700lbs more than her, yet her total is somehow better?

Not only can you not accurately compare men and women, but also drug free (or at least drug tested) vs. untested should be in separate categories. Otherwise the implication is that you will never get anywhere in this sport without steroids.


Spot on. Even if you go way back, late 60’s and early 70’s, it was a mixed bag. Jim Williams hit 675 with elbow wraps, one nationals in the late 60’s had the craziest wraps, tennis balls wrapped behind the knees, layers of bed sheets (not sure why), cutoff jeans, etc. Tom Overholtzer squat went from 665 to 480 (give or take) the next year when they went completely raw.

Ed Coan’s 2402 going 959 545 901 @ 220 was the greatest “almost raw” total. He had a squat suit, no bench shirt, and I believe his DL was reported to be a singlet.

Lamar Gant, by the way, held world records in each lift at one point… incredible when you look at his leverages, made to pull but he was just plain strong overall.


So she had a wilks of 664, Belkin would have to total 1130KG to have a higher wilks than her…

Not taking anything away from her, she totalled 720kg. But wilks is just BS


I wouldn’t really say that Wilks is BS, it just has major limitations. There was another thread on this a while back. Basically, it’s only good for comparing people in similar weight classes and divisions. There is no formula out there that is perfect.

Look at this a different way, by the men’s Wilks formula Chakera Holcomb would have 496 and Belkin would have 860 female Wilks. What happened to gender equality? Equal work for equal Wilks?

Wilks isn’t the only coefficient formula out there either, openpowerlifting also allows you to sort it by Glossbrenner and McCulloch. With Glossbrenner, Belkin comes 1st (Zahir Khudyarov is actually ahead of him on Wilks, aside from the ladies) and with McCulloch, Ellen Stein comes 1st and Belkin is in 20th place. It appears that this McCulloch formula gives you points for being old. There is also another formula in use (but not on openpowerlifting) called Schwartz-Malone.


I thought wilks wasn’t meant to compare male v female?


You would have to ask Robert Wilks to find out his original intentions, but it does give you a sort of measure of strength relative to bodyweight and sex. Like a 500+ wilks is elite for both men and women, but it doesn’t make sense to use it to judge who is the better lifter unless there is a huge discrepancy in wilks. Just like you can’t accurately compare a 181 lifter vs. SHW because of the way the formula works.


I don’t understand the whole male/female comparison. Equal rights=equal weights no? If a man can do it a woman can! Gollly geee felllas (obvious trolling). But getting back to my original question, I think its impossible. For example, how do you compare Paul Andersons squat when the drugs and knowledge of them were extremely limited and we have a plethora of knowledge on training where back then mainstream sources said squats were bad for your knees.


They used to give cows and steer Tren Ace. Paul drank cow/bull blood.