The Complete Guide to Picking The Best Bodybuilding Division For You

The Complete Guide to Picking The Best Bodybuilding Division For You

When it comes to the best bodybuilding category for you, there are several options to choose from. All with varying levels of muscle mass, conditioning, and look the judges are looking for in each.

You will want to pick the best category for you based on level of experience with training and nutrition, plus the length of time you have been conditioning, willing to commit to your plan in order to compete, and honestly what you are most drawn to.

Also, note these will vary slightly based on the federation you choose in the overall appearance that you will need to strive for in order to be competitive your bodybuilding division.


Recommended Reading: How to train for a female bodybuilding bikini competition


The Complete Guide to Picking The Best Bodybuilding Division For You

The complete guide to picking the best bodybuilding division for you


The different bodybuilding divisions include:

  • Bikini
  • Fitness
  • Wellness
  • Figure
  • Physique
  • Bodybuilding

The different classes include:

  • Novice
  • Open
  • Masters

These classes break down even farther by height so you will be competing against others who are around the same height as you. After they will also do overall winners in your division.

What's Your Goal?

Everyone will have different reasons for getting into bodybuilding. If you like the idea but scared of committing to a show, I highly encourage you to get clear on your health and fitness goals.

Bodybuilding is more than just muscle gain and weight loss.

If you don't have clear goals for this, it will become hard to compete in any division as this will challenge you physically and emotionally.

With this being said, you can train and prep for any division you feel most drawn to. Some just may take a longer time than others depending on your starting point and your level of consistency to get there.

Some will mean that you will need to gain more muscle in certain areas, while others you will aim to lose more body fat for a more shredded look.

How to determine the right bodybuilding division and meet your goals.

By now I'm sure that you are dying to know what the differences are and which will be best for you.

Let's break them down...

Bikini - Similar to a sports model, but emphasis on the glutes, glute and hamstring tie-in, small waist, and no capped shoulders

Fitness - Similar to bikini, but with more of a gymnastics routine. Judged on push up (of any kind), high kick, straddle hold, side split.

Wellness - More developed legs than bikini. Slightly more rounded and developed shoulders.

Figure - More developed upper body compare to bikini. Really looking for capped shoulders and a V-tapper with lats and back.

Physique -Similar to figure, but with slightly more muscle mass, muscle separation, and routine is very different.

Bodybuilding - Women in this category has been lifting and building muscle for a long time. It will take years to get to this level, but as you can see overall they have more muscle and separation in the muscles compared to all other divisions.

The biggest mistake people make when trying to figure out which division to compete in

The biggest beginner mistake when figuring out the best division for bodybuilding competitors is underestimating the level of conditioning needed for any category.

I know plenty of women including myself when I first got started who didn't nearly have enough strength training under their belts to build in the areas needed even for bikini.

I also know plenty who have opted to enter wellness just because they felt they could never get their legs to slim down enough...

So you might be asking right now, "what's the best class for me then?"

Let's go over what you need to have in order to compete...

How to Make Sure You Have What It Takes To Compete In a Certain Division

The minimum requirements will slightly vary from person to person because it also depends on how well your body responds along with every single body being different from the next....

So I narrowed it down to a few things.

Minimum requirements for competing in a division:

  • High focus on strength training for 6 months and beyond (4-6 days per week)
  • Nutrition is in check and you are eating healthy 80% of the time.
  • Your mindset is in the right place. Meaning that you are not doing this due to an eating disorder or something else that can negatively impact you physically and emotionally later on.


The rules to compete come down to your federation and division.

Some federations are all natural where you have to be tested, while others don't. Your suit may also have to have a certain amount of coverage as well.

Always read your federations rules and policies for the most up to date information.

When to Compete

Bodybuilding takes time and you will never be able to rush the process. Along with this, your body can change only so much in an allotted time frame.

If just starting, the biggest goal should be to focus on building lean muscle. This takes longer than losing weight. Hence, why it can take 6 months and more.

If you are not a newbie to bodybuilding, it could take you less time and your focus would be different based on your starting point and what your goal is.

You compete when your body is at the level of conditioning it needs to be for your division.

Conclusion: You choose the best bodybuilding division for you based on your starting point, what your desired goal is, and your level of consistency towards all of it.

Not sure where to start? Schedule a free 15 minute consultation to get started today!

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