All’s fair in love and bodybuilding. This is especially true when it comes to compulsory forms in bodybuilding competition -- they are the same for women and for men. This makes perfect sense since the forms are designed as a platform to let you strut your stuff and show off all your hard work at its best.
Competitive pre-judging usually begins with quarter turns designed to present an overall picture of your physique. Despite the intended neutrality of these poses, they’re actually anything but. Though not actively posing, all of your muscles should be actively engaged in an isometric contraction. Quarter turns are normally called out in a clockwise direction of successive turns to the right. Men often rotate the torso towards the front when turning to the side making them look a bit like ancient Egyptian paintings with a forward-facing body and a head in profile, but the tendency for women is to keep the torso and head facing forward with the rear arm extended away from the body. The female form is still an important part of women’s bodybuilding and many believe keeping the torso forward in the quarter turn shows the female physique better and avoids unflattering lines.
The requisite front poses include the front double bicep, front lat spread and front abdominals and thigh. Front double bicep allows you your Superman pose with both arms up and biceps flexed. Be sure to adjust your hand position to get maximum peak on the belly of the bicep. The front lat spread is just that: spread the wings of your lats and let them fly. Front abdominals and thigh are the showcase for your stunning eight-pack abs and the quadricep development you killed yourself with squats and lunges to achieve. Even if the emphasis is not necessarily on the legs, be sure to keep the legs engaged in any forward facing poses to emphasize symmetry. It’s also a great opportunity to keep showing off your lower body even though the poses focus on the upper body.
The two side poses are the side chest and side tricep pose. Both are presented by turning the body to one side or the other similar to a quarter turn. The side chest pose is one of several, classic and beautiful proud bodybuilder poses. With the arms bent and held close to the body, this is your chance to puff up your pectorals like the queen bee you are. Because of the rotation, emphasis is placed on the rear pectoral. However, don’t neglect the bicep opportunity here or the chance to keep flexing through the entire leg.
The side tricep pose is all about popping the horseshoe at the back of the arm. This pose can be achieved with the aid of the opposite hand reaching behind the back to grab the wrist of the forward arm, or by flexing the tricep against the body on its own.
Rear compulsory forms include the rear double bicep and the rear lat spread. The rear double bicep is your Superman view from the back so the trapezius, rhomboids and erector spinae are on display with the biceps. The rear lat spread is about showing off the width and thickness of the lats as well as the pronounced “Christmas tree” triangle at the small of the back. The rear leg is kicked out behind you so squeeze those glutes and activate the hamstrings to take full advantage of the pose to show every muscle you’ve worked so hard to get.
You’ve got the pick of your favorite with the most muscular pose. Choose whichever pose shows you off at your best. The pec-squeezing crab is fa avorite in this category or many go back to the Superman for a fabulous full body flex. This one’s all about you so you can’t go wrong.
- Cutting Edge Fitness: Posedown #8: Quarter Turns
- Bodybuilding.com: Bodybuilding.com’s Posing Advice
- Learn Bodybuilding: Posing Basics
- T Nation: Building Bodybuilder Triceps
- The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding; Arnold Schwarzenegger
Jullie Chung writes regularly for various websites. She is a nationally certified fitness trainer and performance enhancement specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine and trains regularly in yoga, flatwater kayaking, boxing and mixed martial arts. An avid outdoor fan, she regularly hikes, climbs and trail runs.