How Can You Master Your Bodybuilding Poses?

How can you master your bodybuilding poses? Knowing your poses can make or break your bodybuilding contest. Our forum members have put together a comprehensive list of how to master the poses, tips, popular poses, and which ones they prefer! Learn more...

TOPIC: How Can You Master Your Bodybuilding Poses?

The Question:

Knowing your poses can make or break your bodybuilding contest. Nobody wants all their hard work spent training and dieting, to go to waste just because they didn't nail their poses.

How can you master your bodybuilding poses?

What are some tips for posing?

What are the most popular poses?

What is your favorite pose? Why?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners:

      1. buffguy900

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      2. RC26

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      3. bigcalves

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      3. Heinlbag

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        1st place - 75 in store credit.

        2nd place - 50 in store credit.

      3rd place - 25 in store credit.

1st Place - buffguy900
Contact This Author Here.

Knowing your poses can make or break your bodybuilding contest. Nobody wants all their hard work spent training and dieting, to go to waste just because they didn't nail their poses.

How Can You Master Your Bodybuilding Poses?

In order to master your bodybuilding poses, you must take a dual approach that involves learning by both observing and by practicing. Neither careful dissection of the perfectly executed pose nor endless independent practice alone will result in a full mastery of the pose. Both of these techniques must be brought together in harmony.

Learn By Watching Others

Bodybuilding is about showing off your body in the best way possible. Each bodybuilder's physique is distinct and the way a bodybuilder performs a pose is a signature to their own body and character.

Because of this, it is important to pose your own body in the way that suits it best. For example, if you are a 150 lb lightweight its probably not best to be posing like Ronnie Coleman.

Seeing a variety of styles and physiques will help you to establish your likes and dislikes in posing. There have been countless great bodybuilders who have carved a way through the sport, showing their own body off to its greatest potential.

It is important to be able to find a bodybuilder whose posing you personally admire. It may give you a great idea or a new way to hit a pose you enjoy or make you realize what poses and techniques to avoid. From watching others, you can get ideas for transitions between poses, show-stopping choreographed routines, cool music, etc.

There is a tremendous amount of resources on to this end. There are videos of full professional competitions so you can see what posing on stage is like. There are also tons of great photos which show a variety of physiques in a variety of different ways.

Instructional videos and articles are in abundance as a great source for learning. There is also a large social network of other bodybuilders who are willing to give their input to help you achieve your goals. There is so much out there to learn and fortunately a large part of it is easily accessible through

I urge you to learn as much as possible from a variety of sources in order to create a diverse and complete understanding of the sport, because it is a great and worthwhile endeavor.

Learn By Practice:

Since "practice makes perfect" and bodybuilding is an "obsession with perfection" then clearly a successful bodybuilder will practice their posing obsessively.

I have broken down the practicing section into three key factors:

      1. Conditioning
      2. Execution
      3. Personalization

      It takes all three to make a successful pose so it is important to keep them all in mind.


Posing is physically very challenging; in order to maintain your composure and show your body off to its maximum potential on stage a bodybuilder requires his muscles to be in peak physical condition.

The only break you get on stage is the constant tension that you hold in the relaxed position. In order to achieve a sufficient level of conditioning, you must practice.

The bottom line is that there is no replacement for posing (not lifting, cardio, stretching, etc.). Posing your muscles is a unique exercise and in my opinion is the only way to tap into your full potential.

Posing through the muscularity round of a bodybuilding competition is a good indication of your conditioning. Bodybuilders are expected to be on stage posing for at least ten minutes and often longer.

To improve your conditioning, follow along with a muscularity round of a competition as the judge calls out each pose. This will help to adapt and be comfortable with the amount of time each pose is held (5-20 seconds) and the rest in between each pose (5-20 seconds) as well as the transitions between each pose and the relaxed position.

I suggest going through the muscularity round several times in a row without taking a break. If you can do this for twenty minutes straight then you are in good shape for a show.

A good rule for practicing your conditioning is...

If you're not exhausted, you're not posing hard enough. Posing is hard and after a good posing session I am out of breath and dripping with sweat. Be careful to not underestimate the challenges which posing brings to the sport.

You should accommodate at least four weeks before a show posing 3-7 times per week to nail down your posing. I prefer to practice my posing right after a workout for twenty minutes or so. It's a great way to create a mind-muscle connection as well as getting in some added workload for your muscles that day.


In executing the poses, it is crucial to keep the following rule in mind...

Flex only the muscles you have to in order to look your best. Do not waste your energy on flexing muscles that don't make you look better on stage. For this reason, it is important to be able to have the mind-muscle connection to control each muscle individually.

When practicing your posing in front of a mirror, for example, vary the tension applied to each muscle and see how it makes a difference in the pose. For example, it is a waste to flex your rear leg in any of the side shots if the judges don't see your rear leg.

By the same token, your side chest shot may be lacking unless you flex your pectorals 100%. Make sure you have the conditioning to maintain this throughout the pose (this will come with practice). In each pose I strike, I have a list of how hard I have to flex each muscle.

