difference between bikini and figure

Difference between physique divisions

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Which Division is Right for You?
Understanding the difference between physique divisions in competition.

One of the first questions I often get from women wanting to compete is what is the difference between physique divisions and what division should I compete in? It is important to understand the difference between the 5 competitive divisions for women in physique shows. The specific divisions will vary from show to show depending on the organization, the number of competitors and the choice of the promoter. That said, there are 5 options for NPC and IFBB Competitions:

  • Bikini
  • Fitness
  • Figure
  • Women's Physique
  • Women's Bodybuilding

figure competition and bikini competition differences

The answer to which division is right for you really is dependent on the type of physique you want for YOUR body. Do you want to have a sleek athletic toned physique? Do you want a V-Taper and a moderate amount of muscle and a feminine look? Do you have special gymnastics or dance talents you want to be able to incorporate into competing?

These questions should help you decide which division is right for you.

Below you will find a set of examples of what to expect in the competitive classes amongst physique shows. These are the divisions common to the NPC, some organizations will differ, but this will give you a good starting point in your journey.

If you are looking for the specifics bikini front pose or bikini back pose check out these other articles:
How to Pose for Bikini
How to Pose for Figure

Difference Between Physique Divisions – Bikini

Difference between divisions Bikini

Competition Division:  BIKINI

  • Overall toned, defined, athletic look
  • Focus on great glutes, legs and abs
  • Modest amount of muscle with no striations
  • Very outgoing, even sexy posing that shows personality

Bikini Competition Presentation & Bikini Posing

Difference Between Physique Divisions – Figure

Difference between divisions figure

Competition Division:  FIGURE

  • Tight, defined look
  • Focus on V taper with wide shoulder, defined delt caps, tiny waist, lean legs and round glutes.
  • Moderate amount of muscle with small amount of striations
  • Structured mandatory poses to show V tape

What the judges are looking for... Figure Competition Division


Difference Between Physique Divisions – Fitness

Difference between divisions fitness

Competition Division:  FITNESS

  • For 2018, the fitness division no longer includes a 2 piece bathing suit round.  All judging is done only on routines.
  • All athletes will complete a routine that is no longer than 2 mins and will be judged on their routines including the following mandatory moves:
    Push Up (of any kind)
    High Kick
    Straddle Hold
    Side Split
Julie Lohre Arnold Classic Fitness Routine
Julie Lohre Arnold Classic Fitness Routine

IFBB Fitness Routine Round

Difference Between Physique Divisions – Women’s Physique

Difference between divisions Women's Physique

Competition Division:  WOMEN'S PHYSIQUE

  • Extremely tight and defined muscular look
  • Focus on V taper with wide shoulder, defined delt caps, tiny waist, lean legs and round glutes.
  • Large amount of muscle with some muscular striations.
  • Structured mandatory poses to show V taper and muscle definition.
  • Bodybuilding posing routine

Difference Between Physique Divisions – Women’s Physique

Difference between divisions Women's Physique

Competition Division:  WOMEN'S BODYBUILDING

  • Most extreme tight and defined muscular look
  • Focus on V taper with wide shoulder, defined delt caps, tiny waist, lean legs and round glutes.
  • The most extreme muscle development with as much muscular striations as possible
  • Structured mandatory poses to show V taper and muscle definition.
  • Bodybuilding posing routine

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