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 prepare their physiques to step on the stage. They are then subjected to scrutiny and judgment from a panel of experts and quite often a less than kind audience. So it would be good to know in advance what you’re about to see in order to be able to appreciate it on a less superficial level.
Many people think of huge, freaky muscle-bound monsters, male and female, when they think of bodybuilders. Modern bodybuilding, however, comprises many different categories and types of physiques. At most international competitions, there can be several hundred competitors but at a local show, you can expect to see roughly 30 to 75 athletes. So, in layman’s terms, is some of what you can typically expect to see at your first bodybuilding show:
Bodybuilding - so these guys, who are divided into classes based on their weight, are going to be the most muscular ones in the show with the lowest level of body fat. They’ll have those rippling six-packs and bulging arms, thighs, and backs that look like a bag of bricks. They’ll all line up on stage and show their bodies in posing briefs by striking specific required poses, called “mandatories” for comparisons. They’ll also have to perform short individual posing routines to music, no more than 60 seconds each. Some of these routines can be really exciting and dynamic, incorporating splits, breakdancing and even “wining” that leave the audience calling for more!
Classic Bodybuilding - This category is for those athletes who don’t want to develop the high degree of muscle mass required in bodybuilding but prefer a lighter more streamlined physique. The category requires that they meet a specific height-to-weight ratio. They will go through the same poses and routines as the bodybuilders.
Men’s Physique - You know those guys you see at the beach who look like the models you see in magazines or on TV advertising the latest fitness gadgets? This is where you’ll see them. This category has quickly become a very one as it is considered the most “commercially
pleasing” look. These athletes will be athletic, lean and fit looking and they will pose in colourful board shorts. They are divided into height classes and

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