Conscious Posing and Mastering the Art of Muscle Control for Muscular and Self Development

Posing is something that really intrigues me. Body sculpting truly is a beautiful art form and posing is no different. I am no expert by any means but for a while now I have been incorporating posing during my training (shorter displays) and when I am not training (longer displays).

Posing between sets, exercises and on your off days has a number of benefits that lead to greater and faster body development results.

“A basic physique is developed by training, but posing adds sharpness and quality… A bodybuilder who trains, but never poses is like an uncut diamond—the quality is there potentially, but it cannot be seen.” Arnold Schwarzenegger


You create awareness by seeing what muscles are harder or easier for you to control and contract. Play around with different angles and body positions to see what helps you better able to contract and control the muscle you have a hard time feeling while training.


And as I have said many times before, the better you get at contracting your muscles without weights, the easier it will be to do it with weights. Said differently, if you cannot feel your muscles contracting without weights, you will most likely not be able to contract the right muscles with weights. Tension greatly facilitates development.


It is highly encouraging and motivating to see your body contracting while performing different poses and angles and how your body is shaping up. This gives you an added boost to stay consistent, especially when you have those days where you do not quite feel like you are making as much progress as you really are. The mind can play tricks on you.

Why Posing is Key?

The Art of Muscle Control

While the weight being used is important, it is greatly secondary to muscle control, muscle tension, contracting the working muscle through the movement, using and manipulating angles and planes, body positioning, and always finding ways to make the exercise harder, not easier on the muscle. Since all of these topics are very important (to me) when it comes to sculpting my body, posing helps a great deal with learning how to tense not only each muscle but the working muscle. To be able to tense only certain muscles while “shutting off” other muscles and to be in a state where you are contracting so hard but making it look as if you are relaxed and at ease during the posing process is a sign of mastering the art of muscle control. These are all very important and carry over to helping you develop your physique. Especially so when the physique you want to craft is very specific look, it requires a very specific way to train.

“Posing is the way we display our development which was brought about by the practice of bodybuilding. It involves learning how to assume the proper positions, tense all of the muscles, and control the body to a special advantage. It basically displays how the body is developed in all areas.

Posing itself consists of two parts. The first is the pose itself, the static component where all of the muscles are flexed and you move very little. For example, in physique photography you hit the pose, you hold it, and then the photo is taken. The process takes into account the best angles and the best placement of limbs.

The second component is the movement from pose to pose. This is the process that’s involved in competition – you strike the pose, you hold it for some length of time (it might be 4 or 5 seconds), and then you move to the next pose. That movement is the kinetic part of it. I like to think of posing as kinetic sculpture – you hold the pose like a sculpture (for example, Michelangelo’s David) and then you move on. After you’ve held the pose for a specified amount of time, you move on to the next pose, and you string together a bunch of these.” Frank Zane, How to Pose like a Pro – Top Tips from Frank Zane, 3X Mr. Olympia

Frank Zane Posing
Image: Frank Zane Posing
Rachel McLish and Gladys Portugues
Image: Rachel McLish and Gladys Portugues Posing

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s