For left side triceps, it may look something like this:

Muscle Left Right
Calf 80% 0%
Hamstring 50% 0%
Quadriceps 50% 0%
Glutes 50% 0%
Abdominals 100% N/A
Pectorals 90% 100%
Lats 50% 0%
Deltoid 100% 0%
Biceps 100% 0%
Triceps 100% 0%


The way each bodybuilder hits a pose is different and you must find your own way to strike each pose. These differences in posing reflect the differences in their physiques and personality.

There are a variety of tools which you can use in order to find the best way for you to hit each pose. Posing in front of a mirror is the easiest and most direct way to see this. You can make subtle changes to each pose and see what looks best to you.

Video and still-shot cameras are also useful tools for meticulously dissecting a posing session. Friends, family, other bodybuilders, etc. are great sources of feedback on your own poses as they can provide a critical eye from another point of view.

It helps to gain information from a variety of sources in order to form a more complete understanding of your posing flaws and strengths.

There are a few key things to keep in mind when hitting a pose which can change how it looks. Twisting your body at the hips (either up or down or rotating your torso) can make a huge difference in a pose. Try moving your elbows up or down, forward or back and see how this affects the pose. You can also position your feet in different ways to convey each pose differently.

For each pose, I have a list of things that I want to do in order to make sure I am hitting it properly. For left side triceps, it looks something like this:

      1. Bend my left knee a bit and squat down to bring out definition in outer thigh.

      1. Point my left knee towards the inside of my body against my right leg in order to push out my hamstring, making it appear larger.
          a. Note that because of (1) and (2) I don't have to flex the hamstring very hard, yet I am able to achieve the definition I desire.

      1. Twist upper body outwards (opposite to the direction of my lower body)
            a. This will make my waist appear smaller and upper body larger by opening up to the judges.

          b. This is just like you are wringing a towel dry by twisting each end in opposite directions.

      1. Push my left arm against my lats in order to push out my bicep and tricep in order make them appear larger.

      1. Move my left arm out of the way of my abdominals so you can see the definition and flex the deltoid hard.

      1. Turn my face to the judges and put in a big smile!

Putting It All Together

Do not underestimate the rigors of posing, especially for a contest. Photo shoots (either professional or amateur) provide a great medium for both practicing the poses as well as analyzing strengths and weaknesses in your own posing and physique.

Keep a notebook of posing tips that you pick up while practicing so you can continually adjust and improve each pose over time. This will help you realize your own strengths and weaknesses and load up your posing arsenal.

What Are Some Tips For Posing?

Each bodybuilder is different and you must find your own way to hit each pose. The best way to do this is to lean from both practice and observation. Below, I have compiled a list of tips which I have found helpful over the years.

  1. In a front shot, in order to flex your quadriceps 100% keep your legs straight. It can become difficult to flex them hard while your knees are bent (especially the upper portion of the muscle).
  2. In a front shot, point your toes upward in order to flex your shins and calves as hard a possible. You may be surprised to see the difference in the apparent size of your lower leg when doing this!
  3. Practice posing without a mirror. It can be a different experience if you have not done it before.
  4. Practice posing in front of other people. At family functions, my father routinely challenges me to "take my shirt off..." This has recently escalated to "take your pants off..." (You have to show off the complete physique!).
  5. Smile and maintain a relaxed, fun and confident composure. Flex only the muscles below your neck.
  6. Breathe slowly and continuously through your nose, this will help you relax and make sure you don't make a stupid face when hitting a pose.
  7. Flex only the muscles you have to in order to look your best. Don't waste your energy flexing muscles no one will see.
  8. When entering a pose, begin flexing from the bottom up (first plant your feet, flex your calves, shins, upper thighs, abdominals, etc working your way up your body).
  9. Keep in mind which muscles take priority for you in each shot. It may not make sense for you to flex your calf 100% in each shot, however it may make an enormous difference to flex your arms that extra 5% and give it all you got!
  10. In a side shot, you may be able to achieve maximum definition in your outer thigh just by bending your knee and squatting down a bit. This is obviously preferred since you don't have to flex it! (Save your energy for the important muscles!)
  11. If you plan to do a contest, make sure you practice posing in your suit with oil on since you hands will be slippery. (Posing in a suit, sweaty, tanned and oiled is different than posing in your basement in your underwear...).
  12. Be confident and sell yourself, you are doing something you love! (Just imagine they just handed you the first place trophy and your face will light up!)
  13. Check to see what side of your body is better for each muscle. This will help in striking each pose in the best way. (Fore example, my right arm, left hamstring and right quadricep are better than their respective other sides).
  14. Poses are highly individual, with time you will become an expert on your own physique.
  15. External input is key; utilize the resources around you (family, friends, other bodybuilders, etc.) for other opinions.
  16. The mirror is a double-edged sword. It is a powerful tool but can become a crutch for inexperienced poser. Posing in front of an audience without a mirror is a different experience and should be practiced thoroughly.

