Bodybuilding Competition Posing
By Brian Cannone of

The comparison posing phase of a bodybuilding competition is called “Pre-judging” and is held before the Finals. The pre-judging event is conducted using standard poses. Judging panels are comprised of six or eight qualified judges, the Head Judge is the judge who speaks to the contestants and calls out the poses to the contestants. The Head Judge calls out the initial comparisons in a systematic fashion, utilizing the mandatory poses, done in a prescribed order. When there is a panel of six judges, five judges score the event. When eight judges are used, seven judges score the event, always with an odd number of judges. The high and low scores are then dropped and the scores are added with the lowest number being the winner of the division.

Should the number of contestants in a single division be larger than ten contestants. To make a single division practicable in the initial comparison, the Head Judge may break the division into two segments in order to facilitate the judging. After the initial comparisons are completed, the Head Judge shall shift the contestants about and conduct additional comparisons of selected subgroups as requested by the judging panel until all judges are satisfied that they have seen enough to establish their placings. After the completion of this phase, the comparisons for subdivision awards, if any, shall be made before the contestants are sent offstage. At the conclusion of all procedures, the judges fill out their individual scoring sheets.
During the initial comparisons, nine (or more) mandatory poses shall be done. The poses are the same for male and female bodybuilders. These poses are required for the initial comparisons and shall be done in the sequence indicated.

1. Quarter Turns
2. Front Double Bicep
3. Front Lat Spread
4. Abs and Thigh
5. Side Chest
6. Side Tricep
7. Rear Double Bicep
8. Rear Lat Spread
9. Most Muscular

In the comparison among class winners for the overall title, once the detailed systematic comparisons have been completed, the Head Judge shall call for a period of free-style posing, in which the contestants may do any poses they wish, in any sequence. The time limit for such posing shall ordinarily be no longer than 30-60 seconds.

Procedure of Judging
A. Semi-relaxed quarter turns:
Used by the judges to determine the symmetry score of a division during pre-judging
B. Mandatory poses:
In the initial comparison, these poses shall be used in a numerical sequence and all will be used. Selections of these poses may be used for subsequent additional comparisons of selected subgroups of contestants.
C. Optional poses:
Used during the comparison posing phase after the initial comparison has been completed. Selections of these poses may be used as desired by the judges.

Procedure of Posing
The poses shall be done described in this section, with particular attention to the requirements accompanying the standard poses. Contestants may be down rated for failure to assume the standard poses properly. The Poses should be formed by first placing the feet, and then assuming the pose as prescribed. While the focus of many poses is on a particular area of the body or body part, the whole body should be posed in every case. The semi-relaxed poses are meant to be semi-relaxed and not flexed, with feet flat on the floor, weight distributed evenly, posture symmetrical, and head facing forward. During the judging, contestants should generally focus their posing toward the center of the judging panel, and may rotate in place slightly in order to facilitate viewing by all judges. The mandatory poses or compulsory poses as sometimes called, are side by side with other competitors, under equal conditions to judge your physique against others in the division, these poses should be preformed the same by all contestants.

Quarter Turns
1. Semi-relaxed front pose
The contestant stands symmetrically, facing the judges, with both feet flat on the floor and weight distributed evenly. The arms should hang naturally at the sides.
2. Semi-relaxed left-side pose (quarter turn to the right)
The contestant stands in the same fashion as the front relaxed, facing right, and exposing his/her left side to the judges. Both feet are flat on the floor. There is no twisting of the body. The contestant faces and looks straight ahead.
3. Semi-relaxed back pose (quarter turn to the right)
The contestant stands in the same fashion as the previous poses, with feet flat on the floor and weight distributed evenly. The arms should hang as naturally as possible at the sides.
4. Semi-relaxed right-side pose (quarter turn to the right)
The contestant stands in the same fashion as the previous pose, facing left, exposing his/her right-side to the judges. Both feet are flat on the floor. There is no twisting of the body. The contestant faces and looks straight ahead.

