NABBA is the first and the original competitive bodybuilding association. Formed in 1950, NABBA’s first Mr Universe contest was won by Steve Reeves, who went on to make over 30 Hercules movies. Top bodybuilders who won the Mr Universe title include Reg Park, Bill Pearl and Arnold Schwarzenegger (four-times winner).
The late Oscar Heidenstam was appointed Secretary in 1956 and continued to drive NABBA forward for more than 30 years. At a meeting in London in 1984, NABBA International was formed and became host to the European & World Championships.
1901: This year is the first of an organised bodybuilding contest in Europe when a famous German Strongman, Eugene Sandow, judged an event at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The event drew an attendance figure in excess of 2,000.
1906: The Health & Strength League was formed on a wintry evening in December by a group of enthusiasts who wished to pursue all aspects of physical culture. The league title was taken from a fitness magazine of the same name – first published in 1894.
1930: The first MR & Miss Britain Title was held. This inaugural event caused a great upsurge in membership and 1936 alone 11398 new members enrolled. The organisation became Worldwide and had a motto ´Sacred thy body even as thy soul´ inscribed on its membership badge. By 1943 the League had a staggering 191,000 members.1948: Health and Strength magazine organised the first MR Universe contest to commemorate the Olympic Games being held that year in London. Won by John Grimek, twice MR America winner who had previously represented the USA as a weight lifter at the 1936 Olympic Games.
1950: NABBA was formed. MR Universe was won that year by MR America Steve Reeves, who later went on to make more than thirty Hercules movies. The following year, when Reg Park won, one of the competitors was a young man from Canada, Joe Weider.In the years that followed the top bodybuilders worldwide came to England to try and win the Universe title. Famous names like John Grimek, Steve Reeves, Bill Pearl, all Americans, were part of a group which also included Reg Park, England and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austria, a 4 times Universe winner. These 5 were the most influential winners who later became the legends of the Universe.
1955: The late OSCAR HEIDENSTAM was appointed full time secretary and became the main driving force in NABBA for more than thirty years.
1984: At a meeting in London NABBA International was formed and became host to the European, World and Universe Championships. This branch of NABBA is now supported by more than fifty countries.PRESENT DAY: United Kingdom Structure: Ten elected area reps covering England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland comprise the NABBA council. Each area holds a qualifying event, which leads to the Annual MR & Miss Britain Finals – held at the Opera House, Blackpool. This in turn becomes a qualifier for the European and Universe Championships. The Universe contest gets stronger every year. At the last Universe events representatives from every country in Europe took part, plus athletes from South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, Philippines, Canada North and South America – a total of more than 200 competing athletes.Hard work by the top officials and a volunteer force of members (at the Universe there are normally over fifty helpers), ensures that this progress continues.
1998: We celebrated fifty years of the NABBA Universe – a time span that has made the federation the oldest and most established in the history of bodybuilding. At a celebration dinner in Birmingham, England, several hundred people attended the greatest night in the history of NABBA. More than thirty former Universe Champions, men and women, were present, including NABBA legends Steve Reeves, Bill Pearl, Reg Park and Mickey Hargitay.
In spite of changing times NABBA remains a fresh, dynamic athlete-oriented organisation with a lot of future aspirations.We believe that the dedicated, hard working athlete not only deserves professionally run competitions with qualified judges but also recognition, publicity and respect.
We believe that the sport of bodybuilding is an ideal means for achieving total physical fitness and bodily perfection.
It is a constructive force for developing discipline of the mind as well as of the body.We believe that this discipline should find expression not only in good health habits and planned physical exercise, also we believe in clean living, good sportsmanship and in correct and friendly relationships between competitors, officials, and administrators.
To meet these ends we publish the following codes of ethics for the guidance of competitors and officials of NABBA:
We, the bodybuilders, realizing that our conduct reflects on the good name of the sport of bodybuilding, and realizing the responsibility thereby placed upon us, pledge ourselves:
- To fulfill our responsibility to society, to our coaches, and to the officials and administrators of NABBA.
- To honor, dignify and support the sport of bodybuilding by competing to the best of our ability, and to be in top shape when giving an exhibition or a seminar.
- To respect our opponents on equal terms in the spirit of friendly rivalry and good sportsmanship.
- To respect the rules of competition and to observe them honestly in cooperation with the officials.
- To accept the decisions of the judges in the spirit of good sportsmanship without descending to selfish recriminations, realizing that those decisions have been made honestly and objectively.
- To continue striving for bodily perfection and correct moral principles.
- To honor the special trust conferred on us by our participation and representation of our country, and to adhere to the standards of personal conduct expected of us.
- To recognize the value of bodybuilding and to promote its future by serving as an example to inspire other young people to participate.
- To cooperate with our administrators in the development of high standards, both moral and physical, for the sport of bodybuilding and in the progressive furtherance of the aims of NABBA:10. To strive to eliminate the use of drugs in the sport.
We, the officials, realizing that our actions and decisions as judges, etc., reflect on the good name of the sport of bodybuilding, and realizing the responsibility thereby placed upon us, pledge ourselves:
- To apply honestly, impartially, and objectively all rules controlling the competition.
- To safeguard the interests of all competitors on equal terms.
- To cooperate in providing the best possible conditions for the competitions for the benefit of the competitors, officials, and administrators.
- To respect the feelings and competitive drive of the bodybuilders, and to make allowances for their heightened emotions in the heat of competition.
- To respect the requirements of an effective administration and to cooperate willingly and promptly with the officially-appointed administrators.
- To cooperate with the controllers of the competitions by rendering decisions clearly and promptly and in accordance with the requirements of the competition or judging procedure.
- To refrain from attempting to influence the decisions of other judges or officials, and to respect their individual opinions and decisions.
- To honor the special trust conferred on us by our selection as judges or officials, and to adhere to the standards of personal conduct expected of us.
- To cooperate with our bodybuilders and administrators in the development of high standards, both moral and physical, for the sport of bodybuilding and in the progressive furtherance of the aims of NABBA.