To win a figure competition, you of course need to look good and be confident. While you'll have a few opportunities to impress the judges throughout the contest, your mandatory poses can really make or break your shot at the title.
Since this is one of the only times during the competition when you'll be making the same exact poses and movements as your competition, there's a lot riding on not only how you to present the poses, but also your facial expressions as you make them.
The poses, also commonly referred to as quarter turns, give competitors a chance to show off their toned bodies from four key angles that give judges the best possible look at their muscle mass, symmetry and definition. The four mandatory poses are front, right, back and left.
You'll start your routine facing the crowd straight on. It's crucial that you keep a big, genuine smile throughout the four quarter turns, but it's particularly important for this pose. Make sure you keep your chin up and don't put any stress on your neck. If your neck is tense, your poses will look strenuous and unappealing to the judges.
Lower Body ♦ Keep your heels and legs together. ♦ Flex your quads very hard. ♦ Make sure you don't lock your knees or hips. Keep them slightly bent.
Upper Body ♦ Do not hunch or scrunch your shoulders under any circumstance. ♦ Your shoulders should be flexed and wide. ♦ Keep your chest up and pushed outward. ♦ While the judges can't see your lats in this pose, they should be spread to emphasize your upper body. ♦ Keep your abs very tight and extended.
Arms and Hands ♦ Hang your arms at your sides, with a bit of distance away from your body. ♦ Your upper arms - biceps and triceps - should be flexed. ♦ Your arms should be completely relaxed from your elbows down. ♦ Have you elbows bent slightly so your hands are level with your hips. ♦ Your palms should be facing inward.
Right side pose
To go into this quarter turn, smoothly swing your left foot in front of you, while pivoting on your right. Shift your body weight to your back foot, and lift the heel of your front foot.
Lower Body ♦ Flex your front hamstring and calf muscle hard. ♦ Keep your front knee slightly above the back knee. ♦ Your feet may need to be together depending on the competition you're in.
Upper Body ♦ Keep your back arched so that your chest is prominent and your shoulders are still wide. ♦ Make sure you are still really flexing your abs.
Arms and Hands ♦ There is a degree of freedom with your arm placement. Play to your strengths. ♦ Arms may be at your side as they were in the first pose, but with your shoulders turned so your left hand is behind your left buttock and your right hand is in front of your right thigh. ♦ Or, you may bend your front elbow a bit to put your biceps and triceps on display a bit. ♦ As with the front pose, keep your arms relaxed from the elbow down no matter where you hold them.
Turn so that you're facing the back of the stage. This quarter turn gives the judges their best look at your shoulders, glutes and calves, so make it count. If you have long hair, gracefully move it over your shoulder so the judges can see your entire back. Raise your heels so that your body weight is all on your toes.
Lower Body ♦ Keep your feet and legs together as you did in the front pose. ♦ Flex your calves as much as possible. ♦ Make sure your glutes are tight, but do not squeeze your buttocks together. ♦ Bend your hips just a bit. ♦ Stick your behind out and up.
Upper Body ♦ Squeeze all of the muscles of your back together slightly. ♦ Keep your shoulders wide apart. ♦ Arch your back, and keep your head high and chin up. ♦ Flex your lats as much as you can.
Arms and Hands ♦ Your hands and arms should be in the same position as they were for the front pose, but put a little more emphasis on your triceps.
Left side pose
This will be your final quarter turn. This pose is an exact mirror of the right side pose, but as it's the last shot you'll have to impress the judges, make sure you keep a big, glowing smile that they can't forget.