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Perhaps many people don’t know, but bodybuilding is a sport that was born in Greece, the same country that gave birth to the Olympic Games. In it, practitioners need to show off their slender bodies in order to be evaluated, but achieving a good result is not as easy as it may seem.

Among the rules of bodybuilding, the athlete needs to do high-performance training, as well as strict diets. With this, their bodies lose fat, gain muscle mass and also acquire a lot of endurance, and there are certain criteria to be evaluated.

There are eight bodybuilding rules in total, and there are few differences between what is required of men and women. Among these rules are clothing, poses to be used in the presentation, body silhouette, proportion, symmetry, analysis of muscle groups and physical conditioning.

If you’re curious to learn more about this sport, you’re in the right place! We’ve prepared a complete guide to the rules of bodybuilding to give you an idea of how competitions work.

Check it out 👇

Bodybuilding categories

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Bodybuilding is a sport competed in different categories

Before discovering the main rules of bodybuilding, we need to understand that there are different categories of assessment in the sport. They are different for men and women, so get to know the main ones!

Men’s bodybuilding

The Bodybuilding category, the oldest, will evaluate athletes who have the greatest volume of muscle mass, as well as a lot of physical conditioning and symmetry of the upper and lower limbs.

Men’s/Woman’s Physique

In the Men’s Physique category, the judges assess the natural physique of the athletes, who don’t need to have extremely large muscles. In this men’s category, competitors must always wear beach shorts instead of singlets.

The judges take into account the width of the shoulders, the volume of the chest, the density of the arms, the depth of the back and also the thinness of the waist.

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In Woman’s Physique, the only difference is the outfit, which must be a bikini, of course. In addition, competitors must always wear make-up to stand out more, and be barefoot.

Classic Physique

As its name suggests, the Classic Physique category of bodybuilding rules brings back the physiques of yesteryear, when everything began with disregard for symmetry and proportion. The athletes who compete wear briefs.

Competitors in this category stand out for being extremely large, asymmetrical and disproportionate. Even so, the muscles need to be in harmony with each other.


In the Women’s Bikini category, the athletes need to have less muscle volume, but they must be evident. Symmetry is very important in this case, as beauty will be assessed alongside physical shape. Women must wear heels and make-up.


The main category in bodybuilding is Bodybuilder, which will choose as its champion the athlete who has the greatest volume of muscle and is in the appropriate proportions and symmetry.

The competitor also needs to have excellent physical conditioning to have a better chance of winning.

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Bodybuilding requires physical endurance through training and good nutrition


In the female Figure category, what will be assessed are the muscles and the lowest body fat index.


In Wellness, athletes need to develop their muscles, but their upper limbs should not be as muscular as their lower limbs.

Bodybuilding rules: clothing

The rules of bodybuilding require little clothing, obviously, but the items can vary for each category.

In Men’s Physique, men must wear beach shorts, and in Woman’s Physique the rule is a bikini. In Classic, the requirement is a black tank top, and in Bodybuilder the rule is to wear a tank top that shows off your muscles as much as possible.

Bodybuilding rules: symmetry and proportion

There are two important aspects to be assessed in the sport, according to the rules of male or female bodybuilding: symmetry and proportion.

Proportion will check the harmony between the upper and lower limbs, and symmetry will assess the differences between the left and right arms and legs.

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The poses used in competitions are important to highlight all the muscle groups

Bodybuilding rules: silhouettes

As well as having good symmetry and proportion, the bodybuilding competitor will have their silhouette assessed, emphasizing the structure of the body.

Details such as the width of the pelvic girdle, which consists of the belly area, and the shoulder girdle, which evaluates the shoulders and pectorals, will be taken into account.

Bodybuilding rules: poses

The way in which the athlete displays their body is very important in bodybuilding. The poses will help to show the definition of the muscles and can be crucial to the performance, even if the competitor is stronger.

Bodybuilding rules: muscle groups

Bodybuilding judges will also evaluate each of the contestants’ muscle groups, checking their divisions. The more prominent a muscle is, the better your chances of winning.

Bodybuilding rules: physical conditioning

Physical conditioning is extremely important in the sport and makes all the difference when it comes to showing your performance to the judges.

The more physical conditioning an athlete has, the less body fat they will have and the denser their muscles will be. It’s also important not to retain fluids, which can be detrimental to the presentation of muscle mass.

Bodybuilding rules: skin

You may have noticed that bodybuilding athletes always have very tanned skin. This is because they use oils and paints to make their muscles stand out even more.

It’s also important that blemishes, acne, stretch marks and other details are well disguised so as not to jeopardize the competition. Perfect skin can even be a tie-breaker.

Bodybuilding has existed since the 1800s and its international federation was founded in 1946. The sport has had some famous followers, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, and became part of the Olympic Games in 1956.

Being a bodybuilder isn’t easy, because as well as doing a lot of physical exercise, the athlete needs to dedicate themselves to their lifestyle and, above all, their diet.

What did you think of the rules of bodybuilding? If you like the sport, keep browsing the site to find out all about sports from the most diverse areas.

Don’t forget to leave a comment on what you think of bodybuilding and its rules!

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