In the articles on judging men’s bodybuilding, women’s muscular physique, and women’s athletic physique, I explain that the judging criteria are the same for all three divisions. The criteria are muscular development, muscular definition, symmetry, and stage presence. The definitions, however, can vary slightly depending on the division.
With competitors presenting different strengths and weaknesses and displaying various degrees of muscularity and muscle definition, judges must decide which competitor presents the best combination of muscularity, muscle definition, and symmetry. Stage presence becomes crucial when physiques are very comparable to each other.
Since ranking competitors is not always straightforward, competitors must do their homework and focus on every aspect of contest preparation if they want to maximize their chances of doing well. After all, there is a lot more to preparing for physique contests than training and nutrition. Learning to present your physique in the best possible way is not always easy. This is where stage presence becomes important.
Stage presence includes skin color, skin tone, suit selection, confidence, and execution of the mandatory poses. Posing is just as important to showcase one’s strengths as it is to hide one’s weaknesses. Once you understand your strengths and weaknesses, learning to pose well requires time and practice – lots of practice. Flexing several muscle groups at the same time is hard work, especially if you want to make it look effortless.
I have seen competitors place several rankings lower than they would have placed if they had simply presented their physiques better. In some instances, competitors have even lost out on a first-place finish. Here are examples of how details can make a difference, especially when it comes to posing and presentation:
- If a competitor does not or cannot flare out the lats, the torso may appear to be longer than it really is, throwing off symmetry. Similarly, when a female competitor’s bikini bottom or a male competitor’s posing suit is worn low across the hips, the legs may appear to be shorter and not match the length of the upper body. This can become a big mistake.
- When men perform a rear double-biceps pose, they don’t always think about the position of the fists which can have a direct influence on the peak of the biceps. Also, if the upper part of the arm is slightly rotated forward, judges and the audience might not see the biceps at all, since the judges are often seated lower than the level of the stage.
- Failing to keep the legs tight might make the legs look as if they do not match the level of development or definition of the upper body. Again, this affects the overall symmetry of the physique and can seriously affect a competitor’s ranking.
At Physique Canada, we want to see all our competitors do their very best. For that reason, we are committed to educating and helping competitors as much as possible through our various information sessions and seminars. To prove our commitment, most of our seminars are free for our members, including our Posing and Presentation Master Class, where competitors get to practice their posing and receive individualized feedback. For information on the next posing seminar and the list of all seminars available, please visit PhysiqueCanada.ca.
Steve Duperré, SeriousAboutMuscle.com contributor and Physique Canada Chief Judge