Monday, June 6, 2011

MUSCLE BUILDING (Circa 1924 ) - Chapter 12 - (Last Chapter) - Posing for Muscular Display - By Earle E. Liederman


In order to look your best in posing, whether it be for muscle display, or for photographic purposes, you must have the proper background and the proper lighting. For studio work, a dark red or black background is best; while a good top-light that will cast shadows under the muscles is always best for displaying the muscles in the picture. You should not stand directly under the top-light, but rather a little behind it.

If you will stand erect, and then while in this erect posture, bend the head forward until you see the shadow of the top of your head on the top of your chest, you will know you are in the proper light. If you stand too far back, the shadows are not so deep. If you do not use a top-light, but if instead the light should be coming from the sides or the front, it will give your muscles a flat appearance, and will not do you justice in the picture.

Posing is really an art, requiring considerable practice, if you are to acquire a posture that will show your muscles off to the best advantage. I suggest that the student practice faithfully various poses before a mirror under the proper lighting conditions, until he has found one or two, or even more, poses that are suitable for his physique.

Study the Poses of Various Athletes

It is all very well to study the various positions of others whose muscles show to great advantage in their photographs, but as not two people are built exactly alike, I do not recommend anyone to imitate another's pose unless he is sure he looks well in that position. Of course, there is the old conventional pose, which consists in folding the arms across the chest. Nearly everyone looks well in this pose, owing to the fact that the arms are photographed at angles. This makes them appear shorter and thicker than they really are. If this pose should be selected, you should make it a point to lower the shoulders when the arms are folded. Also raise the arms a little and hold the head erect, thereby showing the neck muscles and having the shoulders in a position so that they are photographed to their best advantage.

If you do not lower the shoulders, the deltoids will stick up, and unless they are extremely well-developed, they will look rather "pointy" in the picture, owing to the top-light. You might possibly try a good side-light in this "folded-arms" pose and no top-light.

For this is one pose that will look well when the light comes from the sides, as it will show the pectoral development to better advantage in the shadows cast by a side-light.

No matter what light you use in this "folded-arms" pose, the forearms are going to look huge, owing to their nearness to the camera. The muscle that is placed nearest the camera naturally looks largest. I suggest that when being photographed for the "folded-arms" pose, you have your body taken from the waist up only. Do not show the legs, for you will look much stronger and heavier in a bust picture than you would in a full-length photo.

How to Show the Arms to Best Advantage

It is difficult to name the best position in which to display the arms for photographic purposes, owing to the various formations of muscles on different individuals. If you possess arms that are well-muscled and knotted up, the simple front or rear flexion of the arms which held parallel to the floor will show them up to good advantage. Whether you show one arm at a time or two arms is optional with yourself, and remains to be studied, to see the effect it has upon the muscles of the shoulder and neck.

Some individuals, in flexing both arms at the height of the shoulders, have a formation of the neck muscles that causes the neck to appear thinner when the arms are placed in this position. Others have necks developed so that it makes no difference what position they hold their arms in. You should consider these facts carefully. No matter how well-developed your arms are, if the muscles of your neck show to a disadvantage, you will appear to possess an awkward development in the picture.

This is another reason why I suggest that you study yourself carefully before a mirror before attempting to be photographed in a studio. For individuals whose neck development seems awkward when both arms are flexed at the height of the shoulders, I suggest that only one arm can be flexed. Place the other arm behind the back, or else have the hand on the hip and turn the head to one side, in the pose of looking at your flexed biceps. By so doing, the muscles of your neck will show off to best advantage.

It takes a mighty well-developed neck to look well from all angles and under every condition. I remember years ago, when watching George Hackenschmidt, the famous wrestler, go through a series of poses, his neck did not vary one fraction of an inch when he displayed both arms flexed at the height of his shoulder. This was because he had an especially well-developed neck.

When posing the arms, the forearm should be taken into consideration. If the wrist is turned so that the palm faces outward when the arm is flexed at the height of the shoulder, the forearm will look larger, but the biceps will appear lower and longer. But if the palm of the hand is facing the shoulder, the forearm will be a little smaller in appearance, but the biceps will be much higher.

You should never flex both arms at the same time for photographic work unless your right and left arms are exactly equal, or nearly equal, in development. If your left arm should be smaller than your right, it will be distinctly noticed in the picture, and the student of anatomy and the critic of proportions will be quick to notice this defect. If your triceps is prominently developed, it is best to show them to advantage by placing the hands behind the hips and straightening the arms. At the same time contract the latissimus dorsi muscle, pressing it against your arm. After considerable practice, this will throw out your triceps to the best possible degree. This would make a side pose.

