What’s the first thought you have when you hear the term, “bodybuilding?” More than likely the descriptor feminine does not come to mind. Unfortunately bodybuilding gets the reputation of being a man’s sport and women are discouraged from partaking in it. Lifting weights are said to make women bulky and take away their femininity. What if it was the complete opposite? What if it emphasized women’s femininity? There are four different levels to female bodybuilding; bikini, fitness model, figure, and physique.
The bikini level is the most feminine level of bodybuilding because it focuses on the “model walk” entrance of the competitors, balance, and shape, as well as complexion, poise, and overall presentation. This is the level in which female competitors typically have a little more body fat than other levels of female bodybuilding. The bikini level typically has the largest amount of competitors and has a higher level of competition because of the amount of women competing.
The fitness level of female bodybuilding utilizes routines such as dance, gymnastics, and aerobics for 2 minute segments during the competition. There are moves within the different routines that are requirements for judging. This helps to show the judges physique, cardiovascular movement, flexibility, and other key factors. In this level of bodybuilding physical appearance and strength are two of the main goals. The competitors will typically have a lower body fat composition than bikini competitors and will show a more muscular appearance.
The figure competitors are typically more muscular then bikini and fitness level competitors. This level of female bodybuilding is judged for muscularity and muscle tone. The muscle appearance, while judging is not based on muscle size, is based on muscular structure and symmetry more so than the two lower levels. Figure competitors do not focus so much on size and still have a feminine appearance. Firmness of one’s body is important however the competitor is not required to be overly lean in competition.
The physique level of bodybuilding is the least “feminine” of the female bodybuilding levels. This focuses on muscularity more than the other levels but is still maintains a feminine flow in routines. This level is one step below “bodybuilding” which is where the competitors focus more on mass muscle building.
Women are now taking over the bodybuilding world as the emphasis on strong versus skinny is spreading. This movement is extremely empowering and encouraging to young women everywhere. While bodybuilding is typically seen as competition prep, it can be a way to get healthy. By simply lifting weights, you are participating in a type of female bodybuilding. Essentially, any time you work to improve your physique through workouts, etc…you are body “building.” Don’t ever let anyone tell you that it’s a man’s sport again now that you know the real deal.