What You’re Judged On
Aside from grace, posing and presentation and the appropriate gender specific body language the Judges are looking for some distinct things for each class. I will go over some of what I look for but this is cursory at best and does not necessarily reflect the criteria of other judges. The NPC website has the judging rules and I follow those quite closely, but here are the big points.
Glutes come first. In both genders, in all classes the glute/ham tie-in is the place to truly assess an athlete’s conditioning. If the butt jiggles on a woman because she’s moving too fast or putting weight on her heels when she steps that’s going to cost her dearly. The widest part of the hips should be across the greater trochanter of the femur, not below it.
On men one of the last places for fat to disappear is right below the belly button. If you can get an outy from an inny then your good.
The biggest difference between Men’s Physique and Bodybuilding is the priority of the attributes.
In Bodybuilding its Conditioning > Mass > Symmetry> Aesthetics.
While in Men’s Physique its Aesthetics > Symmetry > Conditioning > Mass.
So an athlete with ratings of 8 Mass, 8 Conditioning, 6 Symmetry, and 6 Aesthetics would do better in Bodybuilding then Physique.
Mens Physique athletes should not dance, and both MP and Bikini should limit their time in the box to 10 seconds.
Men’s Physique and Bikini are graded on glutes, calves, V-taper or hour glass, delts, and suit and hair presentation. Faces are graded, thus this is about how attractive you are, its not athleticism being evaluated. These are model classes in other organizations. As such these are the most subjective and hardest to judge. My opinion is these classes should be called men’s and women’s swimsuit modeling division.
On the other end of the spectrum is Bodybuilding and Women’s Physique. These are the athletes and Iron warriors. Barefoot and never judged on their faces they get to pose to their own personal music, they are the stars. The only relevant detail of the suit is that it covers as little as possible, for the true bodybuilder has nothing to hide. Every muscle was hand crafted for perfection. From head to toe, front to back the whole body is graded, not just from the waist up and the knees down. Anyone who has posed knows that it is the hardest part, and the work that goes into the posing and the routine adds another huge dimension to the work needed to be a champion. These athletes are graded on every angle and every muscle, its senseless to list it all.
Figure is the middle of the road between bikini and women’s physique. A remnant from fitness’ 2 piece portion of the competition. An hourglass with shredded quads and huge delts and dramatic V taper. Conditioning and presentation are key, not mass. There are only the 4 quarter turns of the bodybuilding symmetry round for figure posing, I hope this division is phased out eventually as its like a proto bikini, and just slows shows down. The current figure women could choose between bikini and physique, and the shows would move faster.
Female bodybuilding is the old name for Women’s Physique and will be phased out in the next 5 years.
Fitness routines aren’t typically graded and the grading is the same as figure. Fitness is actually really cool and I’m sad to see it dwindle to nothing over the past 6 years.
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