Can You Get Abs While Bulking? Secrets Revealed.

Lexi Lutz
Reading Time: 9 minutes
abs while bulking
Table of Contents

As an experienced personal trainer, I often receive inquiries from my clients about the phases of cutting and bulking, and whether it’s achievable to maintain abs during the bulking phase. Many believe that bulking will automatically result in a loss of abs definition. However, I’m here to tell you that with a strategic approach, obtaining visible abs while bulking is indeed achievable.

In this post, I’ll take you through the concept of bulking and cutting, debunk myths surrounding bulking, and provide insights on how to properly bulk while maintaining your abs. I’ll help you understand how you can achieve both muscle growth and visible abs at the same time, without giving up one for the other.

Key Takeaways:

  • Bulking and maintaining abs is possible with the right approach.
  • Understanding bulking and cutting phases is essential for achieving both muscle growth and visible abs.
  • There are many myths surrounding bulking and its impact on abs, which I’ll bust in the following section.
  • A proper diet and exercise routine that supports muscle growth and ab definition is critical to achieving both simultaneously.
  • Genetics play a significant role in the visibility of your abs, but there are strategies to maximize your potential.

Understanding the Bulking and Cutting Phases

As I mentioned earlier, bulking and cutting are the two main phases of muscle building. Bulking refers to a period of intentional weight gain, typically accomplished by taking in a caloric surplus, with the goal of building muscle mass. Cutting, on the other hand, involves decreasing your caloric intake to shed excess body fat, revealing the muscle definition built during the bulking phase.

But can you bulk without losing your hard-earned ab definition? You sure can. 

The key is to approach bulking in a strategic way. Instead of blindly consuming excess calories, it’s important to consider the quality of those calories and the timing of your workouts.

When you’re bulking, it’s essential to prioritize strength training exercises that target multiple muscle groups, including the abs. A well-rounded workout routine can help ensure that your body is building muscle mass in a balanced and sustainable way.

It’s also important to focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods that support muscle growth and aid in recovery. This includes protein-rich foods like chicken, fish, and eggs, as well as complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and brown rice. You can also incorporate vegan high-protein options like tofu, lentils, and chia seeds (vegans unite!).

By following a structured workout routine and consuming high-quality, nutrient-dense foods, you can bulk without sacrificing your ab definition. Remember, the goal is not to consume as many calories as possible, but rather to fuel your body in a way that supports muscle growth and overall health.

bulking without losing abs

Debunking Myths About Bulking

A lot of people think that you can’t gain muscle without sacrificing your ab definition.

This isn’t true.

With the right approach, you can build muscle and maintain your shredded core at the same time. Here are some tips for gaining muscle without losing abs:

  1. Focus on compound exercises: Compound exercises, such as squats, deadlifts, and bench presses, work multiple muscle groups at once, helping you build overall muscle mass. These exercises also engage your core, helping you maintain your ab definition.
  2. Don’t neglect cardio: While weight training is essential for building muscle, cardio can help you burn fat and maintain your lean physique. Incorporate cardio into your workout routine to keep your abs visible.
  3. Use high-intensity interval training (HIIT): HIIT workouts combine short bursts of high-intensity exercise with periods of rest, helping you build muscle and burn fat simultaneously. This type of workout can also help you maintain your ab definition.
  4. Incorporate ab exercises into your routine: Building muscle in other areas of your body doesn’t mean neglecting your core. Incorporate exercises that target your abs, like planks and crunches, into your routine to maintain your ab definition.

Here are some exercises for abs while bulking:

Hanging leg raisesHang from a pull-up bar and raise your legs until they are parallel to the ground. Lower them back down and repeat.
Cable crunchesAttach a cable to a high pulley and kneel facing away from the machine. Crunch your torso down towards your knees, then slowly return to the starting position.
Side plank dipsStart in a side plank position, then dip your hips towards the ground and raise them back up. Repeat on the other side.
tips for gaining muscle without losing abs

The Key to Bulking and Keeping Abs – Diet and Exercise

When it comes to maintaining a shredded core while bulking up, diet and exercise are the two most critical components. You can’t expect your abs to stay visible if you’re not eating the right foods and performing the right workouts.

