IFBB Pro League Vice President Tyler Manion is shedding some light on the judging criteria used in the Wellness division. In a YouTube video published on September 20, 2023, Tyler Manion explained how judges evaluate Wellness physiques on stage and revealed the do’s and don’ts of the category.
“I think it is much easier to go over things that we do not want to see in Wellness. In Wellness, we don’t want to see too much muscle. I think a lot of competitors are gaining too much muscle lately. If you go look at Francielle and if you go look at Isabelle, okay, yes, they are smaller girls… but you can get an idea,” Tyler Manion shared.
The talent in Wellness continues to raise the bar year after year. Boasting an ideal blend of features like balance, density, muscle volume, and shape are key to success for any aspiring contender in the division.
At the 2022 Olympia, Francielle Mattos was crowned with the Wellness Olympia crown, showcasing a developed lower body, tight waist, and aesthetic flair to her posing. And while she represents the division as the reigning Olympia champion, Tyler Manion wants fans and athletes alike to understand exactly how these physiques are being judged.
Tyler Manion Talks Wellness Division Judging Criteria, Says Being ‘Too Hard or Dense Gets Marked Down’
Tyler Manion highlighted that “Wellness is the only division where we’re not looking for symmetry between the upper and lower body.”
Following up on that, Manion shared that the upper body should always be smaller than the lower body, and shoulders should never be developed enough for striations to show. Again, Manion stressed that competitors shouldn’t out-muscle Mattos, as she currently represents the top of the category.
“If you are bigger than them, you are getting too big plain and simple. Wellness is the only division where we’re not looking for symmetry between the upper and the lower body. The upper body should be smaller than the lower body. There needs to be more thickness in the legs and in the glutes and it should not match the upper body. Many competitors are gaining muscle and putting on a lot of muscle in their upper body.”
“Overall the size, and even the density and the hardness is not on par with what we’re seeing at a lot of Pro shows today. There’s a reason they [Francielle Mattos and Isabelle Nunes] are the top two in the world. We want the size to be similar to what they are.”
“Now if you’re a little bit taller… of course, your legs might look a little bigger in pictures because you have more room to fill out. And that’s okay. We’re looking at the physiques based on your height and based on your own body. So the proportions need to match your own body,” Tyler Manion said.
Judges also prefer to see an “hourglass shape” to Wellness physiques.
Their shoulders are becoming big, hard, and round, and striated, their arms themselves, talking about the biceps and triceps are becoming thick — really thick with muscle. We’re seeing more of a boxy look. We’re still looking for an hourglass shape in Wellness in the upper body. That’s the same kind of shape we’re looking for in Bikini in the upper body.”
“The Wellness upper body is only supposed to be a little bit bigger than Bikini. That’s it. You do not need to be heavily and densely muscled in the upper body. Now in the lower body: just adding and adding size to your legs is not the way to go. You still have to sculpt your body in Wellness to a Wellness physique.”
Manion underlined that regardless of height, too much density and muscle hardness will be marked down.
“Being too hard and being too dense — no matter how tall you are… is going to be marked down. The conditioning, Francielle is on the edge at the Olympia last year. She’s on the edge of what we want to see conditioning-wise. No harder than that. We don’t want to see striations.”
“You need to have some density to the quads, you need to have some density, so when you do your side pose, there’s some thickness to the side leg. You also need to have some density to the hamstrings as well. That completes the overall look of the leg. The overall look of your leg should be balanced. It shouldn’t be hamstring-dominant, it shouldn’t be quad-dominant, it should be balanced overall, that’s what gives you a good side leg in side poses.”
Lastly, Tyler Manion spoke about why the glutes are arguably the most important body part on a Wellness physique:
“The glutes are super important in Wellness. For example, our reigning Ms. Olympia [Francielle Mattos] has the best glutes in the category. So if you want to know what your glutes should look like, just look to her as an example.”
“Wellness… yes we want to see more muscle than we would see in Bikini but it’s not just a muscle competition. The front pose for Wellness: in the front pose, we are still looking for a nice hourglass shape to your upper body down to your glutes. We want to see some development in the shoulders. We want to see a nice tight waist.
The lower body, we still want to see some definition and density to your quads. The conditioning, you should not be overly separated and you should not be striated. Now the side poses, in the side poses again, we’re looking at an hourglass shape from the shoulders down to the glutes.”
This wasn’t the first time Manion had discussed judging for the 2023 bodybuilding season in public. The IFBB VP also informed fans and followers about the Bikini judging criteria recently. Unlike in Wellness, Manion underscored that the entire physique in Bikini should be symmetrical. Furthermore, Manion warned that athletes displaying too much density look like Wellness competitors.
From judging criteria breakdowns to changing the weight/height caps for Classic Physique and Men’s Physique, Tyler Manion wants every competitor informed heading into the 2023 Mr. Olympia competition, set to take over Orlando, Florida’s Orange County Convention Center from November 2-5.