Competitors compete in a division, determined by their body mass. There are currently eight (8) divisions for men, and seven (7) for women.

These classes are currently:

MENS: 56kg, 62kg, 69kg, 77kg, 85kg, 94kg, 105kg, and 105+kg

WOMENS: 48kg, 53kg, 58kg, 63kg, 69kg, 75kg and 75+kg.

In each weight division, competitors compete in both the snatch and clean and jerk, and prizes are usually given for the heaviest weights lifted in the snatch, clean and jerk, and the two combined. Each competitor will get three (3) attempts at each lift.

The order of the competition is up to the lifters. The competitor who nominates to attempt the lowest weight on the barbell will go first. If they are unsuccessful at that weight, they have the option of reattempting that lift or trying a heavier weight later (after any other competitors have made attempts at that weight or any intermediate weights). Weights are set at a minimum of 1 kilogram increments.

The title Best Lifter is sometimes awarded in competitions, which is an award based on the lifters' Sinclair Coefficients. This calculates strength-to-weight ratio of the lifters. Typically, the winner of the heaviest weight class will have lifted the most weight, but a lifter in a lighter weight class may have lifted more in proportion to his/her bodyweight.

The Sinclair Coefficients are a means to compare different weight classes in olympic weightlifting.

There are eight bodyweight categories for male athletes: 56 kg, 62 kg, 69 kg, 77 kg, 85 kg, 94 kg, 105 kg and +105 kg, and seven for female athletes: 48 kg, 53 kg, 58 kg, 63 kg, 69 kg, 75 kg and +75 kg.

There are also two types of lifts: snatch, and clean and jerk. However, at the championships, medals are presented in both lifts separately, and in total (the combined result of the best snatch and the best clean and jerk).

To compare and rank the results, especially between bodyweight categories, the International Weightlifting Federation uses the Sinclair Coefficients which are derived statistically and calculated for one Olympic cycle (for four years, starting in the Spring of each Olympic year).

The total for each bodyweight category is a projection of the Total for that weightlifter if he/she were a competitor in the heaviest bodyweight category with the same level of ability. It is done in four body weight categories for the males (56 kg, 69 kg, 77 kg, +105 kg). For the other four categories (62 kg, 85 kg, 94 kg, 105 kg) the Sinclair Total represents the World Standard because nobody as of March 2008 has lifted the predicted total. Those projections using the Sinclair Total are shown below.

The Sinclair Coefficient is if x

**Then, the Sinclair Total is simply the obtained total multiplied by the Sinclair Coefficient.**

**For example, in 2008, a calculation of the Sinclair Coefficient might look like this:**

**A=0.845716976 for males**

**A=1.316081431 for females**

**b=168.091 kg for males**

**b=107.844 kg for females**

**Assume that we are assessing a male weightlifter weighing 56 kg with a total of 305 kg.**

**Then, x=56 kg, and we have**

**X=log10(x/b)=log10(56/168.091)=-0.477356434**

**A(X^2)=0.845716976*(-0.477356434)^2=0.845716976*0.227869165=0.192712821**

**10^(A(X^2))=10^0.192712821=1.558521584**

**Sinclair Total = Actual Total x S.C. = 305 kg x 1.558521584 = 475.349 kg**

**To understand the whole idea, here is the chart with all male bodyweight categories (in kg) and its world record Totals, Sinclair Coefficients, and Sinclair Total. By looking at the Sinclair Total we can determine the RANK. * denotes a World Standard rather than a world record.**

**# Weight Class (kg) World Record (kg) Sinclair Coefficient Sinclair Total Rank**

**1 56 305 1.558521584 475.349083 3**

**2 62 326 1.441035030 469.7773733 7**

**3 69 357 1.338020780 477.6734183 1**

**4 77 377 1.250896723 471.5880646 6**

**5 85 395* 1.186208968 468.5525422 8**

**6 94 417* 1.132098286 472.0849853 4**

**7 105 440* 1.084720914 477.2772023 2**

**8 +105 472 1.000000000 472.0000000 5**

**The same is done for the seven female body weight categories.**

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