Issue #5


by HardFitness

California NPC and IFBB Championship Results

California NPC and IFBB Review

Video: Self Tanning an Alternative Part 2
by Shelly Leversage

ATTENTION Professional Make up for USA's Vegas
by Brittany Thorsch

Video Interview: Andrea Giacomi New HardFitness sponsored competitor

My Emerald Cup Experience
by Amanda Ogden

Video Interview: with IFBB Fitness Pro Stephanie Worsfold

Pre-Contest Abs Training by Katie Szep

20 Questions With Our Cover Model

Video Interview: Nancy Hirsch Pro debut at the Cal Pro

Prepare Yourself
by Shelly Pinkerton

Video Interview: Vicky Oates Amateur Figure: A mix of class and sex appeal

Women: Competing and their Menstrual Cycle
by Tanya Pennington

The Transitional Athlete
by Katie Madden

Training Video Jane Awad talks about working out legs

Ephedra and Estrogen
by Darlina Acampora

Stephanie Worsfold, Christine Moore, Karina Nascimento, Jane Awad, Amanda Ogden

Video Interview: Bodybuilder Christine Moore at the Arnold speaks about her upcoming shows

Down the Wire
by Shelly Pinkerton

Video Interview: Amanda Ogden upcoming Fitness Star

A Month After Pittsburgh
by Kristi Wills

Pre-Competition Abdominal Training by Katie Szep

Most Fitness Competitors realize that no matter what type of abdominal training they perform, six-pack abs only become visible after following a strict diet and cardiovascular training program. However, even after following this strict regimen, many women enter competitions with extreme definition everywhere except their abdominals. One highly probable reason for this area of weakness is improper training. Such training can cause a variety of problems including muscle breakdown, injury, and decreased athletic performance (particularly in your fitness routine). The following training mistakes could be holding you back from achieving strong and shapely abs:

The most common mistake I find when evaluating new clients is the overtraining of the abdominal muscles. Like all muscles, the abdominals require a period of rest in order to recover. If you train your abdominal muscles within this recovery period you risk the possible breakdown of muscle fibers which will inhibit your abs from growing and becoming more visible. You wouldn't train your biceps on two consecutive days, so why would you train your abs in such a way? Give your abs at least 48 hours to recover between training sessions and they will happily respond!

High Repetition Training:
Your ab muscles are at work all day, supporting your trunk and stabilizing your body. Therefore, in order to illicit new gains in strength and definition, you must overload your abs with more intense training than they are accustomed to. In other words, you must perform exercises that feel very difficult within a range of 10-20 repetitions. If you can do 50 crunches, then they are too easy! Pick a different exercise such as weighted sit-ups or weighted cable crunches. These difficult exercises will produce invaluable muscle cell growth.

Undertraining the Transverse Abdominus:
It is very easy to get into the habit of training only the highly visible abdominal muscles; the rectus abdominus (“six pack”) and the obliques. However, it is very important to train the core muscles that are not as obvious, especially the transverse abdominus. This important muscle lies deep within the core and wraps around the torso. The transverse abdominus is vitally important, as it is the first muscle activated when performing athletic movements, especially those that involve twisting and stabilizing (such as those in your fitness routine). To train these muscles, you can perform exercises such as medicine ball Russian twists, cable trunk twists or any stability ball balancing exercise.

Along with a strict diet and cardiovascular program, the following abdominal training regimen can provide the strength and strength needed for award winning abs:

Example Program 1
Weighted Sit Ups-3 sets of 15 repetitions
Oblique Crunches on Stability Ball- 3 sets of 10 repetitions per side
Russian Twist-3 sets of 15 repetitions per side
Hanging Leg Raise- 3 sets of 15 repetitions
*L-Hold- 30 seconds, 3 sets

Example Program 2
Weighted Twisting Sit Ups- 3 sets 15 repetitions per side
V-Ups- 3 sets of 15 repetitions.
Cable Trunk Twists- 3 sets of 15 repetitions per side
Weighted Decline Sit Ups- 3 sets of 15 repetitions
*V-Hold- 30 seconds, 3 sets

*These fitness mandatory moves provide an intense workout as they require a great deal of abdominal strength

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About the Author...


My name is Katie Szep and I am a national fitness competitor in the NPC. I recently won the overall fitness title at the Junior USA Nationals and am looking forward to competing in Team Universe in August.
My husband and I own Core Fitness Inc., a personal training and sports specific training studio in Middletown, New Jersey. I am both a Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. In addition to training my own clients, I am also the fitness director at Gold's Gym, Middletown, New Jersey where I teach a variety of classes including spinning, step and sports training.
My passion is to improve the level of fitness of my clients, my students and myself through all-natural training and diet programs. Although it is hard work, I design my own competition diets, training programs and fitness routines. Fortunately, I am able to do so because of my education, athletic background and support from my husband, family and friends.
My future goal is to compete at the professional level and continue to help others achieve higher levels of health and fitness.

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