Women’s Bodybuilding

Women’s Bodybuilding is judged based upon Symmetry, Muscularity, and Presentation.  In general, bigger is better with maximum muscle definition, conditioning and vascularity.

Suits worn by female competitors must be two-piece and usually plain in color with no fringe, wording, sparkle or fluorescents.  However, some organizations may allow a suit that includes a printed design with fringes, lace, sparkle or fluorescents that are in good taste.  It is extremely important to check with the organization you plan to compete in before you purchase your suit to ensure it meets their requirements.  These suits can be very expensive. Competitors must be barefoot and no jewelry is allowed with the exception of a wedding band and earrings in some organizations/finals.


Competitors are first introduced in numerical order in a straight line or curve facing the judges, assuming a semi-relaxed stance. The head judge will instruct the group to execute a series of quarter turns to the right allowing the judges to view them from the front, left side, back and right side before returning to the front position. During quarter turns, you must keep your arms to your sides, to not twist or turn your body.

The head judge will then instruct the group to execute a series of mandatory poses giving the competitors a sufficient amount of time to hold the poses for the judges and to rest between each pose.  After the initial comparisons are complete the head judge may shift the position of the competitors to conduct additional comparisons.  Mandatory poses may differ slightly between bodybuilding organizations.

 In this round the judges are looking at the size of the muscle in relation to skeletal structure, shape, hardness and definition. This includes the separation between individual muscles and muscle groups and striations within a muscle or muscle group. Muscle shape should be aesthetically pleasing and should demonstrate development from the belly out to the extremities.

The Mandatory Poses are:

  1. Front Double Biceps
  2. Front Lat Spread
  3. Side Chest
  4. Rear Double Biceps
  5. Rear Lat Spread
  6. Side Tri-ceps
  7. Abdominal / Quadriceps

They normally contain some or all of the mandatory poses.



Events are typically split between pre-judging, normally held during the day, and then finals held in the evening.  During the evening finals, each competitor will perform a routine which are typically 60 to 90 seconds.  However, if there are a large number of competitors for a particular event, promoters may limit the number of individual routines (ie only the top 5 competitors based on the pre-judging round would perform routines).  It is performed to music provided by the competitor and gives them an opportunity to display their physique, physical conditioning, personality, and creativity.  They normally contain some or all of the mandatory poses.

Typical weight classes for Female Bodybuilding are as follows:

  • Lightweight – Up to and including 115
  • Middleweight – Over 115 up to and including 125
  • Light-Heavyweight – Over 125 up to and including 140
  • Heavyweight – Over 140

Promoters may have slightly different and/or fewer weight classes depending upon the number of competitors.