You will have to fill out an entry form for each competition you wish to compete in. You will find the registration forms on the promoter’s websites.

You will also need to join that bodybuilding organization in order to compete. You can either fill in the membership portion of the registration form or join when you arrive at the competition.

Pay Attention to the Registration Deadline

Each competition has a registration deadline date on the entry form. Pay special attention to that date and have your form in before the deadline.

If you try to register the day of the competition, you may have to pay late fees or find yourself unable to compete.

If you do not see a registration deadline on the entry form, email the promoter for the date.


Each event offers different divisions to compete in and each division has a separate entry fee. If you enter the Open Division and the Master’s Division, you pay two fees; one for each division you chose.

Some events have only the Wheelchair Division, so you only pay for the Wheelchair Division.


Throw me to the wolves and I will return leading the pack

Event – Breakdown Bodybuilding Divisions

Here is how each division breaks down and how they stack-up:

Novice: You have never competed in a Bodybuilding show before.

Masters: You are over a specific age (each event is different). Check the entry form before entering this division. You do not want to disqualify because of your age.

Open: The Open Division is broken into weight classes. For example, the Wheelchair Nationals break into the;

● Lightweight division
● Middleweight division
● Light Heavyweight division
● Heavyweight division

The winners from each of these divisions compete head to head in the comparison round.
The winner of the comparison round at the Nigh Show (Finals) wins the competition as the Overall Winner.

Wheelchair Division: Some shows have a division specifically for Wheelchair bodybuilders. The Wheelchair Division is not broken into weight classes or classed by disability.

Paraplegic, quadriplegic, cerebral palsy etc… have no distinction as separate divisions yet. The plans for breaking the Wheelchair Division into weight and disability type are slowly in the works.

Crossovers Competing

Crossovers happen at shows that allow you to compete in the Novice Division, Masters Division, Open Division, etc. Basically, if you enter more than one division.

Competing in two divisions means you have to do all the mandatory poses two times because judges compare you to the other competitors in each division you entered.

The night show requires you perform your routine only one time.

What to Expect at the Event

Weigh In: Each event has a separate time for weigh-in. If the event has only a Wheelchair Division, you do not need to weigh in.

Meetings: The meetings are mandatory. Be on time or you will miss important information. Pay attention at the meeting and refer to the information on your entry form or visit the website if you are unsure of instructions.

Show Times: The order in which the competitors will perform on stage and the rundown of the entire competition are given in the meetings. Pay close attention to the instructions so the show goes smoothly.

*Meeting Tip: The majority of the information will be on the Entry Form or the website, make sure you read it and pay attention.

There are two parts to a bodybuilding show

Prejudging (Morning): The judging happens in the morning show. Each person in a division performs his routine for the judges and gets a score. A winner from each division then advances to the night show.

Night Show (Night/Finals): The winners from the morning show advance to this event, which an audience attends, and the competitors pose for the judges one more time. The lowest scored competitor of the night show becomes the Overall Winner of the Show.

After the Weigh-In

Most of the time, they will have another meeting to go over a few more instructions and give out buttons with your number on it.

You will want to clip your number on your left pant leg facing outwards so the judges can see the number. Your number is your name to the judges so make sure that they can see it at all times.

You will turn in your music at this time, as well.


The competition expeditor will keep you aware of the time left before you go onstage. This way you know when to go check your tan and oil up. You will also use the time to get pumped up for your turn.


A quick, easy way to tan is at the show. An event tanner will give you a spray tan before the show. You can find the tanner’s name and location on the website, flyer, or entry form. If you cannot find the tanner’s information, contact the promoter and find out who is tanning the athletes. They will make sure your tan is perfect and help with the oiling and glazing to make you look the best on stage.

Days before having a spray tan, you will need to exfoliate your skin. Exfoliating removes the dead skin cells from your body. Dead skin left on you while tanning leaves spots. The exfoliation is an important part of preparing for the competition. Which product is the best?

Tanning Products

The most recommended tanning products are ProTan or JanTana. The product’s websites have step-by-step instructions on how to use the products to exfoliate your skin thoroughly before a competition. Each site provides contest body preparation so you will get the best spray tan possible at show time.

If any dead skin stays on your body, the spray tan will come out with spots all over your body. Read the instructions and follow them closely so you do not have a spotty tan during the competition. You will look like you have a skin disease.

*Tanning Tip: The banning of DreamTan from bodybuilding competitions came into effect because of the mess it leaves everywhere. The majority of competitors used DreamTan because of its complete coverage and awesome look.

Promoters banned its use because it whips off when touched and the bodybuilders were staining other people’s clothes, the curtains and anything else it touched. The mess made by uncaring competitors cost promoters thousands. Now they have banned it.

Oil / Glaze

You want to add the final touch once your tan is complete. A definition Glaze will finish the look nicely. Many people use Pam (cooking oil) as their definition glaze, but promoters have also banned this product. The ban comes because the figure division follows the bodybuilding division.

The women backstage, are all in high heels and could fall because Pam makes the floor is slippery. The fear of one of the women or an athlete slipping and being injured caused promoters to ban the product entirely.

Most shows will be happy to provide help to spray you down outside with Pam unless the ban is in effect at that event.

