Have you ever given much thought about the judging processes at competitions? Have you ever really thought deeply about what a judge experiences as he or she attempts to score your class?
It seems competitors who score a contest for the first time are surprised by the experience. They realize the thought processes judges actually go through and they feel like they can instantaneously improve their own performance at their next contest. After going through the judging process, they know first hand what judges are looking for.
Your Entire Physique Is Always On Display
One thing many competitors seem to get caught up on is the name of a pose. The front double biceps does not mean judges are scoring only the biceps just because the name of the pose mentions biceps. Likewise for the side chest, or side triceps poses.
These are simply names assigned to poses. What some competitors don't seem to understand is that regardless of the pose, the entire physique is on display at all times.
Competitors who turn their backs to the judges to accentuate the view of their triceps in the side triceps pose are really hurting their presentation. Sure they are showing their triceps, but they are hiding many other parts of their physique. A competitor who does this will appear inferior to competitors who are displaying their triceps in addition to their expanded chest and aesthetic abs.
The form chosen to display a pose creates a whole body image that the judges see. While competitors with their backs turned may have great triceps, they are not displaying their physiques as a whole to their best advantage. Judges are not scoring body parts; they are scoring physiques!
A judge could be analyzing the quads of two competitors in the front double biceps pose. Judges consider symmetry, muscularity, definition and presentation during scoring. Poses are not to display body parts; they are to display the entire physique in a variety of positions and angles so judges can assess the whole body.
Why Leg Poses Aren't Always Mandatory
An interesting question recently asked by a competitor was why certain organizations don't list leg poses among the mandatory poses that will be called for group comparisons. That competitor felt those federations would end up choosing higher placements for athletes who neglected legs in training.
Some organizations use quad and ham poses during the mandatory session, but many other organizations don't (they are generally optional poses that may or may not be called for organizations that don't mandate them).
However, you can be sure that judges are taking legs into consideration during scoring, whether quad and hamstring poses are called or not. Remember, the poses are merely names for certain displays of the physique. Competitors are displaying their quads in all front poses, and their hams in all rear poses.
The Importance Of The Relaxed Pose
What do you think the most important pose at a competition is? How about the front relaxed pose? While certain poses are generally called only once or twice, competitors display the relaxed poses between all of them. Don't underestimate the importance of the relaxed poses!
Judges are evaluating competitors the entire time they are onstage, not just when competitors are holding a mandatory pose. They have to place everyone in the class, and they will be working on doing that from the time the class enters the stage area, until the time they have completed their scoring. They are analyzing competitors during mandatory poses, and in between them too!
If you have never actually tried to score a show before, I encourage you to do so. You can contact promoters in your area and ask them if you can test judge at their next show.
Promoters are always eager to qualify more judges for their future events. Not only that, but you'll get one of the best seats in the house to see the show. Plus, the experience will improve your next outing in competition from gaining insight into the thought processes judges go through!
About The Author
Matt Shepley has judged for over a half dozen different federations.
He is a natural competitive bodybuilder and contest promoter for OCB - The Organization of Competitive Bodybuilders, a federation that holds drug-tested bodybuilding, fitness & figure competitions in the United States.