Preview The Arnold Classic - Details And Criteria Of Each Contest.

The Arnold Classic rivals the Mr. Olympia in prestige and popularity, and is the most attended bodybuilding and fitness event in America... Here is a little history and comprehensive details/criteria about each event at the Arnold.

If you didn't know, the Arnold Classic started many years ago as an annual bodybuilding competition, named after (drum roll), Arnold Schwarzenegger.

It is considered the most lucrative competition in bodybuilding, with a number of large prizes. Most notably, first prize for the men's contest consists of $100,000 cash, a Hummer vehicle, and a Rolex watch.

The Arnold Classic rivals the Mr. Olympia in prestige and popularity, and is the most attended bodybuilding and fitness event in America, and maybe the world. In addition to the men's bodybuilding competition, the Arnold Classic includes three competitions for women: Ms. International, Fitness International, and Figure International. Special thanks to www.ifbb.com and www.npconline.com for details.

Like most bodybuilding, fitness and figure competitions it is always hotly contested and often only one or two competition points will separate the winners. For those who want to know, here are the basic guidelines and prize packages for competitors in these events.

What follows are the details for each of the 4 Arnold Contests:

  1. Men's Bodybuilding
  2. Ms. International (Women's Bodybuilding)
  3. Fitness International
  4. Figure International


Men's Bodybuilding & Ms. International

Unlike other Amateur and Professional Contests the Arnold Classic is "open", meaning it does not have weight classes for the bodybuilding, fitness and figure competitions. In addition, the above-mentioned contests all include a separate pre-judging event and an evening finals event.

The majority of the judging is done during pre-judging, whereas a close contest may be decided by an athlete's condition at the evening finals.

Here Come The "Judge(s)":

According to IFBB (International Federation of Professional Bodybuilders) rules, each professional show includes the following judging panel:

  • One Chief or head Judge
  • Judges Secretary
  • 11 to 13 judges from as many different countries as possible (If enough qualified judges are available, two or more panels of judges may be appointed)
  • Two statisticians

Contestants Pre-judging:

    Attire:

      During the Pre-judging a solid color suit will be worn. Suits of metallic nature are not allowed. There will be no "T" suits or "G" strings worn. The style of suit that will be worn at the actual competition must be worn at the weigh-in especially at all National competitions.

      No jewelry or hair ornaments will be allowed at the pre-judging. Female bodybuilders are permitted to wear jewelry and hair ornaments at the evening competition. Numbers will be worn on the left side of the suit.


    Click Image To Enlarge.
    Dexter Jackson At The 2006 Arnold Classic.
    View More Pics From The 2006 Arnold Classic Here.

    Scoring:

      The Placement System is used for scoring the contest. Each round is considered to be equally important, however only one placing will be marked on the judges score sheet for each contestant. The final placing for each competitor is a reflection of the combination of all three rounds. Notes should be kept on each competitor so that a judge can tell a competitor where they excelled or where improvement is needed.

      When calculating the scores from the judges, the highest and lowest scores are discarded. The remaining scores are added together. The contestant with the lowest score wins and the rest are placed accordingly.

    Pre-Judging - Elimination Round:

      If there are more than 15 competitors the elimination round will be done. All of the competitors will be brought out in groups of 8 competitors at a time. The group will be directed to do Relaxed quarter turns and the Mandatory poses so that the judges are able to see the overall level of competition. No placings are decided during this round. At this time the judges will be deciding the top 15 competitors.

    Individual Posing Round:

      Each of the top 15 competitors will then perform their Individual Posing Routine. The Routine is done with no music and is limited to 60 seconds with a 10 second warning.

      During this round the judges will be focusing on how well the contestant is able to "present their physique" - showing both muscular and symmetrical development. The moon pose has been banned by the IFBB and will not be allowed at either phase of the competition. If it is done it will result in immediate disqualification from the competition.


    Click Image To Enlarge.
    Dexter Jackson, Branch Warren & Victor Martinez.
    View More Pics From The 2006 Arnold Classic Here.

