Both guys and girls want abs they can actually see.
Ok, or at least be able to see the outline of ’em right?
Why is this so hard?
Is it harder for women to get visible abs?
For most, yes.
Before we dive into WHY getting abs can be so frustratingly hard for women…
Let’s clear up some way too common myths about getting abs:
You don’t get abs by doing thousands of crunches.
You don’t get abs by doing hours of cardio.
You get abs through:
Calorie deficit (very important)
Training abs properly (less important)
Patience (so very important)
For more on how to diet AND train to get amazing abs, check out this blog.
So anyways, what makes all this harder for women than men?
To function properly, we need a certain amount of “essential fat”. Essential fat is necessary for our bodies to function normally. Women require more essential fat than men, both for proper hormonal function and as a stockpile of energy in the event of pregnancy. (1)
Normal body function can be disrupted when dropping below 15% for women, and below 5% for men. For optimal health, body fat ranges of 18-30% are recommended for women and 15-25% for men.
So, women naturally hold onto more body fat than men. They need more, just to function properly. Getting visible abs requires reducing body fat to very low levels. See the issue here?
For women, dieting down to extremely low levels of body fat can often lead to a variety of hormonal issues, such as loss of a normal menstrual cycle.
Harder To Build Muscle
The more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism will be.
The faster your metabolism is, the easier it is to get lean.
The leaner you are, the more your abs will show.
Basically: more muscle = easier to see abs.
Certain hormones are crucial to muscle growth. The especially famous hormone testosterone is one of the primary drivers of muscle growth.
Women (usually) have drastically lower levels of the hormone testosterone than men, which makes building the same amount of muscle as men harder.
What’s A Girl To Do?
So, maybe a bit harder for women to get their abs to show up. But, it’s definitely still doable.
Train your abs with resistance. This will grow your ab muscles thicker, making them visible at higher body fat percentages. For a full ab training program, again check out: How Do I Get Rock Hard Abs?
Women have been told that super high-rep, light weight, pink dumbbell isolation work is the way to get toned. This is the furthest thing from the truth.Focus on getting stronger at compound movements in primarily the 5-15 rep range.
Women’s drastically higher estrogen levels are actually super helpful for muscle recovery/preventing muscle loss. This means women can handle more training volume (sets X reps X weight) than men. Full body training sessions are usually the way to go.