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What are the Bodybuilding Poses and How is it Judged?


In the past few years, bodybuilding has become a popular sport. It is a contest of muscle builders that are judged on their physical appearance. The goal is to have a muscular and lean physique with a low body fat percentage, which means they will be judged on different poses by how well they show their muscles. 

Athletes spend a lot of time trying to achieve the perfect body. Many also take care about their health. One of the option is to use phototherapy to relief muscles tension, or improve skin condition. You can search on to learn more information.

We will discuss what these poses are and how it is judged in the event.

Competition Format

Bodybuilding competitions are typically formatted as a one-day or weekend-long event. Competitions include three rounds: symmetry poses, compulsory poses, and free posing.

The Symmetry Poses: Round 1

In the first round of symmetry poses, bodybuilders will typically perform front double biceps, side chest, and rear double biceps. These are considered some of the most basic poses in bodybuilding and are used to show off the bodybuilder’s muscular development and overall physique. Judges look for balance, proportion, and symmetry in these poses. 

 Bodybuilding Poses
Bodybuilding Poses

The most important thing to remember when posing in the first round is to make sure that you are hitting all of the muscles on your body. Make sure to flex your abs, glutes, and thighs, and squeeze your biceps. Posing with good form will help you score well with the judges.

The 8 Mandatory Poses (Muscularity): Round 2

Next, the competitors move on to their second round of mandatory poses. This set is designed to show off their muscularity.

The following eight poses are required in this round:

  • Front Double Biceps Pose 

In this pose, the competitor flexes their biceps while simultaneously bringing their legs forward and keeping them straight. The winner of a round is usually determined by who has more muscle size in the back double biceps pose.

  • Side Chest Pose

This pose involves standing with one leg slightly behind the other and bending the front leg while placing the hand on the hip. The side chest pose is used to show off a competitor’s pectoral muscles.

  • Rear Double Biceps Pose 

This is similar to the front double biceps pose but done from the back. It emphasizes the size of a person’s lower back and the size of their hamstrings.

  • Side Triceps Pose 

This pose is similar to the side chest pose, except it focuses on showing off a person’s triceps muscles. The competitor stands with one leg slightly behind the other and bends forward while placing his or her hand on that foot. While doing this, they must keep their back straight.

  • Abdominal and Thigh Pose 

This pose is exactly what it sounds like – the competitor shows off their abs and thighs. They do this by standing with one leg in front of the other, bending at the waist to touch their toes, and then extending their arms out to the side.  

  • Back Double Biceps Pose 

This is the same as the front double biceps pose but done from the back. It emphasizes the size of a person’s lower back and the size of their hamstrings.

  • Front Lat Spread 

The front lat spread is performed by standing in front of an audience with your legs shoulder-width apart and your arms extended out to the side.

  • Rear Lat Spread 

The rear lat spread is done in the same way as the front lat spread, but from the back. This pose helps to show off a competitor’s lats (or wings).

In bodybuilding, it’s not just about having a great figure. It’s also about being able to show it off in a way that is pleasing and appealing as well as highlighting all of your muscles’ strengths.

Free Posing and the Posedown: Round 3

The last round of the competition is the free posing and the posedown. For the women, this round is all about showing off your hard work in a sexy routine. You can choose any music you want and do whatever poses you like. The men have a more difficult task since they are also judged on their symmetry and proportion. They need to make sure that each muscle is equally developed and that they are posing in the most aesthetically pleasing way possible.

The judges will be looking for balance, flow, and muscularity during this round. 

The free posing round is also your chance to make a final impression on the judges and score some extra points. Make sure you show your personality in the way that you pose.

Competition Scoring

To ensure that bodybuilding competitions are fair and equitable, the judging criteria are standardized. This ensures that all competitors are judged using the same set of standards, regardless of where they compete. The following list outlines the judging criteria for bodybuilding competitions:

 Bodybuilding Poses
Bodybuilding Poses
  • Overall impression 

The overall impression is the most important criterion and is based on the competitor’s symmetry, muscularity, definition, and stage presence.

  • Symmetry

Symmetry is judged by comparing each side of the body to ensure that they are equal in size and shape. Competitors with excellent symmetry are said to have a “perfect physique.”

  • Muscularity

Muscularity is judged by assessing the size and shape of the muscles. Competitors with greater muscle mass will typically receive higher scores in this category.

  • Definition

The definition is judged by assessing a competitor’s muscle separation and cuts, which must be visible to receive high marks in this criterion.

  • Stage presence

Stage presence is based on how well a competitor presents themselves both physically and verbally when interviewed by the announcer.

  • Flexibility and poise on stage 

This criterion does not count for a competitor’s total score but can earn them extra points from the judges. Flexibility is judged by assessing how well a competitor moves their muscles when striking different poses that are required in most competitions. 

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Each of these criteria is worth a certain number of points, and the total score for each competitor is tallied at the end of the competition. The competitor with the highest score is declared the winner. In cases where there is a tie, the symmetry score is used as a tiebreaker. If there is still a tie, the overall impression score is used as a final tiebreaker.


In bodybuilding competitions, the athletes are judged in a series of poses. The mandatory poses are front double biceps; front lat spread; back lat spread; rear double biceps; side chest (left and right); ab crunch (front) (back); thigh-abdominal pose. All of these poses are designed to show the muscles and how they work, as well as his/her physique.

The judges look at the symmetry of the muscle groups, as well as the balance and definition. The judges also look at how relaxed or tense they are, as this is a sign of whether they believe the athlete will be able to maintain this during their performance.