When you're onstage, posing is everything. You've prepared for somewhere around 12 weeks for this one day, and you can look massive and shredded, or like a soft little kindergarten girl simply by how you pose. The majority of the time, the winners of every class are almost always those who posed the best. They're also the ones who looked the best. Put that together. It doesn't matter so much how big you are if you can't poke your lats out right in the rear lat spread or relaxed pose. It doesn't matter at all how ripped you are if your quads aren't held right in your abdominal/thigh pose, or if your calves are unflexed in your rear double bicep or lat spread. You can go into a show and take first or last with the same body. So after all your training, you better show it right.
The good part of that, is most people suck at posing. That puts you at an early advantage. That means that if you get good, you've got a massive edge going into prejudging. Prejudging being the only important part of the show. There's prejudging and the night show. Prejudging is every bit of the judging. The night show is just a show. It's the fun part to watch, but there's no judging there, so spend more time practicing what you'll do in prejudging than what you're going to do for your routine in the night show.
You should make sure you train for the poses. Hold them for a long time, because the judges aren't going to ask you to hold it until it becomes uncomfortable for you to continue. Especially that relaxed pose. If you relax you lose. You'll hold that pose for way too long. It's pretty ridiculous, but it's painful and I gaurantee they will make you hold it for longer than you anticipated regardless of what you go into the show expecting. So practicing more than you think is necessary can't hurt you.
Look confident. Don't go up there and strain your face with every pose. Beginners always go up there and widen their mouth as much as possible to strain their face and neck and get all that vascularity up there. I'll let you in on a secret. The judges don't care how ripped your face is. The highest they'll look is your traps, so quit doing that. You just look like you're struggling to hold the pose and you can barely keep up. That's what it looks like. The judges aren't looking to see if there's a vein running down the front of your throat. Just look calm, relaxed, and confident. That's impossible enough to do while keeping every other muscle in your body tight. Just quit the face thing is all.
Depending on your class size, and how good you look, you may have to run through all of your poses three to four times. If you have a small class of about six or less, you'll probably only have to hit each pose once or twice, depending if they move you. They'll run everyone through once, then move the best looking people right next to each other, and hit a few more poses to compare directly. If the class is bigger than that. You have to wait off to the side while half the class poses, then you go pose, then they bring out all the best people to pose, while the others wait off to the side, then they start moving people around, and you've already hit your poses four times through, the majority of the time standing in your relaxed pose, and you're beginning to hate it. That's pretty much what happens. So be ready for that and here's your poses in the order they will call them, starting with the relaxed pose and hitting it before and after every pose they call.
Relaxed Pose: This is what you're always doing if you're not posing. It's hard. It sucks. That's pretty much it. At first they'll run you through the quarter turns. When you're facing the front, this is it. Before and after every pose, this is what you hit. They'll tell you to relax. If you relax you lose. You have to do what's described here and this is likely the most important pose of them all. Always start with your legs. Every pose. On this one, you have to set your feet aimed outward slightly, heals about three to six inches apart, bend your knees a little bit, and contract your quads as tight as you can by resisting extension with your hamstrings and using the floor as resistance to press outward to fully contract all parts of your quads. There are a few different ways to flex your abs. Look in the mirror. You can suck in, flex them, or bring in the midline up the center. Which ever one looks best, do that. I myself either suck in or bring in the midline. Keep some air in your lungs so you can flare out your lats, using your triceps to press into the back of them and pull forward a little more. Keep your chest up, your arms tight, your fists small without drawing any attention, and look confident. You'll be in this pose a lot. Be ready.
Relaxed Pose (side): Quarter turn to the right. So basically you just turn and face the right. Legs pressed against each other a little bit, the leg that's facing the audience as tight as possible. Abs in. You don't want to turn to the right and have the judges see a big waste line. So suck in as you're turning so there's not even an instant that they could catch it. Have your back arm pressed up against your chest to tighten it without being too noticable what you're doing. Flex your tricep that is facing the audience. And basically just look the direction you are facing, not at the judges. People who cock their head back to try and look at the judges just look uncomfortable and nervous, and that shows up in where they place.
Relaxed Pose (back): My favorite pose. It's the most comfortable to do and you can make yourself look awesome doing it. You're facing away from the judges, so you can let your abs and chest completely relax. Heels together or close to being together. Legs bent slightly and make your hamstrings and glutes tight as possible. Flare out your lats as best as you can here because the wider they are here, the higher you place. It's pretty important. Other than that keep your triceps tight and just wait for another quarter turn to hit the other side.
Front Double Bicep: Set your legs. You can do the relaxed pose leg stance, or put your dominant leg out in front just slightly with full knee extension to accent your quads, while hitting your toes into the ground to flex your calf. But either way, set your legs first and angle them appropriately at the judges. I don't care what you do to get your arms up. Everyone has some little jig they do. Just don't take forever prancing your arms around because the judges are waiting for the pose, not some revolutionary innovative little dance maneuver. So get into your pose in reasonable time. That doesn't mean blast your arms into the air like a shotgun as the pose is being called. I wouldn't think it would be too hard to be holding your pose firmly and strongly in reasonable time, but this seems to be an issue with most of those brilliant athletes on stage. So do it right and you're already at an advantage. Don't leave your thumbs shooting out some direction or clumping up underneath your fingers on the outside. It looks sloppy. Either tuck them inside of your fingers, or lift your index finger slightly, press your strait thumb against your middle finger and wrap your index finger around the top. If you have your own comfortable technique, that's fine, but don't let your thumbs be noticable. The rest is just sticking your chest up, keeping your abs tight, lats as wide as can be in that sort of a pose and don't forget about your legs while you're focussing on so many other things.
