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ICN Men's Fitness and Physique Posing - How to be the best on stage

So most athletes that step on stage (from what I see) get incredibly shredded but let themselves down by not even attempting to practice their posing or even get any lessons to make you not look like an awkward pelican. Sorry, awkward, shredded pelican.

Most of what I see are half assed attempts at trying to copy the guy next to them in full hopes that something will slightly work.

Honestly....this just makes you look like a total fool on stage and the judges can see that.

Posing has 2 key things that it does:

  • FIRSTLY - Posing increases your stage presence. Stage presence is one of the most critically underrated key aspects to stepping on stage. If you look down, chin tucked into your shredded chest and have your shoulders slumped, then the judges will look straight over you, ending your time on stage and disregarding your physique that you worked so bloody hard for for months and months on end! Here are two different photos, not from stage day but you can tell which face is going to get more looks on stage. Granted one is very out of shape and the second is a few hours before show time

But it just goes to show which face is going to be the one that looks like they are having more fun and who looks like they actually want to be on stage right? A greater stage presence will MAKE the judges want to look at YOU!

  • SECONDLY - Posing enhances the look of the physique to make it look bigger and better than it actually is. Posing allows for muscles to be squeezed and for muscle striations to pop, creating a physique that gives the illusion that it is better than it actaully is. Take these two pictures for example. One photo is just a standard, kinda depressing, check in photo, whereas the other is bigger, looks leaner but both are actually only around 1-2kg's different in body weight.

  • Getting to know how your body looks and feels while posing also allows for you to create better mind muscle connections with your muscles and having a better mind muscle connection creates a better looking physique on stage. You'll pump up quicker, you'll look bigger and you'll feel like you are on top of the world making your stage presence even greater!!

Now that some of the basic info on WHY you should practice your posing is out of the way, lets get into the turns that you need to learn for BOTH MENS FITNESS AND MENS PHYSIQUE. Please note, I do not have instructions on how to compete in Bodybuilding and Classic Physique. They are both out of my socope of practice and do not know how to complete those poses effectively, so I won't pretend that I know my shit and avoid them.

The Quarter Turns

With ICN Australia, Men's Fitness and Physique competitors are required to complete 4 quarter turns as part of their mandatory poses.

  1. Men's Fitness has 4 quarter turns and an abdominals and thigh pose. Men's fitness models are required to be lean but not bodybuilder levels of leanness with good muscularity.

  2. Men's Physique has 4 quarter turns, a side chest pose, side tricep pose, front double bicep, back double bicep and abdominals and thigh. Men's Physique models are required to be MORE conditioned than men's fitness competitors and also have more muscle mass.

We will go through all the quarter turns and abdominals in Men's Fitness and then add on the Physique poses in a seperate section.

Men's Fitness and Physique Quarter Turns

Front Relaxed

The front relaxed pose should show the front of the body where the abs, front of delts a tight V-taper and striations in the quads are all visible.

In this pose, lats must be widened with a higher pronounced chest creating bigger appearance. Hand can be placed either on hip, or where comfortable, or can be off the hip with both arms away from the body like the right arm in this photo. Abs must be visible and engaged. Hips are slightly turned away from the body creating a more intense v-taper and tighter waist. Most of your weight should be transferred to your right leg to allow for seperations to show in quad and allow for a smooth transition into the next phase.

Side Pose

From here a transition from the front pose to the side pose is made. The side pose is where the side of the body is shown (obviously). The obliques, striations in the side of the chest as well as delts, forearms and legs are shown off here.

When in this pose, most of the body weight is transferred to the left leg, which with some slight bending in the knee can create some lines to distinguish between the quad and the hamstring pop. The right bicep should be being pushed into the chest creating a squeeze (just like if you were doing a cable fly). The hand must be on the hip with the elbow slightly pulled back to allow for the lat and V-taper to show. Obliques are slightly crunched on to turn them on and abs should be tight.

Back Pose

This, some say, is where shows can be won or lost. The back is such a crucial element when it comes to the posing because this pose is all about feel and remembering. Because you can't see your back, it is always incredibly difficult to be able get the right pose. Practice and reviewing of footage will help with this one.