What Are The Most Popular Poses?

The most popular pose by far is most muscular, it is truly a crowd-pleaser. It's a great pose that can really show off some serious mass and definition. It's a full-frontal assault of the most striated and vascular muscle groups in the body.

There are so many different ways to strike this pose that it shows a lot of each bodybuilder's personal style. Its quite a site to see a lineup of top-notch physiques on stage, each hitting their favorite most muscular to see how they stack up.

What Is Your Favorite Pose? Why?

It is hard for me to select a favorite pose; I feel my physique is very balanced and that is a strength which can only be shown through a variety of poses. However, one my best poses is the hands-on-hips most muscular.

It has taken me years to adapt this pose to my personal taste and once I found this way to do it, I knew it was for me! From this pose, I can show off some of my best features all together: quadriceps, abdominals, deltoids and my overall symmetry. Whenever I hit this pose, it seems so effortless even though I am flexing my muscles to maximum effort (I am in the zone!).

2nd Place - RC26
Contact This Author Here.

Knowing your poses can make or break your bodybuilding contest. Nobody wants all their hard work spent training and dieting to go to waste just because they didn't nail their poses.

If you're looking for a step by step explanation of how to pose correctly, then look no further. This article will cover the art of posing, the popular poses, and creating a routine that will give you the winning edge you need to become a champion.

How Can You Master Your Bodybuilding Poses?

First and foremost, one needs to evaluate their physique and locate their strong and weak points. For example, if the chest muscles are lagging, don't hit too many poses that show off the chest. On the other hand, if the chest is strength, show it to the judges.

Now that's where symmetry comes into play, and if your training was balanced, you wouldn't have to worry about weak points as much. With that being said, let's begin with a step by step explanation of how you can master your bodybuilding poses.

Step 1 - Choose Your Poses:

There are dozens of different poses in bodybuilding, so be prepared to spend some time choosing the ones that best show your physique to the judges.

Step 2 - Choose Your Music:

This is a vital part of your overall presentation, as it will set the mood of the crowd and judges. Be creative and try to flow with the music beat by beat.

Step 3- Practice Your Routine:

Once you've completed the first two steps, begin practicing your routine. This can be both physically and mentally challenging, so be prepared to bear the pain. Posing is what separates winners from losers, and by practicing, you can rest assure you will place higher in the rankings.

With that said, here are some things you need to help your posing.

-> Experienced Bodybuilder Or Friend:

This is a must for all bodybuilders, as it helps posing. Go through your entire posing routine in front of your friend and make changes as needed. Ask for opinions and advice, and learn from your mistakes.

-> Mirror:

The easiest way to evaluate your posing is through a mirror. Better yet, find a room with mirrors in each wall so you can see each side of your physique.

-> Camera:

You might want to take pictures of your posing to see if each pose is performed correctly. Overtime, you will see how much you're posing improved.

-> Camcorder:

This is also recommended, as it will help you see your entire posing routine, just like the judges will see.

-> Stage:

Find a stage similar to the one you will be posing on to further improve your posing routine. Get people to watch you so you become comfortable in front of a large crowd.

I recommend you start practicing your routine at least 12 weeks before a show, and make it part of your pre-contest training.

Flex and Pose Between Sets:

Flex the muscles you're working after each set and hold each contraction for at least 30 seconds. This brings out much needed definition while increasing conditioning.

Flex and Pose Post Workout:

When you finish your weight training session, perform all the mandatory poses for 15-30 minutes. Don't always flex in front of a mirror so you don't get used to it. Find a crowd or bring your friends and collect the experience of posing in front of them.

Flex and Pose At Home:

Practice posing and go over your posing routine for at least 30 minutes at home or on a stage. Increase the time to 60 minutes four weeks before a contest.

Use The Mind Muscle Connection:

Just like with weight training, use the mind muscle connection to focus your energy on the necessary muscles in each pose. Don't flex extra muscles that the judges can't see as it will only waste essential energy.

Work On Your Conditioning:

All the flexing you will be doing will exhaust you, so get used to flexing for 30 to 60 minutes as it will help your conditioning. The last you want is getting tired onstage and messing up your poses.

What Are Some Tips For Posing?

-> Tip #1 - Practice, Practice, Practice

      Keep practicing up until the day of the contest. Make it part of your workout, and try to perfect your routine.

-> Tip #2 - The Rule Of Thumb

    When executing the front relaxed position pose, make sure you can touch your sides with your thumbs, because the further away your arms, the smaller they'll look.

-> Tip #3 - Start From The Ground Up

      It doesn't matter what pose you're executing, always start by flexing your legs, followed by your upper body. Many bodybuilders forget to flex their legs because they don't practice this rule.

-> Tip #4 - Stay Relaxed

      It's imperative to stay relaxed when going through your posing as it will show onstage. Follow along with the music and enjoy the crowd's positive response.

