T Nation

AB skinfold VS other skinfolds..

Just measured my bf today and got the following results with ACCU-measure calipers( jackson-pollock method): Chest- 8.5-9mm Thigh- 8.5-9mm Lower Abdominal- 14mm. According to the bf-calculator, this leaves me at 8.3-8.6% bf. These were taken after breakfast, but I doubt that they fluctuate that much anyway.

I seem to carry some flab on my lower ab area, I mean alot of flab in comparison to my other areas, so my question: Do I have an imbalance in my bodyfat distribution?
How does YOUR measurements look?

The thingy is…A couple of months ago I had the EXACT same measurements, EXCEPT for my lower ab area- which were 18-19(!!)mm.

So it seems that ive lost some flab allright, but exclusively on my lower ab area! So far goes the notion that the fat is supposed to come off from all parts off your body…

You have a pretty normal male body fat distribution, but it is a little more balanced than most males.

Males tend to carry fat in this order from highest to lowest: abdomen -> upper torso/back -> legs -> arms.

These assumptions are based on the hundreds of males upon who I've measured body fat for or talked about body fat measurement with.

Fat dissappears fastest for most people in different areas. Some guys lose abdominal fat really quick whereas others lose it last on the list. My abdomen really wants to hold on to the fat that is there. Consider yourself lucky that your ab flab is coming off first.

It may help to keep in mind that in “meltdown training,” alessi says that fat strips in this order: abs, trunk, arms, legs. I think thats the right order. ANYWAY, abs are first so it’s not a surprise thats where you see the most difference.

Fat seems to come off in percentages. For example if you start with a 20 mm ab measurement and a 10mm chest measurement you would lose 2mm at the ab for each one at the chest. This changes when a number gets around 5-6 mm. At that point that measurement decreases very slowly while others seem to “catch up” with rapid decreases.

Congrats on your bf % I’m currently at the 9% range and my abs are just now starting to show the six-pack Ive been dogging on. At your bf % it is not unusual for you to start lowering your low ab fat. I imagine the other fat did go first and it is starting to target your midsection. Regardless getting to your bf % is a great accomplishment and is the trur makeup of arel t-man. LEAN MUSCULAR AND HEALTHY, ROCK ON111

I know for me I lose fat from the arms and legs first then the stomach. My arms will have veins all over and even veins in by legs and my cavs before I start to lose from my gut. My love handles and stomach are the last to go. And even then I can’t get rid of them all together. After I get into my gut fat them my arms and legs don’t lose too much fat after that. Looks like you have the same problem as me.

I have an imbalance too… Chest-5.0, Thigh-11.0, Abs - 15.0. This obviously make me look like shit. If you looked at just my arms, you’d think I had 5% bf, unfortunately, its more like 8.5%. I’m going to try to get lower, but I’m afraid my arms will look sick, when my abs finally start to look good. BTW - I’m 6’5 ~205 right now…

I feel your pain. No matter how low my BF% goes, I can never get my abs and obliques as lean as I want them. I am currently just below 6% after approximately two months of cutting. My ab skinfold is 13-13.5mm, my chest is 7.5-8mm, but my quads are only 2.5mm. I know a lot of fat chicks with thunder thighs that would love to trade places with me, but it still isn’t much consolation when you don’t look like you want to look.

My last measurements were all over the place too. Abs - 8mm, Thigh - 9mm, Chest - 3.75-4mm.

Eric, that quad skinfold is quite amazing compared to the other two. I feel your pain bro...

Thanks for the feedback. To JASON Norcross- when do you get to see really good abs? What skinfold mm? I don´t mean the sickly contest roided-up abs some bodybuilders show when competing, but a tight and nice achievable six pack?
I have a decent sixpack when the “light is right”, but I guess I have to get down to 10mm to reach my goal. Please give me your input!
( Iknow this is individual but, for once, give me a generalisation=)=)

Ab Skinfolds:

30+mm = in the right light, after a workout, you may see the outline of the box where your abs would be but no individual cuts

25-30mm = very top upper abs may be able to be seen when flexing in the right light
20-25mm = some definition while flexing in good light, but no definition in relaxed state

15-20mm = decent definition while flexing but very little to some resting definiion

10-15mm = really good flexing definition, some to decent resting definition

5-10mm = phenomenal flexing definition, good resting definition

<5mm = phenomenal six pack in resting and flexed position

What do you guys think? How do your ab skinfolds concur with my descriptions?

My ab skinfold is at 12mm, and I don’t have any sort of definition…I don’t think I could call it a six pack, four pack, even a two pack unless viewed in the right light. So, your table may be accurate, but all I’m saying is that I don’t seem to fall in the general distribution. I attribute this to improper ab training…high reps, no resistance - so I have very poorly developed abs.

At 8mm I’d say my abs sound more like your 10-15mm description…

I’m at 7-8mm and have good definition, especially if I flex. Years ago, I used to train abs without resistance - just high reps and even when I was lean, I didn’t have much of a six pack but a few years back I started doing full crunches with heavy resistance, progressively increasing the weight just like training any other movement and now my abs are very thick with deep ridges, so at my current 7%BF, my abs show nicely. I found that for 6 pack, it takes both low BF and ab movements using heavy, low rep resistance. This does make your waist look a little thicker, but when you flex, it’s all wash board.

Of course my observations have a huge range of possibilities. I was just writing down what I’ve seen from my experience. I think Heb hit on a very good point. Obviously low body fat is important, but one has to have a nice set of abs to show. Many of us (including myself) really neglect intense, heavy ab training and we might be paying the price for it when we get our body fats low enough for them to show. Just some thoughts. Time for me to go hit some heavy ab work.

Jason Norcross- this is a lame ass question, but I guess its been on some peoples minds for some time( c´mon guys!)…What kinda ab skinfold would you estimate that Brad Pitt had in Fight Club=*P?


I’d guess <5mm.

I’m not ignoring you, but I’ve only seen parts of the movie (don’t really care to see the whole thing). If this helps, most guys with really good abs on the covers of the mags (Muscle&Fitness, Musclemedia, etc.) are probably at 5mm or less. Hope that helps with perspective.

Jason- do you think its possible and maintainable for a “natural” guy to achieve ab skinfolds of -5mm( and stay at a respectable weight, like 165 lbs minimum)? Or do you have to possess some really awesome genes? Thanks for your good input on subject.