From my previous post about the history of bodybuilding, I spoke about Eugene Sandow who revolutionized the sport of bodybuilding. He pioneered the fit physique as opposed to the oversized and overweight strong man. His form of strength was shown in his symmetrical muscle tone and leaner physique. Nowadays, body builders can be extremely massive in size. It seems that the majority of body builders have drifted towards building their physiques in a way that broadens their chest, back and shoulders which gives them a larger frame to sit larger arms on. However, their core physique has stayed similar to that of Sandow. They want a tight tapered v-shape down to their waist and then large trunk like thighs that sit atop massive but lean calves. Another defining characteristic of bodybuilder’s physiques now are the separation of muscles. For example, if a judge sees a guy with one whole pectoral looking complex and then the next contestant has clear definition between the upper, middle, and lower pectorals the judge will most likely think the second contestant is in better shape.
Sandow revolutionized the slender strong man but it appears that over time bodybuilders have slowly shifted back to gaining huge muscles in particular areas. Sandow was a very symmetrical looking human overall with not crazy broad shoulders, back or chest. Now you will see bodybuilders who literally look like a walking, talking, upside-down traffic cone. Although judges for the IFBB take many different things into account, many of them are looking for the separation of muscles within a muscle group and overall size of muscles again.