Have you ever lowered your body fat enough in order to see your six pack? If you have, you may have noticed that your abs are not completely symmetrical. There are several reasons why this is the case.
There are 3 main types of uneven abs, each having a specific cause and fix.
In this article we are going to explore the 3 main types of uneven abs, how to tell if you have them, and lastly how to fix it.
The 3 Types of Uneven Abs
Please also keep in mind that in order to really tell if you have uneven abs and to even see your abs in the first place, you will need to attain a low enough body fat. Somewhere around 10% body fat is ideal.
1. Abs Not Lined Up from Side to Side
As you can see from the picture above, the abs on the left are not lined up from side to side with the abs on the right. This is visualized by the lines connecting the bottom portion of each paired ab.
Cause: This is dependent on the way your abdominal muscles insert and is determined genetically.
Fix: Unfortunately, in this case there is no fix. You cannot change your muscle’s insertion points as this is pre-determined based on your genetics. The only thing you can do is work on the next two points to make your abs seem more symmetrical.
2. Imbalanced Abs from Top to Bottom
In this case, the abs are often more defined at the top than they are at the bottom as seen in the picture above.
There are two main causes for this, which are outlined below.
Cause: The first cause is that you simply don’t have a low enough body fat to fully reveal your lower abs. The fat on your lower stomach is typically the last place you will lose fat and is thus the most stubborn area for fat loss. Your upper stomach will lose fat before your lower stomach does. This gives the illusion that your upper abs are more developed. But really, it’s the fat distribution that is creating this effect.
Fix: To fix this, you simply need to get your body fat down to a low enough level. As I said earlier, around 10% body fat is ideal. If your struggling to lose that last bit of belly fat, try out this HIIT plan.
Cause: The second cause is that you are working your upper abs more than your lower abs. This causes your upper abs to “pop” more than your lower abs and making your abs look asymmetric.
Fix: To fix this, you need to work on your lower abs more. Some excellent movements to incorporate your lower abdominal region include hanging leg raises, Captain’s Chair leg raises, and the ab wheel rollout.
3. Imbalanced Abs on One Side Compared to the Other
In this case, the abdominals are uneven or more defined/prominent on one side (e.g. left side) compared to the other (e.g. right side). This issue is a little more complicated to fix and has a variety of different causes.
I will outline two of the most common causes below.
Cause: One possible culprit for this type of uneven abs is your form during abdominal training. You may be slightly bending your body in a way during ab exercises that emphasizes one side of your abs more than the other.
Fix: The way to fix this is by focussing on performing all your abdominal exercises with correct form and allowing the contraction to be evenly distributed on both sides of your abs. You need to form a solid mind to muscle connection with your abdominals during your workouts and prevent your stronger side from taking over. Another fix if you’re still struggling is to perform unilateral ab exercises. These include side planks and single-leg leg raises.
Cause: The other cause is also very common and is due to imbalances in your body created overtime from poor posture, sports, work, and virtually everything you do. For example, scoliosis (curvature of the spine) can cause you to contract one side of your abdominals better than your other side and result in uneven abs.
Fix: The fix for this is correcting the imbalances in your body, which is much easier said than done and will vary for every individual. For this, you need to visit a good physiotherapist to check for imbalances and misalignments. For the time being, you can perform unilateral ab exercises to prevent your abs from becoming more uneven.
How to Tell If You Have Uneven Abs
You may think that your abs are totally even (and maybe they are), but I’m going to show you something that will help highlight any areas that are not symmetrical. 99% of the time we look at ourselves it’s through a mirror. When we look at our bodies in the mirror and take pictures in the mirror, we move and adjust our bodies in a way that makes us look the best and the most symmetrical.
So what I want you to do is take a picture of your abdominals in the mirror, and use an app to side-flip the image. I use an app called “Quickflip” on the iPhone app store. Once your picture is flipped, you will now be seeing yourself how other people see you which may look odd to you. This will help you notice the parts of your body that are not symmetrical.
For example, look at the photos above. The photo on the left is the original photo and my abs look fairly symmetrical and lined up. The photo on the right is the flipped photo and you can tell my abs look more distorted and it becomes obvious that my abs are not lined up (mostly the middle ab). In both photos you can also see that my ab definition on one side is slightly more developed than the other side. This is a result of genetics and an imbalance in my ab training. This may not be as obvious to you looking at my photos since I’m the one used to seeing myself in the mirror all of the time. But try it out with your own photos and I guarantee you’ll notice some asymmetrical areas.
So to recap, what I want you to do is the following:
- Get to a low enough body fat to be able to see your abs.
- Take a picture of your abs. If it’s in a mirror, flip it with Quickflip.
- Analyze your abs and see if they’re uneven. If they are, find out which type of uneven abs you have (more than 1 type may apply to you).
- Use the “fixes” provide to help even out your abs.
And there you have it, a complete guide to dealing with uneven abs. Let me know if you have any questions or comments and I hope this helps!