This category refers to figure competition, one of the newer divisions of physique competition held in conjunction with bodybuilding competitions. Figure is considered the “second level” of physique competition. Generally the girls are expected to have more muscle than the bikini competitors, though judging and scoring is incredibly inconsistent. Though it sounds silly, these shows are seriously competitive and the expectation is that the competitor has low bodyfat and a shapely, somewhat muscular physique. It should be very evident that she does serious weight training and display some definition. Her bodyfat should be low and there should be no shaking while walking or cellulite visible. One way to pick the winner at these shows is to wait until the line all of the girls up and has them all turn around. The one with the firmest behind usually wins. They all will look great from the front and sides, but the backside is where the work and contest prep really shows.
In figure competition, unlike bodybuilding, hair, face and makeup are also judged. Figure contest bikinis have to meet certain specifications and should only be bought from sanctioned manufacturers. That doesn’t mean the prettiest girl there wins every time, but it is a factor in placing.
If she desires to add more muscle and get “ripped” it is expected that the competitor will move into the physique division.
There are many sanctioning bodies for figure competition that are normally seen: NPC, IFBB, Musclemania, INBA, IFPA, UNBA, OCB, NANBF, and the Muscle Beach shows.
When I personally coach first time competitors, I usually start them off with the Muscle Beach shows. Most of my coaching clients have won (or gotten second) in their first figure contest: Hanna won 1st place in the figure short division at Muscle Beach and Beverly won 1st runner up in Master’s figure at the Excalibur Championships – both their first shows!