A PCA Difference | No Category Crossovers and Why
One question we get a lot is, "How is PCA different?"
There are a lot of ways our organization is different, from how a show is run to posing, the categories offered and the overall atmosphere. But it all boils down to our organization being athlete-centric. Every step along the way we think of our competitors and ask ourselves, "How can we make this experience better?"
One difference is "no category crossovers".
What is a category crossover? A crossover is when you compete in two different categories.
Example: A male competitor who competes in both bodybuilding and physique is an example of a crossover. Or a female who competes in both bikini and figure, would also be considered a crossover.
Approved: A competitor who competes in Men's Physique | Tall and Men's Physique | Masters is approved. That is NOT considered a crossover. That competitor has built his physique for that specific category and happens to be above 5' 8" and over 40 years of age.
Why no Category Crossover? As bodybuilding has progressed, new classes have developed to ensure we capture a variety of optimal athletic builds with different muscle and symmetry options. When a competitor steps on stage, they all require muscle and lower body fat, but they also require different looks as dictated in the criteria throughout the PCA.
What do you mean different criteria? Bodybuilding requires significant muscle mass with shape and symmetry, while men’s physique is a much leaner look. Another example is that trained bikini requires defined abs and quad muscles that are visible only when walking, while for figure the quads should be prominent while standing.
So what happens when bodybuilders decide to compete in a class that requires less muscle? Or if we look towards the ladies' options, how does a figure athlete fair in a bikini class?
It causes confusion across the board. The audience and athletes who do not understand the difference in the criteria will be left wondering why such a highly defined athlete in bikini places lower to an athlete with the softer look or why such a large, well developed male athlete places lower than an athlete who may be smaller, but concentrated more on conditioning, symmetry and balance. Our judges and exec team are very well-versed in the criteria, so we will try to help you find the best category for your build.
The only people who benefit from these crossover classes are the promoter/federation, because they will earn more more income from entry fees. It blurs the lines and is not good for the sport. This is not what PCA stands for, so PCA USA has decided to follow the lead of PCA international and not allow crossovers from class to class.
How does PCA improve this situation?
If an athlete is thought to be in the wrong class, upon check-in the judges will move the athlete into the correct class - if possible
If an athlete wants to know what class they should compete in, contact PCA USA via Facebook Messenger or email and we can give you advice
Keep in mind, if an athlete is moved it does not mean they will win, just that their physique is better suited to another class
After the contest, ask for feedback via Facebook IM. We will have show notes and can supply you with feedback on how you can improve for the category you competed in and/or provide feedback on whether you may want to consider moving to a different class
Remember, competitors can compete in multiple categories within the same criteria, so a junior bodybuilder or bikini athlete can compete in the open if he/she is good enough, or the same with a masters competitor.