How Long Does It Take To Get A Six Pack?

It almost seems like a human nature to worry more about the time it takes to achieve certain somethings than WHAT we need to do in order to reach such goals; and the same goes for fitness.

That’s why ‘how long does it take to get a six pack’ is among the most frequently asked question, since it’s the ultimate goal shared by many people of the gym.

There is no simple answer, but for your average person this is the best we could come up with:

Most men start seeing their six pack when dropping below 12% body fat. Under 10% body fat a six pack is clearly visable. For women, under 18% body fat abs will show, and at 15% most will have a clear six pack.

The American Council on Exercise states that by following a healthy diet you can safely lose around  1 percent of body fat per month. At this rate, you should be able to achieve a six pack by simply checking your body fat percentage and subtracting the number of months it will take for you to get to the target.

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Determining your body fat percentage

You can use Legion Athletics awesome picture guide to determine where you are at body fat percentage wise:

body fat chart for men

Image credit to Legion Athletics

body fat chart for women

Click pictures to enlarge

However, that is also why so many people fail to reach that goal because they only care about the timeframe rather than actually doing what it takes. Just because you can lose 1% of body fat per month doesn't mean it will just happen!


Anatomy Of The Abdominal Wall

There are three major parts to one’s abs: obliques, rectus abdominis and transversus abdominis. The rectus abdominis, located the middle, is often the most trained in order to get a six-pack.

abdominal muscles anatomy

The majority of ab-focused workouts taxes all three groups to some extent; some focus on one part more than the other. However, most of the exercises include restricted range of motion, with very little to no resistance at all.

Therefore, you are not likely to get yourself injured from practicing them more than a couple of times per week, though quantity typically doesn’t mean quality.

For a normal person, working your abs daily aren’t going to get you there faster than doing so once to thrice a week. 

How To Get My Upper Abs To Show?

First and foremost, let me summarize a few keys of abs workout. Keeping these in mind will prove to be helpful for establishing a mindset for building abs, which can help you survive that long journey and get the results you’ve always desired.

There’s really no right or wrong answer to this question; Try going around the gym asking people with six packs the same question, I guarantee that their answers will get you dumbstruck.

Frankly, the timeframe for building abs differs violently for each individual. It depends heavily on your starting point, your commitment to training as well as your diet.

While doing thousands reps of crunches might help you train your abs, they alone won’t help you shape up your midsection.

A six pack demands a mighty long and slow progression, coupling with a very strict diet. It is the ultimate evidence of a lean, strong yet balanced body. And that’s why it’s so hard to get.​

Nutrition Plays Important Role too

So instead of worrying too much about how long it takes, you should just go for it. Here is a beginner's foolproof guide to six-pack abs to help you out. 

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Some Food For Thought

First and foremost, it should be noted that you most likely will never be able to build your abs like one of those in fitness magazines, because not all of us has the natural build for a six-pack.

Secondly, a six pack only becomes visible when the level of your body fat gets low enough to unveil the tendinous portions isolating your rectus abdominis (or abs for short).

Visibility of Six-pack depends On Various Factors

Male muscle development

The applicable body fat level also fluctuates quite aggressively depends on genders. Men need to strive for a level between 6 - 10 percent; while women only need to drop to about 16 - 19 percent.

It stands on the scientific ground that female bodies naturally require more body fat for childbearing and breastfeeding.

Therefore, the very first thing you need to do is to measure your current level of body fat, and be utterly honest to yourselves about it. You can use one of this tool to help estimate a number within a reasonable ballpark and roughly how much weight you need to lose.

Keep in mind that it’s a lot harder trying to reach the required level of body fat to expose your abs than losing weight to a healthy level.

How Long Does It Take To Build A Six Pack

There’s really no right or wrong answer to this question; only the honest ones. Though it can be quite disheartening for some, it’s still way better than sugarcoating it and giving you a false idea.

The required timeframe and possible outcomes depends entirely on you; there’s no such thing as magical ab workout or special ab machine that can help you get there faster.

Six-pack Reveal depends individually

The most common reason why so many people struggling with building abs is because there’s too much fat on their stomachs. So all you need to do is losing fat, or weight, and let those abs come out.

Nonetheless, it’s actually a lot harder trying to reach the required level of body fat to expose your abs than losing weight to a healthy level.

The quantity of weight you need to get rid of will determine how long this process will take. Obviously, it’s going to take longer for people with more weight to lose, with equal amount of dedication and consistency.

What’s funny is that these people also lose weight faster at the beginning compared to those with a small to average amount of weight to lose.

Belly Matters

Technically, you can lose about 1% of body fat, or equivalent to about 0.9 kg, per month in average providing that you keep a consistent workout schedule and follow strict diet, according to the American Council on Exercise.

So do the math and you will figure out roughly how long should it take to drop weight to your target level. Once you determine that, try to concentrate on doing it in real life; this guide on how to lose weight might help you a great deal.

