Posing to WIN!
by Erik Alstrup, IDFA Pro Universe Champion
Most bodybuilding competitors spend hours doing cardiovascular work, months dieting for a contest and years developing their physiques, all in preparation for one big day and a few moments on the competitive stage. With all the time and effort towards developing your body and preparing to compete, why is it that so many overlook the crucial skill of physique presentation?
Mandatory posing and stage presentation is the least practiced skill in so many bodybuilders preparations, but is the most important skill in determining how your physique will be perceived by the judges and audience during those few moments when you are on stage.
If you are a novice or amateur bodybuilder and want to maximize your confidence on stage and your potential to place well at your next competition, spend some time refining and practicing good posing habits. You will be surprised at how much better your physique will look and how well you may do at your next competition.
The first step to improving your posing is to know your physique by being aware of your strengths and weaknesses.
What are your best and weakest body parts?
If you have an incredible upper body and weaker legs, which is common for many novice bodybuilders, it is critical to understand how to place your legs in relation to your upper body to maximize the impact of your total package. The mistake many novice and amateurs make is to focus on posing the strong points and neglect the weaker areas, which magnifies the imbalance even more! Judges will certainly notice and in fact, will be looking for this.
You must maximize the visual presentation of your weakest areas to balance out your strongest, to create as much symmetry and visual impact as possible. Remember, successful competitive stage bodybuilding is about presenting your best total package. Not all bodybuilders are blessed with great genetics and balanced bodies and therefore we must learn to perfect our poses to maximize our own unique body type.
There are 8 mandatory poses required in most bodybuilding competitions:
- Front Double Biceps
- Front Lat Spread
- Side Triceps (Left and right sides)
- Side Chest (Left and right sides)
- Back Double Biceps
- Back Lat Spread
- Abdominal and Thigh
- Most Muscular (Crab and Hands on Hips Variation)
When practicing posing, use a full length mirror. Many athletes use the mirror in their bathroom, bedroom or gyms’ change room and see only the upper body poses, creating the habit of flexing the upper body only. Since the legs are the area most novice and amateurs athletes forget to flex when posing, all practice should begin by flexing the lower body first, ensuring the legs will always be flexed and tight regardless of the pose being presented. This is a great habit to practice and will eventually become automatic.
Keep practicing regularly until you can do all your poses comfortably without using a mirror, be able to feel each of the mandatory poses being done correctly.
Since a judging panel can and often will assess physiques from ‘Relaxed’ poses and quarter turns, remember to practice these too: Front, Side and Rear relaxed poses, where all the mandatories begin from.
Work on the visual impact of your mandatory poses, being aware of feeling each muscle flexed, tight AND also how each fits together in relation to the others.
Practice holding each pose for an extended amount of time…at least 15 seconds or more, as I’ve yet to compete at any show where I was not required to hold poses for any less than at least 15 seconds each. Make sure everything visible to the judging panel is fully flexed before you consider your pose to be completed.
When you feel confident that you can perform all your mandatory poses, add the most important part: Your SMILE!
This is the final touch to a well presented stage physique and gives the judges and audience the perception that you are an athlete who is comfortable, confident and having a great time on the stage!
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