    Mandatory Comparison Round:

      After each contestant has finished their Individual Posing Routines, they are brought out as a group in numerical order. The head judge will call them out in groups of 3-5 and direct them through the Mandatory poses. There are seven for women and eight for men. The judges will take this time to assess muscular development (See Judging criteria, Muscular development). The Side Chest and Side Tricep poses may be done from either side.

      During the Pre-judging, the judges look for a balance of size, symmetry and muscularity. The judges may ask to see certain competitors together for comparisons.

      The judges then mark their score sheets, consisting of a single placing for each competitor based on all three rounds of posing.

      Mandatory Poses:

      • Pose #1 - Front Double Bicep
      • Pose #2 - Front Lat Spread
      • Pose #3 - Side Chest Pose (either side)
      • Pose #4 - Side Tricep Extension (either side)
      • Pose #5 - Back Double Bicep
      • Pose #6 - Back Lat Spread
      • Pose #7 - Abdominal Pose
      • Pose #8 - Most Muscular (Men Only)

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Evening Finals:

    The competitors perform their Individual Posing Routine to their choice of music. The time limit is 90 seconds. Female bodybuilders are permitted to wear jewelry and hair ornaments.

    Awards Presentation:

      The emcee will call out the top 6 finalists (for the Arnold) in numerical order. The emcee will announce the final placings starting with 6th place and working up to first place. Each trophy is awarded as the placing is announced.


    Click Image To Enlarge.
    Dexter & Arnold.
    View More Pics From The 2006 Arnold Classic Here.

    Overall Posedown:

      The top 6 competitors advance into the Overall Posedown. The Head Judge guides them through the quarter turns and the Mandatory poses. They are then given 30 seconds of free posing with some background music. While the free posing is being done, the judges give their sheets to the head judge so that the scores can be tallied. The competitor with the lowest score is the overall winner.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Free Posing.
View More Pics From The 2006 Arnold Classic Here.

      Judging Criteria:

        The sport of bodybuilding represents the balanced muscular development of the physique. The quality of this development is determined by the overall assessment of these areas:

        • Presentation
        • Size - Muscualr Development
        • Symmetry - Balance Of The Physique
        • Muscularity - Lack Of Bodyfat

        It is imperative to remember that each category is of equal importance. The judges will submit one final placing for each competitor after the completion of all three rounds of posing:

        1. Relaxed Round
        2. Individual Posing Round
        3. Mandatory Round

    Relaxed Round:

      The Relaxed Round is designed to show the proportion, shape and balance of the physique in a relaxed state. Competitors are directed to do 1/4 turns. The following are important guidelines to correctly doing the Relaxed 1/4 turns:

      • Head faces the way your feet are facing
      • Hands at your sides
      • No twisting
      • Feet flat

    Individual Posing Round:

      The Individual Posing Round is the opportunity for the competitors to display their physique by showing their strengths and hiding their weaknesses.

      Each pose should emphasize one or more muscle groups and must be held momentarily in order for a judge to assess properly.

      There is a time limit of one minute during the pre-judging and 90 seconds in the Finals. No music is used other than background house music.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Lee Priest.
View More Pics From The 2006 Arnold Classic Here.

    Mandatory Comparison Round:

      Competitors are directed to perform the Mandatory Poses. Judges assess muscle size, symmetry and muscularity by comparing one competitor to another.

      Mandatory Poses

      • Pose #1 - Front Double Bicep
      • Pose #2 - Front Lat Spread
      • Pose #3 - Side Chest Pose (either side)
      • Pose #4 - Side Tricep Extension (either side)
      • Pose #5 - Back Double Bicep
      • Pose #6 - Back Lat Spread
      • Pose #7 - Abdominal Pose
      • Pose #8 - Most Muscular (Men Only
      • )

    Criteria For Ms. International (Female Bodybuilders)

      Judges look for the Total Package - the balance of size, symmetry and muscularity. There are, however, limits to the size of the muscles and the degree of muscularity that are acceptable. Competitors must maintain a feminine look. Extreme hardness and extreme muscle size is not acceptable.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Iris Kyle, Dayana Cadeau & Yaxeni Oriquen. View More Pics From The 2006 Arnold Classic Here.

