What is Bodybuilding?
In the sport of bodybuilding, athletes compete to see who has the best physique. They are judged on their muscularity, level of conditioning (or leanness), muscular symmetry, and posing routines. Most of the work is done off stage, as competitors must train hard, eat clean 24/7, and follow a rigid supplement regimen to build a complete body.
There are two major bodybuilding organizations — the IFBB Pro League and the NPC (an amateur league). The NPC, which is where most bodybuilders start, offers eight divisions — three for men and five for women. For the men, they are Men’s Bodybuilding, Men’s Classic Physique, Men’s Physique. The women’s divisions include Women’s Physique, Fitness, Figure, Bikini, and wellness. In the bodybuilding category, there are also specific weight classes. They are:
- Bantamweight (up to 143.25 pounds)
- Lightweight (over 143.25 pounds and up to 154.25)
- Middleweight (over 154.25 pounds and up to 176.25)
- Light Heavyweight (over 176.25 pounds and up to 198.25)
- Heavyweight (over 198.25 pounds and up to 225.25)
- Super Heavyweight (over 225.25 pounds)
A typical bodybuilding show consists of four rounds— the symmetry round, the mandatory posing round, the free posing round, and the posedown. (Note: Each division is judged a little differently.) Here’s a breakdown of each stage.
Athletes will first complete a series of “relaxed” quarter-turns so the judges can compare their symmetry and conditioning. Then, they’ll complete the eight mandatory poses to demonstrate their size. Each athlete will then perform a rehearsed posing routine, about 90 seconds long. Finally, the top three to five competitors in each weight class will compete in a posedown, as the last chance to show the judges their best assets.
The eight mandatory poses include:
- Front Double Bicep
- Front Lat Spread
- Side Chest
- Side Tricep
- Rear Double Bicep
- Rear Lat Spread
- Abdominals and Thigh
- Most Muscular (men only)