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Bodybuilding Judging

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How are Bodybuilding Contests Judged

Although there are many different types of methods of judging a bodybuilding competition this article is going to only be discussing the two main types of judging which are done. The first is the NPC (The National Physique Committee) judging system.

The NPC governs amateur bodybuilding in the United States, uses a comparatively simple system of judging. All the judging for individual classes takes place during the prejudging (recently, the federation has begun doing some of the judging during the finals, but most still takes place during afternoon prejudging).

Selecting an overall champion from among the class winners takes place during the finals. When an NPC competitor poses in the finals to music, this is strictly a show for the audience. The scoring has already been completed. With all NPC competitions each bodybuilder in a class comes out individually and does a one-minute free-posing routine, with no music. The entire line-up is then brought out on stage together and the judges bring out groups of competitors---starting with what seems to be the top five or so---for comparison posing. There are no "mandatory" poses as such, but the bodybuilders are generally asked to do most of the common, conventional physique poses---front double-biceps, lat spread, side-chest and so forth.

However, the judges can call for any pose they want---a most muscular, for example, or simply for "your best leg shot." NPC judges don't score the rounds separately, but simply rank each bodybuilder in order once prejudging for the class is over. So when an NPC judge finally places a competitor, that score doesn't reflect any single aspect of the bodybuilder's physique or presentation but a complete, overall evaluation of his or her excellence. This is very different from the IFBB method which will be discussed next.

The IFBB Judging System, which sanctions international amateur and professional bodybuilding competition, has a more complex and structured set of judging procedures. The prejudging consists of two rounds. In the first, the bodybuilders assume a "standing relaxed" posture (something like standing at attention, arms at the sides) and are looked at from the front, back and both sides. In the second, the competitors go through a very specific set of mandatory poses.

In both rounds, the bodybuilders are looked at individually and are compared as well, although unlike the NPC system - where the judges can call out any number of competitors in a group - usually only three competitors are brought out for comparison at a time.

The NPC Judging System which governs amateur bodybuilding in the United States uses a comparatively simple system of judging. All the judging for individual classes takes place during the prejudging (recently, the federation has begun doing some of the judging during the finals, but most still takes place during afternoon prejudging).

Selecting an overall champion from among the class winners takes place during the finals. When an NPC competitor poses in the finals to music, this is strictly a show for the audience. The scoring has already been completed. In an NPC contest, each bodybuilder in a class comes out individually and does a one-minute free-posing routine, with no music.

The entire line-up is then brought out on stage together and the judges bring out groups of competitors---starting with what seems to be the top five or so---for comparison posing. There are no "mandatory" poses as such, but the bodybuilders are generally asked to do most of the common, conventional physique poses---front double-biceps, lat spread, side-chest and so forth.

A judge can call for any pose they want---a most muscular, for example, or simply for "your best leg shot." NPC judges don't score the rounds separately, but simply rank each bodybuilder in order once prejudging for the class is over. So when an NPC judge finally places a competitor, that score doesn't reflect any single aspect of the bodybuilder's physique or presentation but a complete, overall evaluation of his or her excellence.

The IFBB Judging System which sanctions international amateur and professional bodybuilding competitions has a more complex and structured set of judging procedures. The prejudging consists of two rounds. In the first, the bodybuilders assume a "standing relaxed" or the “symmetry round” posture (something like standing at attention, arms at the sides) and are looked at from the front, back and both sides. In the second, the competitors go through a very specific set of mandatory poses.

In both rounds, the bodybuilders are looked at individually and are compared as well, although unlike the NPC system - where the judges can call out any number of competitors in a group - usually only three competitors are brought out for comparison at a time.

An important difference between the NPC and the IFBB procedures is that IFBB judges score each round separately by placing the bodybuilders in order of excellence for that individual round, and a competitor's score represents his or her cumulative scores from all of the rounds.

IFBB scoring is not completed once prejudging is over. The competitors don't do their free posing during prejudging, but are evaluated by the judges as they perform their routines to music in the finals. Once the third round is completed and the scores are added up, the top finalists are then brought out for an additional "pose-down" round and have an opportunity to make a final impression on the judges.

But this very specific system is by no means fool proof and there is a lot of room for many different variations on the subjective interpretation of each judge. The bottom line is that a judge is looking for muscle development, muscle density, symmetry, proportion, balance and general muscularity.


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Bodybuilding Judging

Neither trulyhuge.com nor the authors of this publication assume any liability for the information contained herein. The Information contained herein reflects only the opinion of the author and is in no way to be considered medical advice. Specific medical advice should be obtained from a licensed health care practitioner. Consult your physician before you begin any nutrition, exercise, or dietary supplement program.

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