Mandatory Poses
1. Front double bicep
The upper arms are held approximately parallel to the floor and the fists are balled. (The leg positions are not specified in this pose). Show off every major frontal muscle group in this pose. Legs in a comfortable, balanced stance, one knee slightly out. Stomach in, tighten abs, flexed arms. Helpful
Tips: Open up lats wide and smile, Remember to flex thighs and calves.
2. Front lat spread
The heels are together, with the toes pointed out at a 45 degree angle. The legs are slightly flexed. Show width and taper here. Stand, one foot slightly ahead of the other, tense thighs and abs. Start with arms bent, hands behind back at bottom of rib cage. Flare out lats as you bring hands front to sides of waist, elbows pointed out. Keep your delts flexed and up.
Helpful Tips: Keep a sober, serious expression. Hook thumbs behind waist and draw elbows forward.
3. Abdominals and thighs
The torso should be symmetrical. One leg out, point toe down or heel down, really tighten quadricep. Bring hands up behind head, keep elbows close to head, biceps flexed, fists touching traps. Lift diaphragm and blow all the air out of lungs and stomach. Crunch down on frontal rib cage and abdominal wall, crunching down on intercostals, serratus anterior, and obliques to show them as well.
4. Side chest
The chest is raised. The shoulders are held at approximately even height. The wrist is clasped with hand. Turn your best side to the audience, put legs together, lift heel of front foot. Fill lungs with air to lift rib cage, pull shoulder back, bend audience-side arm to flex bicep, push down on arm with other hand. Arch your back slightly, suck in stomach, flex pec, and smile to judges.
Helpful Tips: Mash front thigh against rear thigh to make look thicker, contract rear pec by pushing it to front with back arm.
5. Side tricep
The arm is held straight or nearly so, and may be rotated slightly. The wrist is held with the hand. The calf is spiked, with the toe placed at the instep of the foot. Grab displayed arm’s hand with other hand to hold it back.
Helpful Tips: Try different degrees of arm-bending to see which most brings out tricep. Flex abs, and especially chest and delts. Press arm against torso to make it look thicker. Push forward arm against rear arm to bring out shoulder detail.
6. Rear double bicep
The upper arms are held approximately parallel to the floor and the fists are balled. Put one leg back, knee angled slightly out, lift heel, and point toe, flexing hamstrings and calves. Tighten lower back to show erectors. Lift arms bent-elbowed until they are slightly above level of shoulders. Flex arms, shoulders, entire upper back, lower glutes, and rear thighs.
Helpful tips: Show either calf, flex hamstrings. Turn head to either side to bring out trap detail.
7. Rear lat spread
This pose also shows body taper from shoulder to hip. Legs, same position as rear double bicep pose. Lower arms to waist, everything on your back-side tense, fists against the back bottom of rib cage, elbows bent. Slide hands to front of body while spreading lats. Keep shoulders up, back straight and tall.
Helpful tips: Try not to crunch forward. Start pose by pressing shoulder blades together. Show either calf and flex hamstrings.
8. Most muscular
Hands on hips – The hands are placed on the thighs, below posing suit, with palms flat and thumbs forward. Breath out and crunch down on abdominals. Either lag may be displayed forward.

Optional Poses
Crab most muscular
Place best leg out forward and lean upper body forward. Bring arms forward, the hands are not clasped. Bring out trap muscles, tighten biceps, pecs, and breath out and tighten abs.

Intercostal twist crunch
Contestant faces right or left side to judges, exposing his/her side to judges. The hand is placed behind the head and the opposite arm placed on the hip. The torso slightly toward the judges, breath out and tighten abs and crunch down on intercostal muscles.

Overhead victory
The contestant brings both arms overhead with arms bent. Bend at knees and tighten legs. The wrists are turned out above the head.

Hamstring flex
This pose is done with the contestant facing facing to the side or to the rear. When to the side the leg nearest the judges is flexed, and moved up and down slowly to display the development of the posterior and lateral surfaces of the thigh. When the contestant is facing the rear, the leg to be used will be specified by the judges. The leg is flexed, and moved up and down slowly to display the development of the posterior surface of the thigh.

Leg display
The right or left leg is displayed forward, the leg to be displayed will be specified by the head judge. The leg is either toe down or heal down, flexed and rotated.

Posing Pointers
No matter how good your physique is you must be absolutely prepared and polished in showing the product before you step onstage.
Posing should be an integral part of contest preparation. No matter how good your physique may be, you still have to communicate this quality to the judges and audience. Their impression of you is formed by your mastery of posing – your ability to display your physique with control, drama, and excitement.
Posing is an art, to perfect the art you must practice posing. Its not excessive to spend one hour daily to practice all three rounds of posing. Learn from watching professionals, learn how to control your muscles. Learn how not to shake during pre-judging. Do not pose too quickly or hold poses too long. Be honest and critical with yourself. What poses highlight good bodyparts and which ones show weak parts. Posing brings out muscle separation. After long hours in the gym, when you step onstage, you must to able to display your body at its best.
First impressions can make you break you – come on strong
If you feel awkward, you probably are, change the pose
Do only optional poses that compliment your physique
Be natural in your facial expressions, look like you are having fun and smile
Center yourself and clear your head before you go onstage
Select music that inspires you and will move the crowd
Try to choreograph your routine to tell a story
Remember to keep your physique hard and at least semi-flexed whenever you are onstage
Don’t do anything that is unfavorable or disallowed in judging
Give other competitors space
Watch your time, a good short posing routine is appreciated more than a so-so long one
Put tanning products on evenly, don’t look sloppy
Fresh haircut and clean shave, well groomed hairstyle
Posing suit and color that fits your bodylines
Nice dark tan highlights muscle, but don’t overdo it
Watch for too much oil
Exude confidence and charisma

Posing routine
Free posing gives you the chance to pose and choose the poses that highlight your physique. Choose routine music that suits your personality, and have a professional record the music you choose. Flow between poses, make transitions smooth and logical. Choose dynamic popular music, get the audience involved!