USA Powerlifting - New Raw Nationals Qualifying Totals as of 11/30/18!

This past Friday, USA Powerlifting updated the Raw Nationals qualifying totals (QT) for the 2019 competition on November 30th in Lombard, Illinois. The other National event QTs were updated as well, but the real zingers were the hefty jumps in Raw totals.

The new Raw Nationals QTs saw increases of up to 26.2% in one of the Junior men’s classes...with an average increase across all weight/age classes of 10.8% for women and 12.4% for men. The filter has been applied. The days of newly minted lifters qualifying for Nationals within 1-2 years of training are over, at least for raw lifters. Raw Nationals in 2017 and 2018 were massive affairs, 5 platforms, multiple days, and over 1000 lifters each! It was high time the totals were updated - but there’s two sides to every coin.

Many lifters aimed for totals in the late fall of 2018 to qualify for 2019 nationals, planning to take the next 10-11 months and really dig into training for Nationals. As of Friday they’re scrapping their training plans and looking for meets prior to Raw Nationals 2019 to secure their spot on the platform, with a much bigger nut to crack to get there.

What we didn’t see in USA Powerlifting’s update were big jumps in equipped totals for Open Nationals - which further drives home the explosive growth in popularity of Raw powerlifting in the last few years. The QTs are derived from the 3 year average 30th place finishes in each weight class (14th place finishes for junior and master classes). [source] Let that sink in a moment… 30th place finishes?! As drug-tested powerlifting grows in popularity in the U.S. more talented athletes join in, the culture grows, and the athletes have to work to come out on top of a quickly deepening talent pool. This is leading to advances in training tactics, nutrition, equipment, and whatever legal “tricks of the trade” can be had to give an edge in competition.

The classes we typically see the most lifters competing in are the Junior, Open, and Master 1 - so I’ll lay those increases from 2018 out in detail here (does not include 43kg and 53kg in Women’s and Men’s respectively, as these are only Junior classes):

Check out this chart for details

[For more info, check out USA Powerlifting’s page as well]

If the above chart is too much, the new totals and increases for just the open classes are as follows (all in KG):

Raw Nationals - Women’s Open

47: 267.5 to 297.5 (+30)

52: 285 to 322.5 (+37.5)

57: 305 to 335 (+30)

63: 325 to 367.5 (+42.5)

72: 345 to 380 (+35)

84: 370 to 387.5 (+17.5)

84+: 400 to 420 (+20)

Raw Nationals - Men’s Open

59: 440 to 480 (+40)

66: 480 to 517.5 (+37.5)

74: 522.5 to 567.5 (+45)

83: 567.5 to 625 (+57.5)

93: 610 to 692.5 (+82.5)

105: 655 to 715 (+60)

120: 700 to 720 (+20)

120+: 752.5 to 772.5 (+20)

Yup, you read that right: the 93kg men’s open class (arguably the most competitive class in USA Powerlifting) had an 82.5 kilo jump… that’s over 180 pounds, almost the bodyweight limit of the class below! Yeah, you can thank David Woolson, Jesse Norris, and Ashton Rouska for that one.

The light and midweight women (the most competitive classes) are also facing ominous increases in Qualifying Totals for this upcoming year - percentage-wise higher overall than the men’s classes in the same weight classifications. Obscenely strong lifters like Jennifer Thompson, Marisa Inda, Heather Connor, Sara Brenner, and Leeann Hewitt have led the charge, we’ve seen the number of competing female powerlifters more than double since 2015. Women are now over ⅓ of the total competing powerlifter population. [source]

Even if the nut’s too tough to crack, there’s still hope for lifters looking to compete in Raw Nationals - enter Regionals. The top three place finishers at each Regionals competition (schedule and dates here for your region) also secure a spot in Raw Nationals, regardless of total. Note that if you haven’t competed in a while, you’ll need to do at least one local or state level meet before you can compete in your respective Regionals meet.

They’re narrowing the field for Illinois. Patents of nobility must be provided.

Overall, though this may be a frustrating move for lifters looking to compete at Raw Nationals (and for their coaches, truth be told) it is the RIGHT move for the sport. The national stage should reflect the top echelon of lifters for the sport, and any self-respecting lifter should attend nationals not for the hashtags or the “I went to Nationals” brag, but to compete. The new, more appropriate qualifying totals don’t just serve to narrow the field, they serve to keep lifters hungry, to keep the sport moving forward, and to maintain the sanity of the Raw Nationals organizers.

...Ok, that last one might not be as important.

Looking to compete at Raw Nationals? Want some help getting yourself to the qualifying total? How about a solid place to train? We’ve got it all, plus some. Get in touch with us for more details!

John Hughes