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Bodybuilding Competition Posing Rounds

Prejudging - Morning Show

Each contestant is evaluated at prejudging in three different rounds. Rounds "1" and "2" have sometimes been interchanged in more recent competitions.

Round 1 (Semi-Relaxed Poses)

Contestants are viewed from the:
  • Front
  • Back
  • Both sides
  • Arms down to the sides
Proportion and symmetry are closely evaluated in this round.

This round, also known as the “symmetry round”, is where you will make your first impression on the judges. Many people spend countless hours practicing the compulsory poses and far less time on the “relaxed” poses. Big mistake! There is nothing “relaxed” about this round, if you fail to prepare for it than you are likely in for a rude awakening. You have to come out hard and confident, with the endurance to hold these poses for an extended period of time. Expect to sweat, and expect to be sore afterward.

The judges will use this time to evaluate the symmetry of your physique, critiquing the size, definition and proportion of the various muscle groups in relation to each other as well as the overall physique. Your physique should be balanced with no one muscle group overpowering another. Therefore, when training for a bodybuilding competition, do not neglect any lagging body parts as this will come back to haunt you on competition day.

You will likely be in the back pumping room when the head judge calls your group on stage. Listen for the call and do not be late. Athletes who rush out unprepared or late will likely have their scores lowered. Don’t let this happen to you! Walk out on time, confident, head up, and flexed. Your group will be spread evenly across the stage at which time you should immediately assume the “front standing relaxed” position. Though the front standing relaxed pose is not one of the “compulsory” poses, it is the pose that you will return to after every pose in the compulsory round, so be sure to practice holding this pose for extended periods of time. Avoid direct or prolonged eye contact with the judges. You will be evaluated by multiple judges who will not all be viewing you at the same time, therefore it is important that you DO NOT RELAX!. The moment that you drop your guard may be the moment that a judge is looking at you.

After the initial evaluation, the head judge will call for a quarter turn to the right, followed by two additional quarter turns. This will allow the judges to evaluate your physique from the front, left, back and right sides. In the fourth quarter turn, you will return to the front standing relaxed position.

Round 2 (Compulsory Poses)

Contestants are viewed in seven or more mandatory poses:
  • Front double biceps
  • Rear double biceps
  • Front lat spread
  • Rear lat spread
  • Side chest
  • Side triceps
  • Front Abdominal (thigh extended)
  • Most muscular pose
  • Other requested by judges
  • Other auxiliary poses requested by judges
Mass and definition are closely evaluated in this round.

front double bicep
Front Double Bicep

rear double biceps
Rear Double Biceps

side triceps
Side Triceps

front abdominal - thigh extended
Front Abdominal - Thigh Extended

Round 3 (Free Posing)

Contestants are allowed sixty seconds to go through their individual posing routines without music.

All components including stage presentation are evaluated during this round.

Evening Show

Before the evening show, all contestants have already been placed except for the overall winners from each weight class.

Free posing to music.

The evening show allows the contestant to show their friends and audience what competitive bodybuilding is all about. Each contestant is given ninety seconds to perform their individual routine to the music of their choice.


The top contestants within each weight class are allowed to present their be poses to the audience before the placing is announced.

Overall Posedown

The winners from each weight class are brought back through rounds "1" and "2" of the prejudging to determine the overall winner. They are once again allowed to present their best poses to the audience and judges in attempt to "out show" the others. The overall winner is announced.

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