How is bodybuilding judged

Bodybuilding classes IFBB / NBBF: which class can you take?

Are you thinking about entering a bodybuilding competition? Then it can be good to know in advance what classes are available and what you might be able to attend. Check out this article for all of the IFBB's bodybuilding classes.



The IFBB is thatInternational bodybuilding and fitness association and was founded in 1946 by the brothers Ben and Joe Weider. The IFBB organizes bodybuilding competitions on a national and international level for different classes.

The IFBB currently hosts competitions for bodybuilding for men / women, fitness for men / women, classic bodybuilding for men, body fitness for women, bikini fitness and child fitness.

De NBBF is the Dutch branch of IFBB. They organize national competitions for bodybuilding and fitness in the Netherlands.


Bodybuilding courses from the IFBB

Many different competitions are organized by the IFBB / NBBF. Thinking about entering a contest can get you confused by what is on offer.

For every competition it is important to know what the different bodybuilding classes are, what are the requirements in these classes and how a competition is judged in the different classes. You can use this information to see which competitions you might be able to enter.

Class 1: Bodybuilding

As a bodybuilder, you are busy training your muscles and building your body. The bodybuilding classes look at the results of these workouts.

How are you measured?

Bodybuilding competitions are all about the quality of the muscles being trained. That quality consists of muscle mass, separation and definition. Muscle mass is about the volume of the muscles, muscle separation is about building muscle, and muscle definition is about the visibility of the muscles.

It is important that there are no weak points or underdeveloped muscles. Every muscle in the body counts. For a good muscle definition it is important that the fat percentage is as low as possible and the water retention as low as possible. In other words, you need to be dry because your muscles come out the best.

In addition to muscle quality, the general muscle balance and body symmetry are examined. Body symmetry looks at the relationship between shoulders, arms, waist and legs. In other words, there must be a good balance between the upper and lower body.

This bodybuilding class is about getting the most out of your muscles. There is therefore no limitation on the size-to-weight ratio.

What are the different classes of participants?

There are different weight classes for men that you can participate in. These are the following classes:

  • 65 kg
  • 70 kg
  • 75 kg
  • 80 kg
  • 85 kg
  • 90 kg
  • 100 kg
  • more than 100 kg

In each class, the bodybuilders perform barefoot and in special posing briefs.

How does the competition work?

There are several rounds in which the quality of the muscles and body symmetry are assessed. In the finals, contestants must have seven mandatory bodybuilding poses do it.

In order to be able to assess the qualities correctly, the participants are compared with one another. This is done by calling participants forward in groups of three to five athletes and performing the poses.

In another round, the participant has a little more freedom. You have 60 seconds to show your body to the jury. You can use your own music and various mandatory and free poses.

The jury ranks the participating athletes in each round from the best to the least good participant.

Class 2: Classic bodybuilding

This class can be compared to the first class of bodybuilding, only now it has a more classic look.

How are you measured?

In the classic bodybuilding class, you are more likely to be judged on the overall physical appearance. Important elements are the body proportions, the lines, the shape of the muscles and the condition.

The condition consists of the muscle density, the fat percentage, the muscle definition and the details. The muscle mass is less important.

What are the different classes of participants?

Since less muscle mass is measured, participants are classified not only by weight, but also by height. This is done to eliminate any benefit from that little extra bulk in classic bodybuilding.

The different classes then look like this:

  • up to 1.68 m with a maximum body weight - / - 100 + 0 kg
  • up to 1.71 m with a maximum body weight - / - 100 + 2 kg
  • up to 1.75 m with a maximum body weight - / - 100 + 4 kg
  • up to 1.80 m with a maximum body weight - / - 100 + 6 kg
  • over 1.80 m with a maximum body weight - / - 100 + 8 kg
  • over 1.90 m with a maximum body weight of - / - 100 + 9 kg
  • over 1.98 m with a maximum body weight - / - 100 + 10 kg

The IFBB formula is used, which is used in different bodybuilding classes: maximum body weight (kg) = (length (cm) - 100) + x (kg). Here x is the number of pounds you can add to your weight.

