Body Language and Competing

jessica ennis winning

 *** This guest post has been promoted to Editor’s Picks ***

Body language is how you display your thoughts, feelings and emotions without actually saying anything.

This is a huge part of your everyday life and in a sports competition.

Whether it be a marathon, CrossFit competition (my area) or bodybuilding show (or anything!), your body language will always show your competition/judges/supporters how you feel. This can be a hugely beneficial thing or a hugely negative thing depending on what your body language is showing!

People who feel threatened or are unsure of themselves will show defensive body language as a means of providing themselves with self-comfort or self-restraint. An example of this could be a person crossing their arms. This could show your competition that you are not confident and they could use that to their advantage. Also, being low in confidence will also negatively affect your own performance from lack of self-belief.

People in a state of elation often have a very open body language. What I mean by that is that they breathe in deeply and gesture outwards with extended arms (Imagine the pose you would be in after winning an Olympic gold medal). Imagining yourself in this pose can be a good way to self motivate yourself before an event, which may boost your confidence.

Winning Gold Medal

If you want to succeed, always keep yourself open and looking engaged because closed unintentional gestures (like folding your legs and arms) suggest you do not want to move and succeed!

Having your head down, hands behind your head and walking dejectedly is a sure sign from your body language that you are defeated or you have messed up. In sport this is probably the worst thing you can do, as it will make your competition think they have you in the palm of their hands and have you defeated. It will also lead to a massive fall in confidence, which will mess up your performance.

You are a loserLosers will have the body language of those who feel threatened or like they have lost. They will have a slouch in their step and will always be looking down. Winners, on the other hand, will always stand tall with a bounce in their step and eyes that look engaged and lively. However, having a bent head position does not necessarily mean that you are defeated. It may just mean you are thinking or getting in the ‘zone’. This can be a good way to get in your competitions head or make them think that you are unconfident, when really you are about to destroy the field. As long as you couple this attitude with positive, confident body language as you compete you will be on you’re ‘A game’ and you may also greatly reduce your competitions confidence from getting in their head.

Remember, you can always tell how someone is feeling from their actions and body language from the first 7 seconds of meeting someone.

In my own personal competitions there is one guy who I always compete against. He is great at getting in your head if you let him (especially as he always smashes the events)! I have found that the best way to block him out and try to stay confident is by walking around the venue speaking to people with a massive smile on my face, almost as if there is no competition on at all. Although when it comes down to game time I get serious and get in the ‘zone’.

Jamie Lowry CrossFit

Successful people know how to use their body language for greatest effect. They also know where to position themselves in relation to other people. They move with purpose, standing tall, smiling. They project how they want to be perceived. They know that standing to far away can seem distant and they know that standing too close may seem overwhelming and threatening. They can also know how to anticipate their own and another’s movement. Think about Rich Froning (the 3 time consecutive, current CrossFit games champion who seems unbeatable!) he knows what everyone else on the field is doing and he knows how to use others to his advantage. Most importantly, everyone on the field is scared of his presence.

This article does not have to be applied just to sport and competing, it can also be applied in all aspects of life from work to your social life. Hope this article helps and as always I hope it lets you smash through your workouts with the best attitude.

I am a CrossFitter, I have been training for 6 years now. I've tried as many fitness and diet fads as you can think of and i now know from my experience and my research what works and what doesn't work. I am currently studying psychology and want to take sport psychology and strength and conditioning further!

Latest posts by cflivelovelift (see all)

Join 1,783 Fitness Fans - Sign Up Today - No Spam

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • James Davis

    Fantastic Guest Blog – Thanks for sharing with our community Jamie :)

  • tamilselviacme


    Thanks For Sharing….

  • Jenny Maria

    an well written guest blog. To know more about healthy issues visit