Bikini models are in a league of their own as physique competitors. They’re sleek, elegant, and embody an image of total fitness and health.
Rather than carry a stereotypical bodybuilder look, bikini competitors opt for something more specialist. It isn’t about who can grow the biggest bulk, widest frame, or who has the deepest definition. In fact, any those traits are unlikely to score well with the judges at all.
Instead, for these women, everything is about creating the perfect ‘X’ like physique. A figure where wide shoulders work in harmony with a tiny waist, sitting elegantly on top of muscular rounded glutes. Femininity is praised in bikini competition, so there is a huge emphasis on maintaining a sleeker and softer body.
Therefore, it is easy to understand why a bikini model workout must hit every single body part in the right amounts. On the stage there is no place to hide flaws, they can only ever be ironed out through training in the gym and nutrition.
Bikini Model Competition Judging
Come competition day these women flaunt their spectacular bodies in nothing but a two-piece swimsuit and a pair of heels. Everything has to be just right, as the judges will be criticizing every bump, curve, and bodily groove.
Those who sit on the panel are not looking for who has the most mass on a hard, chiseled, and dry physique. Bikini competition celebrates natural tone achieved through diet and athletic endeavors instead.
Just take a look at the highly successful Niki Zager. A woman who is an outstanding example of how to wow the judges with her body and leave the crowd in awe.
Every single muscle group Niki possesses is incredibly well proportioned with stunning symmetry. Her delts are rounded in a striking yet feminine way, and her glutes look strong and sexy without appearing bulky. If there were ever an example of how to build the perfect bikini-ready body it is this lady.
In interviews, Niki says she trains most days with some kind of moderate intensity resistance training. She believes that it is important to preserve muscle by not regularly hitting failure.
This ethos of preservation and respecting her body has taken Niki far. Today she is not just a competitor, but a globally-renowned trainer too. Currently, Niki is changing the lives of women worldwide as part of Boss Workouts. With her complete 12-week workout and diet program Shape & Burn, she guides women through every single step they need to take to achieve their dream body, even down to providing meal recipes and breakdowns of every exercise.
Taking To the Stage – Perfecting A Spellbinding Routine
If you have ever seen a bikini competition you will know that models have to perform various walks, poses, and positions. The most important of these motions is undeniably the quarter turn and walk.
Just as hulking bodybuilders are often photographed practicing their poses, bikini models are no stranger to this practice too. She will spend hours in preparation time under the tutelage of coaches, making tiny adjustments in front of the mirror to find the flattering sweet spot.
Collectively, these slight movements, positions, and turns will become her routine. No two are ever identical and for good reason. Each individual competitor is unique in her own exclusive way. It is up to her to decide how she highlights her hard work and ultimately captures the vote of the judges.
However, there are a few things she simply must do according to the rules…
During the quarter turn, judges focus their attention on the physique as a whole. Symmetry, balance, and proportion, are all things that occupy their thoughts.
Because muscularity is not necessarily on the scoring criteria, competitors should present a body that appears healthy, harmonious, and radiates confidence.
According to the official IFBB Bikini Fitness rulebook:
At all times, the Bikini Fitness competitor must be viewed with the emphasis on a “healthy and fit” physique, in an attractively presented, impressive “Total Package”.
For these reasons, bikini models will work tirelessly to fix any flaws in their physique. Rather than rely on their best bits to carry them through competition, many will work on their weaknesses until they eventually become another strength.
When it is time for the walk competitors must stride to the center of the stage. Once there, she will adopt four of her favorite poses…
Now her goal is to showcase her most impressive assets to the world. She will choose positions that naturally highlight her best features, and boy does she know these stances well.
Day and night she has practiced them. Her never-ending goal is to find the perfect way to stand, flex, and pose, to capture her amazing body in the best possible light.
During this process, the judges will be assessing how well she showcases her physique in motion. It isn’t enough to just look good standing still, it’s also important to look great whilst on the move.
How was her pace? Did she display elegance in her movements? Was there personality, showmanship, or charisma present? If so, then a high score will undoubtedly be awarded.
How Do Bikini Models Workout?
If you were to take a look into the life of a bikini model you will see that they are seriously dedicated athletes. They are unwavering in their total commitment to optimizing their bodies through exercise, diet, and lifestyle choices.
Because they understand the judging criteria is so specific they do not leave anything to chance. So rather than risk not hitting a vital muscle, they adopt a stereotypical split in place of a full-bodied exercise approach.
Let’s take a look into the workout week of Finnish IFBB Pro Anna Virmajoki. She hits the gym floor hard at least five days a week, targeting specific muscle groups every day. For example, Monday is reserved exclusively for legs. But when Wednesday rolls around, she’s back in there working on her back and biceps.
Jessica Arevalo, another IFBB pro with over 25 professional competitions under her belt adopts a very similar method. She too delegates her days to sculpting and shaping dedicated areas. If you were to see her in the gym on a Monday you’d witness her building her chest and triceps. Alternatively, Wednesday would be legs/glutes, whilst Thursday she’d deservedly resting.
