NPC Divisions: What is Figure?

 Photo by Liquid Spectrum

Photo by Liquid Spectrum

WHEN YOU'RE NEW TO THE NPC AND PHYSIQUE COMPETITIONS IN GENERAL, IT CAN BE HARD TO FIGURE OUT WHICH DIVISION IS BEST FOR YOU AND WE WANT TO HELP!IN THIS BLOG SERIES, WE'LL BE EXPLORING THE DIFFERENT DIVISIONS THAT ATHLETES CAN COMPETE IN WITHIN THE NATIONAL PHYSIQUE COMMITTEE COMPETITIONS.


There are five NPC divisions for women to compete in (Women's Bodybuilding, Women's Physique, Figure, Fitness and Bikini) and in this post, we're going to take look at the Figure division. Since we've already talked about the Women's Physique division, we know that the physiques are similar but that a Women's Physique athlete has more overall muscularity than a Figure athlete, but let's dig a little deeper!

Figure was one of the first "new divisions" introduced. It came along well before Bikini and Women's Physique as an option for athletes who wanted to compete in the Fitness division without having to do a gymnastic like routine and brought a ton of new competitors into the NPC. According to the NPC rules, Figure athletes should have an overall muscular tone with shapely lines but not be excessively lean and should have a small degree of muscularity with separation but no visible striations. In all of the women's divisions, the judges are also looking at an athletes overall appearance - hair, make-up, skin tone and femininity.

PREJUDGING

At prejudging, athletes will line up with their classes and go out as a group for quarter turns. Then, all athletes except for the lowest number in the class will walk to the side diagonal on stage right (a diagonal line formed by a piece of tape) so that they can each do their individuals and will go out to center stage one at a time where there is a square (also formed by tape). The length of time an athlete will get in center stage depends upon the competition, but it is usually enough time to do 2-3 poses. Then, the whole class will be brought out together for the comparison round. Judges might ask athletes to move around so that they can better compare them to other athletes at which point the head judge will call out more poses. Once the judges have their placements, athletes will exit stage.

FINALS

Figure competitors do not do an individual posing routine, so during finals each athlete in the class will be introduced, the class will be cut down to the top five and they will be awarded trophies. The way this is done might vary a bit from show to show, but often all the athletes in the class will be brought up and lined up on the side diagonal on stage right and will go out to center stage one at a time where there is a square for the athletes to stand in while doing their individual poses. At finals, often athletes are allowed time for just one pose. Then athletes will walk over to the side diagonal on stage left and wait for the rest of their class to finish their introductions. From there, the emcee will call out the numbers of athletes in top five. Those athletes will walk back across the stage to the side diagonal on stage right to await awards and the rest of the class will exit stage left.

During finals, if there are multiple Figure classes, there will be an Overall. So, for example if there is an Open Figure A class and an Open Figure B class, there will be an Open Figure Overall after the Open Figure classes have been awarded trophies. The winners of each class will be brought on stage and will go through their model poses as the head judge calls them out so that they can be judged against each other. The winner is declared the Open Figure Overall Champion!

What do Figure athletes wear on stage? This is one of the women's divisions that does wear heels - if you want more info on what type of heels to get, we've got a blog post for that! NPC rules require a two piece suit for both prejudging and finals, the suit bottom must be v-shaped and thongs are not permitted. Figure athletes can wear jewelry at both prejudging and finals and their suits can be a decorative fabric or stoned. There are a lot of different levels of "bling" for suits - the more stones on a suit, the more expensive it will be. A super bling-ed out suit won't have an effect on your placing, it's up to you how much you want to spend. There are a ton of options online for suits, we recommend talking with local suit makers Perfect Fit Gear, they have years of experience fitting competitors with custom or rental suits for local and national competitions. 

Figure classes are based on height, if the show offers masters classes, those are broken down by age. Promoters can choose to have between one, two, three, four or six height classes, based upon the number of athletes in the show. 

4 CLASSES

  • Up to and including 5’2”
  • Over 5’2” and up to and including 5’4”
  • Over 5’4” and up to and including 5’6”
  • Over 5’6”

6 CLASSES

  • Up to and including 5’1”
  • Over 5’1” and up to and including 5’2-1/2”
  • Over 5’2-1/2 and up to and including 5’4”
  • Over 5’4” and up to and including 5’5-1/2”
  • Over 5’5-/12 and up to and including 5’7”
  • Over 5’7”

1 CLASS

  • All athletes of all heights

2 CLASSES

  • Up to and including 5’4”
  • Over 5’4”

3 CLASSES

  • Up to and including 5’4”
  • Over 5’4” and up to and including 5’6”
  • Over 5’6”

 

So, there you have the NPC's Figure! If you any lingering questions or if you're a current Figure athlete with something to add, leave a comment! This is the second post in our series exploring the different NPC divisions, so stay tuned as we cover the rest over the coming months. Another great source for learning about the different divisions is our Athlete Connection Group on Facebook, this is a place for local competitors to get to know each other, draw on seasoned competitors wisdom, form a squad to ride to the competition with - it's moderated by us, but you all control the conversation. If you're looking for some information on posing YouTube is a great resource, just be sure to look at videos from pro athletes for the best quality posing. We also have a few posing tip clips from past posing seminars on our YouTube channel!