More than one reader of this site has sent us a question on how to get six-pack abs. More specifically, they were looking for the body fat percentage that is needed for your abs to show through, no longer hidden by rolls of belly fat.
It is true that most people hold the majority of their fat in their belly area. Unfortunately, try as you might, it is not possible to “spot reduce” a particular area of fat. Fat loss is a total body endeavor, and getting your body fat percentage in general down to a certain level is what you need to do if you want to show off those washboard abs.
What percent do you need to get down to? We’ll answer below.
Body Fat Percentage For 6-Pack Abs
A chiseled midsection is aesthetically pleasing, not to mention beneficial for your overall body. Your core muscles are involved in most everything you do, and having strong abdominals will also keep you from getting back issues. I know this article is about losing fat to show those muscles, but I’ll just start off with the disclaimer that you need to have those muscles in the first place to show off. Make sure you’re doing your crunches so there’s something to display once you burn that fat away.
As for what you need to strive for, there’s a range of answers. Getting your body fat percentage down to around 15% will get you on the right track. At this level, your upper abs will be visible, but not the middle/bottom abdominals. If you want to show off the full six-pack, you need to lose a few more percentage points. Getting down to 10% or lower is where you want to be if you want that ripped look.
In any case, sometimes it is not just the fat percentage that affects how your abs will look. Your genetics can play in how your abdominal muscles are aligned. Some people are perfectly symmetric on both sides, while others are more staggered. Some have abs that are more “blockier” abs that are naturally more full, while others’ abs are a bit more conspicuous.
Regardless, if you get your body fat down to the level described above, your abs will be visible – and that’s what it is all about, regardless of how genetics made your abs look.
Genetics also plays a role in body fat distribution. I’ll repeat that it is not possible to spot reduce in one targeted area and that you should go for fat loss all across your body. However, not everybody loses fat in the same way. The way that fat loss is distributed throughout the body differs from person to person. Some people may only need to be on the high end of the body fat % range for their abs to show, while others may need to get all the way to the lower end of the range.
Additionally, training plays a part (as mentioned above). Two people could have an identical fat percentage and have a very different looking midsections if only one of them works on their abdominal muscles. For the best effect, make sure you are doing your sit-ups, crunches, leg raises, etc. so that the muscles in this area are developed.
To answer the question, at the most you should have a body fat percentage of 15% to start seeing your abs, but you really need to get it down to 10% or less for full visibility. Keep working on it and you’ll get there!
If you’re looking to build muscle to stimulate your abs, check here:
A great way to lose weight and reduce fat is to eat healthier snacks. Find our top healthy snacks here: