Athletes train to develop all bodyparts and muscles to maximum size but in balance and harmony. There should be no "weak points" or underdeveloped muscles. Moreover, they should follow a special pre-competition training cycle, to decrease the bodyfat level as low as possible and remove the underskin water to show the quality of muscles: density, separation and definition. Who can display more muscle details is scoring higher at the contest. And the other matter to be assessed is general view of the physique, which should be proportionally built. It means broad shoulders and narrow waist as well as adequately long legs and shorter upper body.
These qualities are displayed during two physique assessment rounds when competitors do 7 (men) or 5 (women) compulsory exercises during comparisons of 3 to 5 athletes proposed by the judges. Athletes perform barefoot, in posing trunks (men) and bikini (women). There 8 bodyweight categories for men: 65 kg; 70 kg; 75 kg; 80 kg; 85 kg; 90 kg; 100 kg and over 100 kg as well as 2 bodyweight categories for women: 55 kg and over 55 kg.
In women bodybuilding less attention is paid to muscle hardness, details and definition. More emphasis is placed on general view of the physique, muscle shape, bodyfat level (adequately low for women, not so low like in men bodybuilding) and attractive individual stage presentation.
There is also a routine round when athletes can show their physique during 60-second free exercise routine performed to the music of their choice. It is an attractive, artistic presentation, including compulsory and non-compulsory exercises and other type of movements. There are three rounds. In each round each panel judge must put the competitors in order, giving them individual places from the first to the last.
Classic Bodybuilding :
It is a version of bodybuilding for those male athletes who don't want to develop their muscles to their "extreme" full potentials but prefer lighter "classic" physique. To create the equal chances to them, the competitors' bodyweight is limited according to their body height, following the special IFBB formula for each body height category (currently there are four categories: 170 cm; 175 cm, 180 cm and over 180cm). Since muscle mass is limited, special attention is paid to the overall view of the physique, body proportions and lines, muscle shape and condition (density, bodyfat level, definition and details). These values are assessed by the judges during Rounds 1 and 3. In Round 2, like in bodybuilding, free posing exercises are performed to music of athlete's choice.
Women Fitness :
This concept has been introduced by the IFBB on the early 80's starting as official competition in 1996 in response to the increasing demand for competitions for women who prefer, unlike women bodybuilders, to develop a less muscular, yet athletic and aesthetically pleasing physique and also to show their physiques in motion. In Women Fitness, the emphasis is placed on a shapely, athletic-looking physique, assessed by comparisons of four quarter turns and athletic ability, assessed during a very attractive and dynamic fitness style routine.
The judges are looking for strengths elements, flexibility movements, high tempo, technical perfection, elegance and grace. Competitors may use small props, associated with their attires.
As it is a physique sport as well, there are also two physique assessment rounds beside this artistic routine round. In Round 1 and 3 competitors perform four quarter turns in bikini suit, during which the judges assess their figure and body contours, bodypart shape, bodyfat level (which can be a bit higher than in case women bodybuilders), body firmness and muscle tone, overall stage presentation (self-confidence, poise, coordination of movements) as well as the hair and facial beauty.
Eliminations (if more than 15 athletes), Round 1 (comparisons in quarter turns) and Round 2 (90-second routine) are performed during the Prejudging. In the finals, the top 10 competitors repeat their fitness routine (which is not judged this time) and then the top 6 finalists perform Round 3 (quarter turns). The subscores from all three rounds are summed up to create the total and final places of the competitors.
Men Fitness :
This new sport discipline is similar in structure to women fitness; however the body mass is limited according to the formulas established for all four body height categories (170 cm, 175 cm, 180 cm and over 180 cm). The contest also includes three rounds, with the artistic fitness routine in Round 2 and quarter turns in Round 1 (semifinal) and Round 3 (final). During the quarter turns competitors wear the swim trunks only and the judges assess the overall male athletic 10 should include strength and flexibility moves, gymnastic moves or other ways of displaying of their athletic talent and capacity. At the end, the subscores from all three rounds are added to produce the final scores and to reach the final places of the competitors.
Women Bodyfitness :
Bodyfitness has been implemented by the IFBB in 2002 to give a chance to compete for wide group of shapely women without the routine rounds, just the physique ones. This formula has proved to be useful and the number of participating competitors increases each year; however it is still discussed how to create them the possibility to show their figure in motion. Currently, there are three rounds of quarter turns, but in different attires. In Round 1 all competitors must wear black bikini and black classic stiletto shoes. In Round 2 they change the attire to the one-piece swimsuit of their own choice and classic stiletto pump of any color.
In Round 3 optional bikini suit and high-heels may be worn. In all rounds judges should assess the overall athletic appearance of the physique, taking into account symmetrically developed figure, muscle tone and shape with a small amount of body fat, as well as the hair and facial beauty and individual style of presentation, including personal confidence, poise and grace. This sport discipline is widely open for all well-shaped women working out in the fitness centers and following the healthy sport diet. And they take the advantage of it! Like in fitness, three subscores from all rounds are added to reach the final total and places. There are four body height categories: 158 cm, 163 cm, 168 cm and over 168 cm.
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