When using oil or other products, you are looking to have a sheen, not a shiny look. A shiny look will reflect the lights, taking away from your physique, whereas sheen will enhance your definition. If you are too shiny, take a towel and pat that area until the shiny look has disappeared.

*Oiling Tip: When you use oil or glaze use it correctly or you will look shiny. When you are under lights, you will look washed out because if you use it incorrectly it makes you appear shiny and transparent. If you shine, the light diffusion actually takes away from your look. The key is to have a dull shine or sheen. Sheen will enhance your look when you are in the spotlight.

Pumping Up

To pump up your muscles before you go on stage, lift light weights and do many repetitions. The reps cause blood to flush the muscle and bulk for your poses.


Now you have tanned, glazed up, and pumped up and the Wheelchair Division is up. First, they will call out the Master Division. Everybody that entered the Master Division will then line up onstage in numerical order, facing the judges. Once everybody is facing the judges, you begin with the relaxed pose.

A relaxed pose is not really a relaxed pose; you will want your body tense, never relaxed, never show weakness on stage. The judges will give commands for four Quarter Turns and the Mandatory Poses. Then everybody goes off stage and they bring back one person at a time for a 60-second (this is a 60 second maximum, you don’t have to go all 60 seconds) solo posing routine or sometimes they have everybody up all together, it depends on each show.

If they play music, it will be whatever music they want to play, not your own music. Your own music will be for the night show and for your night routine only.

Once everybody from the Master’s division is done, the Novice division will go. The Novice division does the same relaxed poses, mandatory poses and 60-second solo routine like the Master Division.

Then the Open Divisions begins, starting with the Lightweight Division.

Breakdown of Poses

Relaxed Poses
You start facing the front; the judges will wait a few seconds and then say:

● “Quarter turn to the right” (pause for a few seconds and wait for the Head Judge to give you a command)
● “Quarter turn to the rear” (pause for a few seconds and wait for the Head Judge to give you a command)
● “Quarter turn to the right” (pause for a few seconds and wait for the Head Judge to give you a command)
● “Quarter turn to the front” (pause for a few seconds and wait for the Head Judge to give you a command)

Facing forward again, you will then perform Mandatory Poses for the judges as they call them out. Here is the list of poses; the order may change in each show.


Mandatory Poses

● Front Double Bicep
● Front Lat Spread
● Side Chest (of your choice)
● Side Tricep (of your choice)
● Rear Double Bicep
● Rear Lat Spread
● Front Abdominal
● Most Muscular

Prejudging is complete when all the divisions have gone. They will then tell you what time you will need to be back for the Night Show. If they do not tell you, just ask someone from the event so you do not have to wait around.

Night Show

The Night Show (Finals) is simple because you do not have to perform the Mandatory Poses unless you are competing in the Open class and you placed first in your weight division. If you place first, you will compete against all the other first place winners of each division in Open (Light Weight, Middle, Light-Heavy, And Heavy Weight) to try to win the overall title.

Before the Night Show, make sure you know when the wheelchair division will be starting. Do your tan touch ups backstage, and repeat the whole process from the morning again to look your best on stage.

The night show will have the Wheelchair Division go out in the same order as prejudging. Everybody that entered the Master’s Division goes first, followed by Novice and then the Open Division; the women’s division will either go before Open or after Open. It just depends on that specific show.

Once the Master’s Division lines up out on stage, the judges will call out the four Quarter turns and then everybody will go off stage.

The announcer will then give a brief description of where you are from, your name, and some biography information. Then you will perform a solo posing routine with music. 60 seconds max at most shows, 90 seconds max at Nationals (the length will be on the entry form of each show). Pro Wheelchair Athletes have a max of 3 minutes to perform their routine.

You have the choice of having them start your music before you go out on stage or starting your music when you are on stage. The expeditor asks you your preference before you go on stage, so do not worry.

*Music Tip: Profanity in your music choice will make it so security escorts you off the stage. These are family events with children in the audience, please be respectful. No Profanity.

Once the night routines are finished, everyone comes back out on stage and lines up. Then the announcer will start calling out what number each competitor placed at, starting with last place.

Prejudging proceeds with all the judges determining who deserves each place. There are no scores for the night show unless they are doing an overall; if that is the case, they will have the division winners line up and do all Quarter Turns and Mandatory Poses again to compare their physiques side by side. After that, the one person that they feel has the best package is the Overall Winner.


Most shows will have seven judges and each judge will score you. The place they give you will equal your points.


● 1st Place = 1 Point
● 2nd Place = 2 Points
● 3rd Place = 3 Points
● 4th Place = 4 Points and so on

They judge you on who you are going up against on muscularity, leanness, hardness, symmetry and other factors. They are looking for the best overall package. That is why they do the mandatory poses, so they can compare you to the person next to you. To win the show, you just have to be better than the competitors who are standing in the line with you on stage.

Here is an example of how the scoring takes place and determines the placing:

2007 NPC Wheelchair Nationals: Wheelchair Division – Heavyweight


Judge 1

Judge 2

Judge 3

Judge 4

Judge 5

Judge 6

Judge 7

Total Points























































*Scoring Tip: They eliminate 1 low score and 1 high score to make sure the judging is more accurate. The lowest score wins.

The results look like this:

● Victor – 1st Place
● Jeff – 2nd Place
● Nick – 3rd Place
● Josh – 4th Place
● Leon – 5th Place
● John – 6th Place