Muscularity Enhancement Tips
by Justin Leonard

This next section will cover some tips and tricks that will help to bring out overall muscularity.

During workouts, flex trained muscles in between sets. For example, when you train legs flex and hold each leg for about 10 to 20 seconds. It's good to get used to this because the judges may ask to see certain poses repeatedly. They may also ask you to hold pose positions to make accurate assessments.

You can easily get tired if you're unprepared for additional or add-on posing. It definitely helps to be conditioned for this. Even when you're at home, practice posing in the mirror. It will make you more comfortable with posing. Every pose should be second nature.

Another tip is to get a second opinion from someone you can trust. Make sure their interpretation of your physique is also what you see. They should give you an opinion on things such as posing feedback, muscular balance, and other recommendations. Noticing weaknesses early on will help you in the long run.

Take pictures of each pose or better yet, record poses and posing routines on videotape. Assess them for flaws and look for ways to improve. I know first hand how much harder it is to pose when there's no mirror in front of you. You don't really know if you're executing the poses correctly when the mirror isn't in front of you.

I was helping a friend with her posing routine. When she performed her front double biceps pose in front of the mirror, she looked great. She knew how to dial in and execute the double biceps pose like a professional. I had her face me and hit the same pose again.

This time, her arms hung too low and her abdominals were not contracted properly. Why? Basically, she couldn't compare her posing to anything. No mirror, nothing. It was awkward for her to pose with out the mirror.

The way we attacked this flaw was by getting her used to a certain feeling and pose position. For example, she would strike the pose [using no mirror] and I would tell her to lift her elbows up and to blow the air out of her abs. I then told her to remember the position she was in. She got into a comfortable "memory zone." She imagined posing in front of the mirror.

You should always know what you look like, not what you think you look like. Review photos or videos for possible posing flaws and get a good second opinion.

Lastly, we must get into the best possible way to remove body hair. With almost 12 years of bodybuilding experience, the best way is to use the old fashioned razor blade or electric razor. Every pro bodybuilder I know, male and female, use the exact same technique.

For the record, you need only shave one time, 2 days before your actual contest date. So if your contest is on a Saturday as most are, then Thursday is the big day. Shave the entire body, then immediately take a shower to prevent skin irritation. Don't trust hair removal creams!

Question: When and how should I apply my tanning products?

Answer: The answer to this question really depends on which type of tan you use. From experience, what works best is a precoat of Pro Tan the day before the show. Then on the day of the show, use Dream Tan approximately 20 minutes before you go onstage. Both of these tans require a partner for application. DO NOT use sunless tanning lotions from the tanning salon. Don't laugh, I've seen it happen.

How to Pump Up Backstage

Question: I heard there were certain muscle groups you shouldn't pump before going out on stage. What muscles should I pump up?

Answer: Believe it or not, some, but not much pumping up is needed. Bodyweight exercises or light/medium resistance bands is all you need.

On the day of the show, you've either got it (muscle) or you don't. You won't put on any new muscle size. The only thing pumping will help is to slightly increase muscle size and significantly bring out muscle vascularity. For the record, it's important to have each muscle thoroughly warmed up before going out on stage.

This helps to prevent muscle pulls, overexertion, and cramping. The primary muscles that need pumping are the shoulders, chest, back, and arms. In addition, the calves and legs may need some light work. If you pump any muscle up too much, you'll lose definition.

Too much blood will fill the muscle and cause the muscles to appear smooth. It will also cause you to lose muscle control, resulting in excess trembling or uncontrollable shaking during posing.

For shoulders, only perform a few light weight, high rep sets. Do only enough to get a pump. For chest, a light bench press with dumbbells or pushups is all that is needed. For the back muscles, use high rep dumbbell rows and towel pulls with a partner.

For arms, a basic dumbbell curl with light to moderate resistance is best. The triceps can be trained with dips and towel extensions with a partner. The legs can be warmed up by performing calf raises with a light weight as well as a set of squats [with or without weight].

This will get some warm blood in the muscles helping to increase vascularity in the legs. Stiff-legged deadlifts can also be performed to warm up the hamstrings.

One thing I didn't mention that beats every pump-up exercise is flexing and posing. This will naturally warm the body up and help increase vascularity. By practicing poses, your body will automatically begin to warm up and become vascular.

Question: I heard you could eat sugar about 10 minutes before going out on stage?

Answer: Yes! This works because the body is deprived of it for so long during competition dieting. It has a phenomenal effect. When you consume sugar and fat, the body basically says, "Thanks, I needed that." Sugars and fats are quickly rushed into the blood stream. This results in an energy boost and a noticeable increase in vascularity.

Another secret weapon used by amateur as well as pro bodybuilders is "flush" niacin. Make sure it's unfiltered (flush) niacin or it won't work! When taken with just a little bit of water, niacin in its natural form will cause an allergic reaction and cause the body to heat up quickly. The end result is awesome vascularity. IMPORTANT: Always consult with a doctor to ensure niacin supplementation is safe!




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