This article is going to be discussing the various contest rules associated with natural bodybuilding contests as well as professional an amateur non-natural bodybuilding competitions. The first aspect is the posing trunks that are permitted and these rules are very specific. During the prejudging a solid color suit should be worn and no suits of metallic nature are allowed.
There will be no "T" suits or "G" strings worn and the style of the suit that will be worn at the actual competition must be worn at the weigh-in especially at all National competitions. No jewelry or hair ornaments will be allowed at either prejudging or the evening competition. Numbers will be on the left side of the suit.
If there are more than 15 competitors in an individual weight class an elimination round will be done and all the competitors will be brought out as a group. There will then be quarter turns done so the judges are able to see the overall level of competition. They will then come back in groups of 5 to perform the compulsory poses.
At this time the judges will be deciding the top 15 competitors by placing an "X" next to a competitor’s number. No actual placings are given during this round but after all the competitors have performed the compulsory poses the judge’s sheets are collected. The 15 competitors with the most amount of "X"'s are the ones that will make up that weight class.
Each of the 15 competitors will come back individually to perform their posing routine and this will be limited to 60 seconds with a 10 second warning given during the prejudging. No music will be used at the prejudging. It is only in the evening show where the competitors will be permitted music and they will be permitted 90 seconds to complete their routine.
During the second round of pre-judgment the judges will be focusing on how well the contestant is able to "present their physique" by showing both muscular and symmetrical development. Doing any pose except the moon pose is permitted when doing a 60 second routine. The moon pose has been banned by the NPC and the IFBB and will not be allowed at either phase of the competition.
After each contestant has finished their routines the contestants will be brought out as a group in numerical order. At this time the head judge will call them out in groups of 3-4 or 5 and direct them through the compulsory poses. There are five for the women and seven for the men and the judges will take this time to assess muscular development. The side chest and triceps pose may be done from either side.
POSE#1 - FRONT DOUBLE BICEP
POSE#2 - SIDE CHEST POSE (Either side)
POSE#3 - BACK DOUBLE BICEP
POSE#4 - TRICEP EXTENSION (either side with front leg angled back)
POSE#5 - ABDOMINAL POSE
POSE#6 - FRONT LAT SPREAD (MEN)
POSE#7 - BACK LAT SPREAD (MEN)
POSE#8 - MOST MUSCULAR (Optional for the men)
During the prejudging the judges are always looking at the competitor’s symmetry. This refers to the proportion, shape and balance of muscle. The judges are always making a note of the competitor’s natural symmetry that they have. After all the competitors have done the compulsory poses, the judges may ask to see certain competitors together for comparisons.
Judges are allowed to ask to see only certain poses or may ask to see a pose that is not part of the compulsory poses but which they feel they need to see in order to place these competitors. (ex. Lat. Spread for a female competitor). When all the comparisons are completed and the judges are satisfied, the line-up is dismissed.
The judges than mark their score sheet, consisting of a single placing for each competitor based on all three rounds. The total package should always be considered and the Head Judge will then collect the judge’s sheets and make sure no judges have made duplicate placings. The next weight class is then called out.
Although the decisions have usually been made by the time the evening show arrives it still can make a difference in some cases. The reason is that in the evening show the competitors are introduced either as a group or individually depending on the competition or as they perform their routines. The time limit is 90 seconds with music and no jewelry, hair ornaments or props are allowed.
The Head judge will supply the emcee with the finalists and the emcee will then call out the finalists in numerical order. There will be a few minutes of free posing allowed for the audience but no actual judging is done at this time. The emcee will then announce the final placing’s starting with 5th or whatever the last place is and work up to first place. The trophy is awarded as the place is announced.
When scoring the placement system is used. Each round will be considered of equal importance, however only one score will be marked on the judges score sheet for each contestant. Notes should be kept on each competitor so that a judge can tell a competitor where they excelled or where improvement is needed. When adding all the judges’ scores, the high and lows are discarded. The remaining scores are added together. The contestant with the lowest score wins and the rest are placed accordingly.
For example if there are four judges the scores are then added up for each competitor. In the above example Competitor #1 was scored better by Judges 1,2,3,and 6 (A total of 4 judges). Competitor #2 received better scores from judges 4, 5, and 7(A total of 3 judges). Since Competitor #1 had more judges score her higher (4 to 3), she receives the higher place.
Each Weight Class Winner advances into the Overall Pose-down which is only done in the evening show and that is where the difference can be made to the scores. The Head Judge guides them through the quarter turns then the compulsory poses and then they are given 2-3 minutes of free posing with some background music.
While the free posing is being done the judges should mark their sheets placing the competitors from 1 to 3 or 5 and give their sheets as quickly as possible to the head judge so the scores can be tallied. The judge’s scores are compiled and the highs and lows discarded. The remaining scores are added together. The competitor with the lowest score is the overall winner.
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