blog article

Posing Do's & Dont's

Posing can make or break a physique.

I’ve seen athletes with stellar physiques fall short of first place because they weren’t able to display their gifts and I’ve also seen athletes with less-than-ideal genetics beat out the former because they really knew how to pose.

Regardless of which division you’re competing in, practicing your posing is going to be vital to your show day performance. After years as a posing coach and a competitor myself, I’ve seen what separates the best posers from the rest.  

Here are my top Posing Dos and Don’ts.

DO start practicing early.

DON’T wait until the last minute to start posing.

Really nailing your poses is going to take time, I don’t care how great your physique is or how talented you are. It is going to require a lot of practice and muscle memory to be able to hit and hold your poses correctly on stage.

My philosophy is that it’s never too early to start practicing. Practicing poses in the offseason is a great way to keep up your chops and make an easier transition when you begin your prep. At the very least I would begin posing regularly (2x week) as soon as your prep starts, increasing frequency within the last couple of months (3-5x week), posing daily by the time you are 6-8 weeks out from your show.

DO learn and understand the criteria for your division and organization.

DON’T just pose however you want.

Each division has its own unique criteria for posing based on the desired look the judge’s are seeking. Make sure you understand what the judges are looking for, the proper way to execute poses and any variations in poses you should avoid.

It should also be noted that not every organization/federation has the same posing guidelines and rules can vary within divisions based on which show you choose to compete in. Failing to pose within the guidelines of your division and organization may result in a lower placement.

DO pose for your physique.

DON’T copy how other athletes or your favorite pro pose.

The best posers know how to highlight their strengths while concealing their weaknesses. Obviously not every athlete has the same strengths and weaknesses, so not everyone is going to pose exactly the same. Posing to achieve the desired look for your division will vary depending upon factors such as your skeletal structure, muscle insertions, muscle mass and conditioning.

Spend the time figuring out how to best highlight your physique. You may really like the way another athlete poses but copying them could end up concealing your strengths and highlighting your weaknesses.

DO take videos of yourself posing.

DON’T rely on what you see in the mirror for feedback.

Many competitors have experienced the following scenario: they spend weeks of prep practicing their poses in the mirror, content with what they see, only to be horrified when they finally see their stage photos. Why? Because without the visual cues and feedback from the mirror, they don’t realize that they aren’t hitting the pose the way they think they are.

Practicing your poses without a mirror is a great way to reinforce muscle memory so that you can learn to feel when you’ve hit the pose correctly. Taking videos of yourself practicing without a mirror will allow you to look back and ensure that you were, in fact, hitting your poses correctly. Comparing videos will show you where you’ve made improvements and where improvements may still need to be made.

DO pose often.

DON’T forget to practice.

This may seem like common sense but many competitors have a tendency to put posing practice on the back burner during their prep. Between meal prep, lifting, cardio, work, family and everything else you may have going on, it’s easy to let posing practice slip down on the list of priorities. When you’re hungry, tired and super busy, posing can seem like a chore.

My advice is to set your posing practice into your schedule just like anything else. Make it a part of your weekly routine just like you would your lifts or your cardio. Posing after workouts is a great way to stay consistent and not have to carve out extra time during another part of the day. Maybe you get a session in before taking check-in photos each week or on your rest days. Whatever is going to keep you consistent is the way to go!

Don’t be the competitor who busted their ass all prep just to fall short on competition day because they were out-posed! After working so hard during your prep, you’re going to want to be able to display your best physique and absolutely nailing your posing will allow you to do just that.

Of course, it will always be helpful to have someone who knows what they’re doing critiquing your posing. Ask your coach, a fellow competitor or - best option - hire a posing coach to help you. Their objective view of your posing will be invaluable.  

Shameless plug: I am available for virtual posing sessions. Contact me through my website for more details and rates!