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Bodybuilding - What Are We Looking At?

If you are new to bodybuilding, either as a spectator or as a competitor, you need to know what people are looking for in each division. With all divisions, body shape and symmetry are taken into high consideration. This is just a quick overview. For full details visit the official NPC and IFBB websites.



Bikini (women only)

In this division, we are looking for developed shoulders, narrow waist, and muscle definition between glutes and the back of the leg. The upper body goal is to have that V-shape with wide shoulders and a narrow waist. Competitors wear a 2-piece bikini and clear posing heels. Posing is done with a front pose, left side pose, back pose, and right side pose.


Wellness (women only)

Wellness is a fairly new division that stems from Bikini, but with more musculature in the legs. Competitors wear a 2-piece bikini and clear posing heels. Posing is done with a front pose, left side pose, back pose, and right side pose.


Figure (women only)

In figure, we are looking for more musculature than bikini with defined muscle groupings, but no muscle striations. Competitors wear a figure/physique bikini (connects in an X in the back) and clear posing heels. Posing is done with a front pose, left side pose, back pose, and right side pose.



Physique (women, men’s classic physique, men’s physique)

Physique is definitely a step up from figure.


Women’s physique features definition of muscles within the muscle groupings (ex. 6-pack abs in physique, compared to a basic defined tone ab area in figure). Competitors wear a figure/physique bikini (connects in an X in the back) and are barefoot. There are 7 poses competitors need to show. They get to do a 90 second routine to music that allows them to hit all 7 poses.


Men’s classic physique features definition of muscles within the muscle groupings (ex. 6-pack abs in physique, compared to a basic defined tone ab area in figure). Competitors wear posing trunks and are barefoot. There are 8 poses competitors need to show. They get to do a 90 second routine to music that allows them to hit all 8 poses.


Men’s physique features definition of muscles within the muscle groupings (ex. 6-pack abs in physique, compared to a basic defined tone ab area in figure). Competitors wear board shorts and are barefoot. Posing is done with a front pose, left side pose, back pose, and right side pose.



Fitness (women only)

Fitness branches off from physique, but allows the competitor to display their athleticism. Competitors wear a 2-piece suit and posing heels. ⅓ of their score is based on posing, while the other ⅔ are based on their fitness routine. They get to do a 2 minute routine to music that allows them to hit the required 4 poses: push up, high kick, straddle hold, and side split.


Bodybuilding (men, women)

Men’s bodybuilding features extreme definition and size. With the low body fat percentage of the competitors, muscle striations, graininess, and vascularity occurs naturally. Competitors wear a posing suit (no thong or t-back) and are barefoot. There are 14 poses competitors need to show. They get to do a 60 second routine to music that allows them to hit their preferred poses. Competitors are divided by weight-class.


Women’s bodybuilding features extreme definition and size. It’s also not always an available division, as it lends itself to steroid abuse. With the low body fat percentage of the competitors, muscle striations, graininess, and vascularity occurs naturally. Competitors wear a figure/physique bikini (connects in an X in the back) and are barefoot. There are 11 poses competitors need to show. They get to do a 60 second routine to music that allows them to hit their preferred poses. Competitors are divided by weight-class.


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