-> Tip #5- Use Posing Oils and Tanning Products

      Since there are bright lights onstage, it's common for bodybuilders to look smooth and flat. To prevent this, you're going to need to put on posing oil and a tanning product, unless you're already tanned. Tanning brings out maximum definition in your muscles.

-> Tip #6- Buy Audio/Video Posing Products

      These can help you design your posing routine, learn the proper techniques, and learn how to execute each pose. They also provide information on ways to practice for pre-judging and how to build a pre-contest diet.

-> Tip #7- Learn How To Psych Out Your Competitors

      Posing isn't just physical, there's a mental aspect to it too. Psyching out your opponents can give you a big advantage. Whether you negatively comment on their physique or you tell them a joke to mess up their posing, use it to wipe out your competition.

-> Tip #8- Keep Your Diet Intact

      Posing can be very tiring, so keep eating the right foods to fuel your body with energy. Although you will cut down on carbs as the contest nears, keep eating plenty of protein. Many bodybuilders stop drinking water pre-contest, and that's a big mistake. Drink enough water, and be prepared to see extra striations in your muscles from all the posing.

-> Tip #9 - Get Enough Rest

      Training, dieting, and posing are completely exhausting, so rest one day of the week and sleep at least eight hours each day. Follow these guidelines and expect an increase in energy and a decrease in stress.

-> Tip #10- Ten Common Posing Mistakes You Should Avoid:

    1. Losing balance
    2. Tensing up the face while posing
    3. Looking tired instead of energetic
    4. Looking worried instead of confident
    5. Doing poor transitions between poses
    6. Flexing so hard that you start shaking
    7. Looking at only one side of the judges
    8. Relaxing your muscles while standing in the back
    9. Using too much or too little posing oil and/or artificial tan
    10. Executing the wrong pose when performing the eight mandatory poses

What Are The Most Popular Poses?

Round One: Compulsory Poses:

In the first round, bodybuilders have to go through the eight mandatory poses designed to show the judges the major muscles. Judges look for weak points and how well you execute each pose. Keep your balance and don't flex too hard to avoid shaking.

1. Front Lat Spread:

Put your feet together, and you keep your body upright. Then put your fists into your sides below your ribcage. Take in a deep breath and stick out your chest up high, then spread your lats until they are completely spread.

2. Front Double Biceps:

Keep your feet together, then bring your arms up, and flex both biceps, while spreading out your lats at the same time. You can flex your abs or hold in your stomach and perform a vacuum.

3. Rear Lat Spread:

Turn your back to the judges and crowd, extend one leg back, and squeeze your glutes and hamstrings. Bring back your elbows slowly at first to show off the "Christmas tree" and striations in the lats, then put your fists into your sides, and start spreading your lats.

4. Rear Double Biceps:

Put one foot to the side, like in the rear lat spread, then flex both biceps and squeeze all of your back muscles, your hams, calves and glutes.

Rear Double Biceps Variation:
Put one foot back, flex your calves and hamstrings, and extend your arms straight up in the air, or down or to the sides to show detail in your back.

5. Side Chest:

Turn to the side (let's use the right), then bend your knees slightly. Flex your right calf, and bring your right arm to your side with your elbow at a 90 degree angle. Then bring your left arm across your body and squeeze your left pec. You can suck in your stomach a bit to make your waist appear smaller and your upper body appear larger.

6. Side Triceps:

This is very similar to the side chest pose. Turn to the side, bend your knees, flex the calf facing the judges, and extend the triceps facing the judges. Then squeeze your triceps into your lats and flex your triceps.

7. Abdominal & Thigh:

Turn to the front, extend one leg in front of the other, then put your hands and arms over your head. Breathe out, and flex your abs and obliques.

Abdominal & Thigh Variation:
Turn to the side, extend one leg in front of the other, then put your hands and arms over your head. Breath out, and flex your abs and obliques. This variation shows the obliques more.

8. Most Muscular:

Turn to the front, flex your thighs and calves, the bring your arms in front of you in a hugging motion while flexing your traps, shoulders, chest, arms, and abs.

Most Muscular Variation 1:
This is the same as the regular most muscular pose except you hold your hands together in front of your abs.

Most Muscular Variation 2:
This is the same as the regular most muscular pose except you place your hands at the sides of your upper thighs.

Round Two: Standing Relaxed:

In the second round of posing, bodybuilders are standing relaxed. They perform quarter turns while the judges evaluate their physiques from the front, side, and back. Muscles are kept flexed when standing relaxed so don't be fooled by the name. Judges look at symmetry, muscularity, definition, skin tone tan, and grooming.

Standing Relaxed:

Use "The Rule Of Thumb" and keep your quadriceps and abs flexed. Spread your lats and keep facing the judges at all times.

Quarter Turn:

Stand in a semi flexed position with your arms hanging by your sides. Widen your shoulders, flare your lats, and flex your abs and legs.

Round Three: Free Posing:

In the third round, you perform your own posing routine. What you what to do here is show your strong points and hide your weak ones. Follow the tempo of the music and execute creative poses by twisting, kneeling, and lunging. You want to leave a good impression with the judges and the crowd, so act confident, powerful, and energetic. Just have fun and expect good things to come.

