T Nation

Abs Help


Hey guys , urmmm , iam kinda new to this forum and iam probably the youngest guy here so iam pretty inexperienced . so if i bug u guys a lot please bare with me :stuck_out_tongue: but anyways iam a tough cookie so dont worry too much . but my problem certainly needs a lot of thinking !

Well here is my case . 3 years and 4 months back i got my first 2 abs ( the upper ones ) . I wanted to try and get the remaining ones too . maybe not all 8 but just 6 is enough for me ( but it would still be awesome to get 8 ) . so for the last 3 years i worked out , every single day ! I did heaps of ab workouts , i did cardio like running and swimming . Some people said it would help to reduce my fat % . so i went all out on that and now my fat% is just 8.8 % !

Iam 6 feet , but i weight only 50 kg , thats about 100 pounds . i know thats an issue too but my main concern is my abs . thing is , after all these years of working out , i still cant see them ! I have tried a variety of different workouts and i have brought my fat % down to a near danger level too . so it cant be that fat is covering them , and they cant be too small cuz 3 years of just ab workouts is a lot for anyone ! and what further confuses me and several other guys is that u can feel my abs even though u cant see them .

i can feel them right from below my ribs all the way down to just above my private parts . my upper 2 are quite visible but u cant really see the others much . and u can see the outline of the whole 6 pack though but i just cant get those vertical cuts . and its just really depressing that after doing all this i still cant get what i want :frowning: .

People have told me that this problem needs to be assessed my more experienced people and that strength training may be the key , i have been lead to this website , so i really hope u guys could help . below i have attached a pic of me ( hope it helps ) . so please try to help me out guys . i have a looonng holiday coming up . its about 3 months almost . i hope u guys can help me out . please assess my situation and tell me exactly what to do . thanks in advance !!!


Ab definition on a skinny guy is like big boobs on a fat girl. It doesn't count.

I recommend a basic strength program like Starting Strength or Stronglifts 5x5. Squatting and deadlifting will build core strength. And eat enough to gain weight.


If you want to see what 6 feet, 120 pounds looks like, google Christian Bale in the Machinist.


No, we do not want to see a concentration camp victim pic. 120 at 6 feet tall looks anorexic, or maybe as though you've been hanging out in a german concentration camp for a year... Start lifting weights, front squats/deadlifts/over head presses/strict pull ups are your buddies.

Do them often, and focus on getting strong at them. You should also eat to gain a pound of bodyweight a week (don't worry you won't gain fat, you'll likely end up looking leaner after some bloating that you will get) and have at the bare minimum one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight.


First of all, I agree. You should really gain weight, preferably in the form of muscles. But to address your original issue:

  • how your abs look is largely a product of your genetics. some people wouldn't have a noticeable six pack at 4% bodyfat simply because their muscles don't have the shape. The good news is: no one, I mean NO ONE but you will ever give a fuck.
  • what kind of ab exercises do you do? doing 50 reps of sit ups every day won't change the look of your abs after the first two months or so.
  • do you do anything to train your lower back? If not, you're on the road to looking like the hunchback of Notre Dame.

  • start lifting. Deadlifts and squats will make your abs BIGGER so they will stick out more. Also, as someone said: you're not skinny, you're anorexic. Literally. You have a BMI of 16.3 and ask people if you should lose more weight. You, my friend, have a problem that goes beyond the physical realm.


I'm 6'2 200lbs and I think I look embarrassing :open_mouth:

What these guys are trying to tell you that you are not very healthy right now, so your main concern should not be exercising your abdominal muscles(for all you know you could be doing hip-flexor exercises lol) but focus on gaining some lean body mass. That will benefit you in numerous ways, but more directly, it will make your abs "come out" more.

1) They will grow bigger from weight lifting.

2)By increasing overall LBM, your skin will start stretching over them, making them more visible.

Also, replace every single cardio session with a food-eating-session, and start weight lifting. Then you can learn about things like how to hypertrophy your abs and feed them nutrients to make them much bigger.


It's adorable that you remember the exact date you first saw your abs. Unfortunately, you being just 12 or 13 years old at the time is a pretty significant factor.

Do you think that just maybe you've been working out wrong, or at least following a bad plan all this time?

How do you know your bodyfat is 8.8%? And who told you that was a "near danger level"?

"I know the cancerous tumors on my brain, spine, and lungs are an issue, but my main concern is this annoying runny nose."

How much sense does that make, really?

If you're as skinny as you say you are and don't already have a ridiculous set of abs, it's because, despite your almost-three and a half years of ab training, you don't have any real muscle there... or anywhere. Low bodyfat isn't all it takes to show off abs. It's low bodyfat plus having enough muscle so you have something to actually show off.

