Posing is the backbone of the physique rounds. It can be a manipulative tool used to enhance every competitor's physique. This is done by learning how to hide the weak points and bring more attention to the strong points in your physique. Once you understand the criteria for the physique rounds and what the judges are looking for (remember, this is often debatable as these rounds are very subjective), you should assess your physique for its strengths and weaknesses. You will then appreciate the value of posing and what it can do for you and your physique.
Quarter Turns Are Your Best Friend

Quarter turns are what the judges use to assess the physique rounds. It allows them to view you from every angle and compare you to other competitors. During a typical NPC physique round, competitors will first get the opportunity to walk on stage individually to present their physiques. You won't necessarily have to do the official quarter turns at this time, but a full turn of some sort is suggested because this will be your first impression to the judges. You will begin by walking out gracefully and in a style that suits your personality.

For example, I tend to step up with a slight pop and a huge smile like I've got sass and a ton of energy. That's me. J Walk with your chest up, and be conscious of your arms, your hands and how your legs are moving. You will need to practise walking in competition heels with a smile. Everyone is not a natural poised walker. Do not wait until competition day to find out that you look awkward when you walk. But no fretting, even walking is can be an acquired skill.

Coming Onto The Stage

When you come to the center of the stage, pause and acknowledge the judges. Begin your full turn gracefully and take your time in each stance. A good rule of thumb is to hold each stance for 2 seconds. You do not want to rush because it makes you look nervous, thus taking away from your stage presence. You also do not want to take too long because you may appear arrogant. Just allow enough time for the judges to see you and appreciate what you're presenting.

This is your time to have sole attention on stage. Take advantage of it, do not fear it. When you have completed your full turn, you should nod or wave and acknowledge the judges and the audiences. Gracefully exit or take your position in the line up. This should be directed beforehand.

The Four Turns

When every competitor has been presented, everyone will be asked to come out to be judged and compared in a line up. You will be asked to perform quarter turns. This is heart of what you will need to learn when it comes to posing. There are four turns, all moving to the right:

Front - In this stance, you will need to stand with your feet together, shoulders and hips straight on to the judges. Your goal is to bring out that V taper with your shoulders and back to give you the needed symmetry.

Side - In this stance, your feet will be together but they will allow a bent knee to show off the contour of the legs. You will need to twist at the torso so that your chest is open to the audience. This is not comfortable but it brings out your symmetry and makes your waist look smaller.

Back - This is one of the most difficult poses to hold. You want your shoulders to look wide and your V taper (if you have one) will be most apparent here. Be careful not to lose your V taper because you may be flexing your back improperly. Also, the way you hold your glutes will matter in this round also.

Side - Same as other side view.

Pose With Rhythm

Learn to pose with rhythm. Each turn should be smooth, balanced and to a rhythm. It usually takes me 4 counts to settle into each position. Remember, there is some flexibility in posing, especially with the arms and legs to best present your physique. Try different things to determine what makes you look your best. There is no ONE way or style to pose. The best thing to do if you are not confident about your posing is to work with someone with experience.

If you are a visual learner, you can probably settle for learning from videotapes. But it always helps to have someone else's eyes on you to evaluate you and give you feedback. When posing, practise holding each pose for at least 30 seconds to build your endurance. You do not know how long it will take the judges to look at everyone with satisfaction. I work with competitors weekly and posing is a skill that is normally not learned overnight. So, be sure to give yourself enough time to prepare.

Final Comparison

When all the competitors have been judges together, the head judge will then call out 2 - 4 competitors at a time to be compared. You will be asked to perform quarter turns and will be compared more closely now. Every turn matters, so perform each turn with deliberation yet ease. Being one of the first competitors called out is usually a good thing. But again, things can happen out of its normal sequence. So, try not to get discouraged if you are not called out immediately. Just continue to smile, emanate your beauty and focus on how you are going to smoke the floor when it's finally your turn.

I think posing is an incredible aspect of the physique rounds. I have seen it change the appearance of physiques to bring out the best. I've also seen great physiques suffer due to poor posing. Add this to your list of things to master as you prepare for your show. Do not feel overwhelmed, it's all apart of the sport. Just think like an athlete and understand that excellence will come over time, after hard work and many hours of practise and development. Have fun!!

By: Tanji Johnson

*Work It*