Posing has always been a crucial and controversial aspect to professional bodybuilding.
First up in the video is Lee Labrada. The Cuban-born legend holds 22 professional bodybuilding titles, including the IFBB Mr. Universe. He is one of the few pro-bodybuilders in history to consistently have placed in the top four at the Mr. Olympia for seven consecutive years.
Most impressive about his posing routine are his turns, executed with very subtle movements of the feet that at first make it seem like he’s standing on a swivel. He does an excellent job playing to the crowd and moving with the 70’s music to create energy and suspense.
Next up is Melvin Anthony, widely considered to be one of the best posers in bodybuilding history. Melvin’s outfit here seemed to be inspired by phantom of the opera – with gloves, a half mask, and a quickly discarded cape. Melvin displayed excellent patience on stage, and in this clip, sets the crowd cheering with a scapular spread.
Another excellent performance comes from Kevin Lavrone, who competed in 68 IFBB Professional contests, won 23 Pro Shows, and held the record of the most wins as an IFBB professional until Ronnie Coleman set the new record in 2004. Here, at the 2001 Olympia, he is in top form, moving with a precision and grace uncommon among men his size.
Of course, Kai Greene’s performance at the 2016 Arnold Classic makes it’s appearance. Most of the other great posing routines have been set to downbeat, softer music. Instead, Kai chose a hip hop blend which drove his fast paced an intense movement.
Last in the video is Shahriar Kamali at the 2002 Olympia. Shahriar pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable posing practice, as one can witness his robotic steps and unconventional positions.
Both Kai and Shahriar have pushed boundaries with their posing. Many have criticized their posing as dance, yet isn’t dace simply aesthetic movement of the human body? The question to be asked is: At what point does aesthetic movement distract from the ability to appreciate aesthetic structure?
In some way or another, fans and judges will continue to answer this question throughout the future of bodybuilding.