Being a skinny guy doesn’t automatically mean that you’re gonna have a breeze getting ripped abs — nuh-uh! It ain’t easy for skinny guys to build a 6-pack, but it also ain’t impossible, so don’t you lose hope!
How to get bigger abs, you ask? In this article, we’ll explain why you can be skinny guy with no abs showing, and what you can do about it to get bigger abs.
Skinny means having little muscle mass; and since your abs are muscles, they need to be developed.
Technically, everybody already has abs. Whether it is a six, eight, ten, or twelve-pack is all determined by genetics. The issue is that they are not defined.
Two factors play into having abs you can show off:
- Body fat percentage
- Muscle mass
So, to get abs and a chiseled midsection, you have to build and burn.
Getting jacked and developing ripped abs may be difficult for skinny guys. Abs are already there, you just have to do direct ab work and eat a proper diet to get those defined abs in no time! Read further to find out how.
As mentioned earlier, this article is all about helping skinny guys get abs.
There’s no instant solution for building those solid 6-pack ab muscles.
Sculpting those abdominal muscles involves a commitment to healthy eating and regular exercise, including cardio training and lifting weights.
You can do low to medium-intensity cardio sessions for 30-60 minutes every other day.
This helps you burn 400-500 calories, which, in a week, gives you a total of 1600-2000 calories burned.
Combined with your 300/day or 2100/week caloric deficit, you’ll be able to lose a pound of fat per week.
You need to burn 3500 calories to shed a pound of body fat. But, we don’t want this to happen abruptly because the faster you lose body weight, the less likely it will all come from fat. So, you have to control your calorie intake, be patient, and trust the process.
If you tend to get bored with long cardio sessions, I recommend doing high-intensity interval sessions. Think sprints, rows, rope-skipping, indoor cycling, and even boxing.
They help you burn as many calories within a significantly smaller time frame. Plus, they are superior when it comes to improving overall health and, hence, quality of life.
Muscles are stimulated to grow when they are trained in their shortened and lengthened position in one movement. This causes myofibrillar growth, or growth of the actual muscle fibers.
So, what abdominal exercises are great for this?
For skinny guys, crunches and leg raises are some of the best abs exercises. The former works the upper abdominals, and the leg raises work the lower. Start incorporating them into your full body workout routine.
I recommend using an ab pad when you do crunches. It’s a simple pad that sits at the bottom of your back and supports the spine with a cushion. This helps you get a full range of motion and removes the hip flexor from the movement as well.
Also, I like using the term crunch over “sit ups” because most people botch the sit ups. With the crunch, think about crushing an ostrich egg between your chest and upper thighs.
Leg raises can be done using a bench or padded dip/leg-raise equipment.
When you raise your legs, make sure you lift your femurs above parallel (to the ground). The end part of the movement is where maximal flexion of the lower abs occurs.
You can also do this on a pull-up bar. This allows a bigger stretch on the abdominals at the start position, which primes it for better muscle activation.
For both movements, the most important thing is to contract your abs. You should feel tension in the abdomen, not the lower back.
To do this, exhale while tensing your abdominals on the concentric or lifting portion of the movement.
Bigger abs may mean an IG-worthy body, but it’s more than just looking good..
The abs are a key to stabilizing your body for heavy lifts like squats and deadlifts. So, think of building abs as getting stronger than looking hotter.
A simple yet highly effective exercise to build abs and increase core strength is planks.
It is an isometric movement, so all you have to do is support your body with your feet and your elbows. Hold it as long as you can. And, strive to hold the plank position longer for every ab session you do.
You can also opt for a more difficult version of core training, such as ab-rollouts. You’ll need an ab wheel for this one.
No matter how you want to go about your ab training, I have one reminder for you: Do not complicate it.
That usually is the pitfall for most gym buffs that quit working towards a chiseled midsection.
They turn simple exercises into a mish-mash of whatever they see fitness influencers do and then tell themselves that “getting abs is too difficult.”
Stick to the basics. Learn how to properly do them. Then, you can get all the benefits of ab exercises, which equates to a better feel.
Great things take time, as they say. So, be patient and don’t be discouraged when you don’t see results immediately. Just keep going!
Lastly, you should not train abs every day.
They are the same as all the muscle groups in your body that you train. And, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’d know that recovery is needed for muscle gain.
The upper abs are composed of the top half of a muscle group, called the rectus abdominis, which are also known as your six pack muscles.
These muscles run down the front of your core from your ribs down to your pubic bone.
The most effective upper ab exercises for skinny guys are those that bring your head down, such as:
- Myotatic crunches
- Abdominal crunches
- Cable crunches
Lower ab muscles, on the other hand, are notable for storing body fat. While body fat helps you stay warm and supplied with energy-giving material, having too much of it is not good.
Performing lower ab compound exercises helps tighten and strengthen the abdominal area. If performed properly and regularly, these can help burn off belly fat and give your six-pack abs more definition.
The best lower ab exercises for skinny guys are those that bring your knees up to your chest or get your legs moving, such as:
- Leg raises while lying on a bench
- Flutter kicks
- Hanging knee raises
- Hanging leg raises
- Dragon flags
- Reverse crunches
- Mountain climbers
As long as possible
The first thing you need to do is to go on a caloric deficit.
When you burn more calories than you consume, your body resorts to your stored energy (in the form of fat) to fuel its metabolic processes.
The goal for this is not just to lose weight, but to lose fat. But, be careful not to cut out too many calories from your daily intake!