Resistant training is probably the most important aspect of physical preparation. Because bikini competitors are judged on their overall physique it is not enough to be skinny. They must show strong, firm, and athletic muscle tone – something that cannot be achieved without proper exercise. As resistance training is the most effective way to instill muscle growth and development, it is simply a must for any bikini hopeful.
Usually, cardio training varies depending on the bikini models schedule. If she is in preparation for competition or shoots it will become more of a mainstay in her workout week. However, if a competitor is training during the off-season, long-term muscle building may become a priority. Often, this period of time spent acquiring mass is known as ‘bulking’ season among physique development circles.
Jessica Arevalo, who we have just mentioned, told interviewers she only ever includes cardio once she’s training for a competition or photo shoot. Once she has a date set, she will then tag on 20 minutes to the end of every session.
Winner of 2016’s IFBB Olympia Weekend, Courtney King, isn’t afraid to express her dislike of lung-bursting cardiovascular training. However, she does say it is a must and makes sure to fit in 2-3 sessions a week. So even though she doesn’t necessarily enjoy it, she will do whatever it takes to be competition ready.
According to the elite competitor, cardio is actually great for keeping her legs and glutes tight. But she’s definitely not a fan of slow-steady-state jogging. In fact, Courtney much prefers HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training), especially sprints or Stairmaster intervals.
We decided to take inspiration from both Jessica and Courtney when writing the following workout program. Both women have blown away both judges and fans in the past, so hopeful competitors should definitely aspire to learn from them. That’s why we have included elements of both moderate-intensity cardio, alongside an element of fat-shredding HIIT blasts.
The 5-Day Per Week Bikini Model Workout
What follows is a 5 day per week workout program. Each day is dedicated to a specific muscle group, as we have learned that a split routine brings about incredible results for today’s top competitors.
Our team of expert trainers researched the routines of highly successful models from around the world to find out their favorite exercises. We then took this knowledge and applied it to the principles of creating a 5-day split program optimized to achieve a brilliant bikini figure.
Hit every exercise for the reps allocated, with your last rep feeling like you couldn’t hit another. If the movement says 10 and you feel you could hit 12, you need to step up the weight. Yet, if you can only squeeze out 8, you should consider lowering the load until you can reach the full amount.
Rest for 60 seconds between each exercise apart from when performing supersets. Supersets require you to move from one thing to the next with a minimal break in-between. For example, crush those Lying Leg Curls and instantly switch to Leg Extensions, then rest.
Day 1: Legs
- Barbell Squat – 4 x 10
- Stiff Leg Deadlift – 4 x 10
- Lying Leg Curls – 4 x 10 (Superset 1a.)
- Leg Extensions – 4 x 10 (Superset 1b.)
- Dumbbell Step Ups (High Knee) – 3 x 10
- Glute Bridge – 3 x 10
- Stairclimber – 20 mins – moderate intensity/RPE 6-7
Day 2: Arms
- EZ Bar Bicep Curl – 3 x 12 (Superset 1a.)
- Tricep Bench Dips – 3 x 12 (Superset 1b.)
- Incline Dumbbell Hammer Curls – 4 x 12
- Straight Bar Cable Pushdowns – 4 x 12
- Resistant Band Assisted Chin Ups – 3 x 12 (Superset 2a.)
- Dumbbell Tricep Kickback – 3 x 12 (Superset 2.b)
Day 3: Shoulders & Cardio
- Single Arm Lateral Raise – 4 x 12
- Kettlebell High Pull – 4 x 12
- Seated Dumbbell Overhead Press – 4 x 12 (Superset 1a.)
- Pronated Grip Cable Front Raise – 4 x 12 (Superset 1b.)
- Snatch Grip Barbell Upright Row – 4 x 12
- Spin cycle – 20 mins – moderate to high intensity/RPE 6-9
Day 4: Chest & Legs
- Cable Crossovers – 3 x 10
- Incline Bench Press – 3 x 10
- Incline Push Up – 3 x 10
- Decline Dumbbell Press – 3 x 10
- Barbell Split Squat – 4 x 12
- Barbell Lateral Lunge – 4 x 12
- Box Jumps – 3 x 12
Day 5: Back & HIIT Cardio
- Face Pulls – 4 x 12
- Bent Over Row – 4 x 12
- Wide Grip Lat Pull Down – 4 x 12
- Seated Cable Row – 4 x 12
- Hyper Extensions – 4 x 12
- Warm Up Cardio – 5 mins RPE 4
- HIIT Sprints – High Intensity for 10 minutes – 5:1 work:rest ratio – RPE 8-10
- Cool Down Cardio – 5 mins RPE 8-1
Day 6: Rest
Day 7: Rest
Are You Ready to Take Your Physique to the Next Level?
Whilst this series of workouts will certainly help you achieve great results, things can always be taken to the next level. In order to really become the best woman you can be, and deserve to be, a whole transformation plan needs to be undertaken.
That includes everything from having a coach on hand to check your form, learning how to eat all the right foods, performing constantly changing workouts that support your specific goals.
Eventually hitting the same exercises over and over again will leave your body comfortable. Unfortunately, this is when development slows down, leaving many women frustrated.
That’s why the top competitors have an ever-changing transformation plan that adapts and grow alongside their own development. So if you’re ready to take your body to the next level, maybe consider getting one too.