Back in the day, a set of six-pack abs was considered the highest achievement a gym goer could accomplish. These days, we know that fit bodies come in many shapes and sizes, but many trainees still strive to chisel out their abdominals. If that’s one of your goals, keep on reading!

Whether or not genetics are entirely to blame for abdominal development is a question that many a lifter has asked (or perhaps yelled at the sky, fists clenched, toward the end of a particularly grueling cardio session). And the truth is, it depends. Here, I’m going to break down why that’s the case, and how you can work toward a carved-out core if that’s what you’re after.  

If you’ve ever read the famous Malcolm Gladwell book Outliers, you know there are always exceptions to the rule. So someone can be genetically blessed as an athlete, but ultimately that will only take them so far. If they don’t spend time perfecting their sport, learning the finesse of the game and clocking hours on the field, the less genetically blessed will eventually out-train them every single time. Similarly with abs, genetics will help you, but they will only get you so far.