In the pursuit of bodybuilding perfection, you can become completely consumed with every single detail of your contest preparation.
You count every calorie, measure out every ounce of protein, time all your meals in your day and never miss a meal. Your training has never been better and you’re watching your heart rate to make sure you’re in a fat-burning mode when doing cardio. You buy a daily dispenser and add all your vitamins and supplements to it to ensure you don’t forget to take them and you write everything down that you did day in and day out.
You make sure you get your eight hours of sleep every night and you may even cancel social functions so that your prep goes exactly the way you want it. You’ve ordered your Protan and posing trunks, put together a check list of what you need to have in your bag on the day of the show and you create the menu for you post-contest meals. This goes on for months and you’re happy with how your physique is shaping up and you know you’ll be ready come show time.
However, there’s something many bodybuilding competitors fail to put an emphasis on, especially those who have never competed before, and that’s posing. Yes there is a posing routine to complete, but that’s mostly for the audience and I’ve known some bodybuilders who make it up just before going out on stage. The posing I’m talking about is what you should be doing after all your sets and after all your workouts.
What Does Adding Posing to my Training Do?
From a physiological standpoint, there are a couple of very important reasons to add posing to your training regime.
- First and foremost, it helps create a bigger pump in the muscle when you are in a carb-depleted state
- It engages the mind-muscle connection you need for showing off your physique.
- Practice makes perfect – Knowing how to contract and flex each of your show muscles is what you need to display your physique to the judges the best you can. Many large competitors have looked smaller next to lighter opponents due to their inability to do this.
- As body fat drops, the appearance of the muscle becomes more and more defined. Using poses as a means to fill out the muscle will create that 3D look every competitor strives for.
- When you flex or contract a muscle, you are cutting off the blood supply to that muscle – this is called occlusion. This temporary blood flow restriction will cause muscle hypertrophy to occur even with low intensity poses.
A study on occlusion training found that using a training intensity of around 20% of 1RM produced significant muscle hypertrophy in test subjects. One reason for this may be due to the stress placed on the sarcoplasm inside the muscle fibers. Sarcoplasm is the energy fluid found inside our muscle fibers and when occlusion occurs, this fluid expands and fills out the fiber, creating a fuller look.
What if I Don’t Want to Pose in front of Everyone at the Gym?
That’s a fair question and something that not everyone would be comfortable doing. Even though you will be showing your body off in front of a large crowd wearing less than what you would be wearing in the gym, posing on the gym floor isn’t for everyone.
Instead, you can still reap the benefits of occlusion training by working it into every rep you perform. On the negative of your rep, lower it at a rate of say 3 to 5 seconds, and then on the positive motion of the rep, explode and squeeze the muscle hard for a 10 second count at the top of the rep. You are still creating a temporary blockage of blood flow without “showing off” in front of everyone.
I’d suggest doing this on your finishing exercise, using an isolation type movement. Once your workout is complete, head off to the locker room or if you’re lucky enough to have a posing room in your gym, and go through your mandatory poses. Hold each pose for a 30-second count, running through each mandatory pose three or four times. Trust me, you’ll be exhausted from doing this, but it will be worth it in the end.
Supplementing your Posing Efforts
If you’re not already using ALLMAX RAPIDCUTS SHREDDED in your contest prep, then go get some! It’s the best fat burner on the market. Also, to help with your posing and getting a good pump going and feeling that mind-muscle connection, using HEMANOVOL or ARGININE will increase blood flow to the muscle, so that when you restrict blood flow during posing, there’ll already be so much in there that your muscles will feel like they are going to explode and you’ll have a freaky, 3D effect going on.
With so many details and so little time in the day, it’s hard to give every single aspect of your contest prep 100% focus and energy. If you think that posing is any less important than your training and nutrition, then think again. Not only will posing practice give you that polished look onstage, it will add to the physique you present. Harder and fuller muscles along with a shrink wrapped look to your skin is what you should be striving for and adding posing to your daily training program will do just that.
Posing isn’t what you have to do to win a show; it’s what you should be doing to win a show.
- Loenneke, Jeremy Paul BS; Pujol, Thomas Joseph EdD, CSCS, “The Use of Occlusion Training to Produce Muscle Hypertrophy”; Strength & Conditioning Journal: June 2009 – Volume 31 – Issue 3 – pp 77-84.
“Neuromuscular adaptations in human muscle following low intensity resistance training with vascular occlusion”; European Journal of Applied Physiology; Volume 92, Numbers 4-5, 399-406.