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How to Get the Best Abs in Bodybuilding

Jason Hughes
Published by Jason Hughes
Fact checked by Markus Oliver, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: May 6, 2022

Getting six-pack abs is one of the “holy grails” of fitness and bodybuilding, but anyone who’s attempted this feat can tell you straight away – it’s definitely not easy to get the best abs in bodybuilding!

According to average body fat percentage measurements from those who have six-pack abs, men will require a 5 to 9 percent body fat level for cut, defined abs, while women will require 10 to 14 percent for great muscle definition. For distinct ab definition in the obliques, women can get away with 15 to 19 percent body fat and still look extremely fit.

In this guide, we’re going to walk you through the process of getting the best abs in bodybuilding from start to finish. You’ll learn about core training exercises, ab rollouts, and various workout routines and get answers to some commonly asked questions. Let’s get going!

Focus on Core Training Exercises to Get the Best Abs

The most important part of getting defined six-pack abs is to focus on core training exercises in your workout routine. When you focus on training your core and strengthening your abdominal muscles, your body naturally builds your abs up to the point where they become visible and defined.

Since your abdominal muscles are a lot smaller than other muscle groups, you’ll find that lowering your body fat percentage in tandem with core training is the fastest way to build muscle definition.

Let’s explore some core training exercises that you can start today to begin building your ideal six-pack.

Men will require 5 to 9 percent of body fat level for cut, defined abs, while women will require 10 to 14 percent for great muscle definition.

Abs Ripper X Exercises

Ab Ripper X is a 15-minute, 300-rep bodyweight exercise program popularized by Beachbody. This is one of those workouts that you’ll likely hate at the moment, but absolutely adore after seeing your results.

The Ab Ripper X routine builds abdominal muscle by hitting your abs from slightly different angles in 12 different moves. You’ll start by performing each move for 25 reps, and doing them back-to-back to really work your core.

If you want a stronger core and a proven method to get there, Ab Ripper X is an excellent choice.

Make Ab Rollouts Your Best Friend to Get Six-Pack Abs

Ab rollouts work your core by using a “wheel crunch” or “ab wheel.” These ab exercises are performed by holding onto the non-slip handles and rolling outward until your abdominals flex.

If used correctly, you’ll feel yourself hitting multiple muscle groups including your abdominals, lateral muscles, and biceps. Ab rollouts using the best ab roller you can find can be a great way to build some of the best abs in bodybuilding and strengthen your back muscles at the same time.woman with six pack abs

Middle Ab Exercises

Middle ab exercises are specifically designed for strengthening your middle-abdominal muscles, helping improve your spine flexing capability and build a stronger core.

Some middle ab exercises you may already perform or have heard of in the past include: reverse crunches, hanging leg raises, decline sit-ups, cable abs exercises, and Russian twists.

Ab Bench Exercises

An abdominal bench is a piece of adjustable fitness equipment that’s perfect for performing your core exercises. Instead of laying perfectly flat, like you’d be able to do on a floor gym mat, using an ab bench lets you set an incline and work your abdominals from multiple angles.
Next time you get on an ab bench, try doing some crunches, incline and decline sit-ups, and perhaps even some Russian twists on an incline bench.

21 Day Fix Ab Workout

Can’t wait to jump right into a proven workout routine and start building those six-pack abs?

The 21-Day Fix Ab Workout helps you start on the journey towards defined abs, and teaches you to perform a few abdominal exercises with great form.

Knee drops

Knee drops are a simple but effective way to strengthen and tone your abdominal muscles. To perform a knee drop, lay flat on your back, lift your legs while keeping your knees at a right angle, and then drop your legs to the side until you’re approximately 1-inch off the ground. Pick up and repeat on the other side.

Bicycle

The bicycle is a popular ab workout that involves laying flat on your back, picking up your feet with your knees at a right angle, and then moving each leg back and forth as if you’re pedaling.

Ankle crosses

Ankle crosses help strengthen your core and tone your abs with one simple motion. Lay flat on your back, lift your feet a few inches off the ground, and then cross one ankle over the other ankle in the air. Repeat on each leg.

Flutter kicks

Flutter kicks are very similar to ankle crosses. Lay flat on your back, lift your feet a few inches off the ground, and then alternate lifting each leg a few inches up while the other leg simultaneously comes down. Your legs should perform a “fluttering” or “kicking” motion up and down.

Make the Most of Workout Programs to Get Ripped Abs

To make the most out of your chosen workout program, whether that's Ab Ripper X or following an Insanity Ab Workout Video, it’s important to focus on diet and tracking your macros. We’ve discussed how important a low body fat percentage is when it comes to having defined abs, and it’s important that you never overlook your eating habits and diet.

Try a Vegan Diet

vegan food
Vegan sources of protein. Healthy food concept. Selective focus

While core training can go a long way, nutrition is even more critical when it comes to getting defined abs that’ll make your friends jealous. Consider going vegan, and eating foods rich in plant-based proteins, fruits, and veggies. This type of diet promotes fast and effective weight loss and helps your body build muscle more efficiently.

Track Your Macros

Tracking your macronutrients or “macros” on a daily basis is one of the best ways to lose body fat and ensure you’re letting your body replenish muscles post-workout in the most efficient way possible. This is best done through food tracking apps that let you see how many carbohydrates, fats, and proteins your meals have added up to.

Getting the Best Abs in Bodybuilding isn’t Rocket Science

Getting the best abs in bodybuilding isn’t rocket science – in fact, the process is rather simple. Before you start, however, it’s important to note that simple does not mean easy, and getting those defined six-pack abs that you dream of will take a lot of discipline, hard work, and consistency.

By switching to a vegan diet, tracking your macros, and following a proven core workout routine or exercise program, you’ll be well on your way to getting six-pack abs and becoming a healthier version of yourself in the process.

FAQs

How Long Does It Take to Get Muscular Abs?

Based on a safe 1 percent loss of body fat per month, it would take the average man 15 to 21 months and the average woman 20 to 26 months to achieve the fat loss required for six-pack abs.

How Often Do Bodybuilders Work Their Abs?

Bodybuilders have a weight training routine that often includes an abdominal workout performed at least 3 times every week. Typically, bodybuilders are in the gym 4 to 5 times a week for at least 45 minutes to 60 minutes.

Is It Possible to Get Abs in 30 Days?

Getting abs in 30 days is not realistically achievable for most people, but it is possible under certain circumstances. For those who are new to fitness or have larger amounts of body fat, getting abs will usually take significantly longer.


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