What do the judges look for?

What do the judges look for?

At The Shoe Fairy, we know not every woman competing needs gorgeous heels, but we respect and admire all of our hard-working athletes and queens in bodybuilding equally! 

Whether this is your first bodybuilding competition, or you're a seasoned pro- it is super imperative for you to know what the men and women who will be judging your awesome physique will be basing your placing on!


There are slight differences between the large organizations and federations such as NPC (National Physique Committee), ANBF (American Natural Bodybuilding Foundation), OCB (Organization of Competitive Bodybuilders), etc.; however, the different female categories are all fairly similar across the board.


The criteria for most female physique athletes are broken down into four categories. They are:

  1. Muscularity – (the amount varies between the divisions)
  2. Condition- (varies depending on the division)
  3. Symmetry and balance
  4. Overall presentation; specifically walk and posing routine

Then, the female divisions are broken down into categories including bikini, figure, wellness, physique, and women’s bodybuilding.

Considering that every organization varies, these descriptions of the categories are slightly different but overall very similar. 

Typically, bikini athletes should display a foundation of muscle which gives shape to the female body. This includes full, round glutes with a slight separation between the hamstring and glute area, a small amount of roundness in the delts, and a conditioned core. Additionally, judges will either boost or lower bikini athletes’ scores based on their hair, makeup, suit, tan, shoes, etc.- the “total package” brought to the stage.

Figure athletes’ posing routines differ from bikini with the women lining up to do a series of quarter turns to the right (front, left side, back, right side) while being judged on symmetry, presentation, and something commonly referred to as the “X '' factor. This means that their shoulders, back, quads and glutes are all very important muscle groups to give them the “x” type of shape. They should also have visible muscle separation, but no striations are desired.

Wellness, a fairly new division added in 2019, only exists in the NPC federation thus far. This division is between bikini and figure for women with a strong lower body and a lesser developed upper body. It’s commonly referred to as a ‘figure’ bottom and a ‘bikini’ top.

Women’s physique and bodybuilding categories are judged mostly based on muscle density and development rather than the “total package” brought by bikini, figure, and wellness athletes. These women even rock the stage barefoot! Additionally, female bodybuilding is similar to physique but size and muscle striations are to a greater degree. Symmetry and shape are both very important and bodybuilding women are actually divided into weight classes, not by height like the other classes. Leanness and being ‘shredded’ are desired. ‘Shredded’ would be in reference to being able to see the muscle striations and lines in their physique.

Now that you know a little bit more about each division, hopefully if it’s your first time you’ll be able to know where you will fall amongst them and if you’re a seasoned pro- you can respect every division and level of achievement and hard work it takes for them to get there!

Whether you need heels or not to strut your stuff on stage, every woman could use some gorgeous bling or cozy backstage essentials, such as the *NEW* TSF zip up and “sweat” pants


We also know how expensive shopping for show day can be, so be sure to use code: “THATFITCHICK” to take 10% off your order!


Now go show those judges what you got!


Xoxo, TSF