If you are a skinny guy, I recommend a deficit of 300 calories to start.
We want to retain as much lean muscle as possible during this period. You are essentially going on a cut as bodybuilders call it — burn fat while being able to gain muscle.
You have to eat more lean proteins and less junk food to build big abs. Drinking protein shakes can also help you build muscle mass and stimulate muscle growth in your entire body.
A high protein diet boosts your metabolism, curbs your appetite and unhealthy cravings, and optimizes the production of weight-regulating hormones.
Shoot for 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight to put you in the most optimal state to burn fat and build muscle. You’ll be on your way to developing bigger abs in no time!
High Omega-3 intake has been shown to increase muscle growth, support protein synthesis, accelerate fat loss, decrease muscle breakdown, and reduce unhealthy inflammation.
Focusing on the first two benefits stated above, consuming Omega-3 fatty acids will surely help you gain muscle, get abs, and lower belly fat that’s keeping your abs hidden.
Since you’ll have to be in a caloric deficit, Omega-3 fatty acids will also help you retain your hard-earned muscle. Plus, it will help you keep your overall health in check by reducing chronic inflammation that’s been associated with life-threatening illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Hence, Omega-3s are mega, indeed! They are a powerhouse nutrient that will play a key role in helping you get abs, as well as solid internal obliques and external obliques.
Fiber is only found in plants. The type that we consume from plants is called dietary fiber. And, it has two forms: soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fiber seems to be the best type to take since they have the most effect on belly fat.
This type binds with water and forms a thick gel-like substance in your gut. Also, soluble fiber encourages bacterial diversity in your GI tract, which has been linked to less belly fat.
Hence, it leaves you feeling satiated for longer, decreases your appetite, and helps you achieve a low body fat percentage.
Table sugar is 50% glucose and 50% fructose. When you consume too much sugar or junk food, your liver will get overloaded with fructose. As a result, the liver will be forced to turn this into fat and make you gain weight.
Most experts believe that the harmful effects of added sugar or sugar-sweetened drinks are because of this process.
It increases abdominal and liver fat, which not only leads to insulin resistance, but also other health problems.
Also, try to lower your overall carb intake. Aim for a 40/30/30 macro split. 40% of your calories come from protein, 30% from carbs, and 30% from fat.
Why so, you ask?
Assuming that you have a high body fat percentage, you are most likely insulin resistant.
Being insulin resistant means that when you have a high calorie intake – most especially carbs – your body would end up storing them as fat instead of muscle glycogen.
The subcutaneous fat layer is found under the skin. This creates a flabby and soft appearance if you have higher body fat percentages.
More importantly, for overweight guys, it is one of the reasons why your lower abs do not show.
Under that fat layer are your muscles; and the thinner this layer is, the more defined your abs will be.
Thus, for body fat, the goal is to hit lower body fat percentages, bringing them down to at least 12%. You need to burn that fat to make it thinner — and, yup, that means having to go into a caloric deficit.
Note that we are all genetically predetermined to store more fat in some areas and little in others. Some gain most of their fat in the belly, while others store fat in their arms or legs..
And, one more thing, you cannot spot-reduce fat. I hate to break it to you, but the idea that you can burn fat in a specific area is a hoax. So, remove that waistband from your cart and better spend your money on something legit — like nutritious food!
Your muscles are wrapped in fascia, the membrane that determines the muscles’ shape. Think of it as a balloon. The more air you blow into it, the more defined its shape.
The same thing happens with building muscle. You need to fill the fascia with more muscle (thicker fibers) so they have a rounder and more pronounced look.
Another factor that affects ab definition is not knowing how to feel or control your abdominal muscles.
That fitness influencer flaunting their ripped upper body on Instagram is most likely flexing as they click on the photo. And, assuming you’re a beginner, you may not know how to feel or flex them yet.
You need to flex your abs to see them, unless you are under 8% body fat. Even then, their appearance can’t compare to a flexed appearance.
Thus, a lack of ab definition means you do not train them, or, at least, not enough. You either have poor development or poor control of your abdominal muscles. Most likely, it is both.
Getting those rock-hard ab muscles greatly depends on the body fat percentage you’re starting with.
For a skinny guy who wants to build six-pack abs, you want to lose around 1 to 2 percent of body fat per month.
With the right nutrition and training program, a skinny person can probably get visible abs after at least 6 months.
A skinny guy typically carries little muscle mass. And, they also tend to store fat around their abdomen. This is especially true for ectomorphs.
A lack of muscular development plus a high body-fat percentage means a lack of abdominal definition.
For a skinny guy, there are no shortcuts to building a six-pack. It requires a healthy diet, discipline, patience, and diligence. Take note and follow the info I shared above, and you’ll accelerate your ab-building progress and get big ab muscles in no time.
To maintain your ab definition, make sure you stay below 12% body fat. Count your calories, do cardio, and do ab workouts regularly to keep them looking sharp and defined.
Ideally, you have to be at 12% body fat to start to see the definition in your abs. The lower the percentage of your body fat, the better that definition will be.
It takes three simple things to get those coveted six-pack abs if you are a skinny guy: Eat protein, do cardio, train your abs.
The combination of these three keeps your metabolism revving, burns the excess fat covering your core muscles, and makes sure you have muscles to show (when you’ve finally reached low body fat, of course).
As a reminder, your abs are just one part of your body. You should approach nutrition and training holistically. Focusing on getting visible abs alone won’t get you abs, ever.
So, what’s the first step you’re taking to build abs?