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Who's Better Suited for the New NPC Class?

OK,… the new “Classic Bodybuilding” division is soon to premiere and I find myself pondering certain questions.

We all know that this is in response to the direction the sport has taken in recent years. We’ve seen huge fan upset as Branch Warren continues to place near the top of big shows (promotional payouts?) and we’ve even seen Arnold himself (at the show bearing his namesake!) put the Winner on the spot for not having the best physique in the contest.

So,… in attempt to steer the boat a bit - and probably bring in more $ to the federation - we have this new criteria set to bring standards and symmetry back to the 70’? 80’s? Anywhere before the mid 90’s perhaps?

As many female BBers who couldn’t place well found themselves adjusting their goals to the newer figure, or even physique classes, who do you think would fare better on the mens’ side of things?

MPD guys who have actually trained their legs all along but alas they’re still narrower than their waists?

BB guys who never made it to the top tier or even pro level, but havent completely destroyed their physique so far as to be able to whittle things down a bit?

A very close buddy of mine in an IFBB MPD pro who has placed repeatedly at pro shows and is taking a stab at the new division. I obviously have my own personal thoughts, but figured this would be a cool topic for those who follow the competitive side of the sport.


My expectations are low. I just want to see competitors who, although are drug aided, still resemble aesthetically pleasing human beings rather than deformed and physically-ill, edematous drug boats with red-violet or multi-hued skin, varicose and spider veins in all their extremities (which are only to be found otherwise in people’s legs), gynecomastia, distended mid-sections and hampered gaits.

I want to see well-developed legs still.

People resembling Rusty Jeffers or Hamdullah Aykutlu are who I want to see.

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Example 2.
No bloat, no distension, normal skin tone. There’s vascularity but he does not have the Curtis Leffler look going.

Unless they set up somewhat “objective” criteria it will suffer the same fate as “regular” bodybuilding.

I mean, what do you do when you have 2 guys next to each other and one of them is 2% leaner and 8 pounds heavier?? And the next year there is a guy 1% leaner at 5 pounds heavier?? You almost have to give it to the bigger/leaner guy… and then you get to where we are now. Sure, some will prefer the Frank Zane look over the Markus Ruhl look (to pick 2 extreme examples), but from a competition standpoint its obvious who is more built and leaner.

The 212 class at least has an upper limit on size, and while I understand its for the somewhat shorter guys, you could easily put a pounds-per-inch limit or something on the class to reign in the inevitable progression of size and conditioning.

I could be way off base, but it seems like the judging criteria should be as the name suggests. The physiques should sort of ‘remind us’ of the physiques that were winning contests up until… I don’t know, mid 80’s? That’s around the time things seemed to shift a great deal. It’s also when insulin, GH, and Tren began to take hold as staples in bodybuilding.

I wouldn’t expect to see the massive tree trunk legs that we’re seeing from the top level pros now, but leg development should still be very impressive. It’s not as if the bodybuilders of yesterday had chicken legs. I think conditioning expectations should still be very high. But I think the classic ‘v taper’, and the idea of just having a naturally pleasing aesthetic structure should be scored high. That still leaves a great range of physiques that could do well, and you’ll still have a ton of different looking physiques that could place well, depending on the particular show.

I think the examples brick posted are really good ones.

Remember, even the current open bodybuilding has set criteria according to the IFBB rule book.

The issue I suppose is the fans and judges’ ideas of what should be rewarded. I don’t have the criteria in front of me, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t say to reward large mid sections, blurry yet veiny skin, nor having especially large social media followings (last one is a personal peeve of mine -lol)


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I took a look on the IFBB rulebook (not sure if I’m allowed to link to it here) and it looks like they do have a weight limit related to height.

I would agree that this is probably the most logical way to do it.

Couple of shots from last nights Pittsburgh pro. Obvious top two; one a former (?) pro bodybuilder and one a former (?) physique pro.

Obviously their respective calibers are a variable As well, but…