Front Double Biceps Variation:

Extend one leg out to the side and perform a front double biceps pose, then tilt your body up on the side opposite to your extended leg.

Back Double Biceps Variation:

Perform a back double biceps pose and extend one arm slightly higher than the other. Keep your hamstrings and calves flexed throughout the movement.

Twisting Back Single Biceps:

Twist your upper body and perform a biceps shot with one arm and extend the other arm while flexing the forearm. Keep your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves flexed throughout the movement.

Twisting Back Double Biceps:

Twist your upper body slightly downward and perform a similar pose to the back double biceps. Flex your arms and upper back.

Kneeling Twisting Back Double Biceps:

Kneel down, twist your upper body, and perform a back double biceps pose. This pose shows upper back thickness, shoulder width and thickness, and arm size.

Kneeling Side Chest:

Kneel down and perform the side chest pose while keeping your legs flexed. Make sure you face the judges and the crowd.

Kneeling Front Double Biceps Variation:

Kneel down and flex one bicep the same as in the regular front double biceps pose, while slightly extending the other arm up and flexing it. Make sure you hold in your stomach and execute a vacuum throughout the movement.

Victory Pose:

Raise your arms and flex your forearms with your palms facing away from your body. Sergio Oliva and Lee Priest are known for using this pose.

Front Single Bicep Arm Extended:

Execute a single biceps pose with one arm, extend the other arm, and flex it. Turn your head and face in the direction of the extended arm.

Arms Extended:

Turn your upped body slightly to the right or left, and extend your arms. Flex your biceps, triceps, and forearms.

Arms Up:

Raise your arms above you and flex them. Hold your stomach in and keep your legs flexed. This is a difficult pose to master and it requires long legs, a symmetrical body, a V-shaped torso, and an almost flat chest.

Arms Out:

Raise your arms out to the sides and flex your arms. Hold your stomach in and execute a vacuum, and keep your legs flexed.

Round Four: Posedown:

In the fourth round, the top bodybuilders are called out for a posedown. This is where the judges get a final look at you so don't be afraid to show your physique and make comparisons. Again, show your strong points and show the judges why you should win.


During the posedown, act confident and have fun. Try to dominate your competitors by executing poses that show your strong points.

Note: In every pose, flex your legs first and work your way up. Also, breathe constantly to remain relaxed and keep smiling.

What Is Your Favorite Pose? Why?

My favorite pose is the most muscular pose because it's easy to execute and shows tremendous muscularity. This pose also shows definition and striations, which I can take advantage of. There are also several variations to it and they are also easy to execute.

The only problem with this pose is I can't show my back since it's a strong point. I can show my back with the front lat spread, front double biceps, and rear double biceps poses, which are also some of my favorites.

I also like the abdominal and thighs pose since I can use it to show my abs, obliques, and quadriceps.

Remember to always show your strengths and hide your weaknesses onstage because judges base their decisions on these things. Also, keep practicing posing until you're completely confident.

I hope you have enjoyed this article and good luck with your posing!

3rd Place - bigcalves
Contact This Author Here.

How Can You Master Your Bodybuilding Poses?

Bodybuilding is not only a sport, but also an art form. Art in which the athlete presents the physique that he or she has worked so hard for. Great preparation comes into preparing for a contest. The grueling dieting, the non stop cardio, the tanning and the final touches.

Something that some people don't think about is posing. On stage posing can break you or make you the winner. There have been cases where more muscular and better conditioned bodybuilders lost because they didn't know how to properly present their body.

If you miss your poses, or don't do each specific pose by your personal and best advantage you will suffer in the placing of a contest. It's not only important to know the name of the pose and how to strike it, but also the best variation of the pose that will make all your body parts stand out even more. It's not all about flexing and smiling. You must learn the pose and strike it to the best of your advantage.

How Can You Master Your Bodybuilding Poses?

Everyone can strike a pose. Stop and ask someone on the street to flex for you and sure enough they will roll up their sleeve and flex their arm. So is that it? Is that all it is? I can assure you that there's way more to be learned in order to master the poses for a bodybuilding show.

In order to achieve the best effect on stage you must be comfortable with each pose and you must know what you are doing. Otherwise you will portray yourself in bad way and the judges will catch it quite fast that you weren't prepared for the show.

In order to be able to master the poses you must practice. Knowing each pose and how it's performed is good. It's essential, but not enough. In order to achieve the best results on stage you must spend hours of posing in front of a mirror.

Most commercial gyms have big rooms filled with mirrors. They are usually used for yoga or stretching classes but when not in use they are open to members. It's your job to find when that room is open (no classes) and practice for months before the show. This can usually be done after a workout and it's a great way to stretch out the muscles groups and also track your progress.

All professional bodybuilders pose for long periods of time. It's kind of like a second workout for them. They do what every bodybuilder, amateur or pro, does in order to look good on stage. Ronnie Coleman reportedly poses everyday after his workout leading to a contest.

