The Difference Between Sculpting Male Abs vs. Female Abs

Muscular man doing sit-ups while female fitness trainer holding his feet. Female doing abs exercise with help from a man in gym.

Abs are the ultimate sign of hard work and dedication to living a fit and healthy lifestyle.

A defined midsection is glamorized by Hollywood, social media, and the fitness culture, and it’s something desired by both men and women.

And while guys and girls can obtain toned abs, is it harder for women to get visible abs?

The short answer is “yes.”

Women generally have more difficulty losing weight and developing a set of chiseled abs than men. 

With that said, let's now dig into female abs vs. male abs and explore why it may be more difficult for women to get a six-pack.

Are Men's and Women's Abs Different?

From an anatomical standpoint, there is not much difference between female abs vs. male abs.

Both men and women have the same set of abdominal muscles:

  • Rectus abdominis (the 4-pack or 6-pack muscles)
  • Transverse abdominis
  • Obliques 

Regarding how they look (symmetrical vs. "uneven" or staggered abs), that is a matter of genetics.

With staggered abs, both sides of the rectus abdominis are the same size, but the three segments on each side that make up the six-pack are misaligned, creating the appearance of "unevenness." There's nothing wrong or bad about staggered abs; it's just how your body is.

Why Do Female Abs Look Different?

Female abs look different for a couple of reasons.

Amount of Body Fat

It's a well-known fact that women have a greater essential body fat requirement than men. Women naturally carry around more body fat than men because of normal hormone production and an energy "reservoir" to feed a child during pregnancy.

This means that women generally have to work harder and lose more weight to develop a set of abs.

Something else to consider is that getting to very low body fat levels can lead to hormone disruption and adversely impact normal body function (note: this applies to both men and women). In the case of women, extremely low levels of body fat can lead to disruptions of the menstrual cycle, hair loss, fatigue, and other unwanted side effects.

For general health, recommended body fat ranges for women are 18-30% and 15-25% for men.

Amount of Muscle Mass

By nature, men carry more muscle naturally (on average, about 61% more muscle mass than women). This is due to men having higher testosterone levels. 

Something else to consider is that men also require less body fat for optimal health and daily function than women.

Men also typically have higher metabolic rates than women, so they can more readily lose enough fat to reveal their abs than women.

Does Everyone Have a Six-Pack Under Fat?

Yes, everyone does have a six-pack under the fat. However, everyone isn't walking around like a Spartan warrior because of a lack of dedication, consistency, and hard work.

Getting down to low body fat levels to reveal a toned set of female or male abs is not easy. Some people are naturally lean, but even in those cases, some attention is paid to eating the right amount of calories and/or doing enough physical activity to maintain a lean midsection. 

Also, having a 4-pack or 6-pack isn't a priority for everyone, and being shredded isn't meant to be done long-term. Even competitive physique athletes don't walk around shredded year round. They "peak" for their show and then gain weight immediately during the "off-season."

How Long Does it Take to Get Abs?

How long it takes to develop a toned set of abs will vary based on the individual. We aren't all starting at the same point (i.e., body fat percentage), nor do we all have the same level of commitment, work ethic, or desire to get a set of abs. 

Among the factors to consider when figuring out how long it will take to get abs are: 

  • Age
  • Amount of body fat
  • Genetics
  • The aggressiveness of calorie deficit
  • Amount of physical activity (cardio + resistance training)
  • Sleep
  • Stress levels 

Rest assured, though, that it can be accomplished if you are set on chiseling a set of toned female abs or male abs.

You need to follow a few fundamental principles:

  • Follow a reduced-calorie diet to lose body fat
  • Perform resistance training 3-4 times per week to build lean muscle and tone your abs
  • Get enough sleep each night

Once your diet and training regimen are under wraps, you can also consider different supplements, including our high-quality topical toning lotions and fat burners.

For developing abs, specifically, we recommend Abs of Steel® fat-burning cream.

Abs of Steel® is formulated for male and female abs and contains clinically-researched ingredients to help tone and chisel your midsection. Our revolutionary formula helps attack fat, boost thermogenesis, and develop the rock-hard midsection you've always wanted!

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Young attractive fit blonde caucasian girl doing dumbbell chest press exercise with help of her personal trainer. Toned image.