ANBF Bodybuilding Guidelines

Competitor Rules

Bodybuilding competitors will be judged in plain, undecorated posing trunks (men) or two-piece (women) suit, which crisscrosses over the lower back. All men’s suit bottoms must be v-shaped, no thongs are permitted. No fringe, wording or sparkle allowed for judging (men and women); however, for posing routines/finals, these things are allowed. Suits will be verified for compliance during competitor check-ins. No jewelry other than wedding rings (men and women) or hair adornments are allowed during judging. Bumping and/or shoving during comparisons are not allowed. Female bodybuilding competitors must tie long hair up so it does not obscure musculature.

Bodybuilding competitors will be weighed during check-in to determine the appropriate weight class.

Judging Criteria

Judges will evaluate competitors equally on the following criteria:

Posing/Presentation – Posing/Presentation score is a measurement of how well the competitor presents himself or herself and displays their physique on stage as well as adherence to ANBF posing guidelines. Competitors should present themselves with poise, good posture and confidence and should utilize posing that enhances their physique (i.e. no overly exaggerated elbows, arms too far from midline of body, or inability to display symmetry). Competitors should be able to quickly and smoothly transition between poses.

Symmetry – Symmetry score is a measurement of the evenness of development of the competitor’s physique and how well the parts of the physique flow together. It includes the balance and proportion of the competitor from side to side, top to bottom and front to back. Symmetry is a measurement of evenness of development between all muscle groups and proportion when viewed from all sides. No body part or muscle group should stand out from the rest.

Muscularity – Muscularity refers to muscle size and development relative to the competitor’s frame, including shape and size. The level of muscularity is determined by the extent of development in relation to the size of the competitor’s skeletal structure. Also to be considered is the shape and contour of the developed muscle and muscle groups. Bodybuilding competitors should display: 

  • Greatest level of muscularity is as compared to all other categories.
  • Well-defined muscles that flow evenly.
  • Full, round delts that flows into the biceps and triceps.
  • A taper in the lats that flow into the oblique with fluid lines into the sweep of the upper thigh.

Conditioning – Conditioning refers to the level of differentiation between adjacent muscles delineating sections or fibers within the same muscle group and the degree of firmness (hardness) of muscle tone.  Leanness is important but an overly dieted appearance is neither advantageous nor desirable. Bodybuilding competitors should display: 

  • Visible muscle separation and deep cuts with striations.
  • Visible ab cuts.
  • Visible cuts between delts, biceps and triceps.
  • Visible quad/hamstring separation.
  • Round, firm glutes with visible tie-in to hamstrings.
  • Muscles should be full and round.
  • The following are examples of common terms used in the bodybuilding industry. These words can be helpful to assess what should be descriptive to the physiques being judged in this division: Ripped, shredded, peeled, striated, dry, diced, hard, vascular, grainy, massive, thick, dense, etc.
  • Should not display stringy-looking muscularity (an emaciated look).


ANBF Desired Look for Women’s Bodybuilding

Women's BB Desired Look
Women’s BB Desired Look


ANBF Desired Look for Men’s Bodybuilding

Men's BB Desired Look
Men’s BB Desired Look


Group Comparisons

After the individual presentations for each competitor is complete, the class is brought to front center stage and is guided through quarter turns to display physiques from the front, left, back, and right and then will be guided through rounds of sculpted poses. All transitions should be fluid with no stiff, jerky, military-style or overly suggestive movements.  Competitors are not allowed to alter the fit of their suit by hiking up the back or pulling up on the sides during front/rear lat spreads.

  • Front/Rear Stance – The front and rear stances are to be with head and eyes facing the same direction as the body, feet shoulder width apart, knees can be soft, but should not be overly bent. Arms should be no more than 2 inches from the competitor’s hip. Lats should be spread wide as to accentuate the v-taper. Shoulders and chest should be high, but not hunched toward the ears.
  • Side Stance – In the side stances (left and right), the head and eyes are facing the same direction as the body (to the side), heels are together or front foot may be shifted slightly forward of the rear foot (no visible space between the feet). Legs can be straight or slightly bent to accentuate quads and hamstrings. Competitors may twist slightly at the waist, while keeping in mind that the twist cannot be overly done. Twist only slightly enough that that the rear shoulder (furthest away from the judges) can be displayed. The front arm (closest to the judges) must not be moved any further than the midline of the hip.
  • Mandatory Sculpted Poses – Following the quarter turns, competitors will be asked to display each of the following close-handed sculpted poses. Side poses will be performed on both the right and left side. At the discretion of the head judge, competitors may be asked to only display their favorite side for side poses after an initial round displaying both sides. 
    • Front Double Biceps – Display flexed biceps with fists angled toward the ears and legs can be shoulder width apart or with one leg posted to the side and flexed to accentuate the quad.
    • Front Lat Spread – Place both fists slightly above the each hip and spread back and raise shoulders to show width.  Legs can be shoulder width apart or one leg posted outward.
    • Side Triceps – Hips facing the side of the stage, with the competitor’s upper body slightly twisted to face the judges. Legs bent and hips pushed back.  Competitors twist the upper body slightly toward the judges and should reach behind the back to pull down/flex the arm/triceps facing the judges.
    • Side Chest– Hips facing the side of the stage, with the competitor’s upper body slightly twisted to face the judges. Legs bent and hips pushed back.  Competitors should twist the upper body slightly toward the judges and clasp the hands (or hand to wrist) together while flexing the pecs.
    • Rear Double Biceps – Fists turned in toward the ears to display flexed biceps with one leg posted to the rear and out to the side and flexed to display the hamstring.
    • Rear Lat Spread – Same as front pose with fists placed slightly above hips.  Move arms forward and raise shoulders to show back width and one leg posted to the rear and out to the side and flexed to display hamstring.
    • Abs and Thigh – Hands reached behind the competitor’s head and abs flexed (air blown out) with one leg extended forward and flexed to display the quad.
    • Most Muscular Crab (men only) – Arms flexed in front and hands at waist level while flexing your chest.  One leg is extended and flexed.
    • Most Muscular Hands on hip – Both hands are on hips and upper body is flexed to show upper body muscularity.  Legs can be should width apart or one leg posted to the side.
    • Side Serratus – From the side, place front hand behind neck and back hand behind your back and lean slightly towards judges to show side serratus and oblique conditioning.

In classes where competitors are very close in comparison, additional poses may be used to help differentiate physiques; these include:

Right/Left Thigh (flex and rotate) – Place leg in front and flex quad to show muscularity and conditioning. 

Right/Left Hamstring – Angling to one side stick out opposite leg and flex to show hamstring development. 

Calves (up on toes) – Stand up on toes to show calve development.

NOTE: Competitors who are overly twisted or not following other ANBF posing guidelines may, at the discretion of the head judge, be corrected. If the competitor fails to adjust when corrected, the judges are instructed to address this in their scoring. Failure to comply with ANBF posing guidelines will result in a lower placement in the presentation/posing round. Competitors are permitted to utilize other posing during their individual routines.


ANBF Desired Posing

Bodybuilding Desired Poses
Bodybuilding Desired Poses


Individual Presentation Routine

The presentation portion will immediately follow group comparisons for the class. After a class files off, the first person in the class will return to the stage to perform their individual routine. Routines should be no more than 60 seconds in length and should be used to show the competitor’s individuality using posing, dance moves, etc. Routines should be done tastefully and be conducive to a family atmosphere. Props or costumes are permitted.