Bodybuilding judging criteria is clear according to the rules and regulations, but there are some gray areas in scoring. Athletes who are not lean can place higher than someone who is very lean because of stage presence and overall stage look. The reason for this is because every detail counts.
What details? From confidence to hair styles to big ankles to loose skin and scars. Yes, scars and loose skin makes a difference in scoring. Although you put forth the effort to lose weight the excess skin can hurt your scores.
Judges determine how much your scars and loose skin affects your scores if they are not covered or minimized well. Scars can be covered by products like DermaFlage, Rejuveness, or tanners. Meanwhile, a deep scar that cuts into the muscle can take away from an athlete’s symmetry, which is imperative in bodybuilding.
David Spindel, M.S., C.P.F.T., bodybuilding judge and NGA Regional Chairman explains that some precautions can be taken to minimize scars and loose skin.
Depends on the scars. We can usually cover them so that they are not as apparent. Loose skin, doesn’t help the competitor out. None of this is hard and fast in the rules, but when a judge is evaluating conditioning loose skin is detrimental…This all fits under the cardinal rule of competing: Show your strong points, and hide your weak points. Sometimes we can minimize the loose skin by adjusting stances/poses to, again, minimize the issue. There are other techniques, all the way to some plastic surgery if it is in the abdominal area – particularly an issue, and effective, for woman who gained a lot of weight in a pregnancy. Belt Abdonimoplasty since the scar can be hidden under the suit line. However, in the legs and triceps area, there is no great place to hide the scar, so this is not as effective there.
Although you can work around scars and loose skin, it is the loose skin that poses a greater issue in bodybuilding. It’s common for competitors to use Preparation H and the tanning bed to tighten skin, but that’s not always enough to reduce the skin of someone who lost a lot of weight. In some cases surgery is needed.
Dave Spindel, M.S., C.P.F.T., is a world class trainer, international writer, sports nutritionist, bodybuilding judge and promoter of the2012 Mt. Rogers Bodybuilding, Figure & Bikini Championships. Contact him at Essential Fitness.