So if you are 1.74 m tall, you could weigh (174-100) + 4 = 78 kg.

How does the competition work?

During the classic bodybuilder competition, you will take part in three different rounds as a participant. Here you will be assessed again in comparison to the other participants.

Just like with bodybuilding competitions, there is a round here where you have to perform various mandatory and non-mandatory poses on your own music.

Class 3: Athletic build of men

This class is not so much about muscle mass, but more about the athleticism and aesthetics of the body. So it's one more step "easier" than the above bodybuilding classes.

What are the different classes of participants?

This bodybuilding class does not require classifying participants by weight. The only classification that applies is therefore length:

  • up to 1.70 m
  • up to 1.74 m
  • up to 1.78 m
  • over 1.78 m

During the competition, participants must adhere to certain rules of appearance. Instead of posing briefs, the participants in this round wear a swimsuit. The following rules apply:

  1. It cannot be a swimsuit made of tight fabric. The pants must lie loosely around the legs.
  2. The material and fabric of the swimsuit can also be determined by the athlete.
  3. The shorts may not have a personal sponsor logo on them, but a brand like Nike or Adidas is allowed.
  4. Participation takes place barefoot.
  5. With the exception of wedding rings, jewelry is not allowed.

How does the competition work?

During the Men's Athletic Physique, there are four different rounds that you participate in.

During the first round, the participants enter the stage one after the other. When you get on the stage, stand in the center and show yourself from the front, side, back, and side. So you do four quartz strokes. You are always looking at the jury and you can put your hand in your pocket or put it on your side as an extra pose.

Then the participants are compared and you do the same routine in different formations. Each jury member gives the participants places from high to low and ensures that not several athletes get the same number of points.

The score deals, among other things, with the participant's fitness and body symmetry. In addition, the participant's appearance and personality are assessed.

Class 4: Men's fitness

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This is a new class in the IFBB bodybuilding classes and can be compared to the Women's Fitness class. The only difference is that for the men, certain weights belong to the heights. This is supposed to prevent too much muscle mass.

How are you measured?

This affects both your physical and athletic characteristics. This class goes one step further and you are expected to demonstrate your strength and flexibility in a routine.

You will be assessed on the basis of your athletic abilities, your flexible movements, your gymnastics movements or other methods with which you can prove your athletic abilities.

What are the different classes of participants?

Again, it's less about muscle mass than about the bigger picture. In this class, too, your height is taken into account in combination with your weight in order to rule out any advantages.

The different classes are:

  • up to 1.70 m with a maximum body weight - / - 100 + 1 kg
  • up to 1.75 m with a maximum body weight - / - 100 + 2 kg
  • up to 1.80 m with a maximum body weight - / - 100 + 3 kg
  • up to 1.90 m with a maximum body weight - / - 100 + 4 kg
  • up to 1.98 m with a maximum body weight - / - 100 + 4.5 kg
  • over 1.98 m with a maximum body weight - / - 100 + 5 kg

The IFBB formula is also used here: maximum body weight (kg) = (length (cm) - 100) + x (kg). Here x is the number of extra pounds you can add to your weight.

For young people up to 21 years of age, the formula in this class applies: maximum body weight (kg) = height (cm) - 100.

In the posing rounds you have to participate in a posing slip.

How does the competition work?

There are three rounds during the competition. Round 1 and Round 3 are the familiar posing rounds in which you always do a quarter turn.

The second round is a round is the artistic fitness part. Here you show how flexible you are and you can also do gymnastic movements. The sub-items of the three rounds are added at the end. This then immediately gives the final result for the competition.


Now you know what different bodybuilding classes there are and what the requirements are for each class. The IFBB / NBBF organizes many different competitions. So watch out for their websites for new contests and registrations!

Have you ever entered a competition?

If so, what bodybuilding classes have you taken and do you have any tips for others to take part?

Let us know in the comments below!