Strongest States in the USA (By Powerlifting Results)

Strongest States is an open-data analysis of the statistics from the OpenPowerlifting database. Our team performed a considerable investigation of various powerlifting competitions held in the USA by the beginning of 2023. When making this analysis we were influenced by the idea of our friend Kyle from Lift Vault (cheers, Kyle!).

As a result, we presented this well-considered and accurate infographic for you to show the following information:

  • the strongest state*
  • the strongest athletes in different exercises and generally
  • getting to know more about the powerlifting sports


Our methodology

The Wilks Score (the strength score we used), also known as the Wilks Coefficient, is a formula used in powerlifting to compare the strength levels of lifters of different bodyweights. It allows for fair comparisons to be made between individuals of different sizes, essentially allowing for an "pound for pound" comparison of strength.

To gauge the strength level of each state, we took the top 10 Wilks scores from athletes who represent their respective states in SBD (squat, bench press, and deadlift) competitions and calculated their average.

The Wilks score serves as a yardstick to compare an athlete's strength to other powerlifters, regardless of their weight class or gender. The higher the score, the better.

Here you’ll find scoring tables of the powerlifters’ performance that indicate:

  • The final Wilks score of each state and all time best results of athletes in each exercise (the table above).
  • Top 10 athletes from each state, their Wilks results and the SBD results with the totals from the competition where they achieved their best Wilks score. So this is basically the raw data used for the state strength score calculation.
  • Best results in Squat, Bench press, and Deadlift exercises from each state and divided into male and female categories. These are the biggest registered results by each state without using the Wilks score.

All the used statistics were taken from the OpenPowerlifting project's official website. You may download a copy of the data at

The competition results with the following specifications were utilized to measure the Wilks score to define the strongest states in the USA:

  • Event: SBD
  • Equipment: Raw
  • Drug tested: True
  • Age: 18+

Note: SBD means that the records were taken from the contests including all three exercises (squat, bench press, and deadlift). Raw means the equipment category under which the lifts were performed, that is bare knees or knee sleeves. Drug tested: means whether the lifter entered a drug-tested category. Age: shows the age class in which the filter falls.

The records by each lift were taken from all powerlifting competitions, which could only include one of the 3 lifts, with the same criteria as for the previous range:

  • Event: All
  • Equipment: Raw
  • Drug tested: True
  • Age: 18+

Top 10 athletes from each state (by their Wilks score)

What is powerlifting: a general overview of the discipline

The majority considers powerlifting as an umbrella notion for weightlifting and bodybuilding or is used interchangeably with these terms being functional strength training as well. Although, powerlifting quite differs from them and has its special properties, making it unique. So, what distinguishes it from the rest of strength-oriented disciplines?

Powerlifting is a separate strength sport that follows a defined structure and requirements of a powerlifting competition. There are three main exercises that you can find on the web naming as SBD which means squat, bench press, and deadlift that all done with a weighted barbell. That means you won’t see any dumbbell or kettlebell at powerlifting competitions.

For each of the three lifts, a powerlifter gets three attempts to make his highest possible one rep at the max. Each competitor performs all three lifts and the top lifts of each exercise are added to the competitor’s total rating. This gives athletes of different strengths a chance to win. So, even if your deadlift or squat isn’t of a proper level, you can gain your top by performing a strong bench press.

The final scores are compared to other competitors of the same weight class and body weight. This way the competition is fair. Also, the age is also considered in competitions.

Compared with weightlifting and bodybuilding, powerlifting has one major goal: to perform at best. Powerlifters don’t care about being jacked and have shredded lean muscle mass. Powerlifting is all about lifting heavy weights with three main and simple lifts. The key concern for powerlifters is to build maximum muscle strength.

As we already mentioned, powerlifting competition includes three major lifts that are squat, bench press, and deadlift by applying a weighted barbell. Let’s describe each exercise separately and find out the proper technique for its performance.

Best results in each lift (Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift)

Best Squat Results (Female athletes)

Best Squat Results (Male athletes)


It’s believed to be the king of exercises, which develops your legs more dominantly than any other exercise, by activating quads, hamstrings, and little calves, and also requires a solid tight core. The proper squat form should be parallel, with stable feet and locked knees, without bouncing. Here you are a proper technique on how to perform squatting:

  1. Grip the barbell and stand up to lift it off the rack.
  2. Step back from the rack, setting up your feet for the lift
  3. Lower yourself until your thighs are parallel with the floor at the max.
  4. Raise yourself back up to the standing position.
  5. Step forward to rerack the barbell.

Best Bench Press Results (Female athletes)

Best Bench Press Results (Male athletes)

Bench press

This exercise aims to increase the power and size of your chest, by building your upper body muscles. The correct form to execute this exercise requires a flat bench, bar that touches the chest, with no bounce, and someone’s help:

  1. Lie on a flat bench.
  2. Grip the barbell with both hands.
  3. Unrack the barbell and hold the bar directly above your shoulders.
  4. Lower the barbell to your chest.
  5. Press the barbell back to the starting position.

Best Deadlift Results (Female athletes)

Best Deadlift Results (Male athletes)


Deadlift is a basic hip-hinge exercise that promotes the ability to lift heavy weights off the ground. It increases the whole body's strength, endurance, and adds up confidence. The standards of deadlift performance require: straight arms, stable feet, locked knees, keeping shoulders back, and the bar always moving up. The proper technique of the exercise looks like this:

  1. Begin with the barbell on the floor.
  2. Grip the barbell with a hook or overhand grip.
  3. Look straight ahead and start lifting the bar controlling your movements.
  4. Stand up and lockout.
  5. Lower the bar down with total control.