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The Molding of Women’s Physique Division

Last year, the IFBB and NPC announced a new women’s division called Women’s Physique and opened the division at the National Level for competitors to earn their Pro titles.  Women from both the Figure and Bodybuilding Divisions entered the new Women’s Physique Division.  It made sense that women from either BB or Figure entered since the criteria are not exactly clearly stated but the general understanding was that the Division was for women between BB and figure. Bodybuilders would have to lean down and cut back on muscles and Figure competitors would be required to add some muscles.

From the NPC Website

JUDGING CRITERIA: 
WOMEN’S PHYSIQUE WILL BE JUDGED ON THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA:

SYMMETRY, SHAPE, PROPORTION, MUSCLE TONE, POISE AND BEAUTY FLOW 
* PHYSIQUE ASSESSMENT AND COMPARISON WILL TAKE PLACE DURING PREJUDGING
PHYSIQUE SHOULD DISPLAY ALL OF THE ABOVE CRITERIA WITHOUT COMPROMISING FEMININITY, BEAUTY/FLOW OF PHYSIQUE, ETC.

THE FOLLOWING ARE EXAMPLES OF COMMON TERMS USED IN THE BODYBUILDING INDUSTRY. THESE WORDS CAN BE HELPFUL TO ASSESS WHAT SHOULD NOT BE DESCRIPTIVE TO THE PHYSIQUES BEING JUDGED IN WOMEN’S PHYSIQUE:
EX.) RIPPED, SHREDDED, PEELED, STRIATED, DRY, DICED, HARD, VASCULAR, GRAINY, MASSIVE, THICK, DENSE, ETC.

WHILE ALL TYPES OF PHYSIQUES WILL BE CONSIDERED WHEN IT COMES TO HEIGHT, WEIGHT, STRUCTURE, ETC. EXCESSIVE MUSCULARITY SHOULD BE SCORED DOWN ACCORDINGLY.

WOMEN’S PHYSIQUE COMPETITORS SHOULD HAVE THE OVERALL AESTHETICS AND LOOK THAT IS FOUND IN FIGURE WITH A LITTLE MORE OVERALL MUSCULARITY.

The results of National Competitions brought a mixture of physiques to Pro status; depending on the level of the competitors and what the judges were looking for. Ultimately, everyone would have to wait until the first Pro Competition to be held in 2012 to get a better idea of where this new Division would go.

Well…yesterday was the historical moment for Women’s Physique as 11 women graced the stage at the Desert Muscle Classic Pro in Arizona. Some similarity could be found amongst the competitors but a great deal more differences were apparent when it came to “overall muscularity”.  After the first and second call it – it was apparent the judges were not seeking a whole lot of overall muscularity and were learning heavily towards the leanest, less muscular of the competitors.

The conversation on Forums and Facebook pages, and various other streams lit up when the call-outs and results were released.  For many, it was disappointing and shocking.  Not at all what was expected from this new division and for others, it gave them hope that perhaps they wouldn’t have to “pack” on additional size and still do well in WP.  Dana Linn Bailey, a favorite to many received an outpour from her fans for her 4th place ranking. Very interesting that her FB page had over 14,000 people talking about it – which is incredible for this sport and for a women division.

For me personally, I found the outcome tremendously disappointing because I did expect the judges to look for more overall muscularity which is what I will be brining to the stage. The outcome also definitely motivated me to make sure I continue to closely track and monitor what happens in this Division since it is so new and being molded.

It’s very important that competitors and fans have conversations and share their interpretations of expectations of the criteria and what this division could do for women.  Women who have good genes and abilities to develop muscles but can’t turn pro in BB deserve a place in the sport and that place should be Women’s Physique.  The distinction between Bikini and Figure is clear but the distinction between Figure and Women’s Physique was NOT made based on last night’s judging.

Again, thankfully, many other Pro competitions lay ahead and other Pro competitors who have not graced the stage yet as Pros, will compete as well for the first time. The Division is now wide open to the local level and a new batch of competitors will be seen on the National Stage.  This conversation will definitely be ongoing for a while to come!!

3 Comments on The Molding of Women’s Physique Division

  1. I competed at the USA’s in WP last year. I placed 3rd in my class. I decided that I would go in the way I thought WP should look. I have done well in both BB and figure so I went more toward a BB look yet a tad bit softer. For my appearance I decided to curl my hair, put the lashes on etc… I just feel if you carry yourself with grace, look(BE) confident, smile, and have fun this will bring more attention to you on stage. I really feel that if you carry more muscle in WP its ok if the competitor has a natural feminine quality about her and of course good conditioning as well.

  2. I like how you said it Marga “I really feel that if you carry more muscle in WP its ok if the competitor has a natural feminine quality” – women definitely carry their muscularity differently. I actually hadn’t quite thought about it, that way and it is hard to past “judgement” on the judging and the competitors if you aren’t there in person watching the show.

  3. Oh…and what are your plans for this year?

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