Men's Bodybuilding

HOW TO ASSESS AN ATHLETE'S PHYSIQUE

General:

When assessing a competitor's physique, a judge should follow a routine procedure that will allow a comprehensive assessment of the physique as a whole.

During the comparisons of the compulsory poses, the judge should first look at the primary muscle group being displayed. The judge should then survey the whole physique, starting from the head, and looking at every part of the physique in a downward sequence, beginning with general impressions, and looking for muscular bulk, balanced development, muscular density and definition. The downward survey should take in the head, neck, shoulders, chest, all of the arm muscles, front of the trunk for pectorals, pec-delt tie-in, abdominals, waist, thighs, legs, calves and feet. The same procedure for back poses will also take in the upper and lower trapezius, teres and infraspinatus, erector spinae, the gluteus group, the leg biceps group at the back of the thighs, calves, and feet.

A detailed assessment of the various muscle groups should be made during the comparisons, at which time it helps the judge to compare muscle shape, density, and definition while still bearing in mind the competitor's overall balanced development.

The comparisons of the compulsory poses cannot be overemphasized as these comparisons will help the judge to decide which competitor has the superior physique from the standpoint of muscular bulk, balanced development, muscular density and definition.

Men's Compulsory Poses:

1. Front Double Biceps

Standing face front to the judges, with the legs and feet in-line and a short distance apart, the competitor will raise both arms to shoulder level and bend them at the elbows. The hands should be clenched and turned down so as to cause a contraction of the biceps and forearm muscles, which are the main muscle groups that are to be assessed in this pose. In addition, the competitor should attempt to contract as many other muscles as possible as the judges will be surveying the whole physique, from head to toe.

The judge will first survey the biceps muscles looking for a full, peaked development of the muscle, noting whether or not there is a defined split between the anterior and posterior sections of the biceps, and will continue the head-to-toe survey by observing the development of the forearms, deltoids, pectorals, pec-delt tie-ins, abdominals, thighs, and calves. The judge will also look for muscle density, definition, and overall balance. 

2. Front Lateral Spread

Standing face front to the judges, with the legs and feet a short distance apart, the competitor will place the open hands, or clenched fists, against, or gripping, the lower waist or obliques and will expand the latissimus muscles. At the same time, the competitor should attempt to contract as many other frontal muscles as possible. It shall be strictly forbidden for the competitor to pull up on the posing trunks so as to show the top inside of the quadriceps.

The judge should first see whether the competitor can show a good spread of the latissimus muscles, thereby creating a V-shaped torso. Then the judge should continue with the head-to-foot survey, noting first the general aspects of the physique and then concentrating on the more detailed aspects of the various muscle groups.

3. Side Chest

The competitor may choose either side for this pose, in order to display the "better" arm. He will stand with his left or right side towards the judges and will bend the arm nearest the judges to a right-angle position, with the fist clenched and, with the other hand, will grasp the wrist. The leg nearest the judges will be bent at the knee and will rest on the toes. The competitor will then expand the chest and by upward pressure of the front bent arm and contract the biceps as much as possible. He will also contract the thigh muscles, in particular, the biceps femoris group, and by downward pressure on his toes, will display the contracted calf muscles.

The judge will pay particular attention to the pectoral muscles and the arch of the rib cage, the biceps, the leg biceps and the calves, and will conclude with the head-to-foot examination. In this pose the judge will be able to survey the thigh and calf muscles in profile, which will help in grading their comparative development more accurately. 

4. Back Double Biceps

Standing with his back to the judges, the competitor will bend the arms and wrists as in the Front Double Bicepspose, and will place one foot back, resting on the toes.

He will then contract the arm muscles as well as the muscles of the shoulders, upper and lower back, thigh and calf muscles.

The judge will first survey the arm muscles and then do the head-to-foot survey, during which there are more muscle groups to look at than in all of the other poses. This includes the neck, deltoids, biceps, triceps, forearm, trapezius, teres, infraspinatus, erector spinae, external obliques, latissimus dorsi, gluteus, thigh biceps, and calves. This pose, probably more than the others, will help the judge to determine the quality of the competitor's muscle density, definition, and overall balance.

5. Back Lateral Spread

Standing with his back to the judges, the competitor will place his hands on his waist with his elbows kept wide,one foot back and resting on the toes. He will then contract the latissimus dorsi as wide as possible and display a calf contraction by pressing downward on the rear toes. The competitor should make an effort to display the opposite calf to that which was displayed during the back double biceps pose so the the judge may assess both calf muscle equally. It shall be strictly forbidden for the competitor to pull up on the posing trunks so as to show the gluteus maximus muscles.

The judge will look for a good spread of the latissimus dorsi, but also for good muscle density and will again conclude with the head-to-foot survey.

6. Side Triceps

The competitor may choose either side for this pose so as to show the "better" arm. He will stand with his left or right side towards the judges and will place both arms behind his back, either linking his fingers or grasping the front arm by the wrist with his rear hand. The leg nearest the judges will be bent at the knee and the foot will rest flat on the floor. The competitor will exert pressure against his front arm, thereby causing the triceps muscle to contract. He will also raise the chest and contract the abdominal muscles as well as the thigh and calf muscles.

The judge will first survey the triceps muscles, and conclude with the head-to-foot examination. In this pose, the judge will be able to survey the thigh and calf muscles in profile, which will help in grading their comparative development more accurately.

7. Abdominals and Thighs

Standing face front to the judges, the competitor will place both arms behind the head and will place one legforward. He will then contract the abdominal muscles by "crunching" the trunk slightly forward. At the same time, he will contract the thigh muscles of the forward leg.

The judge will survey the abdominal and thigh muscles, and then conclude with the head-to-foot examination.