I'm a 16 year old boy who weighs 140lbs and I'm skinny but not unhealthy skinny and was just wondering what I should be doing to get my abs to show
Given you age and weight consider the following
You will have one window where you are going to make more hormones and be injury free. That time is now. Once this window starts to close and you get some miles on your joints things will change.
- Learn how to properly train the big lifts
- The big lifts would be squat, deadlift, row, overhead press, pull up, dip, and because you are going to do it anyways bench press
- Master these lefts and get strong AF in them with good form.
- Shoot to squat 1.5-2X bodyweight, deadlift the same, bench over 200, 10-20 pull-ups, etc
You can not squat or overhead press big numbers with out abs to support you.
We had a 16 year old squat over 500... yes he had abs.
Nutrition Given everything above... learn to eat enough... as some have already stated you are likely not eating enough. No diets. If you make better food decisions and train hard and focus on getting stronger you will have abs.
Carbs 1 gram of glycogen (thanks to the reader that caught this error and suggested the correction) attracts 3.75 grams of water... or there about. Muscle is 70% water. If you completely cut carbs you will not look very lean and defined. Instead you will look flat or like I often tell clients like a fat swimmer.
Ab Training If you read this far you are thinking... the question was about abs... and this answer makes no mention of having trained or training abs... what gives?
The six pack muscle or rectus abdominus and the obliques will get plenty of work if you do the big lifts above. Why not direct work like crunches, side crunches, bicycles, Russian twists and the like (FYI I just listed most of the six pack exercises)... Data and in the field experience suggests that lots and lots of trunk flexion is bad for the low back. Research by Dr. Stuart McGill supports this, have not hear of him...Google him. My experience personally and with some... note I did not say all... mirrors that.
Better Ab Training
- Pallof Press 12 reps
- Plank 30-60 seconds
- McGill Curl Up 15 reps
- Bird Dog 15 reps
- Cat Camel 15 reps
3 sets of each in a super set, 3 times per week.
Training core this way will make sure you are safe doing the big lifts. Safe doing the big lifts means you will be able to keep adding weight to the bar.
More weight to the bar and the abs will have to get big (not I did not say fat) strong to support the load.
Make better food choices...and you will be shocked at what you abs look like.
Sleep This one is a freebie... get 7-9 hours per night.
FYI... we had a 16 squat 5 bills...
Keep your joints healthy and that window I mentioned that will slowly start closing just may stay open a bit longer in terms of injuries and what lifts you can or cannot do or have to modify.
Depending on how tall you are, you may need to consider gaining weight if you want to see abs. Those abs are muscles that need to be trained if you want to see them, just like your quads, biceps, or any other muscle.
If you switch your focus to eating well, recover properly, and getting strong (with GOOD FORM!), abs will show themselves naturally.
I don't necessarily agree with the comments/other answer. Everyone has abs regardless of whether or not you have ever done a core workout. They will certainly look better if you train them but regardless of how muscular or not they are; The problem is men carry almost all their body fat in the gut, where women carry it in the arms/legs. This is why a man can have a "beer gut" and arms that look shredded, and women can have a little fat on their arms and legs but a skinny waist. In order to get them to really show you need to be around 8% body fat or lower. In order to do this I recommend cutting out as many carbs as you can. I can assure you though if you reduce your body fat enough your abs will be very prominent.
Note: There is basically nothing healthy about this, and in my opinion having visible abs without a lot of muscle mass elsewhere just looks weird so I don't recommend this venture.
Also as you are concerned about the six pack I should point out that what most people think of as ab workouts (crunches/sit ups) mostly only exercise your top 2 abdominal muscles, to work the lower ones you need to do leg lift type exercises.
Most importantly: Not that most people have the will required to do it, but in case you do: Absolutely do not cut out all carbs...you will die. I found that once I began to understand how easily carbs convert to fat in the body that knowledge alone fixed my diet as much as needed. Just understand that carbs are essentially extremely concentrated energy for your body, unless you are really depleting your bodies energy store on a regular basis through things like marathon running, long strenuous weight lifting sessions, long distance biking, etc. You need almost no carbs. The average person can probably get by with a single piece of fruit a day.