The first thing you need to consider is your diet. To build muscle mass, you need to be in a caloric surplus, which means you’re consuming more calories than you’re burning. But you don’t want to overdo it. Consuming too many extra calories can lead to excess fat gain, which will cover up your abs.

So, how do you strike the right balance? Start by calculating your daily caloric needs using an online calculator. From there, gradually increase your caloric intake by 250-500 calories per day. This will create a slight surplus that supports muscle growth without causing excessive fat gain.

Let’s talk about the bulking macro. Protein is the most critical nutrient for muscle growth. Aim for 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day. Fill the rest of your calories with complex carbohydrates and healthy fats.

Of course, even with the right diet, you still need to train your abs to keep them visible. While compound exercises like squats and deadlifts engage the core, they’re not enough on their own. You also need to perform direct ab exercises like planks, crunches, and Russian twists.

One effective strategy is to perform ab exercises at the end of your workout, after you’ve completed your compound lifts. This ensures that your abs are fully engaged and fatigued, leading to better results.

The key to maintaining a shredded core while bulking is balance. Find the sweet spot between consuming enough calories to support muscle growth and maintaining a moderate surplus that won’t cover up your abs. Combine a proper diet with targeted ab exercises for the best results.

The Role of Genetics in Abs While Bulking

It is super important to acknowledge that genetics play a significant role in how visible your abs are while bulking. Some individuals may have a naturally defined core even without putting much effort, while others may struggle to achieve visible abs despite following a strict diet and exercise regimen. However, this does not mean that you cannot work towards maximizing your genetic potential for building muscle while maintaining abs.

One strategy is to focus on compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups simultaneously, such as squats and deadlifts. These exercises stimulate the release of growth hormone and increase testosterone, which can accelerate muscle growth throughout the body, including the abs.

Another approach is to incorporate high-intensity interval training (HIIT) into your workout routine. HIIT has been shown to boost metabolic rate and burn more calories during and after exercise, which can help reduce body fat percentage and increase ab visibility.

Diet also plays a huge role in maximizing your genetic potential for abs while bulking. Consuming sufficient protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates in the right proportions is essential to support muscle growth and maintain ab definition. It is also important to monitor caloric intake and ensure a slight caloric surplus to promote muscle growth while minimizing fat gain.

Ultimately, while genetics may play a role in how visible your abs are while bulking, there are still strategies to consider for building muscle and maintaining abs. By focusing on compound exercises, incorporating HIIT into your workout routine, and following a healthy, balanced diet, you can work towards achieving your dream physique.

Abs While Bulking? You Bet!

It is absolutely possible to maintain your abs while bulking! While it may seem daunting, following the right diet and exercise routine can make all the difference.

Remember to focus on a caloric surplus, proper macronutrient distribution, and targeted ab exercises to build muscle while keeping your abs visible. Don’t get tricked by common myths about bulking, and always consider your genetic factors when striving for your ideal physique.

It’s important to stay dedicated and consistent in your approach, but don’t forget to be kind to yourself along the way. Building muscle and maintaining abs is a journey, not a quick fix.

With these secrets revealed, I hope you’re feeling motivated and inspired to work towards your dream body. It’s possible to have the best of both worlds – bulking and defined abs. So let’s get to work and make it happen!


Can you get abs while bulking?

Yes, it is possible to achieve defined abs while in the bulking phase of muscle building. With the right approach, you can build muscle mass while maintaining your ab definition.

What are the bulking and cutting phases?

The bulking phase is when you consume excess calories to promote muscle growth, while the cutting phase involves reducing calories to shed fat and reveal muscle definition. These phases work together to achieve overall body transformation.

Are there any myths about bulking and abs?

Yes, there are common misconceptions that bulking will automatically lead to a loss of ab visibility. However, with proper diet and exercise strategies, you can maintain a shredded core while gaining muscle mass.

What is the key to bulking while keeping abs?

The key to bulking and maintaining abs lies in your diet and exercise regimen. You need to consume a caloric surplus, focus on the right macronutrients, and incorporate ab-targeted exercises into your workout routine.

Do genetics play a role in abs while bulking?

Genetics do influence how visible your abs are, but you can still maximize your genetic potential by following the right strategies for building muscle and maintaining abs.