Bodybuilders often deal with bulking as an important part of their journey.
However, those who want to gain abs don’t often find it helpful because they have to consume a lot of calories during this stage.
So can you get abs while bulking? Since the two goals sound opposing, they have caused controversy among gym-goers.
Today, we will discuss bulking and its impact on your abs. You can also learn some tips to establish a proper program to achieve your goal.
Let’s figure out the information right below!
Table of Contents
- Can You Get Abs While Bulking?
- How To Train Abs While Bulking?
- How Long Does It Take To Bulk Up Abs?
Can You Get Abs While Bulking?
Yes. You can still build your abs while bulking because it’s a muscle group of your body.
However, do not expect them to be visible because you consume more calories during bulking, which is not beneficial for your abs building.
Before digging into this topic deeper, you need to know what bulking is about and how it affects your body.
What Is Bulking In Fitness?
Bulking in fitness is the first phase of a bodybuilding program. The other phases are cutting and maintenance.
Competitive bodybuilders have one more preparation phase before attending their contests.
Bulking focuses on muscle gaining. For a specified period, usually four to six months, you deliberately aim to consume more calories than normal.
The extra calories to boost weight training will increase muscular strength and size.
Due to the increased calorie consumption during bulking, body fat will build to varying degrees. Consequently, it’s harder to see your abs.
The secret to developing abs when bulking is gradually increasing your calorie consumption. It’s advisable to take 300 to 500 extra calories per day.
As a result, you can develop lean muscle without collecting extra fat layers that you’ll have to jump to lose then.
Is bulking safe?
Since bulking can boost fat mass, especially when your calorie excess is too high, many individuals consider it unhealthy.
While bulking, some bodybuilders also consume foods that are high in calories but low in nutrients, such as desserts, fried foods, and sweets.
However, bulking isn’t about overeating. You shouldn’t eat whatever you like.
Instead, you should keep a healthy calorie surplus while focusing on ingesting nutrient-dense foods. They contain nutrients for your calorie count.
How To Train Abs While Bulking?
The good news is that you can still train your abs while bulking. However, you must determine your goal clearly and choose the right exercise based on that.
Determine your goal
Your main objective during your bulk will significantly impact how you handle your core workouts over the next few months.
❖ Strength bulking
Focus on exercising the large movements if you want to build strength and break your records while eating more than you need to. The best exercises for your goal are deadlifts and squats.
Training your trunk is also crucial for stabilizing your spine during those large movements. Hence, consider throwing in some core stability exercises as accessory movements.
❖ Lean Mass Bulking
If you work out for hypertrophy, you will still stick to core exercises. However, you’ll also engage in isolation workouts that may not involve the core.
You should increase the number of core workouts you do as part of your split if your purpose is to develop lean muscle mass. These will have a balanced combination of flexion-based movements and stability drills.
You can better train your core muscles by isolating different areas of your abs as a part of the entire split, mainly when using a hypertrophy repetition range.
❖ Ripped Bulking
If you had clear abs before starting your bulk, you might or might not have them by the end. How much your body changes depends on your fat percentage before and after your bulk.
It’s ok, though! The goal of bulk is to train hard or build lean muscle.
To accomplish all three of those tasks at once is nearly impossible. Hence, choose one of the first two objectives and adhere to it during your bulk.
Choose The Right Exercises
We quickly discussed how your bulking goal impacts your abs workout. So in this section, we’ll highlight the best movements for each.
❖ Strength bulking
If your goal is to gain strength, you’ll train hard and use a lot of compound lifts and other variations. They may be enough for core training.
The plank is your number one exercise for stabilization. Try to keep a straight line from your head to your heels to do it right.
You could think that you must hold a plank position for several minutes. You don’t, though. Instead, focus on keeping your core tight for 20 to 30 seconds.
If this exercise is too simple for you, try tightening up more to use your core or add another task. You could transfer a small pile of plates, for example, from one side to the other of your body.
➔ Barbell Hip Thrusts
The posterior chain, a frequently overlooked core section, requires training. Keep it in mind if you want to strengthen your body.
Your glutes are the principal focus of the barbell hip thrust. The carryover will boost your squat and deadlift numbers.
Here is how you do the barbell hip thrust:
- Place your back and shoulders against a bench as you sit.
- Hold the barbell overhead so that it is parallel to your hip.
- With your feet firmly placed on the ground, bend your knees. Your feet must be at a distance that will allow you to stretch your hip while your upper back has contact with the bench.
- Squeeze your glutes and hold your core to elevate your hips to the ceiling with your hands separating width apart.
- When you reach the top, pause, and then gently return to your starting posture.
❖ Lean mass bulking
Most hypertrophy exercises indirectly strengthen your core. Nevertheless, the exercises listed below are excellent choices if you want to focus on your abs.
And for a complete and functional core, you should also include the movements mentioned above in your split.
➔ Hanging Leg Raises
This exercise is a wonderful abs-only workout. The hanging motion of the hanging leg raise helps your spine to decompress, unlike many other ab flexion movements that press on it.
➔ Weighted Crunch Machine
A weighted crunch machine is a terrific option for people who want to build their abdominal muscle, despite not being a favorite among most trainers.
Another great option to isolate the posterior chain is hyperextensions. You can try both unloaded and loaded versions. You may work with your glutes and lower back depending on where you put pressure on one.
❖ Ripped bulking
As discussed earlier, core training and ripped bulking can’t make a good couple. Hence, you should skip your ripped bulking abs exercises.
If you’re planning to dedicate to a bulk, be sure your goal makes sense. If you consume too many calories and worry about putting on some pounds of fat, you’ll waste your time.
How Long Does It Take To Bulk Up Abs?
Getting your six-pack abs could take anywhere between three months and two years. The time you need to accomplish your goal depends on your fat percentage and sometimes your gender.
When you start, the fat percentage in your body will determine how long you need to build up a six-pack. Your best bet is to shed 1 to 2% of fat mass per month.
Although maintaining a body fat percentage under 10 certainly gives you visual appeal, keep in mind that it requires a lot of commitment and self-control.
Remember that if you have a high-fat percentage, your body will react adversely and urge you to eat more by mistaking it for starvation.
You don’t need to maintain a body fat percentage below 10 unless you’re an athlete or bodybuilder. In fact, having some fat is beneficial.
The optimum body fat range for women with visible abs is 14 to 19%. On the other hand, it’s 6 to 13% for men.
Women often require more fat. Science indicates that estrogen, which helps to maintain fertility, is primarily responsible for this.
In contrast, males typically have more lean muscle mass and less body fat because of testosterone, which assists in their weight loss.
Should I Bulk Before Getting Abs?
You should gain abs before bulking up if aesthetics is more important to you than your ability to lift a lot of weight.
Does Bulking Make You Toned?
Yes. Unlike those who only focus on bulking, you would likely include more cardio if your goal is to get toned.
You’ll also need to modify your diet’s calorie consumption and the ratios of protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
When Should I Stop Bulking?
You should stop bulking if your body fat is around 15 to 17%. Your P-ratio is best when kept below 15% body fat.
What Are The Negative Effects of Bulking?
An unhealthy bulk consists of high-calorie food. Hence, it could have unfavorable effects, including excessive fat gain, fatigue, and abnormal blood levels.
Your calorie surplus must not be too high. Also, you should avoid processed, nutrient-poor foods to keep bulking safe and effective.
You can build abs while bulking after setting a clear goal and choosing the best exercises. Abs training can pair with strength and lean mass bulking well.
Besides, pay attention to what you eat. And remember to keep track of your fat percentage to ensure you are the right way.
Hopefully, you will find this article helpful. Thank you for reading!