Bodybuilding Competition Rules

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What are the Rules of Bodybuilding Contests

There are many different bodybuilding organizations ranging from the well-known IFBB and the NPC to the less popular WBFF and the OCB etc. There are 15 main organizations that organize bodybuilding competitions in the USA and some have slightly different rules to the others.

For this reason we are going to only concentrate on the most widely accepted bodybuilding competition rules that are very similar to the other organizations with only a few subtle changes. The biggest difference is the weight categories and the few organizations that use height categories.

All bodybuilding competitions start with a competitors meeting where the management of the competition explain the rules and the format of the competition. Depending on the amount of competitors entering the competition the judging will start with pre-judging usually the day before the evening show.

Although the judging is completed before the evening show starts the competitors and the judges do not reveal these results and nobody knows who is going to win until the final results are presented on stage at the end of the show. Usually there will be weight categories ranging from bantam or even flyweight to heavyweight and super-heavyweight divisions.

Judging is done by a minimum of three recognized judges but the bigger bodybuilding competitions will have seven judges who work on a point allocation system. The points awarded to a competitor are for the display of lean muscle mass in relation to balance, proportion, symmetry, muscle depth and quality, as well as overall presentation.

The competition is specifically judged by comparing the various competitors using at least seven compulsory poses. Any judge can call two or more bodybuilders to stand next to each other to complete some or all the compulsory poses. Points are then allocated without the addition of the final presentation points in the evening.

Each competitor needs to appear on stage with posing trunks or bikini that will reveal all the body-parts except the genitals. The free posing opportunity that competitors get will be 90 seconds where they can pose to music of their own choice in the final presentation after the pre-judging has been completed.

In the IFBB (International Federation of Bodybuilders) the objective for any good bodybuilder is to gain access to his or her pro-card, which will enable that competitor to compete as a professional. Usually there is prize money awarded in all professional competitions so that a bodybuilder could make a living by placing in the top ten in bodybuilding competitions that they enter.


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