BODYBUILDING JUDGES PANEL
Competitors are assessed by a panel of nine judges, who must be qualified by passing examinations, and duly certified. As much as possible, judges are drawn from different countries for international competitions.
The participants in a bodybuilding contest are evaluated by a panel of judges, which includes one head judge and a number of regular judges. All judges? scores are weighted equally, yet the head judge, which is usually the most qualified and experienced person on the judging panel, is also responsible of driving the prejudging, by calling out the different poses and changes of position. In addition, he can consider additional comparisons or poses resulting from requests of the regular judges.
THE EVOLUTION OF BODYBUILDING JUDGING
There are no written rules for judging bodybuilding. At least, there shouldn’t be. Admittedly, this is a controversial statement, but it is true nonetheless. The rules of bodybuilding are merely procedural – that is, how many and what kind of rounds, points or placing system, judging each round separately or one score at the end, scoring the finals or not, weight classes or no weight classes and so forth. When you see terms like shape, proportion, symmetry, muscularity, definition, muscle separation and so forth in a bodybuilding rule book, those are DESCRIPTIONS of what the judges are doing, not instructions.
Judges, in order to be “good,” have to already know what a bodybuilder is supposed to look like when they arrive at a contest ready to work. You can instruct them as to procedures but not give them guidelines on “what to look for.” A bodybuilding judging panel operates on a consensus basis. That is, all the judges have to have a clear idea of what bodybuilding is all about, and they all have to accept a generally similar idea as to what they are looking for. If a judge is unable to do this – and there are plenty of seemingly knowledgeable individuals, including ex-bodybuilders, who have shown themselves to be not up to the task – he or she should not be used to score bodybuilding competitions. Constant and exaggerated deviations of an individual’s scoring compared to the rest of the panel is a clear signal that the judge simply is not able to be sufficiently objective – or more accurately, subjectively-objective or objectively-subjective. But where does this consensus come from? And why is it you see changes and evolution in the “fashion” of judging over time? Why does one era reward big-and-smooth, another lean-and-cut and yet another huge-and-muscular? If the sense of what bodybuilding standards ought to be is somehow innate in the minds of the judges, why does it change so much over time?
During the 25 years between 1940 and 1965 the physiques audiences and judges saw on stage gradually changed and evolved because knowledge about training, dieting and supplements was also improving and evolving. Where the early bodybuilders trained like weightlifters, gradually they learned to use the Split System, training only part of the body in each session, to increase their sets and reps,to do a wider variety of exercises, including isolation movements as well as those for mass-building. Joe Weider was a pioneer advocating these methods, carefully observing what the best bodybuilders were doing in the gyms, recruiting individuals knowledgeable in nutrition to write for his magazines and developing the Weider Intensity Training Principles to explain and codify these new developments and make the information more readily available to bodybuilders around the country and all over the world.
Any judge who can’t do this should be invited not to officiate in the future. If you indeed can weed out the judges who don’t seem capable of achieving this level of objective-subjectivity, and if you then employ a panel of seven or nine judges and throw out the high and low scores to eliminate exaggerated deviations – you are going to have the best chance of seeing accurate judging, at least as accurate as you can expect from a sport where there ARE NO actual guidelines for the judges to objectively apply.