T Nation

How lean to see my abs?

How lean in terms of body fat % would i need to be to see my abs?
Maybe a better question would be, what mm skinfold on my abs would i need to see them?

Skinfold taken from three sites: Triceps (vertical), Abs (vertical 1" to side of navel), Mid thigh (vertical)

Got down to 6.4% once where my abs skinfold was 5mm, could make em out but not sharp (not very hypertrophied).

What skinfold are others getting down to and seeing their abs?

You really should have been able to see your abs well with a 5mm skinfold. I’ve done hundreds of skinfold tests on people and I have rarely found people with skinfolds less than 5mm even on really lean people. A couple of 4’s or 3’s here and there, but not many. And, I’m pretty aggresive with my skinfold pinches.

I’m sorry at 6.4% bf you should defnitely be able to see your abs pretty good. I’m sceptical that most people don’t do a good job of measuring their bf and usually underestimate it while measuring (i.e. not really grabbing enough of the skin to get an accurate measurement). When I got down to a true 6% I could see my abs really well.

while i’ve never been extremely low in bf%, i can still see my top 4 abs at 15%. hope this helps

Well I thought I was fairly consistent with my measurements and thought I was being pretty subjective (taking 3 to 4 measurements per site). Did this over a period of 2 months.

BUT if it was 5mm then from what you are saying i should have been able to see em.

Is there a possibility that even that lean underneath i had shitty abs?

BTW at 6.4% my tris were 9mm and Thighs 9mm too.

i would get someone to do the measurements for you for best accuracy. when you do your own, you have a tendency to inadvertently flex and take some slack out the skin. but yeah if you were a true 6 and a half percent, you should have a pretty ripped midsection. i’m with lumburjak at 13% right now and i’ve still got 4 showing with a slight flex.

Yes, it’s usually better to get someone else to take your skinfolds. Better as long as they know what they’re doing that is.

Your skinfolds are unusual in that your ab skinfolds were less than your arm and leg. Given that your arm and leg folds were 9mm, I would expect your ab skinfold to be slightly higher (than 9mm), even at a low %bf.

the three site test sucks ass. i have been around 10-12% bf in the past and the three site had me at 5%.

There ain’t no good way to measure.

I’ve been using the skinfold measurement for many years now, and i find it to be a great tool to measure progress… I’ve aspired in the past to get the abs of the “Men’s Health” mr ripped guy, comparable to a top level bodubuilders abs, and the closest i got was 5mm horizontal ab skinfold, 4mm triceps and 5mm quads… but a buddy of mine who competes naturally showed me his abs a couple weeks before the musclemania and he couldn’t have pinched more than 3mm- saran wrap… he was eating nothing but P + F except for a large mocha at starbucks every morning- his only carbs for the day, every day, for 3 months. You just have to stick with it- just DO IT… good luck to the people out there trying to get uber ripped!


Yeh i agree it is unusual to have skinfolds that high on my thighs and triceps. My mate hit 7mm in the abs and was 8mm in the triceps and 6mm in the thigh. (His arms and legs always seem to be about that).
I dunno that is just where i seem to carry my fat. The abs is the first place to gain and lose on me, but my thighs/triceps hardly ever change.
Maybe i’m a woman…

My body fat is always between 8.5% on the low end and 11% on the very high end. I can see my abs at both numbers. Obviously, there are much more defined at 8.5%.