A visual deep dive into the Natural Olympia 2021 competition.

November 11-13th, 2021 held the Pinnacle of Natural Bodybuilding – the Natural Olympia. This is the biggest event of the year for the INBA/PNBA natural bodybuilding league. Much like the IFBB Pro’s Mr. Olympia – it showcases the best athletes from across the world who have fought to qualify for this yearly event. With strict WADA drug testing guidelines to ensure that all athletes are natural – this event is the biggest weekend of the year for natural bodybuilders across the world.

Generation Iron was on the ground floor reporting on the event as well as capturing footage with our camera crew. We captured a behind the scenes and on stage look to give a full encapsulation of the event. With 20 divisions across both traditional and masters categories – this is one of the most super-sized bodybuilding events in the world.

You can watch our full behind the scenes look at the event above. Read on to get a full break down on the details of the Natural Olympia 2021. You can also check out our official results from the event right here.

What Defines INBA/PNBA Natural Bodybuilding?

There are many natural bodybuilding leagues – but the INBA/PNBA is certainly the biggest – reaching across the country and having athletes representing over 15 different countries across the globe. While nearly all pro bodybuilding leagues claim to condemn steroids – only certain leagues dedicate themselves to drug testing athletes before every competition. The INBA/PNBA leads in this regard. They use the most technically advanced drug test system (WADA – which is used by the Olympics) to ensure fairness across all athletes and competitions.

How The Drug Testing Works

The INBA/PNBA league uses the most sophisticated and advanced drug testing system in professional sports – the World Anti-Doping Agency (also known as WADA). WADA testing is the same system used for the Olympics every four years – and is known for it’s accuracy and quality.

The INBA/PNBA league uses WADA testing before every major competition. If a pro natural bodybuilder should fail the test, their titles are revoked and they are placed on the INBA/PNBA Wall Of Shame – a virtual list of competitors who have attempted to cheat the competitions and drug tests.

How The Judging Works

The Natural Olympia is a natural show which means that there are some differences from the IFBB shows. The biggest distinction when it comes to judging is the size of the athletes. There is not as much muscle mass for natural athletes as opposed to IFBB competitors, specifically Men’s Open. Despite the difference in size, athletes compete in similar categories.

In the Men’s Physique division, competitors perform bodybuilding poses and a T-walk. The judges have to adjust because the muscle mass is smaller despite the level of conditioning remaining high. Athletes can qualify for the Natural Olympia by competing in one PNBA competition. This has to be a professional show and they do not need to win a specific placing.

The Divisions

While there are a lot of similarities – the INBA/PNBA features a wider array of divisions that might seem familiar but with a slight twist on the typical formula you see in an IFBB Pro show. Below is a quick list of the full divisions (please note that each division also has a masters counterpart for ages 40+.

  • Men’s Bodybuilding Open
  • Men’s Classic Physique Open
  • PNBA Angels
  • Figure Classic
  • Men’s Sport Model Open
  • Women’s Sport Model Open
  • Women’s Physique Open
  • Figure Open
  • Bikini Divas Open
  • Men’s Physique Open
  • Women’s Bodybuilding Open

The goal for the INBA/PNBA is to provide as many opportunities for athletes to compete. Whichever physique type goal an athlete might desire there is a division for it – so long as there are enough competitors interested in competing.

Creativity is also rewarded across these divisions. The PNBA Angels must showcase custom made costumes as part of their routines. Other divisions such as the Men’s Classic Physique also usually feature some element of a costume to coincide with the posing routines.

Wrap Up

There’s no doubt that the INBA/PNBA’s Pinnacle Of Natural Bodybuilding Natural Olympia is the biggest natural bodybuilding event on the planet. This year’s showcase was no different – and we were excited to provide a deeper inside look than traditionally seen over the years. You can watch our full recap and behind the scenes look in our GI Exclusive video above.

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Derek Dufour
Derek Dufour has been managing all digital operations on the Generation Iron Network for over six years. He currently manages a team of editors, writers, and designers to provide up-to-date content across the GI Network.