A common question new female competitors ask is "Which division am I?"
Judging Guidelines Introduction
An Australian ICN judging panel consists of an odd number of judges. Judges are asked to rank each competitor from first place to last. (Exception: At the Australian Titles, the International criterion applies and if a division has a large number of competitors, judges only give their first six places).
Scoresheets are then submitted for calculation. The highest and lowest score of each competitor is deleted in order to reduce any form of bias when 7 judges are used (the 2 highest and 2 lowest scores are deleted on a 9 judge panel). The remaining five scores are totalled and placings allocated according to the lowest score. The lowest possible score is 5 points (5 judges allocating 1st place). If there is a tie between 2 or more competitors, a 'countback' method is used the separate the placings. This involves awarding the best placing to the competitor with the most first placings from the judges. If 2 competitors also have the same number of 1st placings, then the most 2nd placings are counted and so forth until the competitors can be separated via countback.
If a competitor displays characteristics associated with drug use, it is deemed a fault in an INBA natural contests - such as Gynecomastia (bitch tits) - judges are instructed to mark any competitor with a drug characteristic down one place. For instance, if for no other reason than "bitch tits" the competitor is the best on stage they will be marked down to second place. If the imperfection is severe, the competitor may lose even more places. There are methods available (creams or surgery) and we ask any competitor to rectify the problem before competing - if not, the above penalty applies.
If a competitor has tattoos, body piercing or scars, points are not deducted unless they hinder definition or muscularity. A judge's personal view on these issues does not influence their scoring.
Round One - Symmetry
In this round Competitors will face the Judging panel and perform four quarter turns. This displays their physique from every angle. The quarter turns are performed with both feet flat on the floor with arms at either side. Bodybuilding competitors should not twist or turn their physiques during this round.
In this round we are looking for the following::
In this round a competitor losses one point for every fault found. So that the competitor with the fewest points is ranked 1st. In the front-on position, look for balance - even development on each side of the body. Also proportion, is the lower body developed to the same extent as the upper body? Is the neck the same size as biceps and calves?
When competitors turn to the side, the ear, shoulder, hip, knee and ankle should be in a straight line. There should not be excessive curvature of the spine. The back should have the same degree of muscle thickness as the chest and the hamstring and gluteus should be as full as the quadriceps. When the competitors turn to the rear, check that the spine is straight and does not curve to either side, also check the muscular development of each side of the back.
In this round judges take into account the muscularity of the particular muscle groups. Judges assess a physique as consisting of nine major muscle groups: Chest, Back, Shoulders, Triceps, Biceps, Abdominals, Quadriceps, Hamstrings and Calves. Competitors should lose points for having too much fat on each muscle group
Round Two - Muscularity
In this round competitors perform the following compulsory poses. Muscle size and dimension is emphasised - judges reward bodybuilders.
In this round judges are comparing competitors for the following:
Optional Round Three - Free Posing
ICN events may or may not offer the option of performing a 60 second posing routine. Please check the entry form. The omission of the posing round allows the judges more time to actually judge the competitors using Muscularity and Symmetry rounds, than spending time watching competitors pose. It also allows ICN to offer more divisions per event. Large divisions, for example, can be divided into height classes with more time available.
ICN places no restrictions on competitors in this round and the use of props is permitted. Free posing is not scored and is your time on stage to present your physique in a creative way.
Ms FIGURE POSING ROUND
The poses illustrated from top to bottom, left to right are:
Front Double Bicep
The requirement for the figure division varies from female bodybuilding in subtle ways. While Ms Figure competitors should not have the bulk of a bodybuilder, it is judged along the lines of a bodybuilding contest. As with all divisions, we require the competitors to reduce their bodyfat as low as possible, we still expect hardness and definition, but taken to the point that stops before a competitor loses their figure or shape and the individual muscle groups lose their fullness or dimension.
In round one, Ms Figure competitors perform five compulsory poses:
The concept of Ms Figure is to express more femininity than is done in bodybuilding. As such:
Ms Figure is the most debated division regarding judging decisions. If a small and lean competitor wins - the cry is the event is now a dieting contest, if the winner is hard or muscular - Ms Figure girls now must be 'bodybuilders in high heels', if a full or shapely girl wins it has become bikini contest, and finally, if the winner is attractive - Ms Figure is a now a beauty pageant. As a competitor do not let the above confuse you - the judges are not changing their minds at each event. The answer to the Ms Figure question, "what are the judges looking for?" is to say the judges are looking for the competitor who displays the highest standard of their particular body type/shape. This covers the situations where the winner may be a 'hard' competitor who looks in peak condition or a 'full' competitor with aesthetic shape and symmetry. The judges are simply looking for the best competitor and this means you should focus on your improving your body shape/type.
