Abs making me look 'fatter'??

So before you think this is ridiculous, let me explain. I have very strong abs, but they are still covered by a bit of fat which I am burning off more and more (exercise + healthy diet). However I read somewhere that if you have bigger abs underneath, they may be 'pushing the fat out', creating the appearance of a bulge, and if I didn't have those muscles, that stomach would be flatter.

I do lots of general exercise and cardio and that includes a lot of focus on abs, but apparently there are some exercises better than others that will tighten that skin rather than making the abs push it out.

I don't know how valid what I read is, and I've never considered this, so does anyone know anything about this? I feel cluelss hahaha

Replies

  • AlyssaAnne03
    AlyssaAnne03 Posts: 79 Member
    It is true to an extent
    Keep your diet 100% on track, up your water, and do more oblique/twist exercises. Use less weights if you've been doing weighted ab exercises
  • jemhh
    jemhh Posts: 14,273 Member
    Exercising patience is the only way, other than surgery, to tighten skin, and even then there is a limit to it. There are no ab exercises or other physical exercises that will tighten your skin.
  • Emijanine
    Emijanine Posts: 158 Member
    Have you ever been pregnant and suffered diastesis recti? Before I knew better, I thought that traditional ab exercises would heal it. They made my muscle separation worse, and while I have strong abs, I still have a mom pouch!
  • psuLemon
    psuLemon Posts: 38,112 MFP Moderator
    crevtion wrote: »
    So before you think this is ridiculous, let me explain. I have very strong abs, but they are still covered by a bit of fat which I am burning off more and more (exercise + healthy diet). However I read somewhere that if you have bigger abs underneath, they may be 'pushing the fat out', creating the appearance of a bulge, and if I didn't have those muscles, that stomach would be flatter.

    I do lots of general exercise and cardio and that includes a lot of focus on abs, but apparently there are some exercises better than others that will tighten that skin rather than making the abs push it out.

    I don't know how valid what I read is, and I've never considered this, so does anyone know anything about this? I feel cluelss hahaha

    Abs exercise and compound lifts will develop and potential perk up abs but its not going to be big growth. At leas to the extent that it would make your abs protrude more. If by chance you fix some posture issues, that could help lead to a different look. But in the end, fat is the bigger issue.

    If you want flatter abs, it's loss of body fat you need.
  • queenofpuppies
    queenofpuppies Posts: 189 Member
    edited June 2016
    I have heard that doing planks instead of crunches builds the muscle in rather than out. I tend to "spill" my gut out and have always had a little pot belly that I hate, even at my lowest weight of 110 lbs I occasionally was asked if I was pregnant. I can't tell yet if the planks are doing much for the actual muscles of my abs but I do think it is building my core strength which in turn is improving my posture and helping me pull the belly in...it might be worth a shot to throw a few planks in your routine; certainly wont hurt anything
  • ChristopherLimoges
    ChristopherLimoges Posts: 298 Member
    edited June 2016
    Working your transverse abdominous tissue layer will help. Practice Tummy Vacuums. This is partly how old school bodybuilders got their flat stomachs. Reading the title I suppose you saw previous posts on this subject, not much else needed. As they say, diet is 80% of the work.
  • liftingjunkie730
    liftingjunkie730 Posts: 1 Member
    up that cardio!! the more the better I wold say probably a hour for more fat burn. also check your hart rate and keep it at the fat burn level 111 and 139 bpm .
  • _Waffle_
    _Waffle_ Posts: 13,051 Member
    Fat isn't just above the abs. Your visceral fat is under the abdominal muscles and probably accounts for more fat than what you're seeing above the muscles.
  • crevtion
    crevtion Posts: 72 Member
    Belly fat just holds on for dear life, doesn't it? :D Thanks for the tips everyone! Yeah i'll have to add some plank routines in, and see how that helps over time. And more cardio, although I do lots as it is haha. I didn't think about posture to be fair, something i definitely need to work on in general because i get so slouchy ugh.
  • Kdp2015
    Kdp2015 Posts: 519 Member
    I have the same issue and it drives me mad! Posture makes a massive difference as I'm sure will building up my sides (maybe I have small sides rather than large abs?!)
  • AlyssaAnne03
    AlyssaAnne03 Posts: 79 Member
    I don't agree with upping your cardio.

