Discipline Explained

Athletes train to develop all body parts and muscles to maximum size but in balance and harmony. There should be no “weak points” or underdeveloped muscles. Moreover, they should follow a special pre-competition training cycle, to decrease the bodyfat level as low as possible and remove the underskin water to show the quality of muscles: density, separation and definition. Who can display more muscle details is scoring higher at the contest. And the other matter to be assessed is general view of the physique, which should be proportionally built. It means broad shoulders and narrow waist as well as adequately long legs and shorter upper body.
These qualities are displayed during one physique assessment round when competitors do 7 mandatory poses during comparisons of 3 to 8 athletes proposed by the judges. Athletes perform barefoot, in posing trunks.

There is also a routine round when athletes can show their physique during 1 minute free posing routine performed to the music of their choice. It is an attractive, artistic presentation, including compulsory and non-compulsory poses and other type of movements. There are two rounds.

Posing Suits

  • Male competitors will wear posing trunks of a solid, opaque, non-distracting color which are clean and decent. No shiny material or stoning permitted.
  • G-strings are strictly prohibited.
  • Avoid styles that have a "v" taper on the front and back or ruching.
  • All competitors will wear the posing attire, during both Prejudging and Finals, that was approved by the ABBA Head Judge / ABBA delegate at the Official Weigh ins. Unauthorized use of any other posing attire is strictly prohibited without the prior approval of the ABBA Head Judge and may lead to disqualification from the event.

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Posing Music

  • Posing music will be used at the Finals
  • Posing music must be on a CD, flashdrive or thumbdrive and must be the only music on the CD, flashdrive or thumbdrive.
  • Posing music must should be cued to the start of the music.
  • Posing music must not contain vulgar lyrics. Competitors using music containing vulgar lyrics will be disqualified.


Sportsmanship requires that an athlete conduct himself in a manner which will reflect favorably on the sport of bodybuilding. Any conduct contrary to that effect is discouraged, and depending on the severity of such conduct, can lead to suspension from competition. Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

1. Making disparaging remarks concerning any ABBA official, judge or fellow athletes in the venue location.
2. Making disparaging gestures while on stage.
3. Smashing, breaking or throwing an award, damaging or vandalizing the contest venue.
4. Any conduct which demeans you, your fellow athletes, judges or officials.

Competition can be a source of great personal triumph. There are no guarantees. The nature of the competition requires "risk taking". Sometimes you may wind up being very disappointed because you did not do as well as you wanted to, or as well as you thought you deserved. Whatever happens, leave the audience with the impression that you are a gracious competitor, that you have dignity and class. The way that you present yourself and take your placement will be remembered long after people remember what place you took.

Weight Classes

The main difference between Classic Bodybuilding and Bodybuilding is in Classic Bodybuilding, the athletes are both weighed and heighted in. In Bodybuilding, the athletes are only weighed in. There are 7 weight classes for men's bodybuilding

Bantamweight: Up to and including 65kg

Lightweight: Up to and including 70kg

Welterweight: Up to and including 75kg

Middleweight: Up to and including 85kg

Light Heavyweight: Up to and including 95kg

Heavyweight: Up to and including 100kg

Super-Heavyweight: over 100kg

There are 3 age categories in men's bodybuilding:

Juniors: 21 - 23 years of age

Masters: 40+

Grandmasters: 50+

Presentation Posing & Finals

Presentation Posing

Athletes will line up offstage in numerical order. Competitors will walk out on stage in a line as guided by the stage marshal and line up as directed, depending on the number of competitors on stage.

The Head Judge will then call up the line in groups of approximately five (5) competitors and proceed to request the group do the following four quarter turns for comparison:

Quarter Turn Right, Quarter Turn Back, Quarter Turn Right, Quarter Turn Front.

Judges will have the opportunity to compare competitors against each other in quarter turns.

The Head Judge will then request the group do their mandatory poses. Once your group is finished posing, you will return to the line. Stay posed.

When the judges are satisfied, the Head Judge will ask you to exit the stage.

Finals Posing

Athletes will line up offstage in numerical order. Each individual is required to do a 60 second posing routine to their choice of music. Music must be submitted in advance. Instructions will be sent with your registration confirmation. Profanity, racial/sexual slurs and inappropriate verbiage is NOT allowed. If music is found to contain any of this content, your music will be stopped and you may be disqualified from the competition.

Your routine should include the following:

  • Poses and movements that highlight your best features
  • Smooth transitions between movements
  • Good musicality
  • Additional physical prowess that you have: flexibility, dance, gymnastics...

Once the individual routine is completed, exit the stage and line back up numerically. Athletes will line up offstage in numerical order. Competitors will walk out on stage in a line as guided by the stage marshal and line up as directed, depending on the number of competitors on stage

The Head Judge will then call up the line in groups of approximately five (5) competitors and proceed to request the group do the following four quarter turns for comparison:

Quarter Turn Right, Quarter Turn Back, Quarter Turn Right, Quarter Turn Front.

The Head Judge will then request the group do their mandatory poses. Once your group is finished posing you will return to the line. Stay posed. The top 5 competitors will be called out to center stage line and may be asked to do mandatories and quarter turns. They will then do a pose-down. Awards will then be handed out.

Overall Judging

First place from each class will line up offstage in order of their class. Competitors will walk out on the center stage line as guided by the stage marshal and line up as directed. The Head Judge will then request the group do their mandatory poses and the judges will have the opportunity to compare competitors against each other in mandatory poses. They will then do a pose-down and overall will be awarded.

Mandatory Poses

If your category requires any poses they will appear here for your to reference.