In order to practice right you should buy some videos that will help you do that. You can either purchase "how to" videos or you can purchase videos of professional bodybuilders and contests. In those you will be able to see how the pro's do it on stage, how they prepare for it in detail and also if you haven't yet, you will learn the basic mandatory poses.

After months of practicing the poses and watching videos of professionals on stage it's time to make your own routine. This might sound easy but to the contrary it is very hard. It takes time and effort to build the perfect routine. As most bodybuilders can tell you it might take them weeks even months to get the final routine down.

You need to incorporate your posing into a set amount of time (usually 90 seconds). Since music is allowed to be incorporated with the routine, you should pick a song that is energetic, that describes you and most importantly that will seem fit with your poses. For even more detail as the beat changes so should your poses and the way you strike them. Don't pick anything too weird or over dramatic. Stick to simple songs that you like.

What Are Some Tips For Posing?

Every bodybuilder needs to be focused and confident on stage. There are tons of tricks and tips that you learn from experience that can't be taught just by telling the person. As you compete more and more you will learn from your mistakes or from the things that you did right.

Check out the other competitors and note their behavior. Check out their routines, the way they carried themselves on stage and pretty much everything they did. Although bodybuilding is about muscle mass, if you don't know what you are doing on stage you will soon realize that will get you no where. Aside from things that you will learn here are some general tips that you should note when entering your contest.

Focus/Confidence On Stage:

No one wants to see a shy bodybuilder. Actually if you think about it 'shy' and 'bodybuilding' are oxy-morons. In order to show everything you have on stage you must be confident with yourself. Now don't get on stage and appear like a cocky bastard, but make sure you seem focused and energetic. The judges will note that as they prepare the score cards.

Practice Posing:

This is an obvious tip but sometimes guys go in their locker rooms after a workout, strike out a double bi or a most muscular and call it a day. Even though you know the pose if you haven't practiced it for a long time you won't have the endurance on stage. You'd be surprised with guys on stage that run out of breath after the most muscular pose.

I suggest focusing on holding a single pose for 60-90 seconds. Also focus on your core as it will need to be tight for almost the whole time you're on stage (you can let your stomach rest when you do your back poses).

Have The Routine Down:

Nothing more embarrassing than messing up or even worse forgetting your routine on stage. Common guys, no need to portray the muscle head stereotype. Practice your routine day in and day out as your contest approaches. You must know it in your sleep. Your confidence and focus will be even higher if you know exactly every single move right down to the last breath.

After months of posing you should know your best and worst body parts. Don't dwell too much on the parts that are weak. You will have time in to off season to get them bigger but now it's all about presenting the best package. Bodybuilding is about illusion and your job is to present your body as the best on stage for that day.

Music For The Routine:

You need to pick music for your routine. This seems simple but it has to be put into consideration. Also make sure that you do it weeks before so you are comfortable with the song that you will pose to. Also I strongly recommend making an extra or even two copies of the CD with your song. After all no one is responsible or guilty for the fact that your CD got scratched and now it won't play.


Tanning is very important. If you are not tan enough you will look very bad under the bright lights. I suggest getting someone that has competed or someone that has trained people for a competition to help you out. Every body is different when it comes to skin tone, and you can't just read an article and apply.

Make sure someone that has done this before is there to help you out or correct your mistakes. Nothing worse than going on stage and having a light tan. All the definition will be gone, and you will stick out in a bad, bad way.


After all this is a moment that you have prepared for months. It's your time in the spot light (literary) so make the best out of it. If you did your homework you shouldn't worry too much.

If it's your first contest you should enjoy this and learn from any mistakes you or other competitors make. After all, this is a sport that delivers personal satisfaction, and that's what you should get on your special day.

What Are The Most Popular Poses?

Rear Lat Spread:

This pose puts great emphasis on your back and hamstring development. Your goal is to make your back get as wider as it can get while keeping your midsection small and tight. Also focus on your glutes, hamstrings and calves as they can seen thru this pose.

Click Image To Enlarge.
Rear Lat Spread.

Back Double Biceps:

Another pose that gives you a chance to show off those hard earned wings. Along with that your shoulders and biceps are also portrayed. Remember to keel glutes, hamstrings and calves tight as they are also observed thru this pose.

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Back Double Biceps.

Front Double Bicep:

This pose puts great emphasis on your biceps and abs. You have to control your midsection as this is a very important time in which you have the chance to portray your V-taper. This is not the time for air breaks or relaxed abs. Flex those abs, lats and biceps. Also keep in mind that your quads should be tightened up as this pose effects them as well.

Click Image To Enlarge.
Front Double Bicep.

Front Lat Spread:

All those pull ups and military presses. This pose is all about the wings. Along with that your cannon ball shoulders should be popping on each side. Remember that you midsection should be tight and a big V-taper should come out of this pose. This is the pose that will display your V-taper to its best. A lot of potential is riding on this one, and it should be executed perfectly.

