Bodybuilding Category Rules

How to assess an athlete's physique

The competitors will walk on stage in a line-up and will be guided through 4 quarter turns.


When assessing a competitor's physique, a judge should follow a routine procedure that will allow a comprehensive assessment of the physique as a whole. During the comparisons of the compulsory poses, the judge should first look at the primary muscle group being displayed. The judge should then survey the whole physique, starting from the head, and looking at every part of the physique in a downward sequence, beginning with general impressions, and looking for muscular bulk, balanced development, muscular density and definition. The downward survey should take in the head, neck, shoulders, chest, all of the arm muscles, front of the trunk for pectorals, pec-delt tie-in, abdominals, waist, thighs, legs, calves and feet. The same procedure for back poses will also take in the upper and lower trapezius, teres and infraspinatus, erector spinae, the gluteus group, the leg biceps group at the back of the thighs, calves, and feet.

A detailed assessment of the various muscle groups should be made during the comparisons, at which time it helps the judge to compare muscle shape, density, and definition while still bearing in mind the competitor's overall balanced development.

The comparisons of the compulsory poses cannot be overemphasized as these comparisons will help the judge to decide which competitor has the superior physique from the standpoint of muscular bulk, balanced development, muscular density and definition.