x

Get Stronger in 3 minutes (or less)

World records, results, training, nutrition, breaking news, and more. Join the BarBend Newsletter for everything you need to get stronger. Join the BarBend Newsletter for workouts, diets, breaking news and more.
BarBend Newsletter

Bodybuilding

Latest News

Top Athletes

Bodybuilding Guides

Man doing lat pulldown

The 5 Best Lower Lat Exercises for a Denser Back

Big lats serve two primary purposes: They support your spine during squats, deadlifts, and bench presses and make you look big in sweaters. However, many lifters have trouble engaging their lats because we don’t use them much in daily activities...

Read more

Bodybuilding Basics

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)

More in Bodybuilding

Janet Layug 2020 Bikini Olympia

Janet Layug is Your 2020 Bikini Olympia Champion

The 2020 Bikini division was absolutely stacked. Forty women stepped on stage to claim the popular Bikini Olympia title. Of those women, Janet Layug emerged victorious as the 2020 Bikini Olympia champion. 2019 winner Elisa Pecini hoped to defend her...

Read more