NANBF Women's Bodybuilding Guidelines


The Women’s Bodybuilding category is for women with more muscle than Women’s Physique, with emphasis on symmetry, muscularity, and presentation. It is not the largest, most muscular who wins, but the woman who possess the best symmetry, balance and proportion of both muscularity and conditioning.


Competitors will compete in a two-piece suit and no shoes. The bottom of the suit must be v-shaped. No thongs are permitted. All suits must be in good taste. Athletes will be warned about improper suits and are advised to contact show promoter if you are concerned your suit does not meet specifications. The fronts of the suits should not be too low and must be constructed higher. Competitors may wear jewelry.


Starting in 2020, Women’s Bodybuilding competitors are permitted to crossover to Bikini, Figure or Women’s Physique.


The use of performance-enhancing substances is never permitted. All competitors must successfully pass a polygraph screen prior to competition.

Judging criteria

Symmetry: Symmetry refers to the structural harmony of the physique, including the structural size on the muscles, and the relation of each muscle in a group to all other muscles in the group. It shall also include the balance and proportion of components (upper and lower body, and front and back). There should be a degree of separation, definition, and detail in all angles.


Muscularity: Muscularity refers to the size of the muscles, their shape, separation, definition, and hardness or visibility of striations and vascularity. Muscularity is determined by the extent of development in relation to the size of the skeletal structure. The shape and contour of the developed muscle and muscle groups are also considered. Of equal importance is the separation of lines of demarcation between adjacent muscles, and striations delineating sections or fibers within the same muscles, and striations delineating sections or fibers within the same muscle group, and the degree of firmness of muscle tone. Body fat retention and water retention are conditions that should subtract from an athlete’s degree of perfection in this round.


Presentation: Presentation is the effectiveness of display of the competitor’s most favorable development, including posture, carriage, projection, posing ability and stage presence. Skin quality, evenness of tone, choice of suit, and grooming are also considered. The posing technique used in the individual poses and the fitness in assuming them, along with the smoothness of transition between these are factors included in the judgment of presentation.

Group comparisons

Competitors will come on stage by class, facing the judges to determine the most balanced physique. Competitors will start facing the judges, then they will be instructed to perform quarter turns - turning to the left side, turning to the back, turning to the right side, and then facing the judges again. Arms are at the sides, slightly bent and legs are also slightly bent, a mild twist on the side poses is permitted.


The head judge will instruct you to complete mandatory (muscularity) poses. You may be asked to do these several times and out of order later in the round.


Front Double Biceps


Front Lat Spread


Left Side Chest


Left Side Triceps


Rear Double Biceps (either heel spiked to show calf)


Rear Lat Spread (either heel spiked to show calf)


Right Side Chest


Right Side Triceps


Hands Over Head Abs (hands behind head, one leg extended)


Single Quadriceps (hands on hips, rotate quad)


Hands on Hips Most Muscular


Hamstrings (optional)


Double Calf Raise (optional)


Side Serratus (optional)

Individual presentation and stage walks

Competitors individually perform a 60-second posing routine to music. This portion of the show is for the crowd and gives the competitor a chance to win a "Best Presenter" or "Best Poser" award. Individual presentations should be done tastefully and be conducive to a family atmosphere.

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