In some organizations, there are three components to "figure" - symmetry round, posing round, and routine round. There are several areas the judge's look for when comparing athletes and choosing a winner. These include: a high degree of definition and striation, poise, coordination, skin tone, artistic presentation and a high display of elegance, personality and glamour.
1. Symmetry Round
Competitors are onstage in high heels in a straight line facing the judges. They execute a series of quarter turns to the right allowing the judges to view and compare them from front, left side, back and right side. The judges are looking for femininity, poise, tight lines, skin tone, and smiles. Always practice in the mirror so you feel and look confident when onstage.
2. Mandatory Round
Once again, in high heels and numerical order, the competitors execute a series of six poses. All posing is performed with open hands - no clenched fists. The mandatory poses are: front biceps, side chest, side triceps, back/biceps, abdominal/legs, and abdominal/serratus.
Posing is difficult to master and must be practiced over and over again in order for the judges to see exactly what you have been working so hard to achieve. Some organizations have pictures of these poses on their web site for you to print and practice with.
My best suggestion for you is no matter how good a model shows a pose on print, find someone who is a bodybuilder or figure competitor and ask him/her to demonstrate and help you pose. This person can tell you which leg is best to pose with when you show abdominal or the best angle for your biceps when showing the back.
These are some things that even a mirror alone cannot help us with. It is a good idea to have a third person videotape this so you can watch and remember what you look like when posing. This is exactly what I did. I have a friend who is a former bodybuilder. In the locker room of our gym she taught me how to pose and place my arms and back, etc. in the correct position while another friend recorded.
I went home, watched the tape and practiced. I began to be more confident with this round as I felt food about posing. Although this was my first competition, as the emcee announced the poses, I never felt that I didn't know what I was doing. Thanks, Annette and Stacey.
3. Free Posing Round
Each competitor has a maximum of 90 seconds to display her figure, physical conditioning, personality and overall presentation through a free posing routine set to music. This routine is athletic, demonstrates endurance and may contain mandatory poses. This does not contain any type of acrobatics or posing with clenched fists.
The routine is meant to give the judges some idea of the competitors' physical condition and abilities. It also gives the competitor the opportunity to express her creativity, personality and interest. Competitors are encouraged to have fun and may use props.
Since my intention at the start of training was to compete in fitness, I ended up needing to change my routine. I used different music and though not knowing quite what the judges were looking for in the routine, I ended up putting it together the last minute and practiced in my hotel room the night before and in the women's bathroom the next morning.
I included posing in between dance and flexibility moves. It was kind of like fitness only without the acrobatics and strength moves. I had fun choreographing it and presenting it. The judges' feedback was that it was high energy, athletic and fun to watch.
I encourage you to step up to the plate today and set that goal you may have been putting off. The world of fitness has so much to offer; fitness, figure, bodybuilding and obstacle course competitions. Check out the many web sites for different organizations and find that place where you belong.
Some organizations are:
Ms. Fitness America - fitnessamerica.com
Ms. Fitness - msfitness.com
Natural Physique Committee - npcnewsonline.com
World Natural Sports - worldnaturalsports.com
International Natural Bodybuilding Assoc and Amateur Bodybuilding Assoc - naturalbodybuilding.com
Tri Fitness - womenstri-fitness.com
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