What is IFBB Bodybuilding?

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  • Written By: L. Roux
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  • Last Modified Date: 07 January 2020
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The International Federation of Bodybuilders (IFBB) was founded in 1946 by Canadian brothers Joe and Ben Weider. It is an international non-profit organization that promotes a healthy lifestyle through bodybuilding and fitness. In 2004, the group voted to change its name to International Federation of Bodybuilding & Fitness, keeping the IFBB acronym. Participants generally focus on maximizing muscle mass through diet and exercise; they compete in IFBB organization contests as well as worldwide contests such as the Olympics.

IFBB Bodybuilding is a specialized discipline. Athletes train all body parts to reach maximum size while still in balance and harmony. Athletes typically perform a specialized training and diet program to minimize the percentage of body fat and water, which helps emphasize muscle definition and overall size. The overall physique goals typically include a narrow waist and broad shoulders. There are eight body weight divisions: 143 pounds (65 kg), 154 pounds (70 kg), 165 pounds (75 kg), 176 pounds (80 kg), 187 pounds (85 kg), 198 pounds (90 kg), 220 pounds (100 kg) and over 220 pounds (100 kg). Athletes present their qualities during two rounds of physique assessments, typically consisting of seven compulsory exercises.


The IFBB Bodybuilding division for women adheres to slightly different rules. Less attention is paid to muscle size and hardness, focusing more on overall muscle shape and body fat levels. There is also usually a routine round that gives female athletes 60 seconds in which to show their skills to the music of their choice. These movements include both compulsory and non-compulsory moves.

The Classic Bodybuilding division is typically for male athletes who do not want to develop their muscles to the extreme, but rather retain a classic look. Following a specific formula, the athletes' body weight is limited by their height and there are four categories: 5.5 feet (170 cm), 5.75 feet (175 cm), 5.9 feet (180 cm) and over 5.9 feet (180 cm). Emphasis is typically placed on the overall look of the athlete's body and the definition of muscles.

For both male and female athletes that prefer a less muscular, more athletic look there are two divisions: Women's Fitness and Men's Fitness. The emphasis is generally placed on athletic looking figures and it normally includes an energetic fitness routine. Competitors may also use small props as part of their routine.

IFBB Bodybuilding is a worldwide organization and many bodybuilders and fitness athletes aspire to become an IFBB Pro. To achieve this prestigious title, an IFBB bodybuilding athlete typically needs to win a regional contest and advance to a national competition. By winning this championship an athlete may be offered a pro card.


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Post 5

Steroids are only unhealthy when not taken correctly. They got a bad reputation from people who don't know any better. They're just like any other medication: you can overdose on them and cause harm to your body when you take more than needed. But if you take them the way they were intended, at your doctor's recommended dose, then they are harmless and your doctor can prove that through regular testing and allowing him/her to manage your intake.

Post 4

Really there is nothing unhealthy about body building. People think that this is an extreme kind of behavior, but trying to build up muscle mass is not at all unhealthy. There are lots of studies that show this can promote life long health and diminish the effects of aging.

Of course people can do this activity in unhealthy ways. If you use steroids or other chemical performance enhancers these can have significant health risks. You also open yourself up to the risk of injury when you are constantly working your body with huge weights. I don't want to minimize the risks, but body building does not have to be risky.

I have been body building for almost 20

years now. I never got to be Arnold Schwarzenegger big but if you saw me in the mall you would think I was a body builder. Every time I see my doctor, which is regularly, he tells me that I am in fantastic health. In fact he encourages me to stick with the body building. This can be a healthy lifestyle if you do it the right way.
Post 3

I agree with you both. When I go to the grocery store and I see those body building magazines with the bulging men on the cover it just makes me feel nauseous.

At the gym that I go to there is a man who trains as a body builder. He is not quire big enough to be in a magazine but he is huge. If you watch him he can barely move around the gym his body is so built up and awkward. I can't believe that this is healthy.

Post 2

@indemnifyme - I agree with you. I don't think there is anything healthy about such a focus on increasing muscle mass. I know a lot of men who do this take steroids too.

What is the use of looking muscular if you're not that healthy on the inside? I think as far as health goes it would be more beneficial to focus on cardio workouts and eating right.

Post 1

I actually used to work with a girl that participated in the women's fitness competitions through IFBB. I have to say, I really didn't like the way her body looked.

I really think people go overboard with these contests. My coworkers was scary skinny before her competitions. Yes, she did have muscle in some places, but overall I think she looked completely emaciated. She also would get really grouchy, because she was on such a strict diet

Trying to be healthy and fit is one thing, but I think IFBB competitions take it too far.

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