This is part 6 of my “Becoming a Bodybuilder” Series of articles, see the other parts here:
Part 2: Selecting a Show
Part 3: The Training
Part 4: Crucial Choices
Part 5: Cycling Steroids
Why good posing is so important?
Posing is possibly the most fundamental aspect of bodybuilding, since this is how you present the muscles you work so hard to obtain. Posing is essential, and yet so few bodybuilders take it seriously. Instead, many focus so hard on the diet and training that they forget how they will present the physique they created. It is crucial for a bodybuilder to practice posing and holding the muscle contraction from day one.
As a matter of fact, in many ways, posing is a workout and discipline of its own. Being able to hold the pose and muscle contraction while looking as natural as possible is the key. However, many bodybuilders get the shakes, grunt, release too much air, or have a general unnatural appearance on stage. As a result, these mistakes will hurt the overall presentation to the judges.
Training the Posing
I recommend practicing posing routines and the required mandatory poses on almost a daily basis for at least 15 minutes a day. This will allow your body to become conditioned and used to holding the contractions naturally. The more practice you put in, the more comfortable you will be, which will allow you to focus on making small tweaks that compliment your physique.
To begin, you must familiarize yourself with what is required. You can do this by simply watching videos of shows or attending them live. Once you know what the mandatory poses are, you can learn more about each one, as every pose has its own unique tricks to make it look best.
Posing is an aspect of bodybuilding I highly encourage you seek outside help with. Without a coach, or someone to use for guidance, you will have a very difficult time learning how to correctly do each pose. Back when I got started with all this, I neglected posing and never realized the true importance of it. For some reason, I figured I could hold off until I started the actual preparations for a show. As I began to learn more and more, I realized that this approach to posing preparation was all wrong.
My Experience with Posing
I was fortunate enough to have the direct guidance from friends who competed in the NPC and IFBB. Once I began to develop a solid foundation with my posing routines, I soon turned to taking brief lessons once a week from a former “Mr Olympia” competitor, and judge. Unfortunately, at the time I was not making much money and could not afford to take lessons on a consistent basis. Interestingly, I have noticed many others in my age group are often up against financial hardships as well.
However, I can't stress enough about priorities with this sport. Put the money you have towards the aspects that will truly make or break your presentation as a bodybuilding competitor.
Tips on Improving your Posing
As with anything in life, “practice makes perfect.” Posing is not something you simply learn in one day. As I mentioned before, posing is almost an exercise of its own. It develops a completely unique “mind-muscle connection,” which you will not find with simple training routines. Leading up to my show, I follow up every training session with fifteen to twenty minutes of posing practice. I do this in a well lit and fully mirrored room.
Moreover, from this point out, I will also be attending structured classes each week. Not only for additional guidance, but also for reassurance in my current techniques. Another thing to consider is the change in your body as you approach the date of your show. What looked good while bulking may need to be slightly tweaked to accommodate the newly visible and defined muscle.
Educate yourself all you can on posing because it will help you in the long run. Take what you learned, and practice it over and over again. Do not be afraid to try new things. Observe others who are successful in the sport and take pointers from their techniques. Give yourself time to really find what works for you. It is important to be prepared, and to be confident about your overall presentation.
Additionally, I suggest to have someone with you who can fire off pose commands at random. Nothing caught me off guard more than having to adapt to random instruction, and random calls can actually happen! Thus, do not get too comfortable with a single structure. Otherwise, the calls you do not expect will be the one’s that throw you off your game. You never know when or where the judges are looking. As you stand in line with your fellow competitors, it will be obvious to the judges who did, and who did not put the effort into perfecting their posing.