|"Bodybuilding is about making yourself feel good - it's about giving yourself confidence."|
- Valentina Chepiga IFBB Pro
Female Bodybuilding once was considered a fringe sports, but has become more and more recognition in the mainstream over the last few years. More and more women go to the gym with the goal to gain muscle mass, strength and as above mentions confidence.
Physique contest were first held in the 1960s with shows like the Miss Physique and the Miss Americana, but the first true female bodybuilding contest was held in 1978 called the first U.S. Women's National Physique Championship. This was the first time that the women were solely judges on muscularity.
Soon other contests followed like the first IFBB Women's World Body Building Championship, the Best In The World contest and the Robby Robinson Classic.
These bodybuilding contest still differed from what this sport has become these days. The contestants would wear high-heel shoes and would not use fist while posing and were not allowed to use poses like double biceps and lat spread.
|2007 Arnold Classic Women's Prejudging - figure girls, athletic fitness girls and big ripped muscle women.|
Female Bodybuilding changed in 1980 with the introduction of the first women's Nationals by the NPC. This year was also the first Ms Olympia title.
1981 the Women's Pro World Championship was started, while the Miss International was introduced in 1986.
As the popularity of female bodybuilding grew, so was the number of competitor. More and more the athletes grew more and more muscular, far from the original "bikini contest" models in the 1960s.
Over the years the controversy about muscularity vs. femininity has been always very active and lead in many contests to rather controversial judging (Ms Olympia in the 1990s). This sometimes led to an uproar in the audience and once even Arnold Schwarzenegger stood up from the audience, saying "the hell with the judges".
This lead 2005 to the introduction of the so-called '20% percent rule' by IFBB Chairman Jim Manion, that said "that female athletes in Bodybuilding, Fitness and Figure decrease the amount of muscularity by a factor of 20%". It also said that this "applies to those female athletes whose physiques require the decrease".
2005 was also the year when the weight class system was abolished.
Female bodybuilding even though popular is still lagging behind the men's competition. The athletes don't like that they are judged by highly subjective factors like beauty and facial appearance and that their price money is only a fraction of their male counterparts. Female bodybuilders also want to be judged by symmetry and muscularity only.