Care should be taken regarding the lighting effect when photographing this muscle, for if the top-light should be over your chest, the triceps will not look quite as well as if the top-light were over your upper back. In other words, you will have to move around and study yourself in a mirror, which someone holds before you in front of the camera, before allowing the photographer to snap the picture. If you will expand your chest and practice certain tilts of the head while showing the triceps in this position, you will finally hit upon the right position and look your best in the picture.

Some Men Take Back and Side Poses Best

Some athletes look their best by showing part of their back, at the same time they are displaying their triceps. If the back is well knotted this will make a very good picture. If however, you have phenomenally developed pectoral muscles, it may be to your advantage to show less of the back and more of the chest when taking this pose.

While dealing with the subject of side posing, I might mention that I have seen many athletes hold their arms in various positions while turning sideways to the camera. Some even go so far as to flex one arm at the height of the shoulder and have the elbow pointed toward the camera, thereby making the arm look enormous. I do not advise this sort of posing, for any photographer or student of anatomy will realize that the arm is held near the camera, most probably for the reason that it is not sufficiently developed to show it at any other angle.

It is all very well to fool yourself, but it is pretty hard to fool everybody else. In photographic contests, judges, as a rule, do not consider the physique of anyone whose muscles are photographed sideways or on an angle - which is the result of placing a certain part of the body near the camera for the sole purpose of appearance as large as possible in that muscle or group of muscles.

How to Photograph the Back

The back offers a very interesting display when posed under a proper light. However, the same thing that applies to the arms when flexed in a front view, also applies to the arms when flexed in a rear view. Unless your arms are equally developed, do not attempt to show both arms together, but show one at a time, holding the other arm behind your neck. While being photographed in this position, you should flex the arm that is held behind your back just as thoroughly as you flex the arm that your are endeavoring to show.

I also advise you to inhale as deeply as possible and contract the latissimus dorsi muscles to their limit. At the same time, turn the head slightly, so that the profile of your face will show yourself looking at your flexed biceps. If your arms are equally developed, it is all very well to show both together, but the neck should again be taken into consideration.

The neck, in this instance, differs from the neck as photographed for the front view, for only a slight change is noted when photographing the neck from the rear view, even though the arms are held at the height of the shoulders. However, the chin should be kept in and the head thrown slightly backwards, if you desire your neck to have a straight appearance. In this pose, however, the neck will not look quite as large as it will if you bend your head forward.

By bending the head forward, the head naturally is further away from the camera. The top of your head will therefore look smaller, making your neck look bigger than if you bent your neck backward, thus placing the top of the head a little nearer the camera, and making the head appear larger. The larger your head appears in a photograph, the smaller you yourself will look, and vice versa.

Another interesting back pose that looks well in a picture under the proper lighting is the expansion of the scapulas or shoulders blades. While contracting the teres major muscle and causing this muscle to pull the scapula to its extreme limit, hold the hands overhead, keeping the arms stiff. Either clasp one hand with the other, or else interlace the fingers. Now while raising the shoulders very slightly, pull apart vigorously with your hands. After considerable practice, you will be able to observe two prominent lumps protruding at each side of the upper back, when viewed from the front, and when viewed from the rear by the camera, it will show an interesting muscle display, produced by the aid of the scapula, or shoulder blade.

In photographing the muscles of the back, the student must have a top-light to produce the best effect, for a wonderful display can be had of the proper lighting and background are used and the proper pose assumed.

How to Place the Camera Lens

If the camera lens is placed on a level with your face, your head will appear larger and your legs will appear smaller, whereas if the camera lens is placed about the height of your waist, your torso and legs will appear in their natural proportions and your head will be somewhat smaller, thus causing an optical illusion in your photograph.

On the other hand, if the lens of the camera is placed at the height of your waist, you biceps will not look as large as they will if the lens of the camera is pointed at the height of your arms. This is especially noticed when being photographed from rear view, with the arms flexed at the height of your shoulders.

To give you a clear idea of this optical illusion, if you ever have had the opportunity of looking down from a platform at some athlete, you will observe that he looks much smaller, looking down at him, than if he were on the platform and you looked up at him.

How to Display the Neck Muscles

The neck muscles can be thrown out to a remarkable degree by drawing both shoulders forward. Contract the chest and reach downward as far as possible, at the same time bending the head backwards. This, however, is an awkward pose for photographic work and I do not suggest any student adopting it. I simply mention it as one of the series of poses that can be put in your routine whenever the occasion warrants it.

