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I WANT TO MOVE FROM THE OPEN BODYBUILDING CLASS TO THE CLASSIC PHYSIQUE DIVISION. ARE THERE ANY MAJOR JUDGING DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE TWO DIVISIONS I SHOULD BE AWARE OF AS I PREPARE? ARE CERTAIN QUALITIES WEIGHED MORE HEAVILY IN CLASSIC?
STEVE WEINBERGER: The parameters of the classic physique division limit the amount of muscle that an athlete can carry. Because the allowed body weight is limited according to height, the massive muscularity that can be achieved in the bodybuilding open class cannot be matched in classic.
This division is best suited to two groups of athletes:
Men’s physique competitors whose level of muscular development is becoming “too big” for that division. Athletes in this situation need to either cut back on their training or switch to classic physique. Before the classic physique division was introduced, athletes in this situation had a huge problem, as many physique competitors love to train and do not want to limit their training or potential.
Bodybuilding competitors who love to develop their bodies, pose, and compete onstage but do not wish to develop the massive muscularity required to achieve top levels in open bodybuilding.
The mandatory poses in classic physique do not include the front and rear lat spread, nor the side triceps pose. The most-muscular pose is not permitted in classic physique. Competitors are encouraged to present their bodies in poses that stress the symmetrical development and muscular lines of the body, rather than emphasizing mass.
Classic physique still is, however, a bodybuilding division, and athletes should aim to achieve the maximum balanced development attainable within the parameters of the height and weight restrictions. The athlete needs to present a highly defined physique with as much muscularity as possible. His posing needs to be smooth and well practiced, with emphasis on flow and artistic lines. Those are the areas to focus on.
HOW MUCH STAGE “ATTITUDE” IS TOO MUCH? HOW WOULD YOU RECOMMEND LETTING YOUR PERSONALITY SHINE WITHOUT GOING OVERBOARD AND POSSIBLY COSTING YOU ON THE SCORE SHEET?
SANDY WILLIAMSON: Stage presentation is often what draws the judges’ eyes to an athlete, yet there isn’t a cookie-cutter answer here. Some athletes can get away with more “ air” than others. I think it depends on the athlete’s personality. It has to look natural. I tell athletes that they want to look comfortable and con dent onstage, so if you’re trying to emulate another athlete’s posing techniques, but you don’t feel comfortable, then it will look awkward onstage.
First and foremost, develop a style that works with your physique and you feel confident with. Additionally, always ask for judges’ feedback—if they tell you you’re too dramatic, tone it down for next time. There is definitely a trial-and-error process with presentation, especially when just starting on your competitive journey.
Judges Sandy Williamson and Steve Weinberger