Do you ever see bikini competitors onstage and think, “I can do that. I just need to lose some weight, tone up, and get a sparkly bikini”? If it were that easy, I might have been successful at year two of my modeling career.
You may not realize the value of the “whole package” that is presented onstage. It’s not just about how good you look, who has the most rhinestones on her bikini, or who has the shiniest hair or the best smile. If you walk like an uptight politician, you lessen your chances of being selected for the first callout. After 20 years of walking onstage—on the runway and in pageants and bikini competitions—I’ve come up with some basic rules for bikini posing. Here are just a few of my do’s and don’ts.
Do’s for Bikini Competitors—Walking
If bikini posing were a video game, walking would be the first level.
- Your stride should correspond to the length of your legs and the range of your mobility.
- Listen to the beat of the music as you come onstage. Most shows will play upbeat music for the bikini division. The second slowest beat in the song is your stride beat.
- Keep it not too fast, not too slow; just a controlled stride. This will increase your chances of holding the judges’ attention so they will notice all your hard work preparing for the show.
- Practice, practice, practice. That goes for all facets of your routine.
Turns, also called transitions, are what you do between walking and posing. They are the second level of the bikini posing game, and most competitors don’t win the first time around.
- Strengthen your calf game because the calves really pop when you turn correctly.
- Transitions start from the toes—they are the first body part to engage; the rest of the body follows—so teach your toes to control the floor underneath them.
- Always keep fluidity in mind. I compare turns to dancing because the idea is to showboat your body to the rhythm of the music, creating fluid movements.
What are the “right” poses? This is a debate I have with many of my clients. The problem is that everyone is different, and different variations of the poses look better on some frames than others. Even so, a few general guidelines apply to everyone.
- On the front pose, be aware that the judges like to see the whole package. They look at everything from the point of your toe to the separation of your glutes, the midline taper and abs, the feminine curves of your chest, and how the chest curves compliment the rest of your body.
- It’s also important to stretch out your lower back and lat muscles to compliment the midline and enhance the overall look.
- Side poses are not typical in NPC/IFBB bikini competitions; however, you can use your transitions to showcase your glutes, triceps, and personality. It’s a good time to add a little wink or flirtatious smile as you graciously moving to your back pose.
- Back poses have gotten a bad reputation over the years, mostly because competitors have been taught poor technique or they have misinterpreted the way that the back pose is supposed to look. Use the back pose to showcase the glute/hamstring separation without sticking out your butt. To accomplish that, lightly place your hand on the front of your hips while pressing your hips back, driving your heels into the ground, and keeping your spine tall.
Don’ts for the Bikini Stage—Walking
- Do not bounce! Bikini is a competition that emphasizes fitness, so the less jiggle, the better. There are other ways of showcasing your personality to the judges without hopping around like a Hooters Girl. (Before you become offended, know that I used to judge those Hooters competitions, and they are very different from an NPC or any other bodybuilding show.)
- Don’t hold your breath! Just breathe.
- Don’t get onstage without practicing your posing.
Think you’ve got the moves down? That you will have it all together come show day? Think again. Even the top professionals make mistakes. What separates the great from the average is that when they fail, they get up—and they practice that move over and over again.
- If you do make a misstep, don’t freak out. That is the worst thing you can do. Just stay cool and keep going.
The biggest mistakes you can make are not practicing your posing at all and not getting feedback from a professional. Constructive criticism is one of the biggest tools we have to help us improve.
- Don’t overdo the back poses. I have seen women bend over like they are in a strip club and “drop it like it’s hot”—not the impression you want to give.
- Don’t count on your friends and family for an unbiased opinion of what you should look like onstage. Remember, when your significant other says, “You nailed it, babe,” it means you should seek an outside opinion.
A former Hawaiian Tropics bikini model, Evina Del Pizzo is a certified Master Trainer at Gym Life in Granada Hills, California. She holds a degree in social behavior with an emphasis in sports psychology from California State University, Northridge. Del Pizzo is sponsored by Pro Fight Sports and recently won her first NPC overall bikini title.