What You Can Do To Speed It Up

​Although I cannot tell you exactly when your six pack will pop out, I can still give you some advices on how to make the whole process somewhat easier, as following:

  • Choose slow carbs over refined/white carbs every time: Slow carbs are absorbed more slowly than refined carbs, keeping hunger away for a longer time and controlling your blood sugar.
Suitable Nutrition for Diet
  • Eat a protein-packed breakfast: you’ll want to increase the protein intake, especially in the morning since protein help control your appetite and fuel your activities throughout the day.
Breakfast Make Your Day
  • Get rid of sugary products and processed food.
  • Drink more water: loads more actually, because water can help you lose more weight and boost your metabolism, shocking right?
  • Consume dietary fat moderately: naturally, your body need fats. So consider switching to healthier sources of fat with limited consumption.
Food From Natural Resource
  • Eat smaller meal, but more often (ideally 3 standard meals and 3 snacks per day): so you never go hungry and your metabolism is never down.
  • Supplements! Various weight loss supplements can aid in helping you reduce stomach fat while staying healthy and properly nourished.

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Recommended Exercises

  • Develop your core muscles: there are several core-developing exercises to choose from, namely the plank or the bicycle. You should employ muscle isolation with these  ab machines and weight training too. And you will have to train almost every day, but make sure that you have proper rest for recovery.

  • If weight training is not your cup of tea, then try these bodyweight ab workouts: as close to a shortcut as you'll get to get rid of fat and develop your abs by just using your bodyweight!

1. The Six-Week Power Abs Routine

The Power Abs Program aims to not only consolidate your waist by burning off the excessive fat, but also work your upper abdominal muscles.

The Power Abs Routine

This routine is divided into two one-week phases at the beginning and two two-week phases for the remaining period; each two-week phase involves one exercise for your core,oblique, and upper- and lower-ab respectively to blast your upper abdominals from every angle.

Each exercise should be performed for recommended amounts of rep demonstrated in the table below, or until failure.




3rd & 4th

5th & 6th


12 reps

15 reps

20 reps

Reverse Crunch

10 reps

12 reps

15 reps

20 reps


10 reps

12 reps

15 reps

20 reps

Double Crunch




20 reps

10 reps

12 reps

15 reps

20 reps



15 reps

20 reps

10 reps

12 reps

15 reps

20 reps

Total allowable time

15 mins

20 mins

25 mins

30 mins

You should perform these exercises in sequence, without resting in between for 4-5 times a week. By increasing the reps count, they’ll gradually become more challenging as time goes by, with the highest volume for the last two weeks.

Make sure that you’re able to finish the sets one by one within the allowable time. Also pay attention to withstand proper body positioning for each exercise.

All exercises is equipment-free, apart from the hanging knee raises and the cable crunch. Cabled machines are great for training abs because they can provide the isolated resistance that is usually deficient without.

Furthermore, cables offer nearly unlimited variations of ab exercises. In case you’re interested, you can find some of the best abs machines by clicking the link to our detailed review.

2. The 28-Day Abs Training Program

The 28-Day Abs Training Program

This program is established by the good people at Muscle and Fitness, aiming at people with medium skill levels.

Unlike the previous method, it stretches over a relatively short period, which means you will have to stick with the program almost every day of the week, exactly 6/7 days per week.

It is designed to develop your upper body as a whole, not just your abs. Adding other muscle groups helps burning more calories and speeding up your metabolic rate.

The general plan is to blast your upper abdominal muscles three days a week along with cardio exercises for 30 minutes for maximum impact.

The other three days are specifically dedicated to building various parts on your upper body, such as back, chest, arms and shoulders, to achieve the V-shape and decrease the possibility re-gaining belly fat.


Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7


Abs & Cardio 1


Abs & Cardio 2


Abs & Cardio 3

Arms & Shoulders


No. of Exercises








75 mins

75 mins

75 mins

75 mins

75 mins

75 mins

For training abs, slow and steady wins the race. It’s a thumb rule that wide range of motion with added weight for low reps (~10-15) burns deeper and are way more beneficial than doing 50 crappy sit-ups.

The program is rather lengthy, so I highly recommend you check it out following this link, which will provide all the details you need to execute the plan.

3. The Bruce Lee’s Method

I think you all can guess from whom this one come, the late infamous martial artist and actor Bruce Lee.

His ab-training method strongly emphasizes the influence of high intensity and additional weights in building washboard abs. One advantage of this training method is that it doesn’t require any machines or special equipments.

For a true Bruce Lee ab training experience, perform these following exercises for four sets each, up to 5 times a week.

  • Waist Twists:

Performing up 90 reps of this twisting motion helps you develop your stamina. A step-by-step tutorial for doing the twist can be seen here.

  • Sit-up Twists:

Adding twisting motion to a regular sit-up works on both your obliques and rectus abdominis; do 20 reps of this exercise.

  • Leg Raises:

Leg raises are fantastic for building your lower abdominal muscles, should you wish to balance things out, since these are scarcely touched by sit-ups. They also develop the strength and flexibility in your hips and lower back. 20 reps are generally enough.

  • Frog Kicks

This exercise intertwines balance and abs training; 50 reps of frog kicks guarantee to leave your rectus abdominis deeply burned.

  • Flags:

The flags (or dragon flag) is very challenging and is Bruce Lee's signature move. Therefore, five reps is more than enough; that is if you can pull it off and it’s a big if.


To sum it up, nobody can tell you how long it will take to achieve a six pack until you decide to actually get on with it; even then it would be a long shot.

I don’t know if this will be of any help, but for every goals that I set out for, both in fitness and in life, I’d like to think that the timeframe for reaching said goals will be longer than I need but shorter than I think, make sense?

It’s not rocket science when it comes to fitness; all that matters are time and your maximum effort. Be patience, and one day you will taste the fruit of your hard work.

As usual, I’d love to hear from my readers, so please leave your thoughts in the comment section and share it on if you think it helps.


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