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How Quickly Can You Get Abs? What to Know Based on Your Body Type

A fitness trainer reveals how fast you can sculpt abs of steel based on your body type.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

At one point or another, we've all wished we had rock-solid abs that we could flaunt at the beach or poolside on vacation. But achieving six-pack abs is a process that requires more than doing endless crunches or planks. Sculpting abs takes commitment, consistency, and discipline in your diet and exercise routine. A lesser-known factor when it comes to how fast you can build abs is your body type. That's why we chatted with Kyrie Furr, CPT, a certified personal trainer and performance coach with Barbend, who weighs in with expert wisdom to help answer how long it takes to get abs based on your body type.

Whether you're looking to shed a few extra pounds or have struggled for years to flatten your tummy, you may wonder how long it takes to develop a trim and toned waistline and how your body type can affect your quest for a six-pack. The answer is there's no one-size-fits-all approach; the process can look different for everyone, and it can take anywhere from weeks to months to see noticeable changes in your abs.

Whether you're naturally lean or tend to carry more weight around your midsection, understanding how your body type impacts your abdominal definition is critical to reaching this specific fitness goal. Remember that while genetics plays a significant role, other lifestyle factors like diet and exercise also shape your abdominal muscles.

In this article, we'll explore the benefits of developing core strength, strategies for setting realistic goals to get visible abs based on your body type, the best ab exercises for sculpting six-packs, and share tips for tracking your progress.

The benefits of building core strength:

woman with abs doing sit-ups, concept of habits that ruin abs

A strong core is essential for overall stability and balance. Studies have found that it can improve performance in various physical activities and reduce injury risk—especially in the back. According to a recent study in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, improving core strength can also improve posture, reducing strain on the spine and muscles.

"Having a strong core is more than aesthetics," says Furr. "A strong core can improve posture, lower back pain or injury risk, and increase overall stability and balance. Outside of athletic performance, core strength can help with everyday activities like twisting, bending, and lifting."

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If you want to build six-pack abs, set realistic goals based on your body type.

woman close-up abs, concept of standing workout for ripped abs

It's crucial to keep in mind that spot reduction isn't a thing. When you lose weight, you lose it all over your body.

"Obtaining visible [abs] requires reducing overall body fat through exercise and nutrition," Furr explains. "How long it takes to get abs varies depending on factors like genetics, body composition, diet, and consistency with exercise. Generally, it can take weeks to months of dedicated effort to see noticeable results."

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It's essential to set realistic expectations based on your body type. Some individuals naturally have more defined abs, while others may need to work harder to achieve the same results. Understanding your body type and genetics can help you set achievable goals and avoid frustration.

Determining your somatype (body type)—ectomorph (slim figure), mesomorph (athletic build), or endomorph (rounded physique)—will help you set realistic goals.

Furr tells us, "Ectomorphs typically have a lean and slender build with difficulty gaining muscle mass, smaller joints, and lean muscle. Their core-strengthening goals might focus on increasing core strength and stability without necessarily aiming for significant muscle size

Mesomorphs tend to have a naturally athletic and muscular build, with larger bone structures and well-defined muscles. Their core-strengthening goals might revolve around enhancing muscle definition and overall strength.

Endomorphs typically have a higher body fat percentage and may find it easier to gain weight; they can also be seen as more solid and gain muscle and weight more easily. Their core-strengthening goals might focus on reducing body fat while simultaneously building muscle definition and core strength."

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Here are the 10 best exercises for ab definition:

According to Furr, the best exercises for targeting all areas of the core, such as the rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis, include the following:

1. Crunches


Lie on your back with your knees bent and your hands behind your head. Lift your shoulders toward the ceiling, keeping your lower back on the floor.

2. Leg Raises

leg raise

Lie on your back with your legs straight. Lift your legs toward the ceiling, then lower them down without touching the floor.

3. Bicycle Crunches

woman doing bicycle crunches

Lie on your back with your hands behind your head. Bring your right elbow toward your left knee while straightening the right leg, then switch sides.

4. Russian Twists

Russian twist with medicine ball

Sit on the floor with your knees bent and heels on the floor. Lean back slightly and twist your torso to the right, then to the left, while holding a weight or clasping your hands in front of you.

5. Plank Variations

plank pose

Hold a plank position with straight arms or forearms, keeping your body straight from head to toe.

6. Mountain Climbers

mountain climbers exercise

Start in a plank position, then alternate between bringing your knees toward your chest in a running motion.

7. Pallof Holds or Presses

Pallof press exercise demonstration

Attach a resistance band to a fixed point. Hold the band at chest height and press it straight out, or hold it steady to the side of your body.

8. Wood Chops

woman doing cable wood chops

Hold a weight or resistance band with both hands. Start with arms high on one side, then chop diagonally down across your body.

9. Farmer's or Suitcase Carries

farmers walk

Hold a heavy weight in one hand (suitcase) or one in each hand (farmer's) and walk for a certain distance or time.

10. Dead Bugs

dead bug

Lie on your back with your arms extended toward the ceiling and legs in a tabletop position. Slowly extend one leg and the opposite arm toward the floor, then return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.

Tips for tracking your progress:

Tracking your progress is crucial for staying motivated and monitoring your results. Furr offers the following tips for staying on track with your ab goals:

  • Keep a workout journal or use a fitness app to record your exercises, sets, reps, and any additional notes, such as how challenging the workout felt or any modifications you made.
  • Take regular progress photos to visually track changes in your physique.
  • As you progress, gradually increase your exercise's intensity, duration, or complexity to keep challenging your muscles.
  • Listen to your body, and adjust your routine to prevent plateaus or overtraining.
  • Prioritize rest and recovery to allow your muscles time to repair and grow stronger.
Adam Meyer
Adam is a health writer, certified holistic nutritionist, and 100% plant-based athlete. Read more about Adam
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