DAWN OF A NEW ERA - NEW IFBB PRO MENS CLASSIC PHYSIQUE DIVISION
I think it was a good call to add another division. What are your thoughts?
As the sport of bodybuilding evolves and continues to grow, itís shaping up to be something that almost anybody who hits the gym and diets right can compete in. Thereís now a division inspiring people of almost every body type to hit the stage and realize their competitive goals. With the collaborative efforts of Jim Manion, J.M. Manion, Tyler Manion and Tony Blinn, on September 8, 2015, the IFFB Pro League and NPC President Jim Manion announced the creation of a new division called Classic Physique for both the IFBB and the NPC.
With Menís Physique competitors getting larger and more ripped with every passing contest, the judging criteria was slowly moving away from what it was originally intended to be and rewarding larger, more muscular physiques. The Menís Physique division was intended for more athletically built or fit contestants who display proper shape and symmetry combined with muscularity (size), muscle density (thickness), and overall condition. As itís not a bodybuilding contest, extreme muscularity would be marked down. The physiques that are currently hitting the stage and placing well are those on the borderline of extremely muscular. Thereís actually nothing wrong with that; itís just not what the Menís Physique division was intended to be.
The introduction of the new Classic Physique division can bring about two viewpoints; is it Menís Physique giving birth to a new division or is it bodybuilding coming full circle and being reborn in this new Classic Physique division. I remember photographing the first Menís Physique Olympia Champion, Mark Wingson, when he won his IFBB pro card at the North American Championships in 2011 in the Menís Physique division. What made this interesting to me at the time was that only a few months before I had photographed him as he competed in the Arnold Amateur Bodybuilding Championships in Columbus, where he finished fifth.
It was clear that with the introduction of Menís Physique, and it being in its infancy, Markís body type was more athletically built and displayed proper shape and symmetry combined with muscularity, muscle density, and overall condition. It sounded perfect! I knew right away that it had a place in the IFBB pro ranks. As well, the taller competitors who had a hard time gaining weight, or maybe didnít want to be as big as the bodybuilders, now had a place to compete and realize their IFBB pro dreams. Mark went on to win four IFBB pro shows before taking the very first Menís Physique Olympia title at the 2013 Olympia. As the Menís Physique division grew, so did the size of the competitors, and Markís competition placings started to decline. The bodies hitting the stage in the Menís Physique division were starting to look like the bodybuilders of the golden era, only more ripped in some cases. There are videos on YouTube of Frank Zane teaching Sadik Hadzovik how to do the poses he used to do onstage because they have such similar body types: Sadik, Frank, Steve Reeves, Vince Gironda, etc. Menís Physique had tipped the scale of what was supposed to be a division where physiques such as Markís had a chance to compete, but they were now leaning towards the larger, more muscular physiques. The forward thinking IFBB Pro League saw what was happening and found the solution to correct the issue: a new division called Classic Physique. The name suits the new division and the description given by IFBB Pro League Chairman and NPC President Jim Manion describes the physiques that put bodybuilding on the map. Physiques of legends such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Larry Scott come to mind.
The new Classic Physique Division will bridge the gap between Menís Bodybuilding and Menís Physique. According to the NPCís news release, Classic Physique will be for competitors who want to present more muscular size than is currently acceptable for Menís Physique, but not as extreme as the current standards for Bodybuilding. Muscle and Fitness quotes Jim Manion:
ďClassic Physique is for guys who want to take their muscularity and size beyond the limits of Menís Physique, but not quite to the extremes of Bodybuilding Ö Classic Physique will highlight proportion, symmetry, pleasing lines, and a small waist. In short, the focus will be on aesthetic qualities in harmony with muscularity and condition.Ē
In time, there will be noticeable physical differences between the two divisions. Right off the bat, Classic Physique competitors wonít wear board shorts nor will they wear the traditional bodybuilding posing trunks. Instead, theyíll be required to wear black spandex shorts. So if youíre crossing over from Menís Physique, or even just getting into the sport, donít skip leg day if you plan on competing in this division!
Unlike in the Menís Physique pro ranks, Classic Physique will be divided into three main height categories (A, B, and C) with corresponding weight requirements. For example, a 5'4" male cannot exceed 155 pounds. In time, this may be further streamlined and broken down into more categories such as D, E, and F.
The judging will consist of quarter turns and five mandatory poses:
1. Front Double Biceps
2. Side Chest
3. Back Double Biceps
4. Abdominals and Thighs
5. Favorite Classic Pose (NO MOST MUSCULAR!)
The judging will be based on muscularity and body composition. Judges will be looking for competitors who display muscular size, symmetry, balance, and proportion with an emphasis on definition and condition. The ideal physique will display an aesthetic appearance highlighted by a small waist.
The finals portion is straightforward, including a 60-second posing routine, a confirmation round if needed, and a posedown for the overall title.
