If you are an experienced NPC Bikini Competitor or are a novice planning to compete in your first show,the best way to prepare for your  competition is by learning what the judges want and work backward.

Get clear on what the judging gold standard is and develop an overall training and stage presence strategy that helps you achieve that standard. 

So you might be asking, what is the Gold Judging Standard For NPC Bikini Competitions?

After speaking to several NPC/IFBB judges and attending some top-level judges’ clinics this year, here are a few foundational tips I took away from the judges AND that  every Bikini Competitor should know and embrace:

The following are tips and advice from the most noteworthy of judges:

NPC Bikini Competitor Judging Blue Print

1.Be Your Authentic Self

The best way to win a competition is by being original. If you are merely doing something that someone else has done/is doing, that really does not help you stand out from the crowd.

Your walk, competition suit, hair, poses, tan and overall style should be reflective of YOUR personal style.

Judges love seeing their competitors’ personality shining through their entire performance. If you are attempting to be a bad copy of someone else then that isn’t really helping your case.

The key takeaway is nailing down what looks and works best on and for you. Going with your own style and committing to the style which feels right is the best approach, because you know you put YOUR heart and soul into it.

2.Shine Through With Unstoppable Self-Confidence

Judges love confident competitors, even if it is overconfidence!

What might seem contrived and over the top to you is actually preferred by the judges, even over someone who may possess a better physique.

If you do not have attitude, I suggest you fabricate one. The crowd and the judges have no idea who you are, so leave your shy personality behind and be as bold as you can!

With that said there is a big difference between bold confidence and acting trashy. Kisses, wink’s and lip licking are not what we are talking about here.

More times than not the trashy stuff will get you talked about at the judges lunch break but not at the scoring table.

3.First Impressions Stick Like Velcro

You have to make your first few steps count because as soon as you step on the stage, your confidence and style are judged right away.

Judges admit that as soon as a competitor sets foot on stage, they know whether she is a winner or not. This is why your first impression should be as strong as your last impression. 

As soon as you come into the view of the judges, the competition has essentially started.

So, what are the judges looking for?

They are looking for confidence, a genuine bright smile, artistic posing that shows off your amazing physique and a style that reflects elegance as well as strength.

What are judges not looking for?

They are not looking for a poor unsure walk, weak transitions, inability to pose your physique correctly and petrified facial expressions!

CLICK HERE: For a FREE Suit or Stage Presence Consultation

4.Stand With Elegance And Own The Stage

NPC Bikini Competitor Can Learn Stage Confidence From IFBB PRO Joanna Tesareski

Learn From A PRO-IFBB PRO Joanna Teraski Standing With Relaxed Confidence

Judges do not like unnatural standing positions. They find that many competitors stand in a tense manner and appear petrified.

Avoid these poses at all costs:

The close hanger, stiff frozen hands, gun show pointed finger or arms hanging out as if you are carrying luggage.

So, how do judges want competitors to stand?

The best way to stand on stage is tall and graceful with confidence.

You have to keep your back straight and your core tight with feet firmly placed on the ground, but at the same time, you should look relaxed and elegant.

The idea is to find a balance between being stiff and being a slouch. 

Judges want their competitors to stand as normally as they can, with arms at their sides and only slightly raised at the shoulders.

How do you achieve this look?  No secret here, you have to put in the practice so that your stage presence becomes second nature.

For example have you ever been driving and arrived at your destination unaware of the scenery around you yet each step in the driving process was completed without you  giving it any thought.

The reason for that is your driving habits have been moved from the conscious to the unconscious mind. You can do it in your sleep.

That should be your goal when developing your stage presence; it should become conditioned so deeply into your nervous system that it becomes second nature, like driving or riding a bike.

5.Pose To Look Good From The Judges’ Perspective

You have to remember that when you are posing on stage, the judges are sitting about 5 feet below.

As much as judges would like to be objective in the way they view your posing, it still makes a huge impact when you pose for the judges and when you pose to no audience in particular.

In the mirror, your Bikini Poses might look symmetrical and flattering, but the same pose will look different to the judges, five feet below.

So, how can you perfect your poses for the judges?

First, you need a second set of eyes, such as your trainer or stage presence coach, who can guide you with Bikini Poses that are best viewed from the judges’ standpoint.

Also, video yourself from every angle especially the angle the judges will be judging you from. After all, you want to practice for the judges, not the mirror.

Moreover, if you can practice on a platform or stage do it! 

You want to create as much of a game day environment as you can so when the lights are bright you are completely prepared and comfortable.

Finally, be careful not to bend over while facing away from the judges, you may essentially show more than you want to.

Want more stage presence & posing advice?

Here is a great video I shot at one of my group posing sessions on how to approach your stage presence and posing.

6.Don’t Randomly Copy Poses Made Popular By Other Athletes

Many Bikini Competitors find that replicating the poses of past winners is a good way to prepare for the stage. 

What you have to realize is that every body type is different and sometimes competitors have to pose a certain way to cover flaws, weak body parts or maybe even a loosely fitted suit.

For instance, they might twist a little more at the waist to hide width, or they might bend a little extra at the hips to hide loose skin. Some people will pose in certain ways to hide scars, skin irritations and tattoos.

This is why it is important to realize if the pose you are trying to copy is something you need to do or not.

Study your physique. Again, get a pair of well-trained eyes to consult with and use video.

Nail down your weak and strong points and then develop poses that will maximize your strengths while minimizing weaknesses.

