Let’s talk a little bit about body fat percentages! Most guys want to get to a low body fat for no greater reason than to have a set of chiseled six pack abs. Six pack abs and having that defined v line are the hall mark sign of a downright aesthetic physique!
So the question then becomes, how lean do you have to be for great six pack abs? There is no perfect answer, as several factors are at play. The three factors are – body fat distribution, abs development and abs genetics. Let’s break down each one.
Body Fat Percentage: Key Factors
Body Fat Distribution
Everyone holds fat differently. Some guys will lean out throughout their chest, shoulders, arms and legs and still have a solid layer of fat around their midsection. In this case, these guys may very well have to get to 7-8% body fat to have great abs definition.
Alternatively, some guys will lean down smoothly over their entire body. This is known as very good ‘body fat distribution’. Around 10% body fat their abs are perfectly visible (provided they developed them well).
Having great abs definition around 10% is ideal, because it’s a lot easier to maintain 10% body fat compared to 7-8%. Moreover, being around 10% body fat is more productive for testosterone levels and muscle building potential than extreme leanness.
The layout of your abs and the way they look is heavily determined by genetics. Some people naturally have blockier abs and other people have less pronounced abs development. If your abs are on the smaller side, they will not show as well so you will have to sit at a lower body fat.
The other factor is the lay out of your abs. Some people have staggered abs and other people have perfectly lined up abs. Some people have the capacity to create the whole eight pack and other people might only have 4 or 6 abs visible at low levels of body fat.
This is not something to concern yourself with. As long as you get lean to the point that you can see a great set of v line abs, then you’re good to go! My abs are staggered and I couldn’t care less. I always laugh at people that worry about such trivial things they don’t have control over.
This is where you have the power. You can train your abs properly and make them stronger, thicker and more visible. Get very strong on advanced abs movements and you will be able to rock a great set of abs without having to kill yourself trying to stay at 6-7% body fat.
I have spent years training my abs properly and have developed a super powerful core! This has made a pretty solid difference! In fact, I can get my abs to show without flexing around 10% body fat, no problem. This is truly the sign of great abs – when you don’t have to flex to see them.
Should You Train Your Abs if You’re 15% Body Fat or More?
This is a question I get often, “Ariel, I still have a lot of fat to lose, what benefit will training my abs have for me?” If you have a good amount of fat to lose, your biggest point of leverage is diet! You’ll want to start eating at a solid deficit to promote fat loss.
So, what’s the body fat percentage for six pack abs?
You can get your abs strong as steel, but until you’re 12% body fat or less, you won’t look any better! Your best option would be following my aggressive fat loss program to lean up very quickly.
When you get to a solid level of leanness, you can focus on building muscle and training your abs hard two days per week. The other thing to keep in mind is that your abs will start to look better a couple months after a fat loss phase, simply from your skin tightening up.
The Real Power of Having Six Pack Abs
Don’t obsess about having incredible abs. The real power of having six pack abs is that it is a sign of a low body fat. By holding abs definition you will naturally be at a healthy bodyweight with good health markers, have solid muscle definition everywhere, clothes will even fit better and you will have a well defined angular face.
Moreover, abs definition stacked with solid muscle development will result in great proportions – specifically the coveted V line abs, which is the ultimate sign of physical attraction in men.
So if your abs aren’t completing shredded don’t stress out about it. The goal isn’t to look like you walked off a mens fitness shoot. The goal is to be healthy, look great and feel awesome!
You don’t have to look Photoshopped to feel awesome about yourself! By working hard on yourself, eating well and pushing yourself in the gym – you should have tons of confidence!
This is what building an incredible body is all about. Developing massive amounts of confidence rooted deep within yourself. When you realize the power you have to conquer and improve your own body, nothing seems out of reach.
Furthermore, when you begin to take care of yourself, by eating a balanced diet and exercising, you will naturally hold yourself to a higher standard and you will attract more great things in your life.