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What Is a Posedown?

By Solomon Branch
Updated Feb 19, 2024
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A posedown refers to the part of a bodybuilding competition where all or some of the contestants are on stage at the same time. The participants strike various poses, highlighting specific muscles and their overall physique. Posedowns are usually the final part of the competition.

Although building muscle is the primary goal of any bodybuilder, learning to pose is also important for competition. There are a multitude of poses the body can strike, but usually only eight specific poses are considered in competition. The poses are meant to display every aspect of the bodybuilders’ physique. Posedowns can often decide a close competition, so learning the proper technique is considered part of the training for a bodybuilder, and is not just an afterthought.

Most competitions have several sections where each bodybuilder goes through specific poses. The posedown is almost always the last part of the event, and typically the top five contestants will all be on stage at once. Although posedowns may seem like a simple matter of going through the poses, there are strategies competitors adopt to best their opponent or intimidate them.

Some bodybuilders like to keep to a pre-set routine for the posedown. They can keep the flow going and show their muscles. Other competitors may try to intimidate their competition by forcing them into another pose, which can throw their pre-set routine off. For this reason, some competitors like to go through a spontaneous routine and keep the competition off-guard.

From a judging standpoint, the posedown is used for the last comparison between bodybuilders, but they are often not awarded points for each pose. There are several rounds before the posedown where each participant shows their poses individually, so it is used to compare the bodybuilders side by side. Judges focus not only on the ability of the competitors to pose, but they also compare the attitude, energy, and overall charisma. The points awarded for the posedown are based on the judges overall opinion of the bodybuilder. Although not as significant as the points given for the previous rounds, points earned in a posedown can boost a competitor up a place or two.

For the most part, posedowns are part of the show for the audience. Bodybuilders get a chance to show off for the crowd. Judges may not give points to a certain competitor for a posedown, but they will remember the bodybuilder in the future and that can be a plus.

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