The Art Of War, Volume 3: Mastering Performance Art & Presentation In Competitive Bodybuilding!

Top 10 tactics for the stage - The following battle plan will help you determine your physical strengths, learn your visual 'power points,' and eventually perfect the brand of posing that proffers victory!
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Article Summary:
  • Consider reasons for pursuing the stage to have your physique critiqued.
  • Establish a foundation of the compulsory poses.
  • This is your time to shine and show what you've accomplished.
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    Top 10 Tactics For The Muscle Stage
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    In the war that is competitive bodybuilding, the contest stage is the field of fire where warriors battle with their bodies, while a judging panel assesses competitors' physiques according to the following criteria:

    dot Physique Competition Judging Criteria dot

      Balance, Proportion And Symmetry

        Proportional development of muscle groups for a harmonious composition of all parts and a symmetrical balance between both halves of the body.

      Mass, Size And Shape

        Muscular development and contours in relation to skeletal structure. Pleasing muscle size and shape, flowing aesthetically from origin to belly to insertion.

      Separation And Definition

        Muscular separation "defined" by the absence of subcutaneous body fat and the visible presence of striations, "cuts" and "tie-ins."

      Presentation And Stage Presence

        Overall aesthetic presentation and appearance, including grooming, skin tone, poise, charisma and ability to display the physique to its optimum potential.

        Listen up, soldiers! A true gladiator who desires to join the elite ranks of the Great Showmen of the Muscle Stage must first stand before a mirror, face off with his reflection, and do battle with himself.

    Physique Art Posing
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    A True Gladiator Must First
    Do Battle With Himself.

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    Battle Plan
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    The following battle plan will help you determine your physical strengths, learn your visual "power points," and eventually perfect the brand of posing that proffers victory in the physique wars.

      Meditate On Motivation

        "Mind your muscle." Consider your reasons for pursuing the stage to have your physique critiqued. Is it the hunger for competition, achievement, validation or adoration? Think about what bodybuilding — as a journey, art and sport — means to you, and properly prepare your psyche for the challenge.

      Prepare For Presentation

        "Learn the landscape." Launch investigative reconnaissance missions, attending bodybuilding shows as a spectator to study enemy strategies. Cunning combatants, especially the less artistically inclined, should review media materials (videos, books, etc.) to learn from the masters of the Muscle Stage.

      Appraise Your Artillery

        "Assess your ABC's." Ascertain your weapon's best ABC's: angles, body language and carriage. How do you carry yourself (carriage) as you move (body language) and land in the most advantageous poses (angles) for your physique? Determine what works for you to present your best product.

      Master The Mandatories

        "Begin with the basics." Establish a foundation of the compulsory poses that constitute the basis for judging the comparison rounds. Master their proper execution with command, confidence, muscular control and precision. If necessary, seek coaching from an experienced mentor or invest in instructional media materials.

    RELATED VIDEO: Posing Guide
    Bob Cicherillo's World Class Physique: Full Posing Guide!

    It's not just about having a sculpted body. You need to know how to pose for the highest marks! These are the basic posing strategies that all competing bodybuilders need to know.

      Stamp Your Style

        "Craft your creativity." Design a routine and incorporate movements that express your personality in the free-posing round. Artistic, regal, daring or energetic? Self-expression births a signature style fans crave from its originator. Personalized performances eventually raise your popularity, profile and promotional opportunities as an athlete.

      Make Meaningful Music

        "Select your soundtrack." Choose music that helps communicate the quality of your physique to the judges and audience. Music selection should enhance the impression formed by your mastery of posing, i.e., your ability to display your physique with control, drama, excitement and personal style.

      Finesse And Fine-Tune

        "Polish your presentation." Refine your routine to ensure that it tells a story with a beginning, middle and end. Take your audience on a journey through your "journey to the stage." Determine poses you favor and that favor your physique. Embellish your routine with smooth transitions to fluidly connect your poses.

      Dignify The Details

        "Sweat the small stuff." Consider your conditioning, grooming, posture, facial expressions, enthusiasm, projection, charisma, flattering posing trunks, proper oil application, breathing control (and its affect on the appearance of the waistline) and the color, tone and texture of your skin.

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        You are watched and critiqued every second you're on stage, even in the "relaxed" position when you have not been called out for a direct comparison.

      Practice For Perfection

        "Rewind and Repeat." Allow ample time to rehearse your posing routine several times well in advance of your competition. Practice makes perfect. Consistent flexing helps reveal muscle separation and repetition of a routine makes it second nature, which yields a stronger performance on show day.

      Enjoy The Entertainment

        "Make the most of the moment." This is your time to shine and show what you've accomplished through your hard work. Enjoy the show. Shine from inside!

        What "sells" a bodybuilder to the judges and the crowd is a combo of a stellar physique, an award-winning routine and winning attitude. If you build it, they will come. If you properly display it, they will appreciate it.

    Physique Art Posing
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Make The Most Of The Moment.
    Photo By www.alexardenti.com.