The neck can also be shown in this manner from the rear. After practice, the student will be able to throw out his neck without reaching downward and by holding his arms sideways at the height of the shoulders, thereby giving an interesting display of the trapezius muscle as well.

Photographing the Abdominal Muscles

The abdominal region offers one of the most interesting studies in the way of muscular posing. The most simple abdominal contraction consists of stooping slightly forward and pressing the thighs with the hands, giving a washboard effect to the front of the abdomen. A little more difficult pose is to display the control of the abdominal cavity. In your endeavors to secure this diaphragmatic control, expel all the air from your lungs, and bend slightly forward at the same time. When the air is expelled, draw in the abdominal muscles until they fill up the vacuum caused by the exhalation of your diaphragm.

This will give you a deep cavity under the rib box and even though it is one of the frequent abdominal poses, yet it is one of great interest to the spectator. The camera will not photograph this as clearly as the eye can see it, owing to the shadow of the rib box. However, if you desire to show this abdominal control in a picture, I suggest you use side-lights as well as top-lights in order to display the abdominal cavity to best advantage.

Still another interesting display of the rectus abdominus muscles consists of single and double isolation of this group. To acquire this, the air must be expelled from the lungs and a cavity formed under the rib box, as previously mentioned. Then the student, after considerable practice, will be able to throw out on side of his abdominal muscles by a strong pressure of the forearm on the top of the thigh, in the region of the sartorious muscle. In addition to this downward pressure, the pressure should be inclined slightly outward as well. By pressing both hands on each inner side of the thighs downward and outward, double isolation of the abdominal wall can be obtained. This undoubtedly gives the most interesting display of the contraction of the abdominal muscles for photographic purposes. In this case, no side-light is needed, for a side-light would be superfluous and spoil the effect of this muscular display.

The student should not be discouraged if he is unable to acquire this abdominal isolation during the first month of his attempts, but if diligent practice is pursued, success will eventually come.

To Display the Muscles of the Thighs and Calves

The muscles of the thighs are best displayed by turning the toes outward, in order to show the curve of the quadriceps extensor muscles. If however, you possess thighs that are exceptionally developed in the extensor femoris muscles, or the outside of the legs, perhaps a plain front view of the thighs would suit your case better. In that case, the toes should be pointed forward. You must study this yourself, and see from angle your legs will photograph best.

If the calves of your legs are not developed to quite as satisfactory proportions as the rest of your physique, I suggest that you wear sandals that will come half way up your legs, thereby eliminating a long, slim ankle. If, however, you are short of stature and your legs and ankles are well proportioned, ordinary gymnasium shoes, or even no shoes at all, will undoubtedly be best suited for your purpose.

Care should be taken as to what costume to wear when posing for a picture. I suggest that the student wear a pair of ordinary black bathing trunks and rolls these trunks up toward the crotch. Also roll the top part down about two inches below the navel. This gives you the opportunity of displaying your thighs and abdominal muscles to their best advantage.

If the tights extend above the navel or to the middle of the thigh, it will detract greatly from your appearance and make you look like an amateur. I recommend these trunks as better than anything else to wear while posing, for they will photograph much better than any other material or costume that you may use.

Many professional athletes wear leopard skins and sandals. This costume gives them a decidedly professional and finished appearance, but to my mind, it draws the attention away from the muscles, which should be the important part of the picture. Still others wear wrist bands which give an impression of stronger arms than they really have, but these also detract from muscular display and make the arms appear shorter. There is no need for anyone to adopt artificial means in order to display the muscles to the best advantage. If you are lacking in muscular display in any part of your body, my best advice to you is to exercise more diligently on this defective part, thereby developing it and satisfying your desires, and do not try to get by on a fake. For the one person in all this world whom you do not want to fake, and whom it would never pay you to fool is yourself.

After you have attained the results you desire, it is a very simple matter to merely perform light work every day in order to keep in shape. At that time you do not have to continually strive for progress unless you want to, but all this time you are striving for your maximum measurements you are ever increasing your strength and energy, thus building up your internal organs and acquiring a physique that will carry you through the rest of your life - a strong, healthy, robust man.

If, by chance, any reader of this book should never have tried any systematic exercise, to him I say, everything awaits you, and if you will only put forth your honest endeavors for three months' time, not only will you look and act like an altogether new person, but you will be so enthusiastic over your progress that you will gladly retain your enthusiasm for another nine months until you have strength and development far above the average individual, and you will never again know or be bothered with the numerous ailments that continually affect the average non physical culturist.

Isn't this worth striving for?

I want to pass a final thought to you. No matter what your age may be, the best time to from good resolutions is right now when you are younger than you will ever again be in your life.

Iron Nation
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Bob Whelan

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