8 Upper Ab Workouts For A Stronger Core: 2023 Edition
If you want to strengthen your core and get those coveted upper abs, you’re in luck! Plenty of top ab workouts can help you achieve your goal. A strong core looks great and improves your overall health and fitness by supporting your spine and improving your posture.
This article will give you the eight best upper ab exercises and show you how to work out your upper abs with the best upper ab exercises we could find.
Before we start, it’s worth pointing out that upper ab workouts are not for targeted weight loss — they won’t suddenly torch any fat you have on your midriff! It’s not possible to spot reduce fat. However, if these exercises don’t do the trick, it could be because you’re not following a healthy diet. Keep in mind that nutrient-dense whole foods help you strengthen your muscles and find a healthy weight.
8 Upper Ab Workouts For A Stronger Core
- Bicycle crunches.
- Russian twists.
- Reverse crunches.
- Side plank.
- Mountain climbers.
- Flutter kicks.
What Are The Upper Abs?
When you think of abs, you might picture a six-pack. But your abs are actually made up of several different muscles, including the upper abs.
The upper abs are located in the upper part of your rectus abdominis muscle, which runs from your ribcage to your pelvis. These muscles are responsible for flexing your torso or bringing your ribcage closer to your pelvis.
To effectively target your upper abs, performing an upper abdominal workout that specifically engages these muscles is important. While many ab exercises work the entire rectus abdominis muscle, certain exercises can place more emphasis on the upper portion.
8 Best Upper Ab Workouts To Try
If you want to strengthen your core and get those upper abs to pop, you need to incorporate targeted exercises into your routine. Here are eight of the best upper ab workouts to try at home or the gym:
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head, and lift your shoulders off the ground. Exhale as you crunch upward, keeping your chin off your chest. Inhale as you lower back down. Repeat for three sets of 12 reps.
Lie on your back with your hands behind your head, and bring your knees up to a 90-degree angle. Lift your shoulders off the ground and bring your right elbow to your left knee while straightening your right leg. Switch sides, bringing your left elbow to your right knee while straightening your left leg. Repeat for three sets of 12 reps.
Sit on the floor in the starting position with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Lean back slightly and lift your feet off the ground. Hold a weight or stability ball in front of your chest, and twist your torso to the right while keeping your hips facing forward. Twist to the left and repeat. Do three sets of 12 reps.
Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your hands by your sides. Lift your hips off the ground while inhaling, bringing your knees towards your chest. Slowly exhale and lower back down to starting position. Repeat for three sets of 12 reps.
Start in a push-up position, but hold yourself up with your forearms instead of lowering yourself to the ground. Keep your back straight and hold for 30 seconds. Work your way up to holding the plank for 1 minute.
Lie on your side with your elbow directly under your shoulder and your legs stacked on top of each other with both legs extended straight. Lift your hips off the ground, creating a straight line from your head to your feet. Hold for 30 seconds, return to starting position, and then switch sides.
Start in a push-up position with your arms shoulder-width apart, keeping your arms straight. Bring your right knee towards your chest, and then switch, bringing your left knee towards your chest. Continue alternating for three sets of 12 reps.
Lie on your back with your arms extended and palms flat by your sides. Lift your legs six inches off the ground and alternate kicking up and down. Do three sets of 30 seconds.
Remember to engage your internal and external oblique muscles throughout each exercise and breathe properly. These workouts will help you achieve a stronger core and toned upper abs.
Common Mistakes And Safety Tips
When doing your upper ab exercise, it’s important to avoid common mistakes that can lead to injury. Here are some tips to help you stay safe while working on your core:
- Mistake: Using momentum to lift your body
Using momentum to lift your body can make your workout less effective and increase the risk of injury. Instead, focus on using your abdominal muscles to lift your body and avoid swinging your arms or legs.
Safety Tip: Activate your core muscles
Engage your core muscles by pulling your belly button towards your rib cage and squeezing your abs. This will help you maintain proper form and avoid injury.
- Mistake: Overworking your abs
Overworking your abs can lead to muscle strain and fatigue. Giving your muscles time to rest and recover between workouts is important. You don’t need to work them out daily, a few times a week is usually enough.
Safety Tip: Take breaks and rest
Take breaks between sets and workouts to allow your muscles to rest and recover. Additionally, make sure to get enough sleep and proper nutrition to help your muscles recover.
- Mistake: Neglecting other muscles
Focusing solely on your upper abdominals can lead to muscle imbalances and increase the risk of injury. Working on your entire core, including your upper and lower abs, back, hip flexors, and glutes, is important.
Safety Tip: Incorporate full-body exercises
Incorporate full-body exercises, working both your lower and upper body, into your workout routine to help strengthen all of your core muscles.
By avoiding these common mistakes and following the safety tips, you can effectively work on your upper abs and strengthen your core. Always listen to your body and consult a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise routine.
The Bottom Line
Adding upper ab workouts to your fitness routine can help you develop a stronger core. You’ll improve your athletic performance, reduce your risk of injury, and enhance your overall fitness.
Here are some key takeaways to remember as you build a stronger core:
- Focus on form: Proper form helps you engage the right muscles and reduce your risk of injury. Consider working with a personal trainer or fitness professional to ensure you’re using the proper form.
- Mix it up: Variety is key in upper ab workouts. Incorporating a range of upper and lower ab workouts can help you engage different muscles and prevent boredom. Consider trying exercises like planks, crunches, and sit-ups to challenge your core.
- Be consistent: Consistency is key to building a stronger core. Aim to do upper ab workouts at least a few times a week. Over time, you’ll see improvements in your core strength and overall fitness.
- Abs begin in the kitchen!: All the exercise in the world won’t do any good for showing your abs if you do not have a healthy diet. This means getting all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs from nutrient-dense whole foods. Many supplements are available if your natural diet is insufficient to meet your needs. You can also try fat burners to help you lose weight if necessary.
Frequently Asked Questions
Some of the best exercises for targeting your upper abs include crunches, sit-ups, and leg lifts. These exercises engage the rectus abdominis muscle, which is the main muscle responsible for creating the six-pack look.
Your abs can grow with the right training and nutrition, like any muscle. However, genetics play a role, too. Some people naturally have more defined abs than others, regardless of how much they work out.
Your muscles need time to recover between workouts, so giving them at least one day of rest between ab workouts is best. Additionally, it’s important to vary your workouts to target all areas of your core, including your lower abs and obliques.
There’s no one best workout for your upper abs, as different exercises work for different people. To get the most out of your workouts, it’s important to focus on proper form and engage your abs throughout each exercise.
+ 1 sources
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- Clinic, C. (2021). Abdominal Muscles: Anatomy and Function – Cleveland Clinic. [online] Cleveland Clinic. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/21755-abdominal-muscles.