Preprint / Version 1

Is Bodybuilding a sport?


  • Adrian Kind Humboldt Universität zu Berlin
  • Eric R. Helms Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand; Florida Atlantic University, Department of Exercise Science and Health Promotion, Muscle Physiology Laboratory, Boca Raton, FL, United States



bodybuilding, philosophy, Gymnastics, performance


Since its beginnings, modern bodybuilding has been accompanied by the background issue of whether it should be considered a sport. A problem culminating in its provisional acceptance as a sport by the International Olympic Committee, retracted later. The uncertainty of whether bodybuilding is a sport or not seems to linger. Addressing this issue, Aranyosi (2018) provided an account to determine the status of bodybuilding as a sport that arrives at the negative answer: bodybuilding is not a sport but rather a form of artistic presentation. In this paper, we disagree with Aranyosi. We argue that by the standards he presents in his first argument, bodybuilding should be considered a sport. Further, we argue that his alternative approach on how to evaluate a discipline as more sport- or art-like on a spectrum, is not a valid basis to make such a judgment regarding bodybuilding. Further, even if his spectrum was modified to enable such a judgment, again it would result in bodybuilding being evaluated as a sport. Therefore, we conclude that everyone who accepts Aranyosi´s (or any less restrictive) requirements to decide whether bodybuilding is a sport, has to consider bodybuilding as sport or refrain from making claims about its status.


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