The Eight Mandatory Poses in Bodybuilding

Kashmir Classic Bodybuilding Competition

Yawar Nazir/Getty Images

 There are 8 mandatory poses each contestant must show in a bodybuilding competition. There are, of course other poses, but these are the ones you have to show.

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Pose One - Front Lat Spread

Front Lat Spread

Yawar Nazir/Getty Images

The front lat spread is the first of the eight mandatory poses you have to do in a bodybuilding competition. It allows you to display lat width from the front, chest thickness, shoulder width, front arm and forearm size, quadriceps mass and separation, and calf development from the front.

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Pose Two - Front Double Biceps

Front double biceps pose

Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

The front double biceps pose shows off your arm musculature, especially your biceps size and peak. This pose also conveys forearm size, front lat width, quadriceps size and definition, and front calf musculature.

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Pose Three - Side Chest

side chest pose
Sandra Wickham Fall Classic 2014" ( CC BY-SA 2.0) by KaseyEriksen

The side chest is a pose that displays your chest size and thickness from either side. You have the option of choosing to pose from your right or from your left, depending on which side you feel is more dominant. Regardless of which side you choose, you should rotate your body a little toward one side and then the other so all the judges get a good view of your side chest pose. In addition to your chest, this pose also displays shoulder, arm, and forearm size from the side, along with thigh separation and calf development, both again from the side.

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Pose Four - Rear Lat Spread

Rear Lat spread

David Ramos/Getty Images

The rear lat spread conveys the width of your lats from the rear, thickness of your trapezius muscles, size of your arms from the rear, glute development and definition, hamstrings size and separation, and rear calf musculature.

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Pose Five - Rear Double Biceps

The rear double biceps pose
Sandra Wickham Fall Classic 2014" ( CC BY-SA 2.0) by KaseyEriksen

The rear double biceps pose shows off your arm size and separation from the rear, particularly your biceps mass and peak. This pose also shows off the thickness and definition of your back muscles, including your trapezius, infraspinatus, teres major, latissimus dorsi, and erector spinae. Furthermore, the rear double biceps conveys glute and hamstrings development and separation, along with rear calf size.

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Pose Six - Side Triceps

The side triceps pose
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Teresa M. Hawkins

The side triceps pose displays your triceps, especially your lateral triceps head, from the side of your choice. No matter which side you choose to hit your pose, you should rotate your body a little toward one side and then the other to allow all the judges to get a good view of your side triceps pose. It also displays shoulder and chest size, side forearm development, thigh separation, and calf development, all again from the side.

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Pose Seven - Abdominal and Thigh

The abdominal and thigh pose
By istolethetv from Hong Kong, China (grinUploaded by Fæ) [ CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The abdominal and thigh is a pose that conveys the development and definition of your abs, external intercostals, serratus anterior, and quadriceps muscles. It also shows off your chest thickness, front arm and forearm size, lat width from the front, and calf size once again from the front. Competitors often do several variations of this pose. In the traditional abdominal and thigh pose, competitors place both hands over their head and flex their abs from the front. In the other version of this pose, competitors place both or only one hand over their head and then flex their abs from each side, or only a single side, respectively, to better show off their oblique and intercostal musculature and definition.

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Pose Eight - Most Muscular

Most muscular pose
Phil Heath hitting the most muscular pose against Kai Greene at the Mr. Olympia 2012 in Las Vegas. By Kevin Laval (Zelf gemaakt) [ CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

The most muscular is the final of the eight mandatory poses you have to execute in a bodybuilding contest. This pose displays overall muscularity from the front, including the mass and definition of your upper trapezius, shoulders, chest, arms, forearms, abs, quadriceps, and calves. You can do the crab version of the most muscular by bringing your arms and hands together across your abdomen. You can also do a variation by placing one hand by your side and bringing the other arm across your abdomen.