Routines that seem effortless, fun and full of flair and pizzazz are the routines that are the BEST! Proper form and sharp clean moves are what the judges look for, and are the most impressive. Show plenty of originality, attitude, athleticism, coordination, strength and endurance. Those elements put together correctly will insure a winning routine.
However, overcrowding your routine with too many strength, flexibility, dance, or gymnastic elements will make it look too rushed and sloppy. Not the impression that you'll want to display on stage. Following are some tips to help you design your routine or improve upon one that already exists:
Find a professional choreographer to help you. He or she will evaluate the skills that you currently possess and build from that. They can also incorporate several different ideas into various segments of your routine that you may have never even thought about. They can help a great deal to turn a boring routine into an exciting routine.
Have the music selected before you design the routine. Knowing what type of music you want to use first will help you to set the pace of your routine, or to give it a theme and an idea of what direction you want to take. For Example: If you are going to use a high-energy aerobic type song with a fast-pace of over 148 BPM, then you would want to use elements that are aerobically suitable for that pace, rather than elements that would more than likely look like they don't belong in the routine. Your choreographer can help you to determine what elements would work best with certain music types.
Your music is very important. It will tell a lot about you and set the pace for your routine. Judges would rather see a high-energy fast-paced selection that is explosive from beginning to end. A slower paced selection will only induce boredom with less anticipation as to what your going to do next. Keep your pace upbeat and flowing throughout your entire routine.
Have your music remixed with sound effects by a professional. PLEASE DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REMIX YOUR OWN MUSIC!!! The judges will be able to tell if your music was mixed professionally by the way it sounds. Your music should flow smoothly as well, as if it were originally recorded that way. It should be only TWO MINUTES in length. Anything longer than that, the judges will deduct points for going over your time. If you choose to compete in Ms. Fitness USA events, the time limit on your routine would be 90 SECONDS. Do not confuse NPC, or Fitness America with Ms. Fitness USA routine lengths. The judges do and will time you. So get the length of your music correct when remixing.
Once you have decided on your music, you can begin to design your routine. Leave room for making changes. Certain elements DO NOT always work where you want them to. You may have to move things around a bit to get them to work well and fit nicely. Remember to always think "FLAWLESS EXECUTION." You should break your routine up into 3-4 parts. I always use three parts, that works best for me. Visualize in your head what elements that you would like to use in the 1st part, 2nd part, and 3rd parts, etc. It is good to know your music when you do this, because you must see yourself in your mind's eye actually doing the movement to music. The reason for this is to place harder and easier elements in certain positions in the routine to keep your pace, and to help make the overall effect look flawless and effortless. If you can't make it work in your head, you may not be able to make it work at all. But it is possible, with practice.
The more difficult elements require more strength and endurance rather than the easier elements, and will-depending on your pace in the routine zap your energy away. You do not want the first part of your routine to have all of your most difficult moves performed there. You will more than likely crash and burn before the end of your routine, or the remainder of your routine may become too boring. Place those elements strategically throughout the parts of your routine to allow an even flow of your energy and exhibit a very dynamic routine from beginning to end. The easier elements that you are to incorporate are to aide in helping you to catch your breath, and breathe throughout your routine. For Example: Lying on your back with the top of your head facing the judges and audience, executing a middle-split in reverse is an excellent time to breathe and take in more oxygen to get through the next stage of your routine. You must be aware of these points when practicing and on stage, so that you can grab your breath at these crucial times in your routine to keep yourself going strong. You must never let the judges see that you are out of breath, or gasping for air. If this happens, you have either not practiced your routine enough, or you have put in more elements than you can handle, or both. Having mastered the performance face, will camouflage any shortness of breath that you may get.
When practicing your routine, practice it in parts, and without the sound effects for the first two to three months. Have part one, and part two about 60 seconds each part depending on where you would like your stopping point to be. Count your every move, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8, etc. Every move in your routine should have a count. It ensures a flawless performance by keeping you in pace to your music, and in sync with the execution of your elements. Once you have mastered practicing the two parts of your routine, then start to practice the entire routine, putting both parts together. Don't worry at first about getting through the entire routine in the first practice session. Just get as far as you can, stop to catch your breath, and pick up where you left off until the end of your routine. Take a short break, and repeat again. Keep practicing this way until you can get through the entire routine without having to stop. Once you can get through the entire routine without stopping, train it that way until competition. Begin to practice with your sound effects added only when you can get through the entire routine. Really emphasize elements at sound effects a bit more than the others to give added flair and style. Practice for the endurance and breathing to make it appear smooth, sharp and effortless. Quick and clean transitions and proper execution is very important. Train with those goals in mind.
Now that you are practicing your routine with ease, bring in that ATTITUDE!! and PRESENTATION!! Keep a smile on your face at all times while in practice. Pretend that you are on stage in front of the judges and audience, and everyone is watching you. Be aware of everything that you are doing. Stay Focused! Involve the audience with hand gestures, and certain looks. Illuminate with flair and style. Make your routine look fun. You should look like you are having the time of your life. This is your one time to shine above the rest so make your time on stage COUNT!! Have your "I'm the Woman" attitude, and show them what you've got. Make them see how much you love to compete. Even if you feel as though your heart may pump out of your chest, and all of your energy is all but gone, you keep up that winning attitude and energy. Once you are finished, and have taken your bow -- you may happily skip off the stage then sink to the floor to catch your breath. Haha. Just kidding. But on the same note wait until you are completely back stage to gasp for air and catch your breath back to normal. If your routine was outstanding, you will be out of breath at the end. But that is normal, all of us are.
Perform your routine in front of friends and family and get their feedback. It will also help to prepare you for being on stage.
Remember to always go out on stage and have fun most of all, and strive for your personal best. Keep your attitude positive and stay confident. Show everyone the results of your hard work which consisted of Blood, Sweat, and Tears!! Train Smart.
Train for Success!!!
1) MIDDLE-SPLIT FULL
2) SIDE-SPLIT FULL
3) ONE ARM PUSH-UP
4) STRADDLE HOLD
5) PIKE PRESS HOLD - FULL EXTENSION
6) HIGH KICKS - FULL EXTENSION
Choose your routine costume with the theme of your routine in mind. You will be judged on your costume as well.
Wear your hair up and pinned back neatly. It doesn't look good when your hair is flopping and flying wildly into your face during your routine. You will get points deducted for that. Hair that is pinned up neatly shows more professionalism and a clean appearance.