Current IFBB pros can cross over into this new division, and depending on how the 24 IFBB pro qualification contests in 2016 go, there may be invitations to compete in this division when it makes its debut at the Olympia as well. It will also be interesting to see if whether the top two or three placings will qualify to compete at the Olympia and when its debut at the Olympia will be. Either way, Classic Physique will be making a huge presence in its inaugural year with 24 shows starting with the IFBB Musclecontest.Com Pro Menís Classic Physique on March 12, 2016.
As with the introduction of any new division, there may be slight changes as the sport grows and progresses. My belief is that itís going to increase interest in competing and bring out fans of old-school bodybuilding physiques. As a result, thereíll be an increase of people hitting the gym, which is what Joe and Ben Weiderís intentions were in the first place over 70 years ago. Itís going to be interesting to see who emerges as the inaugural champ, and who will cross over from Menís Physique and likewise from Menís Bodybuilding to the new division that is Classic Physique.
Although the rumour mill is running wild with speculation, we at MUSCLE INSIDER have it on good authority that two pros whoíll be crossing over to this division are current Menís Physique pro Sadik Hadzovik and veteran pro bodybuilder Darrem Charles. Although Charles lost some steam towards the end of his 23-year career (he last competed in 2013) as an IFBB pro bodybuilder, his comeback as a Menís Classic Physique competitor could put him back on the map! The rumour is that heíll be back onstage in April to give Sadik, the front-runner for this division, a run for his money. Weíve also heard that famed IFBB pro Tito Raymond will come out of retirement specifically for this new division in 2016; heíll definitely throw a wrench in some of these guysí plans. What I think we can all agree on is that this division is a great addition to the lineup!
Sidebar: What YOU'RE saying about the new division
@dan_barrz: ďGreat idea! Provides the middle area for guys too big for physique but not big enough for bodybuilding.Ē
@bigrich.resultsking: ďThis is gonna be epic. Bring back the golden yearsÖ Gonna be great for the industry.Ē
@justinbeastchild: ďTrunks are too long, IMO. Hiding too much of the thigh.Ē
@jr.fit: ďItís a great addition to our sport! Gives almost anyone the opportunity to step onstage which is great. People should lighten up and embrace the fact that our sport is evolving with modern times. Not everyone wants to look like a bodybuilder, and thatís OK. Everyone has different opinions and goals. Classic physique will help bring a larger audience into our industry.Ē
See below for the complete breakdown of height-to-weight ratios for 2016.
Competition will take place in the following categories:
Division ďAĒ (up to and including 5'7")
- Up to and including 5'4" Up to and including 155 lb.
- Over 5'4", up to and including 5'5" Up to and including 160 lb.
- Over 5'5", up to and including 5'6" Up to and including 165 lb.
- Over 5'6", up to and including 5'7" Up to and including 170 lb.
Division ďBĒ (Over 5'7", up to and including 5'10")
- Over 5'7", up to and including 5'8" Up to and including 177 lb.
- Over 5'8", up to and including 5'9" Up to and including 185 lb.
- Over 5'9", up to and including 5'10" Up to and including 192 lb.
Division ďCĒ (Over 5'10")
- Over 5'10", up to and including 5'11" Up to and including 200 lb.
- Over 5'11", up to and including 6'0" Up to and including 207 lb.
- Over 6'0", up to and including 6'1" Up to and including 215 lb.
- Over 6'1", up to and including 6'2" Up to and including 225 lb.
- Over 6'2", up to and including 6'3" Up to and including 232 lb.
- Over 6'3" Up to and including 240 lb.
Sidebar 2: Breaking News: ANOTHER new division!
According to the official IFBB website, the IFBB Amateur League recently announced the creation of two new divisions: Fit Model Women and Fit Model Men. ďUnlike the existing divisions, less attention is paid to body parts and muscles, instead focusing on overall lines and shape of the physique, elegance of moving on the stage, style and attractiveness of presentation.Ē The judging criteria will be as follows:
Women: Up to 163 cm, up to 168 cm and over 168 cm
Prejudging: Elimination Round (quarter turns, swimsuit)
Prejudging: Round 1 (quarter turns, swimsuit)
Finals: Round 2 (T-walking, quarter turns, swimsuit)
Finals: Round 3 (Individual presentation, evening gown)
Men: Up to 174 cm, up to 180 cm and over 180 cm
Prejudging: Elimination Round (quarter turns, gymnastic shirt)
Prejudging: Round 1 (quarter turns, gymnastic shirt)
Finals: Round 2 (quarter turns, gymnastic shirt)
Finals: Round 3 (Individual presentation, casual sportwear)
Women will be required to do a 45-second T-walk/individual presentation to allow them to show off their bodies and their poise, class, and elegance. There is a focus on poise here, as demonstrated by an entire new line of special attire: long evening gowns. Picture the Miss America evening wear round. According to the IFBB, ďThis will be a very attractive end of the finals.Ē The wardrobe requirement for men will be ďcasual sportĒ: an unbuttoned fitness-style jacket, worn directly on the body, showing the front of the trunk and abdominal section and casual style pants such as jeans, khakis, corduroys, chinos, cargo, or twills. Men will also have an individual presentation!
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