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Why do bodybuilders often get protruding veins? © Getty Images

Why do bodybuilders often get protruding veins?

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Asked by: Jake Edwards, Liverpool

Prominent veins – known as ‘vascularity’ – is an aesthetic that’s prized by many bodybuilders, but it has nothing to do with muscle size. Most of the effect is down to the dramatic reduction in subcutaneous fat, which makes the skin appear paper-thin and almost transparent.

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Just before a competition, many bodybuilders also dehydrate themselves to shrink the tissues just under the skin, making the veins pop out even more.

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luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.

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