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NANBF Women's Bodybuilding Guidelines



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.

Bodybuilding divisions are height based and split according to competitor numbers.

Each competitor must be a member of the NANBF.

Competitors must be 13 years of age. Competitors under 18 must have parental consent.

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 and muscularity.

A balanced proportioned physique top to bottom, front to back, side to side.

Muscle mass, shape.

Conditioning, hardness, separation.

How well the competitor executes posing to create symmetrical harmony in group comparisions.

Stage presentation, tan, suit choice, grooming, posture.

Symmetry refers to balance, proportion and the structural harmony of the physique. 


Muscularity refers to the size and shape of the muscles. There should be a degree of separation, definition, and detail in all angles. 

Muscularity is determined by the extent of development in relation to the size of the skeletal structure.

Body fat retention and water retention are conditions that should subtract from an athlete’s degree of perfection in this round.


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


Group comparisons

Each Open class competitor, individually, will be required to hit 3 poses (and no more) of their choice, center stage, prior to group comparisons.​​​​​​​  

These poses should be specific to the category and designed to highlight the competitor's physique and presentation/posing ability for the judges.  

The head judge will then direct the competitor to line up in the back of the stage to be ready for group comparisons.  

Each class is then brought to front center stage and is guided through quarter turns as a group by the head judge, to display their physique from front, side and back to determine the most balanced physique.


Mandatory Poses

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

  • Rear Lat Spread 

  • Right Side Chest

  • Right Side Triceps

  • Abdominals-hands behind head, leg extended

  • Single Quadriceps-hands on hips, flex and rotate leg

  • Hands on Hips Most Muscular


Optional Poses

  • Hamstrings 

  • Double Calf Raise

  • Side Serratus

Individual presentation/routine.

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.


Remember, you are not alone on stage. Good sportsmanship is important. It makes competitions more enjoyable for everyone. While winning might feel like the most important thing during competitions, good sportsmanship teaches competitors how to be gracious and respectful towards others. If you're disappointed with a placement, show good sportsmanship. Consider asking the judges for feedback after the show. Everyone worked hard. Don't allow poor sportsmanship to ruin the event for others. Sportsmanship also applies to an audience, including viewers and coaches. Competitors or coaches who exhibit what IPE/NANBF deems as poor sportsmanship at the event or on social media are subject to disqualification and may be banned from future IPE/NANBF events...

Coach Code of Conduct

  • Coaches are to refrain from using threatening or foul language while at IPE/NANBF events.

  • Coaches are not permitted to sit in the row of seats located directly behind the judging table.

  • Coaches cannot approach the judging table at any point before or during prejudging.

  • Coaches are responsible for reading and understanding IPE/NANBF Guidelines & Criteria before registering a client in an IPE/NANBF show.

  • Coaches are not to poach or solicit the clients of other coaches while attending IPE/NANBF events. 

  • Marketing of other organizations' events is strictly prohibited. 

  • Coaches who are caught doing any of the above will be escorted out of the venue without a refund. Coaches are to model professionalism and sportsmanship.

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