Who is the Greatest Powerlifter Ever?
We asked that question, and seven others, to 50 of the top powerlifters from the United States. We found out things like; who they consider to be the best male powerlifter and best female powerlifter in the game today, what their favorite bar is, sumo or conventional, wraps or sleeves, monolift or combo rack, raised heel or flat shoes. The pool that we surveyed was about one-third femal and two-thirds male. They spanned all weight classes from 97 pounds to SHW. The average wilks score of those surveyed was 575. Keep an eye on this page as we get the results to all eight questions posted.
The graphic above shows the results from the question: "Who is the greatest powerlifter of all time?" The predominant answer here isn't too surprised. Ed Coan is widely considered the greatest powerlifter ever. Andrey Malanichev got the next highest number of votes, followed by Hideaki Inaba. Others that received votes were Kirk Karwoski, Stan Efferding, Ray Williams, Paul Anderson, Lamar Grant, and Wei Ling Chin.
The graphic above shows the results from the question: "Who is the best raw male powerlifter today?" Yury Belkin commanded a big percentage of the votes on this one with 43%. Andrey Malanichev and Ray Williams tied with 17% each. Larry Wheels had 9% of the vote and Eric Lilliebridge got 5%. Others that received votes were Steve Johnson, Rob Hall, and Taylor Atwood.
The graphic above shows the results from the question: "Who is the best female powerlifter today?" Considering her recent performance at the 2018 Kern U.S. Open, we weren't surprised to see C.C. Holcomb take in 58% of the vote. The next with the most votes was Stefi Cohen at 12%, then Kimberly Walford and Bonica Brown both with 6%. Others that received votes were Jen Thompson, Marianna Gasparayn, Jennifer Millican, Crystal Tate, Daniella Melo, and Christy Senay.
The graphic above shows the results from the question: "Sumo or conventional deadlift?" Conventional was preferred almost 3/4 of the time, and that result was pretty equal if you look at just the males, or just the females. Almost all men above the 231 pound weight class answered conventional.. sumo was more common with lighter lifters.
The graphic above shows the results from the question: "Do you prefer flat shoes or raised heel shoes for squats?" This one was close, with raised heels being slightly favored. If you look at just the females surveyed, they actually considerably favored raise heels, while just over half of the men preferred flat sole shoes.
The graphic above shows the results from the question: "Do you squatting in wraps or squatting with knee sleeves?" This one was close again, but sleeves ended up being the slight favorite. Keep in mind we did survey across a broad range of federations (10 different feds total). About half of the lifters surveyed came from the USPA and USAPL.
The graphic above shows the results from the question: "Do you prefer to squat from a monolift or a combo rack?" Fair disclosure: The lifters that we surveyed came from 10 different federations, but the USPA and USAPL combined made up almost 60% of those surveyed. Those two federations have the largest number of members, so it makes sense that a majority of the lifters in this survey would come from those two feds. USPA and USAPL both utilize combo racks in competition, so the results are no surprise.
The graphic above shows the results from the question: "What is your favorite kind of barbell?" The question did not specify anything about training or competing, simply which one is your favorite. Some answers were more specific.. like "Texas squat bar" or "Ohio deadlift bar", but we lumped all answers together under the main manufacturers. Texas bars were the big number one with 54%. Rogue Ohio bars were next at 23%, then Kabuki bars at 6%, and Eleiko at 3%.
We utilized OpenPowerlifting as a valuable resource when determining the 50 lifters that were surveyed.