Testing body typology through the practice of bodybuilding

By Jeanne-Maud Jarthon

Bodybuilding, often referred to as “culturisme,” is a sport, but also a lifestyle (we will come back to this in the analyzes section), designed to give volume to the muscles of the body and to sculpt it to achieve ideal proportions, at least in the eyes of practitioners. This article will attempt to show the representations that bodybuilding practitioners have of their bodies and especially their practice through two particular issues. The first is whether this singular body construction, achieved through bodybuilding, and sometimes outrageous in the eyes of some, yet valued by others, is linked to the particular incorporation of social norms by some individuals (male or female), and if so, in what ways? The second question is whether bodybuilding reflects the construction of individual identities and, in this case, in what ways? To understand the practice of bodybuilding, the analysis focused on how the body is used and on the practice in itself. This allowed to highlight 3 categories, which are distinct, but not fixed.


  • body
  • identity
  • bodybuilding
  • masculinity
  • virility
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