Afghan Bodybuilders Flex Their Muscles In Kabul (PICTURES)

Looking ripped and ready, these tanned and muscled specimens are limbering up for Kabul’s Mr Afghanistan bodybuilding contest.

It’s an unlikely hotspot for the sport, but with more than 170 gyms sprouting across the city at last count, it’s one that’s rapidly gaining in popularity.

Under the hardline Islamist Taliban regime, some bodybuilders were jailed for showing their skin in public, MSNBC reported.

Others were allowed to train and compete if they were fully clothed and not tanned.

Khwaja Mohammad Fardin Abassi, the vice president of the body building federation, told Huffington Post: "We've worked very hard at the federation to encourage young people to go to the gym: he can stay out of trouble, he'll be healthy, and he will always look good, and he will get a nice girlfriend.

"Even when he's wearing a shirt, he will impress the girls."