Please click here for a description of the Symmetry Posing.
“Am I a Bikini or Fitness Model?”
For female competitors the difference between Bikini and Fitness Model may be slight. Critically a female fitness model can be harder, best defined as allowed to have and display a six pack abdominals. In terms of a female competitor asking “Am I a Bikini or Fitness Model?” the answer is not a solely about the body. At the extreme of both divisions there is an obvious difference between a soft bikini competitor and a developed fitness competitor with chiseled abs. However, 80% of competitors will have a body that will fit either both division, with a combination of some developed muscle groups yet softness elsewhere. Indeed, up to 2012 both types of competitor were in the one division (SportsModel) and still in smaller contests we will only offer the Fitness Model division for everyone to enter. Therefore apart from using the “six pack” guideline, a competitor can also choose a division based on which title, ideals and criteria suits their competitive ambitions.
In most countries, Figure (International) is the most popular female division; only in Australia and NZ has Ms Figure with a muscularity round remained popular. We will refer to this division as Figure International to reduce confusion with our previously named class Ms Physique.
Figure Internationalconsists of one round that has two elements – an individual stage walk and group comparisons. Competitors may either come out individually or as a group to perform a stage walk – there is no set path for a stage walk as stage shape and dimension varies greatly between venues. The path will be outlined to competitors on the contest day. However, all stage walks finish with each competitor performing the 4 symmetry quarter turns (in their own time) in the centre of the stage. During the stage walk judges will be assessing stage presence, confidence, execution of quarter turns, figure walk, skin tone, suit selection and overall presentation.
Once the actual group posing starts it is judged identical to the symmetry round in Ms Figure.
In the symmetry round, all competitors face the judging panel and perform four (quarter) turns as a whole line-up. The quarter turns are set with both feet flat on the floor and arms at either side. The terminology used in this round describes it as a non-posing or non-flexing round. Nothing is further from the truth. Think of this as the Academy Award round – you only act like you are not flexed! You will be tensing each muscle (maybe to various degrees) in your body. In the first of the four symmetry comparisons the competitors face the judges.
A tip for virtually every pose: suck in your stomach and keep the waist small and tight.
For a written description on how to perform the quarter turns please look at the Symmetry Posing Round pdf.
In this round Competitors will face the Judging panel and perform four (quarter) turns. This displays their physique from every angle.
In this round we are looking for the following::
1. Structural flaws - Faults within the competitor's skeletal structure
2. Proportion - The balance of one muscle group to another e.g. lower body to upper body, biceps to calves, waist to quadriceps etc.
3. Balance - The left side of a competitor's body compared to the right, the front compared to the rear.
4. Symmetry - The competitor's overall shape and line.
In this round a competitor losses one point for every fault found. So that the competitor with the fewest points is ranked 1st.
In the front-on position, look for balance - even development on each side of the body. Also proportion, is the lower body developed to the same extent as the upper body and so forth. When competitors turn to the side, the ear, shoulder, hip, knee and ankle should be in a straight line. There should not be excessive curvature of the spine. The back should have the same degree of muscle thickness as the chest and the hamstring and gluteus should be as full as the quadriceps. When the competitors turn to the rear, check that the spine is straight and does not curve to either side, also check the muscular development of each side of the back.
Figure International Overview
• Muscular and toned figure. However, this is not a bodybuilding competition so excessive mass will take away from the overall muscular toned physique
• Reasonable level of body fat showing separations between major muscle groups (ex. biceps to triceps) without visible striations in the muscle groups
Symmetry and Proportion
• No body part should stand out from the rest, train a complete package
• There should be an even flow through the body
• Equal development between all muscle groups
• Execution of quarter turns and figure walk
• Skin tone, make-up, suit selection
• Overall presentation
ICN Angels Costume: based on a bikini, (no G Strings) the costume can resemble that of an Angel (wings), or a Showgirl Las Vegas type costume, Feathers and frills, tulle, sequins, Diamantes, anything that is feminine and "over the top" that the competitor has always dreamed of wearing, glitz, bling, glamour is the key.
Any female competitor that participates in the practice of pushing her bottom out unnaturally and exaggeratedly will be marked down by the judges.