The Four Types of Bodybuilding

Many strive to be on the big stage, showcasing their dedication with their workout and diet regime. For bodybuilders that desire to be competing on the big stage, they have to consider which bodybuilding types are available and what they’re best suited for.

Even if you’re new to the bodybuilding world and wondering what the meaning for each bodybuilding types are, we’ve got you covered in this article.

We will be going through the four divisions at Mr Olympia and what judges look for.

We have ordered the divisions in order of when they were introduced at Mr Olympia, with the most recent being listed first.


Classic Physique:

The Classic Physique division was introduced in the 2016, and it’s one of the newest divisions in the Olympia. This division is targeted to men who want to build their muscles and size above the normal Men’s Physique limits (discussed later), but not to the extent of Open Division Bodybuilding.

With modern bodybuilding being ridiculed because of the steroid abuse in the path of becoming big, bodybuilders are unable to control their stomachs due to the enlargement of their intestines and other mid torso organs. Also, the extreme muscular development can lead to a loss of the aesthetic appearance of bodybuilding, which is retained in Classic Physique. In this case, the stomach must remain many firm inches inwards as stated by Arnold Schwarzenegger, who made bodybuilding famous in the Classic Era or Golden Era, where the bodybuilders worked more on beautiful and aesthetic appearance.

Pictured below: Breon Ansley

Breon Ansley

Men’s Physique:

This category is also fairly new, introduced at the Olympia in the 2012. The judges pay close attention to Athletic, Less Muscularity and an Aesthetic physique. In other words, they focus more on the body that has an appealing structure and impressive shoulder to waist ratio (52.5″ to 27″ of former champion Jeremy Buendia), extraordinary and balanced development of Arms, Calves, Chest, Back and Shoulders. Also, the division’s competitors need to wear shorts slightly below the knee-length, and not much preference is given to the thigh development because it is hidden below the clothing. The final condition is that competitors are required to have body fat percentage less than 5%. This posing routine is different from other divisions with a regular posing routine which is replaced by the Front position followed by three-quarter turns. Australian Professional Men's Physique competitors Ali Raza and Viet Doan are vying to qualify for their Olympia debuts after becoming IFBB Pros.

Pictured below: Sadik Hadzovic, Ali Raza and Viet Doan (wearing Tailored Titans)

Sadik HadzovicViet Doan & Ali Raza

212 Olympia:

This division was introduced in the 2011 and was notably recommended for short men that cannot accumulate as much muscle compared to the taller open division competitors. The requirements for this class, just as the name implies, is that the athlete needs to weigh up to and under 212 Lb (i.e., 96.6 kg) and they must be less than 166cm or 5’5 of height. These bodybuilders must put on tiny underwear, and they have to accomplish the seven basic bodybuilding postures. They are judged based on their muscle mass, conditioning and separations.

Pictured below: Flex Lewis

Flex Lewis

Open Division:

This is also referred to as the MV division in the Olympia. All the top players participate here with their weights starting from 300 lbs or 137 kgs. The biggest performers compete together, and after all that mass they have to work on their conditioning as well, which is the most difficult part for these competitors. Presently, it is dominated by Phil Health, a title holder for the 7th time winning streak which equals Arnold’s record. This streak hasn't triumphed Ronnie Colman and Lee Haney's record of 8 title wins each, even when legends such as Jay Cutler, Dennis James and Shawn Ray were competing.

Pictured below: Phil Heath & legendary Dennis James (wearing Tailored Titans)

Phil HeathDennis James

Want to train like an IFBB Pro Bodybuilder? Check out our free IFBB Pro endorsed workout guides: Free IFBB Pro eBooks

Looking for more bodybuilding articles? Check out our blog for all your bodybuilding needs: The Blog

Need a shirt that's made to fit your physique? We tailor our shirts to all physiques, shapes and sizes (yes, even all of the above). Shop Here


  • Thanks for the information defining the four types of mens bodybuilding competitions.

    Paco Hernandez
  • Very nice

  • I’ve never been exactly clear on each division. Now I get it. Thanks for the clear concise description.
    I would audit to read posers instead of underwear!!!

    Six Pack
  • nice body

    zhoren bayani
  • Awesome article.

    Arvin Vicente

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published