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Posing Basics

Learn how to pose as if you were a statue of art!

You've built up some muscle and now it's time to show it off! Any serious bodybuilder needs to know how to pose, so here we've detailed the most popular, 'classic' poses that you should know how to do.

We'll start off with the front double biceps pose (the single arm version of which even non-bodybuilders know and you've probably even posed like it yourself!) and then the famous 'crab' or 'most muscular' pose which shows you off at your most massive best. The other poses constitute the statutary poses that you'll need to know if you ever compete.

Have fun,and remember the more you pose the better you'll get. Look at pictures of other bodybuilders posing and if you can go to bodybuilding shows and watch videos of bodybuilders posing - all this will help improve your own posing.

The Front Double Biceps Pose

Dorian Yates, 6 times Mr. Olympia performing the Front Double Biceps. Awesome! As in the illustration to the left, this pose has you standing face on, feet positioned slightly closer than shoulder width. You're arms are out to the sides, flexed at the elbow, with your arms tensed. You need to tense your legs to bring out the definition and shape in your quads and tense your abdominals and upper body. Try bending your arms to different degrees to see what looks best for you - for some the best angle is greater than 90 degrees but for others it's with the arms less bent. You'll generally look better if your elbows are slightly higher than your shoulders.

The front double biceps is actually a very hard pose to look massive in, and so we don't recommend you worry too much about how big you look while doing this pose. Just try to look as good as you possibly can and as you pack on muscle you'll look better and better!

The 'Crab' or 'Most Muscular' Pose

Dorian Yates, 6 times Mr. Olympia performing the Most Muscular pose This is our personal favourite pose and also a very popular one in general and for good reason too - it's a great pose for making you look HUGE! It's a easy to learn but incredibly difficult to master. Basically you bend over at the waist a bit and bring your hands almost together, tensing your slightly bent arms, pecs and delts as hard as you can. If possible bring your traps out by tensing your upper back up and over your delts - you'll get a feel how to do it as you practice.

With practice you'll figure out how best to flex your arms and how much to bend over to look as good as you possibly can for your own body structure. Have fun with this one - you'll look awesome while doing it!

The Side Chest Pose

Kevin Levrone performing the Side Chest pose This pose is one of the timeless classic poses and is great for showing off your pecs and arms. As in the photo stand side on and bend the front leg, tensing your calf. Bend the rear leg slightly so that you have a decent bend at the knee of the front leg. Bring your arms out in front of you, arms straight and grasp your hands together. Slowly bring the front arm down to your side whilst bending it at the elbow, turning your torso very slightly towards the front as you do it. Hold the pose at the point your front arm reaches a right angle in the arm and your upper arm is vertical (as in the photo). Puff out your chest as much as you can and tense your arms against each other. Smile and try to look as cool as possible!

This is a great pose if you have good pecs and arms.

The Side Triceps Pose

Mr Ripped aka Andreas Munzer performing the Side Chest pose This is another classic pose and is very similar to the side chest pose except that instead your hands clasping together in front of you they are clasped together behind you. You start off with your front arm being bent up, as if you are scratching an itch high up your side and then with your hands together you slowly straighten the arm down until it is pointing straight down at the floor. You can either do it slowly, tensing all the time or you can 'pop' into the final position, going for impact on the viewer. Some people mix the two methods together, going slowly to start with and then finishing with a small pop into the straight arm position.

It's a fun pose to do and if you're lean (shows the abs off well) or have big triceps it'll be a good pose for you to do.

The Front Lat Spread Pose

Dorian Yates, 6 times Mr. Olympia performing the Front Lat Spread pose If you've got a big back you'll be doing this pose often! It's a lovely pose once you can get it right but it seems to be one of the few poses that many people have difficulty doing correctly or effectively. This may be because it's one of the few poses where you're actually stretching some muscles, not just tensing everthing you've got!

Stand facing forwards with your feet fairly close together, your knees bent slightly and your knees slightly further apart than your feet are - this will help you tense your legs nicely. Then bend over at the waist very slightly and put both arms just around the back of your waist, your elbows bent nicely and back. Then slowly bring your arms around in front of you, trying to puff out your lats as you do so, so that when you have your arms out in front of you (fists still at your waist) your lats are as wide out (envision wings!) possible. The bigger your lats are the better you'll look! With practice you'll be able to get your lats to puff out nicely, but if you have practice keep trying - you'll get there.

The Rear Double Biceps Pose

Ronnie Coleman, 8 times Mr. Olympia performing the Rear Double Biceps pose This is basically the Front Double Biceps but from the rear! There are slight differences however - in rear poses you have one foot stuck out to the rear, tensing your calf, hamstring and glute to show your muscularity off, and instead of worrying about tensing your abs you tense your whole back instead. Your arms are pulled back more in this pose too, to try and make your back look as muscly as possible.

If you've got a big back this will be one of your best poses, practice it lots!

The Rear Lat Spread Pose

Dorian Yates, 6 times Mr. Olympia performing the Rear Lat Spread pose Again, this is very similar to the Front version but with more emphasis on the back muscles (i.e. don't try to stretch your lats out as much as you do with the front version as otherwise your back will look flat and lack muscle separation) and you stick one leg back and tense the calf, hams and glutes.

It's another great exercise if you have a big barn-door of a back!

The Abs and Thigh Pose

The Abs and Thigh pose This classic pose really shows your abs off if you're lean. Stand facing forward and put one foot forward, balls of the foot on the ground and tense your legs. Then bring your arms up and over your head, clasping your hands together behind your head. Then tense down on your abs, bending your torso a little so that your abs show. You need to be lean for this pose to look good, so don't worry too much about doing this pose while you're off season and posessing a normal level of body fat. Practice it more and more as you get leaner (especially if you're dieting for a competition) and it's a nice exercise for your abs if you practice it enough. Remember to keep your legs tensed as you tense your abs.

Closing comments

Try to practice in front of a mirror so that you can correct problems yourself and ask more knowledgeable bodybuilders for criticism if you know of any - you'll find at least a few friendly bodybuilders at gyms who'll be more than happy to comment. Be brave though, you may not like what you hear. With persistance and effort you'll get very good at posing, and when you finally get up on stage and compete you'll be very thankful for all the posing practice you'll have done. Have fun!