In short , if you are going to copy then do it with a purpose that will help put your physique in the best light possible not because you like the way another Bikini Athlete looks.

CLICK HERE: For a FREE Suit or Stage Presence Consultation

7.Suits Do Not Win Competitions Or Do They?

NPC Bikini Competitor Can Learn How to Rock a Suit From IFBB PRO Francesca Lauren

Learn From A PRO-IFBB PRO Francesca Lauren Rocking  A Beautiful Couture Suit

Many judges will tell you they do not care if you have spent a million dollars on your suit or twenty dollars.

When it comes to competition suits, all the judges require is that it flatters your body and fits well. You are trying to win the competition with your conditioned physique, not by modeling a beautiful suit.

That is true, and I agree with that statement to a point.

I have always said that a beautiful Bikini Competition Suit on a poorly conditioned physique is a waste of money, but a perfectly fitted Competition Suit on a well-conditioned physique makes a huge difference.

If you are spending a kings ransom on a suit to cover up for a poorly conditioned physique, that is a mistake. 

Your money will be better spent on good a trainer, an accomplished posing coach, professional hair, makeup, and tan.

With that said, all things being equal, I believe a custom competition suit that fits your physique perfectly DOES make a huge difference in how you feel which will undoubtedly impact your confidence level. 

The judges look for confident competitors and in my opinion, nothing builds more confidence than feeling good about your entire stage presence package. (see the first 3 tips in this article)

If you have an amazing Bikini Competition Suit, that fits you just right you will feel confident and beautiful. Conversely, if your suit does not fit correctly, it may create the opposite effect, a mind filled with anxiety & doubt.

That dynamic creates a diverted focus. Rather than focusing 100% on looking and feeling amazing, hitting your poses and connecting with the judges. Your focus slips away into a sea of doubting concerns.

It is no different in everyday life. We all have had those days when our outfit looks amazing, and that transfers to how confident we are and ultimately how we feel and interact with others throughout the day.

So, feeling good about yourself when you are parading around in a skimpy Bikini while being judged is more important than that!


Also, and believe me, when I say this, it is impossible to NOT be noticed in a beautiful Bikini Competition Suit that is blinging. The judges cannot help but look at the blinking lights!

8.Awkward Electric Side Glide Is A Big Fail!

It can be truly awkward to walk away from someone in a bikini, knowing that your butt is bouncing uncontrollably.

However, what is even more awkward is trying to walk away while forcing your body to face forward.

Bikini athletes perform the same act on the stage as well.

They do not realize how awkward it looks when someone side-glides across the stage.

If you do not want the audience to see your bouncing buttocks, practice ways to exit the stage elegantly.

Trust me; there are much more creative ways to kill the jiggle than doing the electric slide glide.

You can actually incorporate biomechanical techniques into your walk that will keep your booty from shaking, rattling and rolling.

One way is to place the majority of your weight on the balls of your feet as you walk away. This simple tip is a surefire way to kill the jiggle.

If you would like to learn more about how to do that feel free to schedule a FREE stage presence consultation with me:

CLICK HERE: For a FREE Suit or Stage Presence Consultation

9.Details Matter Don’t Make Them An After Thought 

NPC Bikini Competitor Can Learn Details Matter From IFBB Pro Leah Beaumont

Learn From A PRO-IFBB PRO Leah Beaumont knows Details Do Matter

The competition is for bikini physique athletes, which means you should be focusing on your physique and poses that best flatter your body. 

However, there is a portion of the competition that has a beauty pageant aspect to it and it’s called beauty flow.

Overall, presentation, is extremely important, such as your hair and makeup, tanning, jewelry and overall presentation.

Orange tans, muddy makeup and overdone hairdos that require constant flipping of hair or rearranging can be quite distracting for the judges. 

Avoid these things at all cost, you have worked way to hard to get your physique stage ready now it’s time to present all your hard work in the best light possible so do not do things to distract from it!

Details should accent your stage package, not distract from them. If you cannot do stage hair and makeup, have a professional do it.

More importantly, spend some money on a good tanning solution and while we are on that topic begin prepping your skin for your tan months before the show. Prepping your skin helps with your tan NOT turning green on stage.

10.Be The Best Version Of You

Judges claim that they have no idea which feature of a bikini athlete will win a show.

For instance, if the competition is full of hard bikini athletes, the winner will probably be you guessed it a hard athlete. 

Not that hard is preferred, rather someone has to win, and the choices are not varied.

For that reason, it is important to show the best of YOU instead of trying to imitate the rest of the crowd.

I have seen shows where a few hard athletes are sprinkled in among a bunch of soft athletes and the soft athletes clean up.

My point is that you should not chase a physique that you see consistently winning.

Decide who you are going to be and work towards that end armed with the tips in this article.

If you are always changing midstream based on the outcome of a few shows, you resemble the person chasing three rabbits at once. You end up not catching any.

If you work toward something you feel passionate about year after year the result will be impactful. But if you are constantly reinventing yourself the result becomes watered down.

Stay true to who you are, develop  a plan based on what the judges want, surround yourself with good coaches and finally be consistent with your effort and good things will happen for you.

And here is a good place to start….below are the NPC rules for the Bikini Division:

CLICK HERE: To Read The Bikini Division Rules

Questions? Comments? Let me know in the comments section.Thanks!

AND if you want to discuss your next suit purchase (even if it is not through me) or need stage presence coaching I would love to help!

Click on the link below and fill out the simple contact form and I will get back to you ASAP:

CLICK HERE: For a FREE Suit or Stage Presence Consultation