Shaun Clarida reveals the true challenges behind posing in a pro bodybuilding competition.

For casual viewers of bodybuilding, it’s generally believed that most of the hard work for bodybuilders comes before the actual competition. The training, dieting, and final weeks of hardcore prep is the true art and challenge of the sport. The competition night simply showcases the years of hard work that came before. While that’s mostly true, the challenge of posing on stage for stretches at a time cannot be understated. Posing is a physical challenge in and of itself. In our latest GI Exclusive interview, Shaun Clarida details the reality and challenges of posing during a pro bodybuilding competition.

There’s no denying that Shaun Clarida brought one of the best packages of the Olympia 2020 – regardless of division. While majority of his physique was achieved in the months leading up to the competition, he also dominated with pitch perfect posing.

The art of posing often gets brushed under the rug these days in bodybuilding. Some fans simply don’t appreciate it. They just see it as a means to an end in displaying the physique worked on throughout the year. But the reality is that posing is hard work – especially during pro competitions.

During our conversation with Men’s 212 Olympia champion Shaun Clarida, we asked him to detail the realities of posing on stage. He admits that it’s a workout in and of itself – especially if the competition is tight.

Shaun Clarida recalls a pre-judging round that ultimately lasted 41 minutes. That’s 41 minutes of on and off posing on the stage to prove your worth. Between the bright hot lights, the lack of hydration, and the long stretch of posing – it becomes an extremely difficult endeavor.

Perhaps this is why some athletes have trouble sucking in their midsection during pivotal moments of bodybuilding competitions. While some of that work comes in with the dieting to bring in a V-shape, it is also about the endurance to keep your stomach sucked in and flexed whenever necessary.

It sounds simple. But it’s not. In our past films such as the original Generation Iron, we’ve shown behind the scenes shots of bodybuilders nearly collapsing after a posing round. Some even need air tanks and masks to keep them conscious.

“It’s like weight training or doing cardio just non-stop,” Shaun Clarida states in our interview. He continues:

“You’re holding your pose and you’re squeezing. It’s definitely painful. But for the athlete you should expect that. This is what we do. So you should be practicing your poses every single day.”

The final sentence there is key. Posing should be just as vital as working out. It should be part of the daily and weekly plan. It’s not an afterthought, it’s part of the package. While the art of the posing routine can be used to impress judges – this goes beyond simple creativity. It’s about practicing the poses and getting used to holding them for a long while.

You can watch Shaun Clarida’s full comments about bodybuilding posing in our latest GI Exclusive interview segment above!

Derek Dufour
Derek Dufour has been managing all digital operations on the Generation Iron Network for over six years. He currently manages a team of editors, writers, and designers to provide up-to-date content across the GI Network.