When the Men’s Physique division was introduced to the competition realm in 2011 the criteria was very vague. The newly found division would showcase a moderate build of muscle with respectable conditioning and stage presence. This look is similar to what one would see with a male Calvin Klein model or an underwear model on a billboard, but with slightly more muscle. The judges would score these contest looking for fit contestants who display proper shape and symmetry combined with good posing. In basic terms if you had abs, some muscularity, and the look of a model this would be your division.
Looking to grow this newfound division, the NPC/IFBB would implement a professional league for male physique competition. This would allow men to compete at the professional level who didn’t want to be as big as professional bodybuilders and still maintain a look they were satisfied with. However, over the last few years as the league has progressed; adding Men’s Physique as a category at the Olympia Showdown and the legendary Arnold Classic. We have seen a huge change in what the Men’s Physique division brings to the table; competitors are now bigger and more conditioned than the previous years and the judges are awarding the new look.
So what’s the difference in the old look vs. the new look? One word, everything! At the professional level, most Men’s Physique competitors are the size of a typical middle weight bodybuilder bringing levels of extreme conditioning. No longer are physique competitors just pretty boys with abs. They are jacked, hard, dry and bringing levels of conditioning only previously seen on professional bodybuilders and top amateur events. In the early stages athletes were brought out and made to do one front and one back pose.; now competitors are allowed to do routines with more flare which helps add personality to each of these individuals battling it out on stage.
All in all, most people either love or hate Men’s physique, but the popularity of the division and the improvements in muscularity / condition cannot be denied. The physique competitors of this age train like bodybuilders, supplement like bodybuilders, diet like bodybuilders, and do endless amounts of cardio to bring the same conditioning the bodybuilders bring to the stage. The only difference in the physique division being that the legs are covered up by board shorts, and they are not allowed to hit the wide range of poses done in the bodybuilding division. No longer is the physique division a watered-down look, showing ab outlines with a watery back. In this day and age you have to bring it on every level. Muscularity, conditioning, posing, and looks. If not STAY AT THE HOUSE!
My name is Merton Woolard. I am a National Level Men’s Physique competitor. Follow me on my journey to obtain my IFBB Pro Card through all my social media outlets.