People often ask me WHY? WHY am I a bodybuilder?? You can read my BIO for the full story but in short a) I love the training, b) I love the challenge of trying to get bigger & better each season and c) I love being on stage and performing or posing as it is called in bodybuilding.
I looked up the definition of posing and these two were my favorites:
1) To assume a particular attitude or stance, especially with the hope of impressing others.
2) To assume a particular attitude or position in order to be photographed, painted or drawn – or in the case of bodybuilding – judged.
Being on stage is the best part of the entire process and it is over in minutes so you better make it count! You train hard & track your macros year round, practice posing, order expensive suits, etc. and it all comes down to just minutes on the stage. You have to make those muscles POP and capture the judge’s eyes and attention. Posing ability can often be the difference between winning or losing a closely fought battle.
I am still new to the sport and have a lot to learn; however, I’ve come a long way in my posing. I have worked hard at it, under the guidance of my coach, Eric Helms. So, I thought I would share a few pointers in hopes of helping some first time competitors.
1) PRACTICE – when I am in-season I practice every day! I pick one day week that I hold each pose for time, usually 1 minute. This really helps with conditioning and you will be thankful if you are on a big line come competition day. My line was on stage for 40 minutes at the 2013 Yorton Cup. HOLD those poses and get there fast. I’ve seen competitors working, playing or fooling around to get into their poses and the judges are already calling the next one. Also, practice EVERY pose. I’ve seen competitors looking at the next person to see how or what to do – really – KNOW THEM ALL!! Keep posing in the off-season too. I usually pose 1 or 2 days a week in the off-season.
2) PICTURES – ask a friend to take pictures and study your poses. I take weekly pictures in the same location, same lighting and same clothes so you can compare week to week. Start with pictures immediately and see what parts of the body might need extra attention.
3) MIRRORS – mirrors are great for self-feedback. You need to work in front of one to make sure you are hitting those poses but remember there are NO mirrors on stage. When I have my pictures taken it is always away from the mirror. When in front of the mirror, I close my eyes, hit the pose and then look in mirror. Find techniques that work for you and your body, feel it, make a mental list of what you are doing it to hit that pose good and fast.
4) RESEARCH – attend shows & watch others – look on-line.
5) FACE – don’t forget about your face – it should look easy – it can be painful to watch someone up there shaking and making faces. Smile and look at the judges and audience.
6) HOLD BACK – you don’t need to give 110% on each pose. If you tried, you wouldn’t make it through the entire judging. If you can hit the poses right and effectively you can save a bit in the tank to finish strong.
7) CONFIDENCE – look confident up there and have FUN. This comes with practicing your poses and knowing them all.
8) COACH – if you don’t have one you could hire one for a session or two to brush up on your technique – I get weekly tips and suggestions from my coach, Eric Helms. He can find something for me to work on or correct EVERY week for 6 months straight – YES there is that much to it!! Eric looks at weekly pictures but I’ve also done Skype sessions with Jeff Alberts.
In June 2013 I traveled to California for some one-on-one posing with the coaches of 3DMuscleJourney. Below are a few pictures from my sessions – it was so worth the trip! I learned some great tricks – they really are the best!
List of poses you MUST know:
Front relaxed pose (looking for symmetry and muscularity)
Front double biceps Front Lat Spread
Abdominal & thigh Most muscular – hands on hip
Most muscular – crab Side relaxed (right and left)
Side triceps (right and left) Side chest (right and left)
Serratus or Intercostal (right and left) Rear relaxed
Rear double biceps Rear lat spread
Favorite pose – pick a favorite with flare and own it! Stick to front or side poses so that the judges can see your face.
Winners pose – yes this sounds funny but my first winning pose was horrible. I wasn’t going to share that picture but thought I should so you can see what I mean. My 2nd winning pose was MUCH better – so see – looking at your pictures can help!
1st Pose 2nd & Improved Pose
Pose down – practice it and have fun with it. Don’t be afraid to move around and pose next to each of your fellow competitors. The best pose down I had was in Miami November 2013 at the DFAC World Finals – we left the stage and ran around the audience posing – it was a blast.
Below are two of my favorite poses. I listed the steps that I follow mentally to get into the pose – if you are interested in suggestions on other poses please feel free to contact me.
Squeeze the knees together to make those hamstrings pop
Stick out that glute and squeeze it
Good twist at the waist – get that back shoulder forward
Pull back on the front back arm with the hand that is on wrist – squeeze bicep
Stay lifted through the chest
Don’t forget about the oblique/abs – tight
Rear double bicep:
Keep the posed or back leg angled out to give the illusion of width
Don’t forget to flex the calves, hamstrings and glutes
Arch the lower back – stick the butt out and lean back towards the judges
Make sure arms (elbows) are level across and tilt hands back over shoulders to make back POP
Spread the lats – don’t squeeze shoulder blades together – keep the width
Lastly, make sure you really enjoy the time on stage and soak up the experience. You’ve worked hard to get to that point so have fun and show your stuff!