Click Image To Enlarge.
Front Lat Spread.

Abs & Thighs:

All those squats and only one pose? Hehe, remember that your legs should be tight in all other poses as well, but this is the pose in which you should flex them and your abs as hard as you can. Conditioning will play a big role in this pose, and all your cuts in your legs and abs should come out. Forget about breathing on this one.

Click Image To Enlarge.
Abs & Thighs.

Side Chest:

This pose will portray your chest, arms and shoulders. Make sure that you pick the side in which your chest looks at its biggest. Having a tight stomach is important in this pose as you want to stick out your chest and portray that upper body thickness.

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Side Chest.

Side Tricep:

As the name suggests this pose will emphasize your triceps and your chest. Make sure your abs are flexed also. This is a great time to show off the calves and hamstring/quad cut.

Click Image To Enlarge.
Side Tricep.

Most Muscular:

Probably the most famous poses of all. It puts emphasis on your traps, arms, chest, well everything. You want to flex as hard as you can to get the greatest vascularity and separation in your body. I suggest doing this pose at the end as you will run out of breath and it's not smart to do this before your Abs and Thigh pose.

What Is Your Favorite Pose? Why?

My favorite pose will have to be the rear lat spread. Every bodybuilder needs a large back and this pose portrays that. Also your conditioning must be super as this is a pose that will show off your hamstring/glutes separation. Also your calves will be at a display and having big calves is something that is exceptionally good at a contest.

I love this because my back is greatly developed and it gives me a chance to show off all that I can. It gives me a chance to show off my conditioning on stage and also the size that comes along with it. Having a big back is something that you should be proud of as a bodybuilder and if you do, you should certainly take full advantage as you pose on stage. Also having big calves is something that helps the pose as an overall added detail.

Good Luck on future contests!

3rd Place - Heinlbag
Posing 101
Contact This Author Here.

The "workout" we will discuss this week is called posing. Yeah, I said "Workout." Prepare yourself because this ride isn't going to be a smooth one. I'm talking about what the big cats do on stage; I mean the ones who pose to make a living. This is it; this is why you've been so selfish, so alone.

The reason why you dieted, beat the cravings and hunger, the reason why you've been pounding in the gym. Posing is almost a workout on its own. Go ahead: try holding a pose for 30 seconds straight! And then imagine that you have to do several poses, several rounds one after another. Exactly! You might just break a sweat. So how do you strike a pose? How do you perfect it? Follow me...

Perfecting A Pose

There's only one real way to master the art of posing and it's real simple: practice. Practice like a maniac! As with almost everything else in this world, practice makes perfect. You keep on practicing and one day you too will be able to strike that perfect pose!

Let's start off by looking at how we are going to practice. I'm just going to go out on a limb here and assume you have internet, just surf along with me to to find some theoretical information about posing.

The Theory:

There are the seven different basic poses that everyone must know: Front double biceps, Front lat spread, Side chest, Back double biceps, Back lat spread, Front Abdominal and last but not least, probably the most unknown "pose": front relaxed position.

This is where it all starts - The theory. But wait! The theory doesn't just stop at a few articles, oh no! We also have videos and magazines. When I started posing I got most of my ideas for different poses from magazines. These come in great when you just start off practicing.

Magazines give detailed pictures of poses and what they are supposed to look like when you strike one. For those who are past the beginner stage magazines still do the trick. You can find great ideas for different poses that you can practice, the more poses you know the easier you can find out which ones show your strengths the best.

These are your examples, study them. Next up are the videos, these are even better. Videos are a must have for anyone entering their first contest and learning how to pose.

Instructional videos are very helpful on teaching you techniques and methods on how to last on the stage, and how certain poses should look; what muscle should stand out. Once you have the theory in your head, it's time to move on!

In Front Of The Mirror:

This is where it happens, "ain't no turning back now boy!" With the theory in mind, start posing in front of a mirror. Let's see if you have it in you to be a poser (I meant that in a good way). Friends, workout buddies, gym teachers and fitness instructors can be real handy in perfecting your pose, but until then the mirror will be our best buddy.

A full-length mirror is awesome to practice all of your front poses in. I really don't need to elaborate on that: know which muscle should be flexed with each pose (Theory!!), flex it and hold it. Now if you have the chance to have two mirrors facing each other at the slightest angle then you can also try and perfect your back poses.

This can be somewhat harder as you are focusing to see those mountains on your back while having to flex them. Another option is to set up a video camera and videotape yourself while going through your routine, this way you can judge yourself while sitting on the couch (eating chicken & rice of course, no chips! Now stop hitting the "replay" button).

While you're looking in the mirror and posing, try to hold these poses. Do it gradually each time you practice, starting off with 5 seconds building up to a minute (don't expect this to be easy). This will help you a great deal when you are on the stage! You can also flex individual muscles in between sets at the gym. When you are done with a set try to flex the muscles you just worked, and hold it for a few seconds. This will not only pump up your muscles but help to give you a feel for which muscles you are actually flexing.

