Articles

Different Types of Female Body Competitions

You've finished your final half gallon of rocky road ice cream, and you've decided to hit the gym hard and get in the best shape of your life. Sure, you may simply want to look great in a bikini, but what better way to show off all of your hard work than to let your guard down and enter a body competition?
Just like your dessert, the road to competing in even an amatuer contest is going to be rocky, but you can do it and we're here to help!

Before you get started, you'll need to figure out what type of competition you'll be training for. There are five major types: figure, bikini, bodybuilding, physique and fitness.

Bodybuilding competitions

This is probably the competition you're most familiar with. Bodybuilding certainly isn't for every woman, but it's extremely popular. Women in these contests are judged on their muscularity, definition and leanness. As with all body competitions, muscular and physical symmetry is one of the most determining features a judge will look for.

It's important that these women have toned essentially every visible muscle in their body, and while extremely intensive weight training is key, strict dieting is most imperative if these competitors want to walk away with the gold.

Female bodybuilders can be described as "ripped" and "chiseled," which isn't necessarily true for competitors in other formats.

Bikini competitions

Today, bikini competitions are growing faster in popularity than any other format. While bodybuilders are typically blessed with the ability to bulk up more than the average person, bikini competitors have a look that's attainable for a wider range of women.

In essence, judges look for the girl who can rock a two-piece swimsuit better than anyone else on stage. These women typically aren't very muscular, and the winners aren't necessarily the skinniest competitors. As a matter of fact, it's important to have a bit of body fat so muscles aren't too defined.

Figure competitions

Figure competitions fall somewhere in between bikini and bodybuilding. It's important that these women are muscular, but not the way that bodybuilders are. Judges look for a bit of separation between the muscles, but there can be no visible striations. In other words, muscle tone is valued much more than muscle size.

It's crucial that women aren't too skinny, and skin tone is key in these contests as well.

Physique competitions

The National Physique Committee (NPC) explains on its website that physique competitions are "for women who enjoy weight training, competing {and} contest preparation." It's a bit different than bodybuilding and figure posing, as the NPC says these women shouldn't be vascular, massive, grainy, thick, ripped or dense.

The judges look for shape, proportion and muscle tone, but also poise, femininity and beauty flow, which aren't necessarily as important in the other formats.

Fitness competitions

Fitness competitions are probably the most unique of the bunch. These call for women to perform a short routine that entails more than just posing. Instead, these performances involve dancing, gymnastics or other physical activity that demonstrates the athleticism and stage presence of the participants.

The presentation and tempo of the performance, in addition to the competitor's flexibility, are looked at closely by the judges in fitness competitions.


Whether you're showing off your cut muscles or wowing crowds with a pole routine, you need to look good if you want to win. Each format has very specific clothing and accessory requirements, and at Fitness Pro Direct, we have everything you need, no matter what competition you're participating in.

We have tons of posing suits, competition jewelry, figure shoes, tanning products and other items, but if we don't have what you need, let us know, and we'll get it for you!

Back to Articles