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NPC Bikini Posing FAQs

Are you new to the bodybuilding world, thinking about finally getting on stage and wondering what the big deal is about posing, or why you have to do it at all?

There are many common questions about posing and I’m here to give you all the answers!


  1. Do the judges really score on posing?

  2. Why don’t the judges just score on my muscularity?

  3. What do the judges look for?

  4. How far out should I get a posing coach?

  5. How often should I practice?

  6. Why practice in a posing suit?

  7. Should I practice in heels?

There is criteria established for NPC and IFBB Bikini competitors by the NPC and IFBB Pro League.

First of all, you must have a foundation of muscle for the Bikini Division. The judges look for rounded glutes, some shape in the legs, shape in the deltoids, and some muscle to give shape to the upper body, and enough conditioning to show that shape and symmetry.

The second most important thing your overall look: bikini, hair, makeup, tan, jewelry, and heels. You overall presentation is what is going to grab the judges’ attention when you step on stage. So, how does the judging work? Let me answer questions 1-3 from above.


This is your initial presentation and introduction to the judges on stage. This is where you make your first impression and is your opportunity to really grab the judges’ attention. You want all eyes on you, but not for all the wrong reasons! You want to grab their attention with your grace, confidence, and a genuine smile.

You will perform your model walk to the center of the stage and come into your front pose. You will transition into “back pose” and then back to “Front Pose.” You have 10 seconds to gracefully present your finest package to the judges before proceeding to the side of the stage while the other competitors do their individual presentations.

While standing to the side, you want to hold your Front Pose with the best side facing the judges... and, don‘l lose that smile and confidence! Be excited to be there!


During the Comparison round, the competitors are judged by their NPC approved two-piece bikini and heels. A group of 6-10 competitors are brought out to the front of the stage. You will stand in Front Pose and until you are asked to transition to the Back. The judges will have the opportunity to compare everyone during their half-turn transitions, but there is no side judging permitted- Front and Back Pose only.

While in Front Pose, the judges do not want to see the arm too far out to the side, a bent elbow, nor a bent wrist. You want to maintain a relaxed look but keeping the elbow and wrist straight, and just far enough out that it doesn’t cover your glutes.


What do the judges base their scoring on? Remember, it’s an overall look, so you want to make sure you’re bringing a symmetrical shape. They want to see that foundation of muscle, but well balanced between the top and bottom. You don’t have to have a six-pack for Bikini, but they do want to see a tight core and small waist. This is where posing can really make a difference. It’s all about creating the illusion of symmetry while you’re on stage.

Your overall appearance will determine how you are judged. They want to see a good complexion and even skin tone. This is an important factor when picking your tanning vendor. You want to make sure you have an even tan all over without any “muddying” or blotching.

In addition to the overall look, they will be judging your poise and presentation. You want to maintain a tight posture and keep your beautiful smile fresh. Let them know you are excited, happy, and grateful to be there. Be happy for the other competitors as well. You worked so hard to get here, and this is the day! Take in the experience and be grateful for the privilege.



I recommend hiring a posing coach as soon as you’ve decided you want to compete. It doesn’t matter if you are 1 year out or 6 months out. I hired a posing coach and made it part of my regular routine for two years before stepping on stage. It’s never too soon to start establishing a strong foundation in your Presentation.

There are a few phases of posing and you want to give yourself enough time to master them all:

Phase I: Front Pose & Back Pose (also used for weekly check-in photos)

Phase II: Working on your model walk and transitions

Phase III: Walking to the Back (for Comparison Round)

Phase IV: Sign off, and bringing it all together (for Individual Presentation)


I recommend practicing your routine 30-45 mins/day, 4-6 times/week, making it part of your regular fitness routine. Some of the poses can be uncomfortable and hard to hold for long periods of time (like you will be holding on stage). The more you practice, the easier it becomes on stage, and the longer you’ll be able to hold your smile instead of a grimmace due to the cramp you’re getting in your back from holding your front pose for what seems like FOREVER.


Unless you’re used to prancing around in a bikini, its best to start getting used to being exposed to it. However, the main reason why you want to pose in your suit is so you can determine your strengths and where improvements need to be made to build your confidence on stage. Sometimes a small adjustment can reduce the “rolls” in the lower back, or to bring out those tie-ins in back pose that wouldn’t be seen in a t-shirt or gym clothes.

You also want to get comfortable wearing a suit as to avoid any accidents on stage. We don’t want anything to “fall out,” Ladies! Remember, CONFIDENCE is everything!


You want to practice in your heels to not only break them in, but also to become so comfortable wearing them that you won’t mind standing in them for long periods on stage. Wearing heels on stage that have been broken into will reduce the chances of acquiring an injury or breaking your grace during your Presentation. I always recommend wearing your heels even when you’re doing chores around the house to break in the plastic and getting comfortable in being in your shoes for long periods of time. The more you practice, the more confidence you will build and bring to the stage.

I hope these answers your questions. Please feel to let me know if you have more I should add.

If you are looking to compete in an amateur show this year, and looking for a virtual posing coach, I’m your gal! I offer posing classes in-person or online. Drop me an email or go to my home page to purchase a posing package. Contact me for more package options and discounts. If you’re an amateur competitor looking for a posing coach in a different division, don’t hesitate to reach out. I can connect you with a posing coach in just about any womens division.

To learn more about the NPC and IFBB Bikini Division Rules, click here.

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