Vegan Liftz is a community-supported website. We may earn a small commission on purchases made through our links. Learn more.

What Are The Three Different Types of Bodybuilding?

Last updated: June 7, 2022

Bodybuilding has taken on many meanings throughout the years, especially with the rise of the vegan diet and how it has changed the outlook on different bodybuilding physiques and ways to maximize gains. Bodybuilding can be both a personal, a health, or a competitive goal, even a combination of all three. Regardless of the goal for your bodybuilding journey, many do not know that there are a few major groups within the bodybuilding community, especially during competition. This is further broken down into three main divisions.

In the article written below, we will aim to define what exactly bodybuilding is, especially on a competitive level, and further explain the three different categories of tournaments for this sport. Finally, we'll take a look at how professional bodybuilders change their routine diet and workout before the event to achieve maximum cosmetic appearance.

What Is Body Building?

Bodybuilding is a competitive sport as much as it works on your physique. Bodybuilding differs from other weight-training sports because you are judged only on your cosmetic appearance rather than the way you perform. This is the main reason why bodybuilders and powerlifters look extremely different (and need different equipment) . Bodybuilders who need to achieve an extremely low level of body fat must do things that accentuate their muscular appearance, including dehydration, fasting, and even tanning.

Powerlifters, on the other hand, do not care about how they look and are only looking to build the proper form and functional strength. This means there is an extremely tailored weight lifting routine focusing on increasing the amount of weight they can lift quickly, usually by building muscle and fat quickly through mass weight gainers and a high caloric diet.

While powerlifters compete in different compound lift divisions (clean and jerk, deadlifting, squatting, and Olympic lifts), bodybuilders are divided into weight categories and appearance to be judged. These are further broken down into three major divisions, which we will outline below.

The 3 Different Divisions

Before launching into the separate divisions, it is important to establish the categories. The overarching categories are separated by gender and further broken down into divisions. Women's divisions are plentiful and require more coaching to establish which one (or many events) to participate in, including wellness, figure, bikini, fitness, physique, and bodybuilding. Men's bodybuilding has three separate divisions: bodybuilding, classic physique, and men's physique, which we will focus on in this section.

Bodybuilding category: this section is the most common and the one we all know as the iconic event for the tournament. The rule for this section is that there is a weight limit attributed to participation or entry and participants are paired into different heats based on this. Height is not a factor in this determination.

Men's physique category: In this section, all participants are allowed entry regardless of their weight. However, the class they are in is determined by their height. Those who are of similar height are paired together to compete for the judges.

Physique (classic) category: This category blends the two above, and competitors are grouped based on both height and weight. Because this is an extremely accurate category, it takes an enormous amount of preparation to match individuals with the same height and weight, or else there will be automatic winners for heats that only include one contender. Instead of taking into consideration who is competing, judges will usually set the height and weight requirements into groups before the tournament, and bodybuilders will work to achieve the weight goal in their height class.

How To Prepare For The Event

Bodybuilding is an extremely specific sport that comes down to fine details. It is not about putting on muscle quickly, but more about losing enough body weight before the competition. During the training season, bodybuilders will look completely different as they are usually bulking to have the strength to lift as heavy and as consistent as possible, remembering to leave ample amounts of time for rest and diet to repair fatigued and broken muscles.

A few weeks or months before the event, the trainer or coach will usually put the bodybuilder onto a specific routine and diet to hit the goal weight or physique of the competition from their starting point. This all must be done sustainably, as to get the body to consume as many carbohydrates and fats stored in the body as possible while limiting (or eliminating) the need to consume protein to do so. Not only is this extremely exhausting for the bodybuilder, but it takes a toll on their mental health, lifts, routine, and diet.

In the last days before the competition, the bodybuilder is usually pushed to the extreme: fasting, dehydration, and tanning are common things that are done to prepare. This will usually drastically drop the person's weight, as well as accentuate the muscle groups that they have been working tirelessly to show off to the judges and the audience.


How to get the best abs in bodybuilding?

We all have abdominal muscles, and they help us in many ways: balance, core strength, and the ability to perform pretty much any physical task or exercise. Having "rock hard abs", that show is a combination of two things: strong abdominal muscles and low body weight percentage. For men, this usually means a range of either 5-9 percent of body fat, while for women the range is between 10-14 percent. Check out the full guide here.

What is the best bodybuilding diet?

The diet usually changes depending on the goals of the bodybuilder, and at what stage of the competition preparation they are in. In general, it is considered common knowledge to add a high-protein diet at all milestones. Here are some tips on how to body-build a vegan diet.

How do bodybuilders gain muscle fast?

Bodybuilders are under the supervision of a coach and nutritionist at all times and are extremely religious about their diet and exercise. The clean bulk and clean-cut methods are employed to maximize their gains at the beginning of the cycle without adding too much body fat to their body. When the cutting starts, they look to eliminate most of their body fat by ensuring they are eating the minimum amount of calories necessary to lose weight but still cling on to as much muscle and protein as possible.

About the author