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    25 Great Showmen Of The Muscle Stage
    An Incomplete List of Some of Bodybuilding's Most Notable Classic Dramatists, Acrobatic Daredevils and Dancing Machines

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    In Alphabetical Order

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    Gallery Of Posing Greats
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    arrow Boldness Benfatto

    Boldness Benfatto
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    Boldness Benfatto.


    arrow Charisma Charles

    Charisma Charles
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Charisma Charles.


    arrow Classic Corney

    Classic Corney
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Classic Corney.


    arrow Omnipresence Oliva

    Omnipresence Oliva
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Omnipresence Oliva.


    arrow Nobility Nubret

    Nobility Nubret
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    Nobility Nubret.


    arrow Power Paris

    Power Paris
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    Power Paris.


    arrow Refinement Ray

    Refinement Ray
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    Refinement Ray.


    arrow Strength Sarcev

    Strength Sarcev
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    Strength Sarcev.


    arrow Symmetry Schwarzenegger

    Symmetry Schwarzenegger
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    Symmetry Schwarzenegger.


    arrow Technique Taylor

    Technique Taylor
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    Technique Taylor.


    arrow Well-Built Wheeler

    Well-Built Wheeler
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Well-Built Wheeler.

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    War Of Words: The Artists Speak
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    Words of wisdom on posing and presentation from the mouths of the master artist-warriors themselves.

      "It's important to maintain a competitive mindset without becoming intimidated, fearful or doubtful and retreating. When posing, let creativity manifest itself through you as a conduit so you can tap into your potential to be a better champion."
    —Kai Greene, IFBB Pro

    Kai Greene At The 2010 Australia Pro Grand Prix X.
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Kai Greene At The 2010 Australia Pro Grand Prix X.
    View More Pics Of Kai Greene At The 2010 Australia Pro Grand Prix X.

      "Select music that fits your state of mind and becomes part of you. The mixture of the two makes an unbeatable combination that creates an air of confidence the judges can see on your face and in your performance."
    —Lee Haney, 8-Time Mr. Olympia
    Battle for Gold, 1988

      "Early in my career, I became a fan of great posers like Vince Taylor and Russ Testo. Realizing that I would never be the biggest bodybuilder on stage, I made up my mind then that I would be one of the best entertainers to step on stage."
    —Richard Jackson, IFBB Pro

      "I'm an entertainer. I'm going to win because my goal is to hit that stage and turn it out. It's flattering when I see the young talents take what I can do and move it to a new level. But the fans wake them up when they start claiming [to be the originator]. They say, "Man, you're just imitating Vince Taylor.' So, flattery is watching them imitate."
    —Vince Taylor, 5-time Masters Olympia Champion
    Pro Bodybuilding Weekly, 04/2006

    Vince Taylor At The 2007 Olympia. Vince Taylor At The 2007 Olympia.
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Vince Taylor At The 2007 Olympia.
    View More Pics Of Vince Taylor At The 2007 Olympia.

      "A physique should communicate power and grace, complemented by a posing routine that is a combination of strong static poses with dramatic transitions, or "moving poses." Anything else is merely half a routine."
    —Lee Labrada, IFBB Pro Hall of Fame

      "A good posing routine is a composition of an athlete's best poses in a sequence that allows for fluidity and grace, increasing the effectiveness of the routine as piece of A.R.T."
    —Francis Benfatto, IFBB Pro

      "Onstage I'm always different than offstage. I can be very friendly offstage, but onstage I will pull one trick after another on my competition to wipe him out, because it's my living and I have to win."
    —Arnold Schwarzenegger, 7-time Mr. Olympia
    Pumping Iron: The Art and Sport of Bodybuilding, 1974

    Arnold Schwarzenegger At The 1980 Olympia.
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Arnold Schwarzenegger At The 1980 Olympia.
    View More Pics Of Arnold Schwarzenegger At The 1980 Olympia.

      "I see bodybuilding as an art form. If it's just about muscle... we're not going to fill auditoriums. You need to bring the total package. It's muscle. It's presentation. A lot of times [athletes] might do a fantastic routine in terms of exciting the crowd, but they never really hold the basic poses and hit the shots correctly. You might see me dancing, but I'm constantly posing."
    —Darrem Charles, IFBB Pro
    Pro Bodybuilding Weekly, 07/2005

    Darrem Charles At The 2009 Sacramento. Darrem Charles At The 2009 Sacramento.
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    Darrem Charles At The 2009 Sacramento.
    View More Pics Of Darrem Charles At The 2009 Sacramento.

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    About The Author:

    Andrew Oye is a certified trainer, screenwriter and the author of The ONE-Minute Workout: REAL DEAL Fitness & Nutrition. He has consulted with amateur natural bodybuilders on presentation preparation for competition, and he provides editorial consultation to firms like Gerstner & Associates and Andrich Functional Fitness & Nutrition. Creator of "The Oye Body Survey" physique profile series, Andrew earned a Master's in Journalism from Stanford University and is the former Creative & Editorial Director for BUILT Magazine.

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