• Age: 23
  • Height: 180cm
  • Weight: 70kg
  • BMR: 1715 Calories/Day
  • TDEE: 1972 Calories/Day
  • I live an inactive life with highly irregular visits to the gym.
  • I have a skinny-fat (mainly lean) physique.
  • I have weak lower back and some spine-related problems, including lumbosacral radiculitis, which thankfully didn't bother me much for some years now.


My goal is to become leaner and have a flat stomach without the need to actively, deliberately strain abs. Visible abs is the next step, but it is the protuberant belly that bothers me the most, not absence of visible 6-pack.

  • What is your goal? Look good? Be strong? Be Fast? Be Lean?
    – John
    Jul 15, 2016 at 8:07
  • Thanks, I did forget to specify that. Edited the question to include my goal. Jul 15, 2016 at 8:20
  • Keep in mind, many "back" problems are caused by the back being strained from having to carry too much of the normal load. In other words, having weak abdominal/core muscles and lead to back problems. Make sure you are taking care of strengthening the support on both sides of the spine. Aug 18, 2016 at 18:37

2 Answers 2


Good news! You can't become a heap of muscles! No-one "accidentally-Arnold" when working out. It takes YEARS AND YEARS of full dedication to get to a bodybuilder physique.

Surprisingly everyone's belly pokes out a bit. That's because you have organs in there. When you tense a well built six pack you push them back and flatten out your chest. This look can be achieved easily by maintaining good standing posture.

Firstly: Go see a doctor about your spine condition, show/explain the routine you want to follow and ask if it is suitable for someone with your back condition.

Looks like you need to do 2 things. Keep/Reduce your body-fat percentage and put on some muscle. Good news for you is that because you are a beginner you can do both at the same time.

With regards to reducing body-fat percentage I recommend 3x7 fork put-downs. Just eat less or just enough calories. Track calories using a food tracker and use IIFYM.com to calculate how many you need in a day.

With regards to putting on muscle:

  • stronglifts.com/5x5 - Complete this program first. There is a helpful app and lots of videos to instruct you on form and educate you about weightlifting.
  • Once you have been working out for around 6 months and you have stalled on most of your 5x5 lifts (following the de-load schedule). Then consider some of the following: 5/3/1, Texas Method, Greyskull LP, Jacked & Tan 2.0, PHUL, anything from https://www.reddit.com/r/Fitness/wiki/programs

In targeting abs specifically (in addition to the above) get yourself a Ab-wheel and do kneeling and standing variations. Build up to 5 sets of 25.


First of all, you don't need to train abs to remove belly fat. You either remove fat around your whole body, or you don't remove fat at all. You can't target where to lose fat.

So you don't have to do ab workouts to remove belly fat, you can just go for a run or grab a bicycle. This combined with a proper diet will get you the desired results. By diet I don't mean eat salads and drink water, I mean a balanced healthy mix of foods with give you the required nutrients to be able to work out and function during the day, while not consuming to many calories to make room for weight loss.

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