Thanks to Arnold…Posing Matters Again!!!


By John Hansen, Natural Bodybuilding Editor

Despite his mega success, Arnold Schwarzenegger remains, within his heart, a hardcore bodybuilder.  One of the most famous men in the world, he still remembers his roots and promotes bodybuilding through his magnificent Arnold Sports Festivals each year.  In 2016, there will be six of them, taking place on six different continents!

This week in Columbus, Arnold met with his partner of 40 years, Jim Lorimer, and IFBB Pro League President Jim Manion, to discuss a new rule change that will be instituted at all the Arnold Classic events.  Beginning this year, the posing portion of the Men’s Bodybuilding competition will be judged separately from the other rounds. In other words, Posing now counts!

In a video announcing this rule change, Arnold criticized today’s pro bodybuilders by exclaiming that 80% of them SUCK at posing.  In a line that seems to be inspired by his movie “Jingle All The Way”, Arnold talks about how the modern day bodybuilder routinely “shakes” when posing. Looking into the camera, Arnold screams “There is no Shaking!”

Despite the theatrics, Arnold makes a great point. Less than one year after he openly criticized modern day bodybuilding for straying away from its artistic roots by allowing “bottle shaped physiques” to win competitions, Arnold is continuing his crusade to bring Bodybuilding back to its roots. The criteria for Bodybuilding has always been and should continue to be – Size, Shape, Symmetry, Proportion and Posing.

Although mostly ignored by the mass media and relegated as a “cult sport”, Bodybuilding should be a celebration of the development of the Perfect Human Body. Displaying that art form is one of the most important aspects of our sport. Old school bodybuilders like Arnold (and me) have been cringing along with everyone else for the last twenty years as we witnessed athletes egging on the audience for applause, posing to forgettable music, and half ass “posing” their way through a routine that doesn’t matter, and no one cares about.

The first Mr. Olympia contest I attended was in 1977 in Columbus, Ohio. Although Frank Zane was the winner of that event (the first of his three titles), it was the Master Poser Ed Corney who stole the show.  As my 14 year old eyes watched from the balcony, I was transfixed to witness a mesmerizing posing routine filled with passion, drama and artistry.  Below me, a sea of flashbulbs exploded in a cascade of light as the audience tried to capture the art show they were witnessing.

Corney demonstrated how important and vital posing is to the sport of Bodybuilding. As Charles Gaines so aptly put it in the book “Pumping Iron” – “Posing is the heart of the thing. Depending on how it is done, you can see in it either everything that is moving and beautiful and dignified about the display of a developed male body or everything that is ridiculous and embarrassing about it.”

Posing is the artistic expression of the bodybuilder. Why train and diet so hard to develop a great physique only to display it with amateur posing, ineffective transitions, and obnoxious and forgettable music? This is your one chance to show the audience and the judges what you’re all about.  Posing, like music, is emotional.  It conveys joy, passion, drama, perseverance and victory.  Take the opportunity to display your own work of art in a way that showcases your personality, your accomplishments, your fortitude and your spirit. Your time under the lights is waiting, it’s up to you to shine.

There have been some great posers and posing routines over the years.  I’d love to know some of YOUR personal favorites!!!  Drop me a note.

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A three-time Natural Mr. Universe and the first Natural Mr. Olympia champion, John is the author of the book Natural Bodybuilding (2005, Human Kinetics). A 14 year columnist for Ironman Magazine, John is the founder of where he covers the NPC Florida Bodybuilding scene and interviews legendary bodybuilders. John is also the promoter of the NPC Natural Suncoast Classic and offers consultations on training, nutrition and posing – in person and online.