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Fitness: Getting your Abs to show

I often get asked the question “How do I get my abdominal muscles to show”? In recent years the pursuit of a chiselled mid section seems to have gathered momentum.

This may be a result of fashion trends, or that a rippling six pack is viewed as the crowning glory of a healthy body. Whatever it is, the quest to achieve visible abdominal muscles still remains popular, although often elusive, to many. If you want to achieve this sought after look, here are a couple of things that in my opinion you need to consider.

First: generally speaking, you will need to achieve an extremely low level of body fat. Realistically you will need to get below 10% and possibly even lower than that depending on your genetic make up. It is worth remembering that despite all the hype and perhaps misguided portrayals of what a healthy look is, your body isn’t really going to like being so lean.

For most people, the mid section of your torso is the last place that your body will release fat from, so your going to need to burn off almost all your body fat, which despite what you read in the “glam mags”, isn’t necessarily healthy.

So, step one is to be prepared to get pretty much all your fat off, which is going to involve some strict dieting and lots of will power. The second thing to consider is the way you train your abdominal muscles.

I am still amazed that people, and even some personal trainers, advocate doing rep after rep of sit ups! 200 here 300 there is pretty much a waste of time and energy in my opinion. Your abdominal muscle is no different to any other muscle, so train it in the same way.

You need to create some resistance, by using weights or other means. Keep the resistance high and the repetitions low, and don’t forget that muscle only grows when you rest it, so don’t be tempted to jump out of bed every morning and bang out 300 sit ups, this sort of abdominal training is for Rocky films, rubbish magazine columns and other purveyors of make believe.

• Ant Watt is the owner of HMF – www.hmfworld.com – and a respected expert on sports equipment and practices. Tel: 01473 226888

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