Female Competition Categories Defined

Discussion in 'Female Bodybuilding, Fitness & Figure Competition' started by admin, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. admin

    admin Administrator Staff Member

    Aug 11, 2010
    Bodybuilding competitions

    This is probably the competition you're most familiar with. Bodybuilding certainly isn't for every woman, but it's extremely popular. Women in these contests are judged on their muscularity, definition and leanness. As with all body competitions, muscular and physical symmetry is one of the most determining features a judge will look for.

    It's important that these women have toned essentially every visible muscle in their body, and while extremely intensive weight training is key, strict dieting is most imperative if these competitors want to walk away with the gold.

    Female bodybuilders can be described as "ripped" and "chiseled," which isn't necessarily true for competitors in other formats.

    Bikini competitions

    Today, bikini competitions are growing faster in popularity than any other format. While bodybuilders are typically blessed with the ability to bulk up more than the average person, bikini competitors have a look that's attainable for a wider range of women.

    In essence, judges look for the girl who can rock a two-piece swimsuit better than anyone else on stage. These women typically aren't very muscular, and the winners aren't necessarily the skinniest competitors. As a matter of fact, it's important to have a bit of body fat so muscles aren't too defined.

    Figure competitions

    Figure competitions fall somewhere in between bikini and bodybuilding. It's important that these women are muscular, but not the way that bodybuilders are. Judges look for a bit of separation between the muscles, but there can be no visible striations. In other words, muscle tone is valued much more than muscle size.

    It's crucial that women aren't too skinny, and skin tone is key in these contests as well.

    Physique competitions

    The National Physique Committee (NPC) explains on its website that physique competitions are "for women who enjoy weight training, competing {and} contest preparation." It's a bit different than bodybuilding and figure posing, as the NPC says these women shouldn't be vascular, massive, grainy, thick, ripped or dense.

    The judges look for shape, proportion and muscle tone, but also poise, femininity and beauty flow, which aren't necessarily as important in the other formats.

    Fitness competitions

    Fitness competitions are probably the most unique of the bunch. These call for women to perform a short routine that entails more than just posing. Instead, these performances involve dancing, gymnastics or other physical activity that demonstrates the athleticism and stage presence of the participants.

    The presentation and tempo of the performance, in addition to the competitor's flexibility, are looked at closely by the judges in fitness competitions.
    SJA, Fuchsine and GiantSlayer like this.
  2. GiantSlayer

    GiantSlayer VIP Member

    Jan 27, 2013
    I see my favorites. Erin Stern, DLB, Iris Kyle... But who is the bikini competitor?
  3. narcissus79

    narcissus79 Member

    Oct 17, 2012
    You should make note, these are Ifbb judging criteria. NABBA figure is very very different
    FBBFan and admin like this.
  4. Valiant

    Valiant Member

    Jan 2, 2014
    show to show judge to judge don't even think you know what class you should be its so damn inconsistent. And local and regional if you look ANYTHING like the international girls you wont even get called out.
    FBBFan likes this.
  5. FBBFan

    FBBFan Member

    Apr 17, 2013
    especially in WPD :mad:
  6. SugarFree

    SugarFree Senior Member

    Feb 23, 2012
    What are the average Body Fat ranges in each of these categories? I think Sassy may have posted this in the past but I've been searching and unable to find the post.
  7. sassy69

    sassy69 VIP Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    Note that the bodyfat range isn't exact and really matters more how each person "wears" their mass / bodyfat / water. I'd ballpark typical ranges to be:

    Bikini: 10-14% - avging around 11-12%, but again depending on how each person wears the mass.
    Figure: 9-12%
    Physique: 8-10%
    FBB: 6-7%
    Jenner, FBBFan and SugarFree like this.
  8. SugarFree

    SugarFree Senior Member

    Feb 23, 2012
    Thanks Sassy and understood about the appearance on the individual person. I'm geeky and like to equate everything to numbers and was just trying to get a rough idea.

    Is it possible to be to lean when competing? I have a female friend who is just starting to compete and I know she's aiming at target percentages much lower than what your describing. For example I know shes gonna do her first bikini comp soon in the 8-10% range and thinks she needs to reach 6-8% to do figure and so on
  9. FBBFan

    FBBFan Member

    Apr 17, 2013
    maybe it is a matter of ... "we HAVE to judge, but not like to"... i do not know
  10. sassy69

    sassy69 VIP Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    Its even worse now than it used to be with "too lean" -- w/ the slow demise of women's bodybuilding, the smaller categories are more about the complete package than the extremes. But it still depends on the individual. If you're looking for absolute bodyfat measures, and then how it will look on stage, it is going to matter how much muscle and bodyfat the person has.

    It can depend on the show & the judges and also the level of the show. The regional shows tend to not reward the ultra lean girls, but then less lean girls who get rewarded do shitty at the national level where they better degree of leanness is rewarded. If you're too lean and look stringy or too harsh, you won't do well.

    Some women have naturally low estrogen levels and can readily lean out - but if you are the night before the show and get teh sense you need to smooth out a little, that can be accomplished w/ some diet manipulation. If you're fighting to get lean enough and really aren't lean enough to do well, there's no way to adjust that last minute.

    General guidance is to look at the photos of the same show the previous year or area shows to get a sense of what they reward, and then if it is a regional show, probably tend more towards less "too lean" and keep the "really lean" for the national level if you are able to get past the regional.

    There are no guarantees. Frankly it may take a few shows to get the hang of what they are rewarding and how your body responds to the cut and you present. There are also ways to adjust your posing to reduce detail if you need to, or enhance detail.
  11. Mrs.Determined

    Mrs.Determined TID Lady Member

    May 14, 2014
    Coaches say different things about bf%. Mine says for figure I need to be around 10
  12. sassy69

    sassy69 VIP Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    I think you need to go back to the original picture on this thread. THey show Iris Kyle as the bodybuilder. She is about 6% bodyfat there. For a bikini girl to get to that level w/ not a lot of muscle just really means an ultra skinny girl. Keep in mind that LEAN means a decent balance of muscle and bodyfat - not ****ing skinny. Also for Bikini girls, at the regional level, seeing a lot of detail and such is probably not going to be rewarded well. However at the national level you need to be leaner. The judges want to see healthy shape - not skinny. Women who are higher natural test / low estro have to be careful about not coming in too stringy. The LOOK is more important, particularly in the categories below bodybuilding because need for more muscle and more detail are not there, so frankly the idea of setting hard limits on bodyfat becomes more and more irrelevant and more about "how you look".

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