In this pose the goal is to show off the hamstrings, lower back conditioning, width in the lats and rear delts.

When setting up for this posepulling the hamstrings intowards each other will allow for the details to be seen. Pulling the shoulders out and making the lats wide is critical in creating a large upper body and small waist. Flare the lats. Do not pull back through the shoulder blades like you are doing a row, you will loose all the little details and width. Pop your chest up and engage your abs to tighten the waist and create a smaller V-taper.

Other side pose

Same as last time. As you can see, this is my much better side.

Abdominals and Quads

This pose, in my opinion, is one of the most crucial poses when it comes to Men's Fitness and Men's Physique. If you don't have ABSsolutely shredded up abs then you probably need to go and diet a little longer.

In this pose the hands are brought behind the head allowing the arms to show off some size. From here a big breath is taken in and fully expelled squeezing the abs as tight as possible and crunching down without sacrificing the showing of the abs. What I mean by that is that you shouldn;t be bending so far over that you can only see the back of your head. Slightly lean back to get the light to produce some shadows and squeeze. ALL AIR MUST BE REMOVED FROM THE LUNGS. Most of the weight is transferred to the back left leg (unless the right is preferred) and the opposite leg is pointed to allow for all striations to pop.

Mens Physique Mandatory Symmetry Poses

Front Double Bicep

The goal of this pose is to show off arm symmetry, size and leanness.

Very similar to the front pose where weight is shifted onto the front leg - here I choose my left because it feels better and I get better taper through my waist, but obviously choose whatever works best for you. A tall chest and big squeeze in the biceps is required here to create the best look. Try to keep the wrists from curling in towards the forearm too much and try not get the forearms to touch the bicep. Ideally a slightly smaller than 90 degree angle between the forearm and bicep is required.

Back Double Bicep

Possibly one of my more favourite poses because it shows off all the tiny little details that you've worked so hard to achieve. Very similar to the back pose in Men's Fitness but includes the biceps like the front double bicep. Here lifting up through the chest and rib cage, while pulling in the hamstrings and having a slight lean back int he lower back will create the best looking back shot. Staying wide like the back pose by flaring the lats and slightly bringing the elbows forwarf to bring out the smaller details.

Side Chest

In this pose, feet come togther, with the front (right in this case) tucked into the arch of the other (left) foot. A big bend in the front leg while most of the weight is being transferred into the back leg. From here the right arm is pointed out in front of the body, the left palm is placed on the wrist or opposite palm, the elbow is pulled back (a little further than this photo) and the left bicep is forced into the pec as hard as possible to create the striations you see here. Force is applied in both directions from both palms to pop out forearm and delt cuts. A slight crunch on the obliques and exhaling of the air in the lungs is crucial to get some extra details through the abdominals.

Side Tricep

Now this is possibly my favourite pose.

All leg work is exactly the same as the side chest. The difference is in the top half.

after setting the feet up, the tricep is also pointed out in front of the body to show off the muscle, then the thumb, fingers or wrist is held by the opposite hand and the tricep is straightened to show the details in the delts, tricep and forearm. This one usually needs some fiddling as I found that my tricep and delt popped the best with my hand holding onto my fingers. From here all air is expelled from the abs and then squeezed. Slightly turn the upper half towards the judges so that everyone can get a damn good look at how incredible you look.

Last thoughts and Extra Tips

Now this is an extremely brief rundown of how to pose for both Men's Fitness and Physique. So please get yourself a posing coach - shameless plug but send me a message on Facebook or Instagram if you would like to pose with me - and practice, practice, practice.

Here are a few tips to get you on your way to posing like a god:

  1. Practice 10-15mins a day (more if possible)

  2. Pose in front of a mirror and at the 8 week out mark, start to pose without a mirror to start to understand how it feels to be on stage.

  3. Practice your walk outs

  4. Practice your stage presence

  5. SMILE FOR GODSAKE. Make it look like you want to be there. Nobody care about what your teeth look like, they just want to see you having fun and enjoying yourself!!

Thank you for reading! If you found this helpful, please send me a message, I would love to hear from you!

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