T Nation

When to Go Up Weight Class?


I was reading the book of methods and two things stuck out to me (at least my interpretation):

1) You should be able to total X amount of weight before moving up a weight class
2) What weight class you will be the most competitive at is individualistic

What I was wondering is how strong should I be before getting heavier, and how do I know what weight I will perform the best at.

Current Stats:
build-long arms, long legs, short torso, medium femur to lower leg ratio... I think
Squat- 320-340
Bench Press- 260-275
Deadlift- 415-435
--estimates given cause it's been a long time since I maxed

--training experience: .5 years beach work, 1 year transitioning into serious training (learning form and intelligent training and basic stuff), .5 year doing bodybuilding style routines, .75 years training powerlifting
injuries: perpetually (on and off) nagging supraspinitus injury during transition period (power cleans), elbow tendonitus that occassionally flares from powerlifting from october, injured si joint from powerlifting in december (took a good 50lbs from squat and deadlift, was about 3 months before i could back squat heavy, 4 before i started deadlifting, currently a-syptomatic and am only now almost back to pre-injury numbers)


Class Height
52 kg 145 +/- 3 cm
56 kg 149 +/- 3 cm
60 kg 155 +/- 2.5 cm
67.5 kg 160 +/- 2 cm
75 kg 164 +/- 2 cm
82.5 kg 168 +/- 2 cm
90 kg 171 +/- 2 cm
100 kg 174.5 +/- 2 cm
110 kg 177.5 +/- 2
SHW 186 +/- 6 cm

This is a chart compiled by the Soviet weightlifters during the 70s (back when the press was competed) it shows the average height for the best lifters of each class. That's probably not a bad guidline to follow if you're looking to maximize your potential as a lifter, although it might be a little on the heavy side for those not looking to be world class. As far as how fast to gain the weight I guess that's a personal thing but I've always tried to eat a fairly high calorie diet and work on getting stronger and let the weight gain come as it will. If you push to get your weight up too fast you might just end up fat and not strong enough to be competative in the weight class and then have to go through the hassel of dropping weight and losing strength to build back up again. By the same token I wouldn't worry too much about trying to hit a certain total before gaining weight, if you get too caught up in trying not to gain weight while getting stronger you probably won't make the progress you should. That's just an oppinion though, good luck with it.


Wow.... 242 pounds for me.... I'll work on getting to 198 for now. I think I'll start working up to triples or 5's on ME day. since I'm still a beginner/intermediate at lifting, maybe I'll pick a lift to do for 3 weeks and do it like this:
week 1: about a 5 rm
week 2: about a 3 rm
week 3: 1 rm

I just started the conjugate method and one thing I've noticed is that my appetite is all but gone compared to Wendler's 5/3/1. I hope these tweaks will help.


At your height, weight and training experience, you should ditch westside and do something like 5x5 or 531 (as you mentioned).


Louie told me "keep gaining weight until your deadlift goes down, then drop to the weight class right below the one your current weight would be in."


Why would your deadlift go down?


Leverage, I'm pretty sure.


This is awesome. I've been thinking about compiling the height/weight data for elite powerlifters in each weight class, but don't have the time to do it.

Do you have any more information or a source on this chart.



so it looks like i'm a SHW... but i'm competing in the 181's


I'd love to know if they have anything similar for woman. Where did you find the charts? I googled it and couldn't find anything. If I were a man competing at my height 5'6" I should be 82.5. As a woman I compete at 60 but only just moved up last fall from 56 due to excessive leanness resulting in looking like a feral cat and a negative impact on recovery.

Going up to 60 has had a major impact on my lifts, particularly deadlift but I'm still growing into the weight class.


Also according to what I read from the book of methods, you're hands will get too fat to grip the bar well.


I converted to lbs and ft/in and made a table. I used 120kg for SHW so the table is screwy up high. Need more data points.


Can putting on mass make one less prone to injuries?


What's your goal? Are you looking to just compete and have fun? Do you want to be one of the top lifters in the sport? I think the 242 is about right. I think Panora, Frey, and Carroll are all about your height. They are usually in the 260-270 range and cut to 242 for weigh ins.

I think gaining mass would make you less injury prone. Right now you probably aren't carrying enough muscle for the lever arms your height creates.


Gut gets in the way of your thighs... = Trouble getting into starting position of Conv. Deadlift.
Semi-Sumo and Sumo shouldn't be all that affected by that particular issue... At least they aren't for me.


Well, less bench ROM = less strain/stretch on the shoulder capsule... But the distance between bar and shoulder joint will also increase on the squat, so you get more strain there. I really prefer front squats these days (used to hate them as they hurt my shoulders/clavicles, but now those areas are thick enough to avoid that largely).

And missing a step on the stairs will be a lot more painful for someone weighing 320 :slightly_smiling:

It's win some, lose some... But someone who is over 6 feet and weighs 200 or less is most likely going to suck at the bench and squat (but can possibly pull fine)... He'll have much more luck increasing his relative strength with any kind of speed at 270 or more.


My goal.... continual progress and maximization of my potential while remaining injury free enough to maintain this kinda progress and not becoming fat (heart disease in the family)... I don't know where that'll lead me. It's kind of hard at the moment since I can't find any power lifting crews around her but I'm making do and making progress for the time being. For now, I want to work up to 200 lbs by the end of summer and depending on what kind of body comp i have then, I'll slowly work back down 5-10lbs.

edit: One thing I've noticed that whenever I gain weight, the first lift to start increasing more than usual is the squat which happens to be my weak point as well. Go figure.


that makes sense, the biggest squatters are usually SHW's


Keep your % BF in check and make sure you get a yearly physical then. My DR told me that based on BMI I'm morbidly obese. He said there weren't any health risks since I'm relatively lean and my blood work is clean. I just get a physical each year.


Looks like I should be around 242 myself. Currently a 198, who will be down to 181 by the summer, i've got a way to go.