The Art of Posing

The art of posing is an integral part of bodybuilding. When posing stopped being part of the judging criteria at some high level shows, the true art of physique presentation has been lost. But, with the introduction of the Classic Bodybuilding class in PCA, that the 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 is the key to success. Your body is being judged constantly 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 appealing angles, while having a relaxed smile and demeanor so as to make it look effortless.

Holding a Pose

The true masters of the sport will move from pose to pose in a smooth transition, hold each pose so it can be viewed, then smoothly transition 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.

Movements should be fluent, graceful and show the body to its full potential. When done correctly, it creates lines to emphasize a small waist and exaggerate wide shoulders, while trying to take attention away from any weaknesses that person may have.

Do You Have to Dance?

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. You do not have to dance in your posing routine, though.

PCA encourages that you do have a routine in place and do not just hit your compulsory poses. We want to see what makes you unique, in both your physique and your stage presence. You may want to bring in an experienced posing coach, if it is your first competition.

One Size Does Not Fit All

An athlete should not just copy another competitor's routine. Everyone is slightly different and will want to emphasize different angles for maximum state presence. Keep in mind, the only way you know if a pose actually suits you is when you are in good condition. As you get leaner and actually see the tie ins and detail, the look of each pose and how it shows your physique can change.


If you are a first time competitor, I cannot emphasize enough how important practice is. This will help you feel comfortable on stage and minimizes excessive sweating and shaking on stage.

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, bodybuilders often hit an oblique shot before a side tricep, give 2 different side tricep variations, or even show both sides in the same pose.

Learn From the Greats

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.


When transitioning from one pose to another, opening your hands and then re clenching them once you hit the next pose can be very effective. It creates a flowing motion that looks effortless and majestic.

Most competitors are not perfectly symmetrical. This can be disguised by leaning to one side and having your upper body tilted away from the weakness. Always consider how balanced and evenly developed you look in each pose as you move from one to another.

Never totally relax or lose your posture between poses. If I ever had to relax my core, I would turn my back to the judges, while keeping my hamstrings, glutes and lats tight. This is my opportunity to breathe and relax my core. Then I would tighten everything back up, turn to face the judges and share my Cheshire cat grin.

In bodybuilding, I always liked to finish a routine with the same pose 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.

Hitting the beats with the correct poses can make or break a good routine.

Some people have a natural gift to posing, while others struggle. If you are the latter, seek advise from a seasoned competitor or coach.

Know Your Compulsories

PCA and PCA USA criteria and compulsories may differ from other bodybuilding federations. Please be sure to review your class posing requirements, which are available on our website: PCA USA Criteria.

Also, keep an eye out for local posing seminars. PCA USA offers free posing seminars, where the team will outline the organization, followed by hands-on practice with experienced posing coaches.

Floor poses, twisting back shots and a variety of improvised poses can be used, but keep in mind that the poses must suit your physique and not highlight and potential weaknesses you may have.

All classes, except our bikini classes, involve free posing to 60 seconds of your provided music. This can be one song or cuts with various songs or sound effects. A good posing routine will incorporate big beats to hit main poses to. Our bikini classes have a T-walk to music provided by PCA USA.

Posing Practice is an Important Part of Prep

All in all, posing is a very under estimated part of show prep. Don't spend all that time and effort on the body and forget to learn how to present it correctly.

#posing #IanHarrison

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P: 941-447-4810 - Mack Harrison

P: 941-894-4120 - Ian Harrison