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general BF% for abs

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Hey everyone, I have a quick question. I searched the forum but it would only let me go to one page of the search results for some reason. I also read the "bloated belly" topic as well. My question is this: What is the general amount of body fat one should be at to see visible abs? My BF is at 9%, and I can see my top 4 abs when flexing well, but when relaxed It seems as if my stomach bulges out like a beer belly. I am 6'1 at 155 right now. I was wondering if I may just carry all my fat there? i'm not sure how to explain it. It's not a roll of fat or something, more of just how my stomach seems to be shaped.


My thought is that i may not have developed my abs to the point where they would show when relaxed (obviously), but it's weird regardless. Any input would help!



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If you are under 10% BF then you are where you need to be for abs. (remembering that determining BF is relative and the errors in any measure become greater at the extremes).


It's unlikely that anyone would have the flat washboard look without flexing. When those muscles are relaxed that's what they do. Your abs hold your internal organs in place. When they are relaxed they don't do as good a job and those internal things will obey gravity and push out a little.


When you see pictures, photos, or guys at the beach looking sharp and crisp in the mid-section, it's because they are flexing.


My suggestion: Practice keeping a little tone in your mid-section all the time. Not a hard flex, just a little tension. It'll help your posture and after a few days you won't even notice you are doing it.

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Firstly, what method has told you you're 9% bodyfat? 9% is basically a bodybuilder preparing for the final cut before a competition, or a walking bodyfat % for a lean, high level athlete. Bathroom scales are useless, bodyfat calipers are decent but depend on the skill of the person using them, and professional assessment is the only truly accurate way (like body pod, underwater weighing, etc).


As I said in a previous post (might be that "bloated belly" one), a weak TVA can cause a rounded stomach even at low bodyfat % (there are organs and stuff in there, you know, so it doesn't have to be fat to be bulging out ).


The bodyfat at which abs are prominent depends on the person. Also, if you strengthen your abs and cause them to hypertrophy, they'll be more prominent at low bodyfat %. 155 at 6'1 is extremely skinny if you have decent muscle mass, but it's also possible that you have less muscle and a higher bodyfat than you think.


Also, just to give my personal experience, I still had a 4-pack when I had 15% bodyfat while bulking. So my guess is that either your bodyfat assessment is inaccurate, or you need to strengthen your core muscles.

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thanks for the responses! The measurement was done with calipers, next week I am doing a bod-pod, so that will be interesting to see. I posted before and afters recently so you can check them out if you'd like to get an idea of my build.


But yeah, I have always been VERY skinny almost my entire life. I think TVA strength and posture have a lot to do with it. I do have a visible four pack, it's the lower muscles that aren't showing. I have failed to focus a lot on my core muscles (I am learning to squat and deadlift, but form is difficult for me to assess without a trainer, so I hope to get one soon just for the major compound lifts). I realized that when I have good posture my stomach is flat, so that is most likely a huge aspect. It seems to be just a posture/core muscle situation.


Also, because I've been eating around 4200 calories a day it could be that I am experiencing consistent bloating. They are more visible in the morning which leads me to think that.

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