      Mandatory Poses

      • Pose #1 - Front Double Bicep
      • Pose #2 - Front Lat Spread
      • Pose #3 - Side Chest Pose (either side)
      • Pose #4 - Side Tricep Extension (either side)
      • Pose #5 - Back Double Bicep
      • Pose #6 - Back Lat Spread
      • Pose #7 - Abdominal/Thigh Pose


Judging Criteria For Fitness International

Pre-Judging Round 1 - Two Piece Swimsuit:

    All contestants will be brought out in a line up in their 2-piece swimsuits with heels. Quarter turns will be directed by the head judge. At this time, judges are assessing the overall physique for degree of athleticism, proportion and skin tone. The judges will be scoring the degree of athleticism by assessing the degree of firmness, symmetry, proportion and the overall physical appearance including complexion, poise and overall presentation.

Pre-Judging Round 2 - Fitness Routine:

    Every competitor will get the opportunity to perform a maximum 2 minute routine during the pre-judging. Judges will be looking for style, personality, athletic coordination, strength moves, endurance and overall performance. Contestants should give special attention to their apparel since it too will be judged. Routines may include aerobics, dance, gymnastics or other demonstrations of athletic talent, but there are no required movements. Props are allowed, but must be approved by the Head Judge in advance.

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    The fitness round is your choice. Contrary to popular opinion, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE A GYMNAST to do well in this round. Perform your best dance or aerobics routine. It may include gymnastics if you choose. More important is the inclusion of strength and flexibility movements. This round is similar to the bodybuilder's posing routine. It is your time to show the judges your best routine.

    There are five mandatory fitness moves, (3 Strength & 2 Flexibility), that are used in the IFBB Professional Fitness Division. Fitness competitors must incorporate the following five moves into their 2-minute fitness routines. They include:

    • One Arm Push-Up
    • Straddle Hold
    • Leg Extension Hold
    • Full Split-Front
    • High Kick
    • Full Split-Side

    These can be done in any order during the 2 minute fitness routine, as long as all of them are included.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Adela Garcia, Kim Klein & Jenny Hendershott.
View More Pics From The 2006 Arnold Classic Here.

Pre-Judging Round 3 - Final Assessment / One Piece Swimsuit:

    The top 15 contestants will be brought back out in 2 lines in their 1-piece swimsuits with heels. At this time judges may ask for certain contestants to be placed next to other contestants. Then the quarter turns will be directed so the judges can make any final comparisons they wish. Again the judges will be assessing the overall physique for degree of athleticism, proportion and skin tone and scoring the degree of athleticism by assessing the degree of firmness, symmetry, proportion and the overall physical appearance including complexion, poise and overall presentation. The swimsuit will have a solid front and will not be allowed to have the abdominal area cut out or showing. No "T-Shaped" swimsuits will be eligible either.

Final Scoring:

    During all 3 rounds the judges will place each athlete from first through fifteenth place in each round depending on the number of athletes competing. After each round, the judges will turn in their scores for that particular round. Once all 3 rounds are completed, the scores will then be added together and averaged as one for each competitor's final score. The judges will be scoring the overall physique and performance during the entire Pre-judging. It is important to do your best during the Pre-judging because all the scoring is tallied afterwards. The only judging of the evening performance is of the height class winners for the overall award. No other scores or placing's will change after the Pre-judging.

Evening Performance:

    For local, state and regional contests, all contestants will be introduced at the evening event in their 2-piece swimsuits and heels. The number of athletes that will perform their fitness routines will be designated by the promoter and head judge depending on the number of the total athletes in the event.

    For the Arnold Classic the top 15 will be introduced in their 2-piece swimsuits and heels and will perform their fitness routine.

