You have been a dedicated weight trainer, and you have developed a good nutrition plan that works with your body. You are seeing results and want to take things to the next level. You have also determined that you have what it takes to compete with the other athletes that will show up.
How will you choose the best board short that will present your best image to the contest judges? How to develop a smooth, confident posing style for the stage? This article will help you find the answers you need to ace your first contest.
(The brands of stage shorts that are mentioned in this post: Alphalete, BroActiveWear, Live Fit, Narcizo, and Mens Physique Show Shorts.)
Mens Physique Board Shorts Rules
The IFBB created the Mens Physique Division on November 11, 2012.
(Note: As explained in another post, there are no weight categories in mens physique. For example, at the 2020 Mr. Olympia, there was a competitor, Kim Min Su (height-6 feet 2 inches (1.87 meters) and weight-249 pounds (113 kilograms)).
There are numerous federations to consider. I have listed the rules for mens physique stage shorts for a few federations.
|Federation||Mens Physique Board Shorts Rules (as of August 23, 2020)|
|IFBB||1. Competitors will wear an opaque, loose-fitting board shorts which are clean and decent. The colour and fabric of the shorts will be left to the competitor’s discretion. Shorts may have geometric patterns and motives, but no inscriptions and cambered ornamentation. The shorts will cover the whole upper leg, down the upper point of the knee (patella). The use of padding anywhere in the trunks is prohibited. |
2. No tight, lycra style shorts are allowed.
3. Personal sponsors logos are not permitted on the shorts; however a manufacturer’s logo such is accepted.
|NPC||Contestants will be asked to walk in board shorts (shorts must be just above the knee in length and can be one inch below the belly button, no spandex and no logos are permitted on the board shorts however a manufacturer’s logo such as Nike symbol or Billabongs are acceptable.)|
|UKBFF||The attire for all rounds is board shorts, which must conform to the following criteria: |
1. Material and colour can be of the athlete’s personal choice.
2. No tight, lycra style shorts are allowed.
3. Board shorts should not cover the knees.
4. Personal Sponsors logos are not permitted on the board shorts. However a manufacturer’s logo such as Nike, Adidas or Billabong are accepted.
|CPA||Posing Shorts: Contestants will be asked to walk in board shorts . Shorts must be just above the knee in length and can be one inch below the belly button. No spandex and no logos are permitted on the board shorts however a manufacturer’s logo such as Nike symbol or Billabongs are acceptable.|
|OCB||Board shorts (loose shorts that come down to around the knee) are worn for both parts. Shorts can be of any color and pattern.|
Based on the rules of the various federations noted above, the expectation for competition board shorts is essentially the same. The IFBB does not allow cambered ornamentation.
In practice, mens physique contest athletes wear the shorts at the hips rather than one inch below the belly button. In addition, some of the board shorts have some spandex material (Darc Sport, Bro Activewear, Mens Physique Board Shorts, and Alphalete).
Why Board Shorts?
I could not find the reason why the IFBB chose the board shorts for mens physique. I guess that the board shorts were widely available.
The Board Shorts
Board shorts was created for surfing, but the style and fabric of the shorts have evolved. For more about the board shorts, you can read a blog post on the Old Bull Shorts webpage.
The board short does not come with a liner and fits on the hips.
Board shorts come from big brands (Quiksilver, Hurley, Billabong) that come from surfing. You need wide legs to make it easy to move on the surfboard. However, mens physique competitors are focused on physique display on a stationary stage. Some brands have made alterations to the board short focused on that competition goal (for example, coloring, tapered leg).
Mens Physique Board Shorts Style
According to a YouTuber, Hart’s Physique Channel, some of the mens physique board shorts are tapered to show the outline of well-trained thighs. This is a recent development as board shorts are made for surfing and thus have a wider leg opening.
Best Board Shorts for Mens Physique
Live Fit Brand
On December 25, 2020, the brand released a new mens physique contest stage short (signature pro series (maroon and teal), which feature a signature from IFBB Pro Anthony Woods). The price of the shorts is 60 U.S. Dollars.
Narcizo is a brand based in Hungary. The brand’s goal, as described on its website, is to create stage (board) shorts that suit the goals of physique competition. The sizing of the brand’s board shorts is 28, 30, 32, and 34. The offers two styles—unicolor and patterned. The price of unicolor shorts is 69 euros. For the patterned shorts, the price is 89 euros.
Mens Physique Show Shorts
The Mens Physique Show Shorts brand is based in the United Kingdom.
According to its website, the focus of the brand’s board shorts is to have the right fit and colors (the brand used a horizontal stripe pattern) to make the result of the contestant’s hard work—his physique—stand out to the judges.
The sizing of the brand’s board shorts is 28, 30, 32, and 34. The price (on the day of the post) is 39.99 Great Britain pounds.
BroActiveWear is a brand based in the United States. The brand states that it creates distinctive styles in its clothing. The sizing of the brand’s board shorts is small (28-30), medium (30-32), and large (32-34). The price of the brand’s board shorts is 100 U.S. dollars.
The sizing of the brand’s board shorts has the widest range of waist sizes (28-40). The price of the brand’s board shorts is 55 U.S. dollars.
Growing Importance of Leg Day for Mens Physique
I mentioned that there is interest in having the mens physique board shorts be more tapered to show some evidence of thigh development (with the muscle filling the leg of the board shorts).
For example, Kim Angel, a mens physique pro competitor from Spain has notable thigh development. He is a skilled weight trainer, who is able to keep up in an intense leg training session with Canadian pro bodybuilder Regan Grimes.
Mens Physique Posing
The purpose of the Mens Physique Division was to showcase less muscular yet aesthetic physiques. What that has meant is the development of the upper-body muscles, especially abs, and a v-taper–slim waist and wide shoulders. As a result, the low waist of the board shorts helps to display the athlete’s contest conditioning of the abdomen. A muscle group on the sides of the torso, the external obliques, also becomes prominent with training and at lower body-fat levels (the so-called v-line) and emphasizes a v-tapered look.
Posing in Mens Physique Compared with Bodybuilding
In bodybuilding, several poses display the muscularity of various muscle groups. For example, the double-biceps pose.
In mens physique, the total physique is assessed. The IFBB rules that the judges will ask the competitors to make four quarter turns (IFBB rules (2019), mens physique, article 5, paragraph 4).
Author’s note: See related information in a blog post about a Canadian mens physique competitor, Kyle Hynick, which discusses in part the distinction between mens physique and bodybuilding.
(Both Ryan and Elton are now professionals in mens physique.)
There are many steps in the journey toward your first competition. Participation is the best teacher. You will learn how you handle pressure while maintaining focus to achieve the goals that you want. I hope that this article just a couple of topics—board shorts and posing—helps you with your contest preparation path.
Any successes and teachable moments that you learned during contest preparation, contest, and post-contest, please share them by email or in the comments section.