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Pose Down, Pump Up

Flexing is good for more than showing your stuff

If you’ve never entered a bodybuilding competition and have no intention of ever doing so, you may have never bothered learning how to hit any of the mandatory or optional poses. Why would you? If I told you that posing provided benefits far beyond showing off in the mirror or on a stage, would you be interested? What if I said that posing on a regular basis can significantly improve your physique?

Enhanced mind/muscle control. Part of the reason bodybuilders have an easier time feeling the muscles they’re working during exercise is that posing has endowed them with a superior mind/muscle connection. It makes sense: If you’ve forced a muscle to contract over and over again by posing without resistance, you’ll strive to achieve that same feeling while training that muscle. It’s been said many times that a true bodybuilder can be placed inside an empty room, and he’ll still manage to pump up any muscle group he desires. Few people have such an advanced mastery, and the majority of them are competitive bodybuilders who have been posing regularly for many years. That’s no coincidence.

Greater muscle separation. Another attribute many bodybuilders strive for is muscle maturity, the hard look a physique takes on when one possesses cavernous muscle separations and etched striations in areas like the quads, chest and triceps. Proof that posing can enhance that quality is in bodybuilders who favor a certain arm or leg in their posing. It’s a common sight at bodybuilding contests to see a man with one quadriceps far more striated than the other. I discovered that when I noticed that my right quad, the one I flex most often (perhaps because I’m right-handed), had developed far more cross-striations than the left. There’s no doubt in my mind that constant posing delivers a harder, more detailed look to the muscles. After many years I now display prominent striations in some areas even when my bodyfat is higher than normal. I know it’s from posing hard for nearly 20 years.

More workout intensity. It’s also a way to extend your sets. You can do supersets, drop sets and forced reps until you’re unable to budge any weight. Normally, that would be the end, but what if you were to flex that muscle group as hard as possible for a good 10 to 20 seconds instead of resting? The next time you hit failure on a set of biceps curls, hit a front double-biceps pose as hard as you can and hold it for a count of 20. I guarantee that your arms will be shaking, and the pump you already had from the curls will be now twice as pronounced. Do that after each of your work sets for biceps, and you’ll find yourself sorer the next day than you have been in weeks. If you don’t think posing is hard work for your muscles, you haven’t tried it.

I find that the best time to pose is immediately following each set, and the pose should correlate with the bodypart you’re training’for instance, side chest or crab most-muscular after bench presses, or abdominals and thighs after leg extensions or squats. Work some posing into your workouts, and you’ll soon see how much it can add to your physique.

Editor’s note: Check out Ron’s Web site at

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