How Is Mr Olympia Judged?

How Is Mr Olympia Judged?

Mr Olympia is without a doubt one of the biggest contests if not straight up the biggest competition held in men’s bodybuilding and for any people who workout or are fans of fitness or muscles and working out it is a must watch. Although how Mr Olympia works can be confusing for first time watchers.

The biggest question someone watching the contest will likely ask is how is the Mr Olympia judged? The Mr. Olympia competition itself is actually held and judged on two days during the Olympia convention weekend. The first day is known as the prejudging and the second day is simply known as the finals or final judging.

Scoring Criteria

When scoring the bodybuilders on either day the judges are evaluating the bodybuilders based on five main things and the competitor with the most points wins. 

Those five things being a competitor’s muscle mass, proportion, symmetry, and stage appearance.

This criteria along with all the rules of the event is set by the organizers of the event known as the ifbb or the international federation of body building that was founded by Joe and Ben Weider. The ifbb are the ones who host this pro card and the expo along with it.

Mass is simply how big a competitors physique and their muscle development is along with how little fat and water they carry. The proportion of a competitor is referring to how a competitors muscles compare to one another. 

For example if the biceps on a bodybuilder are much bigger than their triceps this is really poor proportion as your triceps is a bigger muscle group and should be larger than a smaller muscle group such as your biceps.

A competitors symmetry is how even or symmetrical their physiques along with the shape of them are. If their muscles are the same size and they look identical on both sides of their body with good balance they will have a good score in the symmetry department.

The stage appearance or stage authority of a Mr Olympia competitor refers to how they appear while standing on stage. 

How they and their aesthetic looks on stage next to the other competitors, how they appear while transitioning from pose to pose and especially how they appear during their performance on the final night of judging

Judging The Mr Olympia Contest


Mr Olympia prejudging itself consists of three main steps or rounds of judging.

The first round is straightforward the competitors are simply looked at in a relaxed state. They will be asked to turn around a couple times so the judges can look at them from all angles but that’s about it.

This round of judging is good for judges to get a true sense of how much mass the competitors truly hold individually and compared to each other as well.

The second main step in prejudging is where each competitor is called to the main stage for an individual walk out where they are prompted by the judges to display a series of mandatory poses

These poses include the back double biceps, front double biceps, rear lat spread, front lat spread, side chest and side triceps.

The judges can ask for these poses in any order and for a multiple number of times and then they finish it off by asking the competitor to display their favorite most muscular pose.

The most muscular pose can vary from competitor to competitor as there are no specific guidelines for this pose. It is usually just the pose the contestant feels their muscularity is shown off the best.

This step of prejudging is optimal for scoring all the provided criteria but especially in scoring the symmetry and proportions of a contestant.

After that is done and each contender displays their body individually the judges then proceed to call out multiple of the athletes who are picked and prompt them with more of the previous poses mentioned. 

This is the third step in prejudging and the judges do this in order for them to get a better comparison between the contestants that were called out. 

This is often used to decide between close calls. It is usually expected that the first call out of the night is between the top and highest scoring competitors 

This step is probably the most important because it gives judges a good opportunity to judge the athletes in all aspects of the provided criteria. 

And although there is one more day and one last step to judging by this point everyone including the judges have a pretty good idea of the final results even pre final judging.

Final Judging

The second day of judging is the final day of judging and is shorter than the previous as it only involves two steps

The first step of the final judging or fourth step of judging overall is where the competitors display a choreographed routine which involves them posing and putting on a presentation with music.

The performance is meant to show off their body in every aspect aiming to score high in all of the judges criteria especially so in the stage appearance or stage presents as this is the best time to score high on that aspect.

As mentioned the routines consist mostly of posing but what is really important here is the ability to transition between poses smoothly. All with a properly built and structured physical routine which brings the athletes strong aspects to light while hiding their weaker muscles or aspects.

Competitors can definitely gain a good edge on having an impressive performance during the final judging but they should not expect it to make or break their final result. 

A competitor will not jump from fourth place to winning place or anything like that during this time as the scoring system makes this basically impossible which is why the pre judging is the most important.

The second step of the final judging as well as the fifth and final step in judging Mr Olympia overall is the pose off. 

In the pose off the top contenders are brought to the stage in one final callout pick to freely pose against each other and make one final impression on the judges as they are preparing to have a score and a decision completely finalized.

Determining The Winner of Mr Olympia

In the Mr Olympia each step is scored individually and at the end all of a competitors scores from each step along the way are added up for a complete total.

The individual that is the highest scoring athlete will take top spot in the division and win being introduced as Mr. Olympia champion and receive the official Sandow trophy.

Then followed by the second highest scorer, third highest scorer and etcetera. This is how the Mr Olympia winners are judged and the Mr Olympia winner is determined

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