Back to the mirror, as you are standing in front of the mirror be honest with yourself. Look at your body parts and identify your weaknesses just like your strengths and work on them in the gym! You are not the only one who sees those weaknesses, the judges will too.

When you have found your strengths find a pose that compliments it. This is where magazines come in real handy because they give you a lot of pictures of non-standard poses as well. The non-standard poses will come into play during the freestyle part of the contest and in the end at the pose-off.

Here you will be able to show them your strengths through a number of poses that you can pick (obviously poses that will compliment you). So take a good look at how the pro's do it, and start imitating! Next up are the videos, once you got most of the poses down, look at some videos to get pointers on how to perfect your poses.

These people know what they are talking about so listen to what they say, and try to incorporate their tips into your posing routine! Videos can help you with tons of little details a lot of people don't see when focusing on the main pose. They give you hints on how to twist your arm or leg, how far to bend it or not to bend it at all etc. These details can add great definition to your pose.

Third Party Help:

By now you should have the basic idea down of how to pose, which poses you can do, and which ones will compliment your strengths (and preferably hide your weaknesses!). This is where a third party might be very useful, if you have someone you workout with, they can most likely help you.

Pose in front of them and ask their opinion, it might not be a professional's opinion but hey, we don't all have the money to hire a pro 'posing teacher'. So once your critic has busted your chops and said your poses suck, you go back to the drawing board. Ask him/ her what they "think" you did wrong and work on it. From here on out all that's left to do is practice.

"Now get back in front of that mirror and flex those guns!"


Here are some tips for when you are posing or practicing.


This is one isn't so much talked about, but a deal breaker for me: smiling. Some people say you should smile while posing, smile on stage it makes you look... 'better'. I can't smile when I pose, I have to focus too hard on smiling which means I focus less on flexing, resulting in a less good pose. Therefore I don't smile; I'd rather have a nice pose then a pretty face!

Find out what works for you, if you can smile then go right ahead. But more importantly if you have trouble smiling while flexing, forget it. Your pose is much more important than showing the white of your teeth, focus on the pose first and the rest will come naturally!


Another tip that I can give you has a lot to do with the one I just gave you. Focus, especially on stage, everyone will be trying to distract you. People yelling from the crowd, bright lights in your eyes and the worst: the other competitors.

Arnold once wrote about how he told a joke on stage to a fellow competitor, this made the other guy laugh just enough not to be able to flex properly. Just like with smiling, you really have to focus on your pose first, once that has been perfected you can do other things, until that time: Flex!

Front Relaxed Position:

Besides focusing, another thing you must not forget to practice is the front relaxed position. A lot of guys forget to even practice position because they often believe that it's an easy position. Well let me tell you, it is not! During this position you might want to try to smile at least a little bit to give yourself that "as if you are really relaxed" look. Meanwhile you should try to flex as many muscles as possible and hold them. This is where the practicing of holding your poses comes in.

Freestyle & Music:

During the freestyle round you get to pick your own music and get to show the jury what you are all about; show them all of your strengths and none of your weaknesses. First develop a solid posing routine, pick out all the poses that compliment you and then put them in order so you have a nice flow from one pose to the other.

Next up is the music, now here's the tip: pick the music after you have created your routine, find something that matches your routine and not the other way around. If you do it the other way around it is usually at the cost of your routine. And please try not to pick something tacky, be original and unique: be yourself (no you are not the Terminator nor Rocky).


Last but not least, squeeeeze! While posing try and squeeze your hands as hard as possible. Studies have shown that if you squeeze your hands or clench your fists hard it somehow allows other muscles to contract more intensely. You can start off with a tennis ball or one of those anti-stress squishy balls; squeeze those as hard as you can while posing. The end result will be that you look more dense, harder and tighter, and that is what we want!

Popular Poses:

The most popular pose must be the front double biceps. Outside the gym, in places far away from the bodybuilding world, this pose is still used to show someone is strong and/ or muscular. It's without a doubt the most familiar pose in the world.

When I was little and my father asked me to show him my muscles, I would throw up my arms in two 90 degrees angles at my elbows, and try to squeeze my bi's as hard as I could. I doubt I was the first or the last, let alone the only one who ever did this. From the movies to even cartoons (Johnny Bravo) it is a pose that is shown all over.

The most muscular is also a very well known pose amongst bodybuilders and non-bodybuilders. It is a great pose to show off your bi's, shoulders, traps and chest and therefore used a lot by 'regular people' to joke around; as if they are very muscular.

Favorite Pose

My favorite pose is the front abdominal. It really compliments my strengths and that's probably why I like it so much. I have a pretty tight mid-section and this pose really shows it well, but it also shows my oblique's very nicely. Moreover where my abdominal muscles stop and my leg muscles start you can see my veins very well, which gives me a hard and tight look.

Next to that, this pose shows a lot of body parts at the same time, and if you do it right you can achieve a great "V-shaped" pose by spreading your lats out some. Once you find a pose that really brings out your strengths, make it your own! It will probably become your favorite!