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Judging Criteria


Muscularity refers to the size of the muscles, their shape, separation, definition, and hardness or visibility of striations and vascularity. Muscularity is determined by the extent of development in relation to the size of the skeletal structure. Also to be considered is the shape and contour of the developed muscle and muscle groups. Of equal importance is the separation or lines of demarcation between adjacent muscles, and striations delineating sections or fibers within the same muscle group, and the degree of firmness of muscle tone. Body fat retention and water retention are conditions, which should subtract from an athlete's degree of perfection in this round.

In comparing muscularity, judges should look for evidence that the competitor is a bodybuilder, with muscularity that is greater than average. An impressive development of muscle, and not the definition of average muscularity achieved simply by dieting, is the quality sought in this area. In gauging muscularity, the judge should examine the degree of muscularity over the entire body.

A full, well-positioned muscularity has a more favorable appearance and should be judged accordingly. Size is not necessarily the key-determining factor, but evidence of thick muscularity is desirable in comparing qualities among bodybuilders.


Indicates the degree of muscularity brought about by the absence of subcutaneous body fat. Defined muscularity is necessary to fully display the development of the physique. Definition is only of value when it allows massively developed muscles to be displayed.

There should be evenness between hardness in the upper and lower body, between extremities and the torso and between corresponding sides of muscle groups or the entire body (between arms and between legs).


Implies an even balance of muscular development in comparison to each muscle group. Theoretically, a "strong body part" can be just as detrimental as a "weak body part". Bodybuilders must strive for equal development among all muscle groups. The aspect of definition is equally important in judging muscularity. It must be possible to distinguish between muscles and muscle groups, as in demarcation of muscle outlines, as well as the visibility of striations between fibers within a separate muscle. Leanness is important but an anorexic or overly dieted appearance is neither advantageous nor desirable. Definition within the confines of a well-muscled physique is what judges should be looking for. Definition and hardness are the signs of a "finished" physique, which is the result of hard training, the absence of body fat, and a limited retention of body water. Vascularity is a sign of a defined muscularity.


Symmetry refers to the structural harmony of the physique including the structural size on the muscles, the relation of each muscle in a group to all other muscles in the group. It shall also include the balance and proportion of components (upper and lower body, upper and lower parts, and front and back). Also to be considered is the degree of separation, definition and detail. Symmetry is a measurement of evenness of development and how well the parts of the physique fit together.

In evaluating symmetry, the judge should be concerned with the harmony and proportion of the physique. This evaluation should begin with the SKELETAL STRUCTURE itself. Although a competitor may be limited by his genetic structure, the judge has to honestly examine this characteristic to make necessary distinctions between bodybuilders. The ideal structure should include a near-equal ratio of torso to leg length, broad shoulders and narrow hips. Furthermore, skeletal deformations must be judged as imperfections despite the athlete's inability to change them.

Symmetry also includes judgment of muscular development and the muscles themselves. The upper body and lower body development should be synergistic and fit together well. Likewise, the arms and legs should be in proportion to one another and also within each front to back. The physique should look balanced from the front, back and side, with no angle overshadowing the others. Within the muscles themselves, balance must be existent pertaining to quality of muscle peak, height, development, length, shape and proportion. Judging symmetry involves finding defects within the physique by careful evaluation, which are separate from defects found in the area of muscularity. Symmetry is a difficult marker of physique competition to be judged.

Stage Presence

Includes posing performance and other factors influencing general appearance such as skin tone, grooming, charisma, and poise. Effective stage presentation is essential to display the physique to its maximum potential. Presentation is the effectiveness of display of the competitors' most favorable development, including posture, carriage, projection, posing ability and stage presence. Skin quality, evenness of tone, choice of posing outfit, and grooming are also considered. The selection and order of poses used in the individual routine and the finesse in assuming them, along with smoothness of transition between them are factors included in the judgment of presentation.

The focus in presentation is on all aspects of the performance other than the actual physique itself. Presentation judging begins with the SEMI-RELAXED round, in examining how the contestant presents himself. Contestants should face the position request by the judges (front & back) without twisting, posing, moving, etc. They should stand erect and symmetrical, weight on both feet and arms at the sides. Any movement (posing) which impairs the judges' ability to look at the presentation should be reflected in a markdown in scoring, costing the athlete possible higher placement. Grooming is also examined during this time, which the emphasis on the athlete's ability to present a well-prepared and attractive appearance.

Included here are evaluations based on hair style and length, skin tone (free of blemishes not under his control), discoloring of skin, tan quality and evenness, stretch marks, sagging skin, etc. Jewelry other than rings and non-hanging earrings is prohibited.

The individual POSING ROUTINE gives judges the opportunity to study the competitor's stage presence and ability to display his/her physique. The routine should include a broad selection of poses (to show all aspects of physique and be non-repetitive) and have an orderly progression of poses with smooth and finessed transitions. Likewise, poses should be held long enough for judges to gain an impression of the physique. Also, routine should fundamentally be a bodybuilding display, and not dance, gymnastics, burlesque or other displays.

Use of these techniques can enhance a routine if used sparingly, but judgment of posing should not be predicated on outside athlete or dance ability. The competitor should enjoy the routine and communicate this to the judges and audience with the absence of gritted teeth, grimaces, quivering or shaking, balance problems, arrogance, etc. Slouching or lack of attention between requested poses should be viewed negatively by judges.

Presentation involves a significant amount of pre-contest preparation, which is reflected in everything from stage presence to the posing routine. Many elements make up this portion of judging, all which should be considered when placing competitors. Presentation should be judged equally with muscularity and symmetry.

Alberta Bodybuilding Association

It is your responsibility to become aware of all the rules and regulations surrounding your conduct and requirements of you in your role at any ABBA sanctioned event.

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