The world of competition bodybuilding has really grown and evolved over the last few decades, with the last five years in particular seeing a host of new entrants to this competitive field of fitness.
A few decades ago, competing was mostly about bodybuilding, now there are multiple categories for entrants to concentrate on. Here's 3 tips to help set you apart from the rest:
1. Hire a Reputable Coach
As a competitor, you go through months of strenuous training and dieting to get your body stage-ready. Despite being physically ready, you have to know how to present your individual physique to showcase your strengths and conceal your weaknesses. While there are mandatory poses within each division, many details can be adjusted to make your presentation stronger. A great posing coach can evaluate your physique and—with the subtle switch of foot position, twist of the torso, or tilt of the pelvis—create lines and shape to emphasise muscles that can mean the difference between nabbing first place and being stuck in the crowd.
Hire a posing coach to evaluate your physique and show you how to pose correctly to make the most of your hard work. Every competitor should have at least one session with a posing coach. However, I recommend continued sessions throughout competition prep as your physique changes.
2. Videotape Your Sessions
Mirrors are nice, but video is your best friend. How you present yourself on stage can have a huge influence on your placing. Do you smile and move gracefully through your poses, or do you look like a deer caught in headlights? Stage presence is as much confidence as it is grace. Every competitor on stage has a remarkable physique, but placing in the top positions means bringing a complete package. This is where consistently practicing and taping your routines can make all the difference.
First, pose with mirrors to see how each pose looks and feels. Once you consistently hit your poses without much correction, trade in your mirror for a video camera. Why? You won't become dependent on looking at your reflection while posing, and video playback will still allow you to check your form. Eventually you'll learn how to adjust your body based on how poses feel, not how they look.
The first time I videotaped my routine, I had a preconceived idea of how I looked. Boy was I wrong! The way I walked looked completely different than it felt; I made facial expressions I didn't even know I could make; and certain stances I thought were perfect revealed my skin folds, which is not aesthetically pleasing. Finally, I saw what the judges would see. Videotaping made all the difference. Here's a tip: Watch tapes of competitors' presentations, compare them to yours, and mimic those you like. Small details can make a big difference!
3. Focus on Timing - and Breathe
Practicing your routine as much as possible will allow you to perform it on stage without hesitation. Efficiently transitioning between the mandatory poses not only creates a polished and flawless presentation, it also allows more time to hold each mandatory pose. This becomes extremely important when considering the limited window you have to present months of hard work and training.
For this reason, it's so important to time your routine. Most competitions will only allot you approximately 10 seconds to complete your presentation. This equals roughly two seconds per pose if you present four poses and allow time for transitions. When you're on stage, you need to be able to get into your poses and "feel" how long you hold them so you don't run the risk of falling short on time and failing your routine.