Genetically, we all have our own individual starting points. Chances are, most of us could train our entire lives and never come close to attaining the level of mass, cuts, and symmetry seen in a natural Kai Greene, winner of the 2009 Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic. Our bodies are all built differently, and our potentials all have different ceilings. When it comes to abdominals displayed onstage, bodybuilders also have a wide variety of packages to present.
Train abs year round
Many bodybuilders make the mistake of holding off on ab training until the few weeks before a contest. This practice may be effective for professional bodybuilders who possess the internal combination of otherworldly genetics and anabolic steroids, but it doesn't work for most naturals. When you see a guy onstage who is fairly ripped but lacking a 6-pack, you know he didn't train abs all year. Don't make this mistake. You only need to spend 10 to 15 minutes, three times per week, in order to maintain a solid 6-pack all year round.
Don't train with weights
Many bodybuilders, particularly ones that are new to the bodybuilding scene, don't realize that using actual resistance - in the form of weights - when training abs can lead to an unwanted thickening of the waistline which can be very hard to reverse. A wider waist means the shoulders look narrower than they actually are, which can cost a bodybuilder points in the symmetry round. The key is to use lots of reps and sets with only bodyweight for ab training.
Avoid growth hormone and insulin
These drugs have become wildly popular with bodybuilders over the last 10 to 15 years, as they have allowed the average pro bodybuilder bodyweight to increase by 15 to 20 pounds. They also cause enlargement of the internal organs and digestive track, which push the belly out.
Keep body fat levels low year round
Keeping your intramuscular levels of body fat down year round will keep your waistline in the low 30s year round (inchwise). This will allow you to slowly bring down the waistline once the pre-contest diet rolls around. Being able to diet down slowly, instead of employing drastic cutting measures, will result in your being able to keep much more of your hard-earned muscle.
Eat small meals
Many bodybuilding gurus feel the influx of large guts onto bodybuilding stages has as much to do with the mass forced feedings by athletes in recent years (in an attempt to gain mass at any cost) as it does with anything else. In order to reach a muscular bodyweight of 260 to 280 pounds, thousands of calories have to be consumed each day. Long-term consumption of large amounts of food stretches out the stomach, a condition which can take years to rectify.
Above all, everything in moderation will lead to a set of abdominals of which you can be proud. Keep your food intake, training, and drug use to reasonable levels, and while your abs may not always be best in show, they will be the best that you can possess.
Dane Fletcher is the world's most prolific bodybuilding and fitness expert and is currently the executive editor for BodybuildingToday.com. If you are looking for more bodybuilding tips or information on weight training, or supplementation, please visit http://www.BodybuildingToday.com, the bodybuilding and fitness authority site with hundreds of articles available FREE to help you meet your goals.
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