During an IFBB bodybuilding competition, judges are in charge of the evaluation of the physique of the bodybuilders. Each judge must follow a definite procedure, which will evaluate each muscle group separately, and also the overall look of the competitorís physique.
The judges must direct their attention, during the judging rounds, at the muscular groups emphasized by each of the 8 official poses. The judges must also take in consideration the entirety of the physique from the head down. During the requested poses, the judges look for the following criterias:
∑ The physique symmetry and balance ∑ The muscular definition and density ∑ The overall conditioning ∑ On stage behavior and presentation
The overall evaluation must review the head, the neck, the shoulders, the chest, all the muscles of the arms, the front of the trunk for the pectorals, the pectoral-deltoids connection, the abdominal region, the waistline, the thighs, the legs, the calves and the feet.
The procedure for the back poses must review the higher and lower trapezoids, the lats and rhomboids, the lumbar region, the gluteus muscles, the hamstrings, the calves and the feet.
Front Double Biceps Pose:
Facing the judges with knees slightly bent, with the heels of the feet almost touching and toes pointed out in a V shape; the bodybuilder will then raise the two arms to shoulders height; fold them at the elbows, putting the arms parallel to the floor. The hands should be closed and turned downwards. This will contract the biceps and the muscles of the forearms, which are the principal muscular groups evaluated in this pose.
The bodybuilder should also take a deep breath to expand the chest. The emphasis is put on the biceps, but the legs, the lats and the abdominals should be flexed.
Back Double Biceps Pose:
Facing the back of the stage, the bodybuilder will fold the arms and the wrists the same way than the Front Double Biceps Pose, and will bring one of the leg toward the judges, posing the foot and resting on the toes to show calf and leg development.
The bodybuilder must beforehand contract the muscles of the arms, quickly fallowed by the muscles of the shoulders, top and the bottom of the back, the thighs and the calves. The bodybuilder should stand perfectly straight; trying not to lean forward and backward, since that could bias the judgesí evaluation.
This pose, probably more than the others, will help to determine the quality of the density, the definition and the muscular symmetry of the bodybuilder.
Abdominals and Thighs Pose:
Facing the judges and audience, the bodybuilder will place the two arms behind the head and will extend one leg forward. He will also contract the abdominal muscles by bending slightly the trunk forward. At the same time, he will contract the muscles of the thigh placed ahead. The abdominal muscles must be fully flexed and the stomach should not be distended.
Itís important to note that the one-arm variation of the abdominal pose isnít considered and official pose, unless the Head Judge asks for the specific pose.
Most Muscular Pose:
The bodybuilder must stand with one leg slightly extended toward the judges, and perform the most muscular pose of his choice. The two favorite poses are the Crab and hand-on-hips most muscular. Always a crowd pleaser, the Most Muscular Pose is all about the global conditioning and vascularity of the bodybuilder.
For the Crab pose, the bodybuilder should bring the arms in front of the body, at stomach level with closed fists, all in an arched motion.
For the hand-on-hips variation, the bodybuilder must put one hand on his hip and make the arched motion with his other arm. Every muscle should be flexed to the max for either most muscular poses.
Side Tricep Pose:
The Bodybuilder will stand in a similar position as the Side Chest Pose, but will place the two arms behind his back. He can cross the fingers to catch the other hand or hold the arm by the wrist with his back hand. The forward arm is stretched all the way down and the back arm is posed across the lower back.
The bodybuilder will then exert a pressure on his forward arm, thus causing the contraction of the triceps. He will also bulge the chest and will contract the abdominal muscles, the muscles of the thighs and the calves.
Side Chest Pose:
For this pose, the bodybuilder will stand sideways so the judges can see his profile. To execute the pose, He will fold the arm located in front of him, in a 90 degrees angle position, with a closed fist and the other hand wrapped around the rear armís wrist. The front leg, should be slightly folded and rest on the toes.
The bodybuilder then should pull back the forward arm, bulge the chest and by applying pressure to the top of the folded arm, contract the biceps as much as possible.
The judge will pay attention to the pectoral muscles, the rib cage expansion, leg development and the biceps contraction. The abs should always be flexed.
Front Lat Spread Pose:
Facing the judges with his feet close from one another positioned in a V-shape, the bodybuilder will place his hands on the bottom of the waistline and will deploy his dorsal muscles. While executing the pose, the bodybuilder must try to contract as many frontal muscles possible.
The judges will consider if the bodybuilder is able to display a large widening of the dorsal muscles (v-taper), fallowed by overall symmetry and conditioning.
Back Lat Spread Pose:
Facing the back of the stage, the bodybuilder will place both closed hands on the waist, the elbows drawn aside to spread the lats as largely as possible and put one foot behind; resting on the toes.
He will then contract the calf by supporting his toes on the ground and flexed the hamstrings and glutes. The judges will seek a wide opening of the lats, rhomboids and traps but also a good muscular density.
Stephane Lajoie is a 23 years old sports journalist. He graduated from the UQAM in August 2004 with a bachelor's degree in communication/journalism.