When I first heard the term “11 abs,” I was like, “YES! That’s exactly what I’ve been looking for!”
“11 abs” perfectly described those flattering vertical ab lines that many toned women have!
I felt like I’d been searching for this term for ages.
However, it was shortly followed by, “But wait. No one tells you how to get them…”
The elusive 11 abs are still a fairly uncovered topic. I think many women are striving for them without fully understanding the difference between 11 line abs vs 6 pack abs.
And there are obviously some big differences.
Please note: Check with your physician before starting any exercise routine or starting any particular diet. See this Disclaimer for more details. This post may contain affiliate links. For details, please visit my Disclosure page. Thank you!
What are 11 abs?
With the well-known 6-pack, the goal is straightforward: achieve 6, defined areas of muscle on your abdomen, 3 “packs” on each side.
Or be an overachiever like Taylor Lautner and go straight for the 8-pack.
11 abs are when you only develop vertical lines of definition, one down the middle and a line on each side of your abdomen. These side lines mark the edge of your obliques (the side abs).
Many women are afraid that they’ll blow right past 11 abs and get a full-blown 6-pack if they don’t do the right exercises. I myself had this fear when I started training my abs.
So here’s what I’ve learned and what you really need to know:
1. Many women who have 11 abs ALSO have a 6-pack (or at least partially)
Just scroll through Kayla Itsines’s IG for a minute and you’ll see that sometimes she has 11 abs and sometimes she’s showing a complete 6-pack.
As I’ve worked on my abs over the years, I’ve learned that they look different a lot of the time.
In my own experience, I have 11 abs with some angles/poses and will have (what I lovingly call) my “baby 4-pack” with others.
Here’s what I mean:
Both me with the same amount of toning. Just different lighting, angles, and posing.
Posing note: when I squeeze my abs “in” I get the 11 abs look. When I squeeze my abs “up” I get more of the “baby 4-pack” look.
And of course, other days I’ll be bloated and have no definition whatsoever…but that’s a whole other post entirely.
RELATED POST: How to Reduce Bloating for a Big Event
2. By focusing on certain ab exercises, you can increase the likelihood of developing 11 abs RATHER THAN a 6-pack
From my understanding and experience with training my abs, working certain muscles can increase the chance you’ll develop 11 abs.
Overall, reducing your body fat increases the chance of you showing your abs. But keep in mind that women have more estrogen and less testosterone than men, contributing to increased abdominal fat and decreased muscle mass – this makes it way less likely you’ll show a 6-pack even if you start developing one.
For women, the 11 abs definition is what tends to peek through first.
3. It’s not only about the ab work
Of course, working out your abs every day won’t get you the results you want if you don’t have other things in check.
Namely, your eating habits. Healthy eating – and eating the appropriate amount for your body and lifestyle – will make the hugest difference.
I also noticed a big physique change when I started a resistance training routine. When strengthening other parts of your body, you often force your abs to engage and develop too.
But the bottom line is this: if you have a layer of fat over your abs, no amount of ab exercises will help you see those 11 abs.
In that case, you really need to focus on weight loss.
Check out my free weight loss checklist to see all the ways you can maximize your weight loss:
How do you get 11 abs?
Okay, last thing before the workout.
From all my reading, digging, and personal experience, I’ve come to the conclusion that the best way to get those vertical lines on your abdomen is with oblique work. Your obliques are the muscles on your sides, and they’re also the ab muscles that are closest to the surface of your body. So to get the muscle definition between your sides and the middle of your abdomen, you have to work that area with twisting movements.⠀
If you concentrate a bit more on those exercises versus ONLY working your rectus abdominis (the muscle that mostly contributes to 6-pack definition), then you’ll increase the likelihood of developing 11 abs.
That being said, just like with school, it’s important that your abs are well-rounded.
So don’t forget to incorporate core stability exercises such as planks to work your transverse abdominus, exercises for that abdominal “middle line” such as crunches to work your rectus abdominus, and exercises such as supermans to target your back stabilizer muscles (part of your core).
This 11 abs workout will work those areas too!
Hitting all of these muscles will help you get a strong core, reduce your risk of injury, and get those 11 abs.
11 Abs Workout
- 10 minutes
- No equipment
- Exercise demo video is below
This is a tough 10 minute ab workout. It has no breaks, so push yourself! But do rest if you need to – it’s better to take a break than to compromise your form. And make sure you’re engaging your abs the entire time!
|Hollow body hold
|R side V-ups
|L side V-ups
|Plank with hip dips
|Plank with alt. leg side taps
|Mountain climber alt. cross over
|L side plank with reach under
|R side plank with reach under
|Hollow body hold
|Crunch 90 degree legs
|Crunch to toes
|Crunch hold and press
|Reverse crunch with twist
|L side starfish crunch
|R side starfish crunch
|Hollow body hold