The recent movie “300” was the story of the Spartans who held back the mighty Persian horde at the pass of Thermopylae. The Spartans, led by their King, Leonidas, were the front line for a small band of Greeks who blocked that mountain pass so the invading Persians couldn’t descend into Greece.
It was a heroic movie and the cast, headed by Gerald Butler as Leonidas, looked the part. The actors playing the Spartans all had these amazing rock hard abs, and if you’re anything like me, I bet you found yourself wondering how they got such a great look!
But guess what? The secret to having those amazing abdominal muscles that looked flexed all the time is getting an animator to doctor the film. Hey, I’ve seen photos of Butler and he does not have the rock hard abs as shown in that film, nor do the other actors . . . at least not the constantly flexed look we saw in the movie!
The real secret on how to get rock hard abs lies in two words, “workout” and “diet.” You have to work your midsection correctly in order to build those abdominals. Then you have to diet to rid your body of subcutaneous fat so those abs can be displayed.
For a program on how you can build those chiseled abs, we turn to real champions with real abdominal development and share their secrets.
The abdominals are only one muscle group in several that make up your “core.” The obliques and lower back are also important parts of what make up you midsection. All of these muscles should be worked and developed.
Sit-Ups – The jury is still out on whether you should ever do full sit-ups. Some trainers maintain that these moves are very important, but others say all you need are “partial” sit-ups, crunches that contract the abdominals and help build them.
Most great bodybuilding champions performed a wide variety of sit-ups; flat bench, incline, decline and compound (where you twist while sitting up). They also performed crunches to further define their abs.
- Decline Board Sit-Ups – Three sets of 50 reps, the last set being compound sit-ups.
- Crunches – Three sets of 50 reps on the decline board, the last set being compound crunches.
- Leg-Raises – These tend to work the lower abdominals.
- Decline Board Leg Raises – Three sets of 50 reps keeping legs straight for two and bringing the knees to the chest alternately for the third.
- Chinning Bar Leg Raises – Three sets of 20 while hanging at arm’s length from the chinning-bar.
- Side-Bends with Dumbbells – These will work the front and rear obliques and the small of your back. Perform three sets of 100 for each side and then three sets while holding the dumbbell behind your leg for the rear obliques.
- Roman Chair Reverse Sit-Ups – These will work your lower back and rear obliques. Perform three sets of 25 with the last set being compound, where you twist your torso as you raise to contraction.
Bodybuilder’s Pre-Contest Diet
This diet came from the Iron Guru, the late Vince Gironda, who was probably the best trainer of champion bodybuilders of all time. Vince claimed that “bodybuilding is 80% diet.”
This diet should not be undertaken for more than a short period of time. This describes the first cycle of the diet. Five or more cycles may be undertaken to reduce subcutaneous fat.
Days 1 through 4 – Eat as close to zero carbohydrates as humanly possible. Consume high protein foods like eggs, poultry, meat and fish.
Day 5 – Eat a balanced diet in which 25% of the calories are from protein, 40% from carbs and the remainder from fats and fibers.
Supplements: Protein powder taken with raw milk, wheat germ oil, lipotropic amino acids (inositol, choline, betane), desiccated liver and kelp tablets.