The Judgment of Physique: Clearing the Fog

Lou “Big Sexy” Uridel

By Lou “Big Sexy” Uridel

First and foremost, I want to state that I am not currently nor have I ever been an NPC or IFBB sanctioned judge. The information I am putting in this article is based on various seminars held by the NPC and from the many NPC and IFBB shows I have attended and witnessed over the last few years. The statements made are not official statements – just ones that I feel may be useful to either those trying to understand the judging or competitors who are trying to come in with “that look.”

If you follow any Internet forums or the social media you can see a myriad of comments regarding the women’s physique division like: “What are they looking for!?” “They are going bigger!” “Oh they want just skinny figure girls!” “now they want really conditioned girls!”

Having been to countless women’s physique competitions both IFBB and Amateur I would like to attempt to shed a little light on this.

There are a set criteria of rules and judging criteria on the NPC website. For the most part – they are gold, although people get confused on them.

Here are the rules from NPCNewsOnline.com

JUDGING CRITERIA

• Symmetry, shape, proportion, muscle tone, poise and beauty flow
• Physique assessment and comparison will take place during prejudging

Women’s Physique Division has been created to give a platform for women who enjoy weight training, competing, contest preperation. Competitors should display a toned, athletic physique showcasing femininity, muscle tone, beauty/flow of physique.

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:
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.

1

I hear women testify to “doing whatever it takes” to get to this level of physique. The truth is, and this may be hard to hear: that no matter WHAT you do (or take) you won’t get Juliana’s physique… probably not even close. Furthermore, you could completely ruin your femininity in the process. If you are trying to be one of the best women’s physique competitors, you are going to need to keep your femininity in tact!

All of the top names – Dana Linn Bailey, Tycie Coppett, Sabrina Taylor and Karina Nascimento have all played to their strengths. None working to get overly big but only fine tuning and etching their physiques and working on one of my final points: Presentation.

2

Women’s physique competitors should have the overall aesthetics and look that is found in figure with a little more overall muscularity.

Putting it all together

Ok, so if you read that – you can draw the logical conclusion that women’s physique isn’t supposed to be like women’s bodybuilding. Thick, shredded, etc – not good. Overall aesthetics and look – good.

The final sentence of the rules sums up the thrust behind the criteria. The entire physique is judged not just a specific body part. This means, if you have an awesome set of glutes and ham – you can’t win just on that. If your arms are longer or torso is shorter – that can throw you off. The entire physique is judged, as a whole, not broken down your shoulders vs their shoulders, your legs vs their legs, etc. This is how someone who has smaller legs or muscularity can beat someone who is bigger – because the smaller girl has a physique that flows better.

There isn’t a trend to go more conditioned or less conditioned either. Some people say “well, conditioning wins shows” – well, it is an impact. However, just because one girl wins who has almost striations going through her glutes, doesn’t mean that’s what everyone is looking for now. It could mean the competition wasn’t good. It could also mean that taken on a whole, that competitor had the best physique on stage. To merely look at the condition as the reason is only a half-truth.

I have seen countless women’s physique athletes complain or post pictures of the first place winner and their picture (and they didn’t place well). I can see right off the bat why the winner won… and why they didn’t place well. Typically the case is they are way too big for the division (excessive muscularity) or they are good in one pose. Once they get into all of the poses their weaknesses are discovered. Like, a girl who has no hamstrings or glute tie in – looks great in the front pose – not as much from a side or back pose.

The most successful competitors in Women’s Physique have worked to their strengths and not tried to alter themselves or reinvent their physiques. Juliana Malacarne, the 2014 Ms. Olympia, has a genetically gifted structure and muscularity. Many women feel they need to try and match as close to her as they can in order to be the most competitive. I have news for you. If you are trying to get like Juliana, then it is a game you are going to lose.

I hear women testify to “doing whatever it takes” to get to this level of physique. The truth is, and this may be hard to hear: that no matter WHAT you do (or take) you won’t get Juliana’s physique… probably not even close. Furthermore, you could completely ruin your femininity in the process. If you are trying to be one of the best women’s physique competitors, you are going to need to keep your femininity in tact!

All of the top names – Dana Linn Bailey, Tycie Coppett, Sabrina Taylor and Karina Nascimento have all played to their strengths. None working to get overly big but only fine tuning and etching their physiques and working on one of my final points: Presentation.

Presentation

In women’s physique presentation is very important, in the words of Tamer El Guindy – posing is an art form. How you display your physique is tantamount to success in the division. You are given an opportunity to display your strengths and hide your weaknesses. Everyone should pose in a manner to create the illusion of the best physique they can have. In some ways – a competitor can make their physique BETTER than it actually is with superior posing. Conversely, a superior physique can fall in placing with sub-par presentation.

Feminine, graceful and strong are all aspects of a strong presentation. At the same time, you don’t want to look like a burlesque dancer on stage with bedroom eyes to the front row. Practicing this element can significantly improve how well you do… more so than most people give credit.

The KEY to remember in all of this is – there is no ideal physique. There is just an ideal physique for YOU. As a women’s physique competitor you need to bring the best you to the stage and not get caught up in trying to play a size game or chasing a carrot because odds are you will just end up in a worse position. The concept of presentation should never be lost at any point on stage. Merely looking good in your pose isn’t enough. From your walk, to your transitions, flow and demeanor all play an important role.

There is no size for women’s physique. There is no prototype. The sooner one can realize this and see the forest for the trees, the easier it will be for them to understand how women’s physique.

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