This is an excerpt from Bodybuilding by Peter Fitschen & Cliff Wilson.
Muscularity Ideal muscularity for the women's divisions can be hard to determine. If women's bodybuilding aims for maximum muscularity, then women's physique would best be described as slightly less than that maximum. Even though the criteria for women's physique call for less muscularity than in the bodybuilding division, both authors find it rare for a drug-free female to achieve a look considered too muscular for this division. Most women have best results training for maximum muscularity.
Conditioning and Muscular Definition Although the criteria for women's physique call for being slightly less lean than in the women's bodybuilding division, in real life, most competitors who place highly in women's physique achieve maximum conditioning. The goal should be to get as lean as you can.
Symmetry The criteria for muscular symmetry in women's physique are pretty much identical to those in the bodybuilding division. The goal is to have an even balance of development among all muscle groups. For structural symmetry, it is ideal to have wide-set shoulders, a small waist, and narrower hips.
Additional Considerations Some sanctions require a rhinestoned suit and heels for this division, but some sanctions do not. Be sure to check with your sanction or promoter before the show so you know what they require. Typically, hair and makeup are considered part of the presentation portion for this division. This does not mean judges expect you to look like you are in a beauty contest, but choosing makeup and hair that is suited for you is important.
For the women's physique division, there is not a lot of difference between women's bodybuilding and women's physique. However, the posing is more feminine, and an overall physique deemed a bit more feminine will be judged more favorably here than in bodybuilding. This must be considered when deciding between the two divisions.