On this journey of bodybuilding, everyone has heard the famous question: “Do you work out?” I am going to present an even more important question: “Do you practice your poses?”
To step on a competitive stage, it is clear that you must put in the blood, sweat and tears in the gym, the obsession is obvious as your body reflects the results of your work. And it is no secret that the kitchen is the key component of a successful journey to the stage. What a lot of competitors – and sadly, even coaches – tend to forget is that posing requires just as much work as everything else.
Imagine, the car of your dreams being delivered to you directly from the manufacturer and when it arrives, it has not one drop of paint on it…completely bare. A bodybuilder on stage that has not practiced their poses is just like an unpainted car, a ton of hard work went into putting everything together but the finishing touches were completely overlooked.
Posing is a part of the craft and just like your muscles were not built in a day you can not expect your posing to be on point without giving it the time and attention it deserves. Let’s first discuss the purpose of posing so that you can understand where I’m coming from.
The mandatory poses of a bodybuilding competition are established to provide the judges with a clear opportunity to compare apples to apples. Each competitor in a class stands side-by-side and performs the exact same poses so that the judges can compare each person and provide a rating which determines the placement of each competitor in that class. This is your opportunity as a competitor to show your body off in the best way possible so that you can outshine your opponents. You are only as good as what you can show on the stage. If you do not pose well and do not show off your attributes to the fullest, then all that time, money and effort spent getting to the stage was a complete waste.
My journey as a bodybuilder evolved in every aspect, including my posing. I look back at pictures from my shows five years ago and even last year and cringe at how I posed. In the beginning, I did not know any better; however, I was open to critiques and direction and more than anything I wanted to improve so I made the necessary changes to show everything off the best way for my body.
Honestly, I was posing long before I every began my bodybuilding journey because secretly I always wished I could step on that stage but now I can’t pass a mirror without striking a pose…ask anyone that knows me, they’ll attest to that. But when it is show prep time, there is time set aside daily to practice posing which includes evaluating each pose and adjusting the positions to ensure that I am showing off my body at its best. And as my body changes during the show day countdown, the poses are adjusted and manipulated as well. Something as simple as arm or hand placement can add or subtract inches from your size.
Once the position has been solidified, I then move on to conditioning as holding a pose is extremely hard work. I will have someone time me, holding each pose perfectly for no less than 10 seconds and doing this for multiple rounds. You never know how many times the judges are going to make you perform your mandatory poses and how long they’re going to have you hold them, so it is extremely important to work on the pose itself and the conditioning to hold that pose. I can say without a doubt that my posing practice helped me with my last show in Pittsburgh as the judges had us pose, then moved me twice and had us pose after each move.
When the judges sent me and another competitor off the stage I was completely spent and had to sit and rest a bit before I could move. I could not have made it through all of that without the daily posing practice leading up to that show. Posing is an art form and a part of the craft of bodybuilding that gets neglected, but I highly encourage anyone that wants to seriously compete to practice, practice, practice!
Find someone that will provide you with honest feedback and take the time to help you figure out how to present your body in the biggest, most shredded way possible on stage, again I say, “You are only as good as you can show on stage.” If you have any questions about posing, have any good insights or tips on posing or have a story you’d like to share please reach out to me as I’d love to hear from you.