As a competitive bodybuilder, posing to me is as much part of the sport as training, diet and sleep. But what about the regular gym rat, who most likely will never step on stage? I am convinced that posing can help anyone anyone during their quest for a better physique, which is why I have all my clients do it on their off days.
So what are the benefits of posing if you do not plan to step on stage in a tiny piece of underwear? I believe there are several ways in which posing will help you to achieve your dream body. Here are my thoughts:
Posing Improves Muscle Awareness
1. Posing can dramatically improve muscle awareness, especially in hard to develop areas such as hamstrings or parts of your back. Very often athletes have lagging muscle groups, simply because they do not contract them properly during the workout. Posing betters the mind muscle connection which then leads to better workouts overall.
That is something that's often overlooked in our "I can bench 500 lbs +" society. In the end it is the amount of fibers you activate during a set, not the amount of weight being moved, that will decide how much growth you are creating in your target muscle.
You will be surprised how much trouble a simple back double biceps pose can give you, where you simultaneously have to flex your hamstrings, calves, back and biceps. The ability to properly contract a muscle during the workout is most likely the most important thing you'll ever need during your bodybuilding career, for several different reasons: not only will it make you grow faster, you will also train smarter with less momentum, which in turn helps prevent injuries.
Posing Helps With Definition
2. Posing helps with definition, meaning it will get you leaner. You will find that 20 minutes of hitting the mandatory poses make for an interesting cardio, but its more fun than the treadmill. I especially feel that posing is a great tool on high carb days, when you really want to fill your muscles back up. Posing forces the muscle to store more glycogen, when done several times during the day for a couple minutes.
In terms of ab work, posing is second to none, since the abs have to be flexed during every pose. I personally feel that a rigorous posing session does more for me than the ab bench.
Finally, when you pose you have a chance to honestly reflect on your physique. Do you have any outstanding muscles? Which ones are lagging? Having a friend take photos of your poses works wonders in terms of body assessment. As Arnold said: "If you can't flex it, don't build it."
Posing Increases Muscle Maturity
3. Posing increases your muscle maturity. What does that mean? Will I get older faster? Not quite. Have ever noticed how seasoned bodybuilders almost always have a drier and more complete look on stage than their younger counterparts?
Think of Toney Freeman, Gary Strydom or Robby Robinson. These guys look incredible year round, despite having passed 40 or even 50 years of age. None of them trains heavy (anymore) but every rep matters, it's constant contraction and relaxation.
In addition, they all have done their fair number of contests, which helped them achieve this incredible look. Gary Strydom is known for training shirtless and asking his training partners to do the same. No hiding out. The increased contractions help to fast forward your development, making your appearance more sculpted and defined.
Finally, once you master posing you can impress your gym buddies by masterfully displaying the vacuum or a killer most muscular.
5 Suggested Poses
Here are 5 poses I suggest you take into your repertoire.
1. Most muscular. This one can be done in different ways, hands clasped in front of the body or the so called "crab" most muscular pose. Whichever one you choose, you will be required to flex your abs, chest, shoulders arms and quads to their max. It is and excellent way to get striations and cuts into chest and quadriceps.
2. Back double biceps. One of the most complicated poses to master. You will need to pose from the feet up (as with every pose). First you turn your feet out, and get into a slight step while twisting the knees outward with a slight bend. This will enable you to flex hamstrings and calves. (you will need to practice flexing your hamstrings, once you are cramping you are doing it right). Then you can raise your arms overhead and pull down, as if doing a lat pull down, contracting your back and biceps.
3. Side triceps: Again, from the ground up. Push the legs against each other to make them seem bigger and shapelier. Then exhale, grab one arm by the the wrist from behind the body, pull down, flex the triceps and smile. Great for abdominal control.
4. Side chest: Same set up as side triceps, only that the arm away from the photographer (or mirror) goes under the pec and scoops it up. Flex legs, exhale, hold abs, contract biceps and smile.
5. Hands over head abs and thigh: An absolute killer when it comes to conditioning! Again from the legs up, put one leg out front, contract thigh as hard as possible. Raise your hands behind the head and contract your abs. Blow all the air out, lean a little bit forward and contract the entire upper body, as well as your leg.
Hold all poses for 15 seconds and repeat. Take photos and you will be surprised what posing can do for your appearance.