The art of posing is an integral part of bodybuilding. The true art of physique presentation has been lost at some high level shows, since this stopped being part of the judging criteria. With the introduction of the Classic Bodybuilding class, that trend is being reversed and the true art of posing is being restored.
No matter what class you compete in, the presentation of your physique will be your key to success. Your body is constantly judged from the time you walk onstage to the time you walk off. Your mid section must be controlled at all times and you must hold a semi relaxed look, which is not easy to maintain. Basically you are tensing your core and creating angles, while having a relaxed smile and demeanor so as to make it look effortless.
The true masters of the sport will move from pose to pose in a smooth transition. Competitors will hold each pose so it can be viewed and critiqued by all judges, prior to transitioning to the next pose. The basic rule is that a pose should be held for a minimum of 3 seconds, allowing approximately 3 seconds for a transition pose in a free posing routine.
The movement should be fluent, graceful and show the body to its full potential. When done well it creates lines to exaggerate small waist and wide shoulders, and draws attention away from any weaknesses that person may have.
Modern trends have incorporated dance moves into routines. This can be very effective, as long as each pose is actually held long enough to be viewed.
If you are a first time competitor, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to practice. Everyone is slightly different and the only way you know if a pose actually suits you is when you are in good condition, as the look of each pose and how it shows your physique can change as you get leaner and start seeing the tie ins and detail to each muscle.
Required poses vary for each class. For this series of articles, we will start with the bodybuilding requirements and work through the other classes:
PCA USA Bodybuilding Posing Requirements
4 quarter turns are to be performed in comparisons, showing symmetry. Feet should be side by side for both side poses. A slight twist will exaggerate the V taper.
There are 8 compulsory poses.
front double bicep
front lat spread
back double bicep
back lat spread
abs and thighs
These requirements affect most PCA USA bodybuilding classes, including masters and juniors. The one difference is that Classic Bodybuilding competitors will not have a compulsory most muscular pose.
If practiced correctly, a good poser can give the judges two to three different variations on the same pose to make their physique stand out. For example, hitting an oblique shot for before a side tricep, giving 2 different side tricep variations, or even showing both sides in the same pose.
If you watch athletes like Flex Wheeler, Kevin Leverone and Lee Labrada, these guys were masters of taking advantage of every turn and utilizing every angle to create an illusion.
Opening your hands and reclenching them as you transitioning from one pose to another can be very effective, as it creates a flowing motion that looks effortless and majestic.
The Night Show
Free posing at the night show will be 60 seconds to music of your choice. This can be one song or cuts of various songs and/or sound effects. A good posing routine will incorporate big beats that correlate with hitting main poses. Hitting the beats with the correct poses can make or break a good routine.
Floor poses, twisting back shots and a variety of improvised poses can be incorporated, but keep in mind that the poses must suit your physique and not highlight and potential weaknesses. Most competitors are not perfectly symmetrical. Their right and left side may not equally developed or shaped. This can be disguised by leaning to one side and having your upper body tilted away from the weakness.
Always consider how balanced, evenly developed you look in each pose and as you move from one to another. Too often I see athletes hit a pose, then totally relax and lose their posture before hitting their next pose - this should not be seen by the judges. If I ever had to relax my core, I would turn my back to the judges, while keeping my hams, glutes and lats tight so I could breathe and relax my core. Then I would tighten everything up again and turn back to face the judges with a Cheshire cat grin.
I always liked to finish a routine with the same pose that I started with, but that’s me being a fan of the great Lee Haney and the way he dramatically presented his physique. It was like telling a story with a start, middle and end all synchronized to the ups and downs of the music.
Some people have a natural gift to posing while others struggle, if you are the latter seek advise from a seasoned competitor who is known for their posing ability.
All in all, posing is a very underestimated part of show prep. Don`t spend all that time and effort on the body and forget to learn how to present it correctly.
In our next articles, we will discuss the poses for men's physique, women's physique, figure and bikini.