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Female Competition Categories Defined

mugzy

mugzy

Administrator
Staff Member
Aug 11, 2010
4,824
1,697
#1
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.
 
GiantSlayer

GiantSlayer

VIP Member
Jan 27, 2013
2,383
710
#2
I see my favorites. Erin Stern, DLB, Iris Kyle... But who is the bikini competitor?
 
Valiant

Valiant

Member
Jan 2, 2014
11
11
#4
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.
 
F

FBBFan

Member
Apr 17, 2013
17
0
#5
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.
especially in WPD :mad:
 
S

SugarFree

Senior Member
Feb 23, 2012
136
15
#6
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.
 
sassy69

sassy69

VIP Member
Aug 16, 2011
1,067
394
#7
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%
 
S

SugarFree

Senior Member
Feb 23, 2012
136
15
#8
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%
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
 
F

FBBFan

Member
Apr 17, 2013
17
0
#9
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.
maybe it is a matter of ... "we HAVE to judge, but not like to"... i do not know
 
sassy69

sassy69

VIP Member
Aug 16, 2011
1,067
394
#10
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
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.
 
M

Mrs.Determined

TID Lady Member
May 14, 2014
37
1
#11
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
Coaches say different things about bf%. Mine says for figure I need to be around 10
 
sassy69

sassy69

VIP Member
Aug 16, 2011
1,067
394
#12
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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