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What Is a Good Body Fat Percentage for a Bodybuilder?

by
author image Leigh Reason
Leigh Reason has almost 20 years of journalism experience, editing and writing for publications such as "Movieline," "Live! Magazine," WeddingChannel.com, FYI Living, Healthline.com and Citysearch.com. She has written extensively on fitness and nutrition, tennis, wedding planning and etiquette, cooking, restaurants, parenting, pets and gardening. She holds a Bachelor of Science in English from Skidmore College.
What Is a Good Body Fat Percentage for a Bodybuilder?
Bodybuilders aim for very low body fat percentage during competitions. Photo Credit OlegUsmanov/iStock/Getty Images

Body fat percentage is a number that denotes how much of your body composition is made up of fat. The healthy range is quite different for men and women, and is often very different for bodybuilders. These athletes aim for an extremely low body fat percentage so their muscles are more defined. When cutting body fat, even bodybuilders shouldn't drop below 3 percent, according to the American Council on Exercise. Extremely low body fat levels can be dangerous.

Target Body Fat Zone for Bodybuilders

The average man has a body fat percentage of 18 to 24 percent, while the average woman has a percentage of between 25 and 31. For elite athletes, the numbers slip to 6 to 13 for men and 14 to 20 for women. And then there are bodybuilders who push these numbers to extreme lows. According to the American Council on Exercise, men's body fat should never fall below 2 percent and women's shouldn't fall below 10 percent. Based on that, an acceptable range for a male bodybuilder is 3 to 8 percent and a female bodybuilder should aim for around 10 percent. Going lower than these numbers, especially for long periods of time, can cause kidney and liver problems.

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