Bodybuilding Weight Divisions
by Justin Leonard

Because of individual size differences, bodybuilding competitors are separated into several weight divisions and weight classes. Separate classes are needed to prevent uneven match-ups. For example, lets' use a 165 pound female bodybuilder and a 115 pound female bodybuilder.

Chances are if both competitors come in the exact same condition, the 165-pounder would win hands down because she looks bigger. For males, the classes are usually bantamweight, lightweight, middleweight, light heavyweight, heavyweight, and sometimes super heavyweight. For females, the classes are usually light, middle, and heavyweight.

Additional classes such as teen or junior, masters men and women (older, usually 35yrs+), novice, and in some cases pro divisions are added to many shows if there's a big competitor turnout. Depending on the competition, there can be more or less weight divisions. It depends on how many competitors will actually be competing.

This is why show promoters assign registration deadlines. By doing so, they can make future budget and planning predictions easier and more accurately. If a show is expected to have 200 plus competitors, you can bet they will field each weight class. A show of only 40 competitors may only want to use three men's and three women's weight divisions to make the weight classes appear bigger.

If they were to add more divisions in a situation like this, there's the possibility of having only one or two competitors in some of the classes. That's not fun. It takes away the competition because a contestant in a weight class like this will not have to compete against anyone and will automatically win. Someone can win an entire show because they had no competition in their weight class. I've seen it happen before.

Average Weight Divisions (Men)

Bantamweight 143-1/4 lbs. & under
Lightweight over 143-1/4 lbs. to & including 154-1/4 lbs.
Middleweight over 154-1/4 tbs. up to & including 176-1/4 lbs.
Light-Heavyweight over 176-1/4 lbs. up to & including 198-1/4 lbs.
Heavyweight over 198-1/4 lbs. up to & including 225-1/4 lbs.
Super-Heavyweight over 225-1/4 lbs.

Average Weight Divisions (Women)

Lightweight 118 lbs. & under
Middleweight over 118 lbs. up to & including 132 lbs.
Heavyweight over 132 lbs.




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