Quick, look at the figure competitors pictured above. Can you spot who has spent their time practicing their posing correctly?
Regardless of the division you choose to compete in – bodybuilding, physique, figure, or bikini – your posing is possibly the single most important element in determining your success.
Bodybuilding, figure, whatever division you compete in – this sport is very much based on illusion. As we diet down we are, by the very nature of the process, getting smaller. But as the cuts appear, striations deepen, and body fat goes away, the underlying muscles are made to look bigger. That illusion is then enhanced – hopefully – by your posing.
How you hold and present yourself on stage is everything. If you have a great physique but can’t properly display it, it will be obvious to everyone watching. Similarly if you have a very average physique but can really nail the presentation, you might just win the whole show. The keys are practice, trying different things, practice, getting 2nd opinions and extra eyes, and more practice.
As part of the contest prep cycle, everyone should include regular posing practice, and it should be more frequent closer to the show. All the body cues you go through while looking into the mirror (hips turned a bit more, drop that shoulder, more knee bend, get the elbows wider) need to be automatic. It should go without saying (though it’s often forgotten) that you need to be able to do all this without the benefit of a mirror, as well.
And yes ladies, if you’re competing in figure or bikini your posing practice must be done in your shoes. You need to be comfortable in those things both walking around gracefully and standing in place for extended periods of time.
There are other benefits of practicing your posing besides just making sure you can present yourself competently on stage. It’s hard work, and if you do it right it can count as cardio. You’ll also improve your conditioning while doing what you’re training for – think of your time in the gym as doing endless squats to prepare for a bike race. Sure, it’s helpful, but maybe you should spend more time on your bike pedaling. Same thing with posing practice, as posing is what you’re doing on stage – not lifting weights.
Practice is key. As part of my consultation services, I also offer coaching on posing for all divisions and practice this as part of the Figure Bootcamp. Don’t let your show date get too close on the calendar before you start really spending some dedicated time to practicing your posing!
By the way – all of the competitors pictured could use some adjustments, but the one on the far left comes the closest.