    Instead keep it high intensity. Try HIIT cardio or fasted morning cardio
  • jmaidan
    jmaidan Posts: 93 Member
    You could try doing stomach vacuums?
  • psuLemon
    psuLemon Posts: 38,112 MFP Moderator
    crevtion wrote: »
    Belly fat just holds on for dear life, doesn't it? :D Thanks for the tips everyone! Yeah i'll have to add some plank routines in, and see how that helps over time. And more cardio, although I do lots as it is haha. I didn't think about posture to be fair, something i definitely need to work on in general because i get so slouchy ugh.

    Planks will give you stronger abs but wont do anything about thr fat until you have a calorie deficit. And you dont need to increase cardio either. You just need a deficitand patience.
  • RoxieDawn
    RoxieDawn Posts: 15,490 Member
    edited June 2016
    _Waffle_ wrote: »
    Fat isn't just above the abs. Your visceral fat is under the abdominal muscles and probably accounts for more fat than what you're seeing above the muscles.

    I really never thought about that about this. Could this really be true that there is enough (even in a really smaller person) that causes...lets say in the lower ab region to protrude out more due to this..???

    Interesting... and sort of scary that there could be enough visceral fat to poke the abs out like that..
  • ARGriffy
    ARGriffy Posts: 1,002 Member
    If I didn't have abs, I'd have a flat stomach. I have an abnormally small waist so from the side I will never look flat as I dip in under my ribs but my lower abs ad to this "bump" but trust me, now the fat has gone if anyone sees my tummy they certainly wouldn't say they make me look fat! With clothes maybe a super nit picker may say your stomach isn't flat there must be fat there but then again who cares!!! Just work on your sexy abs!
  • crevtion
    crevtion Posts: 72 Member
    Thanks again for the input everyone! I decided to just carrying on with what I'm doing because I'm already seeing my stomach flattening out. One thing I will improve on is diet. It's already very healthy but it couldn't hurt to go the extra mile, right? :) And I think I'll stay with all my abs routines, since I'd rather feel stronger than just look flat haha
  • adoette
    adoette Posts: 181 Member
    I have heard that doing planks instead of crunches builds the muscle in rather than out. I tend to "spill" my gut out and have always had a little pot belly that I hate, even at my lowest weight of 110 lbs I occasionally was asked if I was pregnant. I can't tell yet if the planks are doing much for the actual muscles of my abs but I do think it is building my core strength which in turn is improving my posture and helping me pull the belly in...it might be worth a shot to throw a few planks in your routine; certainly wont hurt anything

    This makes me feel better. I really thought it was just me. As a teenager I was on the high end of the healthy BMI but I always thought I was overweight because I had a pregnant lady belly I always had to suck in. It's nice to know that it's a problem other people have and I'm not just some body shape weirdo.
  • danhib
    danhib Posts: 290 Member
    Don't worry so much about ab workouts diet & full body workouts & cardio are the best for burning the belly. Cutting carbs after say 7pm worked really well for me
  • robininfl
    robininfl Posts: 1,137 Member
    We were watching cliff diving on TV, and yep some of those guys with the crazy abdominal strength look wider around the middle, they have bulging side abdominal musculature. Bodybuilders probably do something to prevent this development, but guys who are using that strength to push, pike, twist, tuck really hard, those muscles can get big, not just strong.

    It was one of the biggest body disappointments I've experienced, that my waist gets wider when it gets stronger. The other is that lats squish out of bras just like fat does. AARGH.

    So unless you are working out specifically and exclusively to look a certain way, not everything you do is necessarily going to lead to visual improvements. That doesn't mean it's bad or wrong.
  • psuLemon
    psuLemon Posts: 38,112 MFP Moderator
    robininfl wrote: »
    We were watching cliff diving on TV, and yep some of those guys with the crazy abdominal strength look wider around the middle, they have bulging side abdominal musculature. Bodybuilders probably do something to prevent this development, but guys who are using that strength to push, pike, twist, tuck really hard, those muscles can get big, not just strong.

    It was one of the biggest body disappointments I've experienced, that my waist gets wider when it gets stronger. The other is that lats squish out of bras just like fat does. AARGH.

    So unless you are working out specifically and exclusively to look a certain way, not everything you do is necessarily going to lead to visual improvements. That doesn't mean it's bad or wrong.

    A lot of the certain looks come from genetics. Same goes with body builders. BB tend to use certain poses more than others because they look bigger in certain stances.