NPC & IFBB Pro League Divisions
Figure out what divisions are right for you.
The one that started it all.
You cant be too big. You cant be too ripped. You want a small waste and huge V-taper. Focus on round full muscles. Never give up conditioning for size. You will lose to the smaller guy!
The old school look.
The goal is to look like Arnold. You should have a small waist, round full muscles. Ripped. Less mass than bodybuilding and a posing style reminiscent of the golden era of bodybuilding.
The GQ look.
The athletes wears board shorts so the focus is on the aesthetics of the upper body. Particularly the waist to shoulder ratio. Arms can be too big. You do not want the mass of other divisions.
The big girls!
The biggest of the women’s divisions. You want a small waist and huge V-taper. Focus on round full muscles. Never give up conditioning for size. But prepare to put on some serious mass for the pro stage.
The physique is much like figure. However, Fitness adds a routine that encompasses several mandatory elements to the presentation round that you see in figure. Due to its difficulty, fitness has become less popular making it easier to place and get a pro card.
Still pretty big.
This division was created as an alternative to women’s bodybuilding. It retains all of the guidelines but in a smaller more aesthetic package. It is similar to the look of women’s bodybuilding in the 1990’s.
Glutes, glutes, glutes
The overall package will be less conditioned than figure and less muscle in the upper body. The division is perfect for women who are bottom heavy. But understand that does not mean fat in the bottom, it means very muscular! Posing will be more like bikini.
Figure requires an extreme V-taper. This is achieved more from having a tiny waist and broad shoulders vs. tons of muscle . You’ll want to be very lean but not “feathered”. Depth and width in the back is key. No bodybuilding style posing.
The swimsuit model
The most popular women’s division, the look is designed to be easier to obtain and more main stream. But easier to obtain does not mean an easy win. You mus have a small midsection and full round glutes with good hamstring/glute separation.
Divisions and Classes
There are a total of 9 DIVISIONS:
Divisions and classes will vary from show-to-show. Most shows no longer include Women’s Bodybuilding due to lack of demand. Fitness is also on the decline because of the difficulty of the routine. Be sure to review a show’s division and classes to be sure your desired classes are available.
These divisions are then broken up into classes which are delineated by age, height, weight, novice and open.
The main categories of classes are:
- True Novice – Open to competitors who have never competed in an NPC contest. Not offered at all shows.
- Novice – Competitors who have not won their class in novice, open, masters.
- Master’s – Age classes excluding teens, typically 35 years old or older. This will vary and you may see 35+, 40+, 45+. 50+, 60+, etc.
- Teen – Class for teenagers. Minimum age is 18 years old and will also always include up to 19 years old.
- Hero – Military, Police, Fire, Rescue. Not offered at all shows.
- Open – An “open” class is open to all ages and levels. These are the main classes. Open classes will be divided by height or weight depending on the class. Open is the only class that will qualify you for nationals
The number of classes for each division and which classes will also vary from show-to-show.
The show may not have all the classes. For example, it may have only 4 height classes for Figure. Heights are then delineated differently based on the standards set forth by the NPC. The same is true for classes that are not considered “Open” These are known as “Cross-overs”.
To see the detailed breakdown of height and weight classes visit the rules pages of NPC News Online.
Example Figure with 6 Classes
- Class A -Up to and including 5’1”
- Class B -Over 5’1” and up to and including 5’ 2 1/2″
- Class C -Over 5’2 1/2” and up to and including 5’4”
- Class D -Over 5’4”and up to and including 5’5 1/2”
- Class E -Over 5’5 1/2” and up to and including 5’7”
- Class F -Over 5’7″
Example Figure with 4 Classes
- Class A – Up to and including 5’2”
- Class B – Over 5’2” & up to & including 5’4”
- Class C – Over 5’4” & up to & including 5’6”
- Class D – Over 5’6