Front Lat Spread: This one is sort of complicated and can be done a number of ways. You can have the relaxed pose leg stance, or you can put one foot slightly out in front, extend that knee fully and accent the quads, hitting the toes on the ground to flex your calf at the same time. Aim it at the judges and hold it tight the entire time. Never let it relax, otherwise you're just drawing attention to your smooth unflexed leg that's just kind of chilling there out in front. Judges notice that. So keep it tight. Drive your chest up high, suck some air into your lungs, set your shoulders and arms back with your hands on your sides above your illiac crest (that bone there), then drive them forward widening your lats as much as possible. The wider the better. Just remember that when you start breathing real heavy, you can see it in your abs as they come in and out about three inches with every breath. So try to keep the pose fairly controlled.
Side Chest and Bicep: You're turned to your side at this point. You pick which side to do it. So when they call this pose, just hit whatever side you look better doing it in. Legs first. Pull your foot on the leg that's towards the audience back slightly so that your toes are in the middle of your back foot. Your back leg is almost strait and your front leg is bent and angled back, pressing your hamstring against your back leg to flatten it out and give the appearance that it is slightly larger. Keep your front leg calf tight as the judges can see it and it's an important part of the pose. Suck your abs in to give the impression of a smaller waist. Pull your arms back a little bit so you can roll into position properly. Back arm kind of behind and underneath the chest, tight against your body, and that hand on your other wrist, so that when you roll it over, you push up and out on that chest. Don't take forever to get into the pose and keep your flexed bicep pressed up against your body right behind your chest to try and flatten it a tiny bit. Look in the direction you're aiming your pose. And aim it at the judges. The audience isn't ranking you on this one. Remember to keep everything tight. You have to concentrate to do that.
Rear Double Bicep: Facing the 'curtains'. Basically you're facing away from the audience. That means you can let your abs, chest, and quads relax again. Actually relax. Set your feet and legs first. Put one calf out pretty wide with your knee slightly bent and aimed at the judges. Keep that calf and hamstring tight the entire time. Keep your glutes tight and your other leg tight as possible in the position it's in. I don't care how you get into position but keep your whole back tight, and roll your arms back a little bit. The judges are sitting below you. So if you flex your biceps strait up and down, they'll just see an unflexed tricep. So roll your shoulders and arms back slightly to aim that whole area down a little bit. Also, the lights are overhead, so don't shadow your biceps by having your arms as bent as possible with your hands right over top. Keep your thumbs neatly tucked away and remember to keep your back tight and don't let your legs relax.
Rear Lat Spread: You're obviously still facing the rear. So you start out just like the rear double bicep. Set your feet and legs first. Put one calf out pretty wide with your knee slightly bent and aimed at the judges. Keep that calf and hamstring tight the entire time. Keep your glutes tight and your other leg tight as possible in the position it's in. I usually switch extended calves for this one but you don't have to, whatever's comfortable. Again, let your abs relax. You're going to need them in a minute, so spend this little minute saving your strength. Drive your elbows back, put your thumbs somewhere on your waist that's comfortable for you and widen your lats as much as possible as you suck in a ton of air and pull your elbows forward. Keep your lats wide and don't let especially your extended leg relax.
Side Tricep: You set this pose up just like a side chest and bicep. You pick which side to turn to when the judges call the pose. Legs first. Pull your foot on the leg that's towards the audience back slightly so that your toes are in the middle of your back foot. Your back leg is almost strait and your front leg is bent and angled back, pressing your hamstring against your back leg to flatten it out and give the appearance that it is slightly larger. Keep your front leg calf tight as the judges can see it and it's an important part of the pose. Suck your abs in to give the impression of a smaller waist. Reach your hands behind your back and grab the wrist of the arm that is facing the audience. Extend that arm, fully contracting the tricep and aiming it towards the judges. Keep your chest high, your abs in, don't forget about your legs, and angle your tricep towards the judges, moving slightly if you want so all of them have a better angle, looking in the direction your tricep is aiming.
Front Abdominal and Thigh: Set your legs first. Put your dominant leg slightly out in front with full knee extension to accent your quads. Toes on the ground hitting that calf hard. Angle it at the judges and keep them tight. It's a very important part of this pose. Lean your upper body backward while sucking in a bunch of air as you reach your hands up, grabbing the back side of one of your hands, putting and keeping both hands tucked behind your head, pressing up against it. Blow out all your air as the top part of your upper body comes forward contracting the abdominals as hard as possible. Get as much air out of you that you can while breathing in shallow breaths, trying to look comfortable. You want the angle that you're leaning to be right. Pretty much strait up and down so you don't block the lights over your abs but you want to have the lean back, lean into the pose thing going for you so that your abs can be contracted fully without leaning too far forward. Don't forget about your quads and calf and try not to make a big sceene breathing to deep.
Most Muscular: You can do a few different things here. It's sort of an optional pose. That one everyone who's not a bodybuilder always does in front of the mirror, that's this one. It shows off the biceps, traps, chest, quads, and sometimes abs. It's not all that important of a pose as there's no set way to do it necessarily. But just stick with the crab. That's the one where you set your quad out in front as if you were doing a front abdominal and thigh, knee fully extended, toes into the ground flexing both the calf and quads as tightly as you can. Then bring your arms back and circle around in front of your body bringing your fists together in front of your abs. Out in front, not right up against them. This whole time, flare out your traps, and keep your biceps and chest tight. It wouldn't hurt to flex your abs since your hands probably aren't big enough to fully hide them. Just keep your whole body tight when you land the pose and angle it around a little bit if you want so everyone can see. Don't jerk your body around like some WCW star though. Smooth. Just be tight, confident, and smooth, and if your mouth face happens to do that wacky tight neck thing, it's not going to kill you on this pose. But that doesn't mean make a big huge sceene with your face. Just focus on the pose is all you have to do.