    The top 6 contestants will be awarded trophies, medals or other similar awards in their 1-piece swimsuits with heels.

IFBB Fitness Guidelines - Updated 2000

    Physique:

      Small degree of muscularity with separation no visible striations

      • Overall muscle tone, shapely lines, overall firmness
      • No excessive leanness.
      • Healthy appearance
      • Face
      • Makeup
      • Skin tone
      • NO EXCESSIVE OVERALL MUSCULARITY

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    Routine:

      1. Strength:

      • Number of strength moves
      • Degree of difficulty in executing movements
      • Creativity in performing strength moves

      2. Flexibility:

      • Number of Flexibility moves
      • Degree of difficulty in executing movements
      • Creativity in performing flexibility moves

      3. Tempo Of Routine:

      • Presentation
      • Showmanship

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Criteria For Figure Pro's - Figure International

The judging criteria for figure contests have been hotly debated. However, according to IFFB Officials it is based on two Physique/Swimsuit Rounds. Each round is judged separately, with the Judges handing in a score for each round. The following is a general description of each round:

Pre-Judging Round I: Two-Piece Swimsuit:

    All competitors will be brought out separately in a lineup in their two-piece swimsuits with high heels to perform quarter turns as directed by the Head Judge. Depending on the number of competitors or the level of competition, the judges may ask for certain contestants to be placed next to other contestants.

    The judges will assess the overall physique for degree of athleticism, proportion and skin tone. The judges will be scoring the degree of athleticism by assessing the degree of firmness, symmetry, proportion and the overall healthy physical appearance including complexion, poise and overall presentation.

    Muscle tone should appear firm and round with a small amount of body fat over the muscle. Muscle striations and extreme definition or leanness should be avoided.

Pre-Judging Round 2: One-Piece Swimsuit:

    All contestants will be brought back out in their one-piece swimsuits with high heels to perform quarter turns as directed by the Head Judge. The judges may ask for certain contestants to be placed next to other contestants. The judging criteria are the same as in Round 1.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Mary Elizabeth Lado, Monica Brant & Amanda Savell.
View More Pics From The 2006 Arnold Classic Here.

    Note Regarding Swimsuit Rounds

      Contestants should give special attention to the style of both swimsuits since the way each suit fits each individual physique is taken into consideration-different suits show the physique differently. Thong-style suits are not allowed.

Final Scoring:

    During both rounds, the judges will place each athlete from first through last place in each round. After each round, the Judges will turn in their scores for that particular round. Once both rounds are completed, the scores are then tabulated. The judges will be scoring the overall physique and performance during pre-judging. The only judging during the Evening Performance is for the overall award. No scores or placements will change after pre-judging.


Click Image To Enlarge.
2006 Arnold Figure Finals.
View More Pics From The 2006 Arnold Classic Here.

Finals:

    During the finals, all competitors will be introduced in their two-piece swimsuits. The top 6 place winners will be awarded trophies. To determine the Overall Champion these women will be brought out in their two-piece swimsuits and high heels to perform quarter turns as directed by the Head Judge. Criteria for assessing the physiques will be the same as pre-judging: Round I. Their scores will be tallied and the Overall Champion will be selected.


Video Posing Guide

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Click Play To Start The Video,
Or Download Your Format Below:
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Posing Round By Round
No Bull! The eight mandatory poses.
Note: No sound on these videos.

Front Double Biceps Pose:
WMV (152 KB)
MPEG (583 KB)

Front Lat Spread Pose:
WMV (172 KB)
MPEG (693 KB)

Side Chest Pose:
WMV (227 KB)
MPEG (811 KB )

Side Tricep Pose:
WMV (196 KB)
MPEG (755 KB)

Abdominal And Thigh Pose:
WMV (205 KB)
MPEG (819 KB)

Rear Double Bicep Pose:
WMV (247 KB)
MPEG (799 KB)

Rear Lat Spread Pose:
WMV (302 KB)
MPEG (1 MB)

Most Muscular Pose:
WMV (183 KB)
MPEG (715 KB)