Female bodybuilding began to come to the fore in the late 1970s. Before that, the world of competitive bodybuilding was given only to men. The 1970s was the time when female bodybuilders began participating in competitions specifically for their gender, and over the years the sport has gained a lot of respect. The first recorded competition between female bodybuilders can be found in the 1960s, but back then they were more like bikini contests than bodybuilding contests. The first legitimate bodybuilding competition for women is now believed to have taken place in 1978 in Canton, Ohio. This competition was promoted by Henry McGee and was called the United States National Women’s Physical Championship. It was different in that the competitors were judged based on their musculature and not on how pretty they looked in bikinis or swimsuits.
In just one year, in 1979, there were many more female bodybuilders participating in the growing number of competitions that ranked healthy bodies rather than just beauty. In 1980, female bodybuilding competitions got their sanction. Named the National Fitness Committee, the organization was responsible for hosting the first national women’s competition and also became the largest amateur competition for female bodybuilders in the United States. 1980 is a special year also because it was the year that Ms. Olympia, the most honored female bodybuilding competition, took place for the first time.
As the competition ages with more and more women participating, the training regimens become increasingly rigorous. Now there are championship titles that are highly competitive and there is no place for women who are good at posing in high heels but do not have well defined muscles. Not only are they increasing the competitions, but they are also gathering quite a large fan base.
There are also many films that have been produced to honor bodybuilders and their competencies. Major television networks have covered these events, and despite some controversy in recent years, female bodybuilding contests have managed to remain popular. The IFBB also established and started the Hall of Fame in 1999. This Hall of Fame includes the names of the best athletes in the sport of bodybuilding. To date there are 14 female bodybuilders who have been inducted into this Hall of Fame.
Besides female bodybuilding, there are also other categories related to the main event that are also included during the competition. The fitness category includes a swimsuit event and also an aerobics, gymnastics or dance performance. Another category is figure competition during which competitors are judged on the basis of muscle tone and symmetry.
The only difference between men’s and women’s competitions is that the prize money for the latter is much lower.