This is a large part of the problem. A beginner shouldn't really be trying a variety of workouts, a young beginner even moreso. Stick with one well-designed routine to build a solid base of muscle and strength, and then expand from there. Do this starting today:

Mon., Wed., and Fri.
Squat 2x15 (No weight, keep both feet flat on the floor.)
Push-up 2x15 (On your toes, go until the chest almost touches the floor.)
Lunge 2x15 (Alternate legs, 1 rep left/1 rep right.)
Neutral-grip pull-up 2x15 (assisted if necessary. Could be substituted with inverted rows.)
Plank 2x15-count (Hold the top part of a push-up, on the toes, arms straight, keep the whole body straight. Count to 15.)
Burpee/squat thrust 2x15

Once every set of every exercise is pretty easy (not reaching muscular failure at the end of any set), move to a well-designed program that focuses mostly on a lot of free weight (barbell and dumbbell) exercises.

Do you actually want advice or do you want to keep telling us why you think the problem isn't too much fat and too little muscle? Dude, open your mind and come at this with a new outlook.

Train smarter, like I suggested, and eat better. When I say better, I mean at least three good meals [i]everyday[/i] that make you feel full afterwards. Focus on eating "good food" more often than crap, but some junk food (candy, soda, whatever) once in a while is absolutely fine. The more you can cook for yourself, the better, even if it's just scrambled or hard-boiled eggs. Meat or eggs should be a big part of every single meal. Do not try to cut carbs or avoid fats.

These articles have some good info, but keep things simple overall:


Urm well i dont do just 50 sit ups . i do 50 crunches , 50 sit ups , 50 leg raises , 50 v ups , 50 bicycle abs and 5 reps of 1 mins of planks .

And well planks helps ur back too right ? and i do 50 push ups as well . I mean a minimum of 50 , i try going up to 100 if i can .

I dunno if all this sounds stupid to guys but please dont laugh okay ! And it was these guys on another forum on another site that said my fat% may be too high -_-

So , okay i'll start lifting then . I'LL the dead lifts and anything else . so how many reps do u think i should be doing ? and guys please , dont make me do anything that might affect my height okay . well thats all . thanks for all the replies . i would appreciate it if someone said the exact excercises and how many of each . thanks again !


Figured that I'd chime in here since I went through this once. At 14, I was 6'1" and 120lbs and I spent a while training and had 6 visible abs... it got me nothing. No attention from girls, it turns out that they don't care about a 6 pack if you look like they could beat you up. I reached 160lbs and my abs looked the same and my bodyfat is the same. I find that the more weight I gain, the better I feel and the more I want to try to gain in turn. Bulking doesn't mean you'll get bulky.

First, stop training abs everyday that's stupid.
Second, start using free weights.
The best workout I've ever had for abs was from heavy squats followed by heavy OHP followed by heavy deadlifts. SL 5x5 Workout A

That said, if you need to go ahead and only do abs until you get the 6 pack and then find out how anticlimactic that is I'd recommend Legendary Abs. It's a pretty old book but I got a copy as a teenager and I like it and still use it on off days sometimes.


have you tried cutting?

but seriously... eat a steak and then do squats and deadlifts


Well i guess girls there are different from ones over here . and hats off for managing to get that height at that age ! and ya i understand . iam planning on starting the whole 5 * 5 stronglift workout after my exams finish , which is in another 2 weeks . That will include the deadlifts . and didnt the weighted squats affect ur height ? Anyways thanks for the advice . i will report later on after i start the workout :slightly_smiling:


No, not at all.


Okay well i'll see about that too . i didnt want to do squats all this time cuz people say u get shorted . about what weight did u do ur squats with ? and other thing , when i start doing the stronglift 5*5 workout will it be bad to keep doing my ab excercises too ? or will it have no effect or is it just optional ?


My squats started with a fairly light weight, and as time went on, I kept adding weight to the bar. My very first squat workout started with probably 65 pounds (bar + 20lbs). And then I worked up from there, with 75 pounds the next workout, and 85 the one after that. You'll learn to push yourself as the weights get heavier, and heavier weights are what stimulate growth.

You will also need to learn to eat more to gain weight and muscle. Are you vegetarian by chance? If not, make sure you get plenty of meat and dairy every day.

You can still do your ab exercises, but I don't think they'll help you too much. If you do them, you should do them after your workout.

Other people on here can give you more thorough advice than that.


How old are you?


I've gained an inch or two since I first started squatting/deadlifting. I'm sure that I wouldn't gain height if there was any truth to that bullshit about squatting being bad for your height. There's even been a study (I'll search the internet for it if you want) that weight lifting increased how much you grew taller compared to other sports.


Oh okay then . and do i continue my ab workouts or what ? and i would appreciate it if u could get me that article :slightly_smiling:


No you don't. Your ab workouts SUCK. This should be apparent from the fact that you've made no progress in ages. A proper routine like 5x5 will REPLACE your current workouts.

Also, please forget any sentence that starts with "I've been told that". From what we've heard so far, 95% of what you know about exercise is plain wrong.


His profile says he's 16.

I posted a few links to studies about kids and lifting in this thread last year:

Bottom-line, smart training is good for kids, but tossing around excessive weights without paying attention to proper form 100% of the time is a terrible idea. This is why I suggested starting with a basic bodyweight workout before progressing to more intense lifting.


Listen to Chris.