So, you want six-pack abs and the upper abs workout must be intriguing to you. If you are here, you must be bedazzled by the elusive six-pack look. You must be looking out for the specific exercises and cheat codes to get that Zac Effron charm. By now, you might have singled out the sections of your core into upper, lower, and oblique already and must be wondering about the most effective upper abs workouts to get rid of those unwanted bulges. So, let me guide you step by step in this journey, and by the end of this read, you will be an upper ab expert yourself (no joke!)
What Is Upper Ab?
Truth be told, there’s no upper or oblique or lower part in the abs. It is a single long, flat muscle that runs down the abdomen. And it has a fancy name too –Rectus Abdominis. This runs from the bottom tip of the sternum to the pubic bone in the pelvis. It is divided into two halves, yes. But they are right and left halves and not upper and lower halves.
The place where they are divided is lined up by connective tissue (meet Linea Alba). This muscle is further crossed by three fibrous bands and all these tissues that bind this single muscle gives out the appearance of ever famous “Six Pack Abs” and the uppermost band are your topic of interest, which we will conveniently call ‘upper ab’ throughout the write-up.
What is the function of Upper Abs?
Other than looking good on beaches and Instagram, the upper ab (or the entire Rectus Abdominus) is part of the core muscles of the body. The core muscles are immensely helpful for our daily activities and play an important role in stabilizing our movements. These muscles help us in standing, moving our head, lifting, bending sideways, etc.
Basically, if you are just standing admiring a spider on the wall or are performing triathlon for the world record – your core muscles are helping you do it.
Okay, But How Do You Get The Six Pack Abs?
Yupp, all that erudite rant is done and now let’s get back to the topic, which is how to help you get that Greek God Shredded look.
A lot of how your abs look will depend on your body fat. We all have those muscles there, but the more the layer of fat, the less definition you will see in the body. Truth be told, if a layer of fat is covering your core muscle you are not going to have a visible six-pack ab. So initially in chase of the six-pack look, the focus mostly remains on cutting out the layer of fat. It can be achieved by dietary changes and targeted Upper Abs Workout.
Upper Abs Workout Plan (aka start with Full Body Strength Routines)
So it turns out that we cannot just ‘spot reduce’ our body fat. We actually have to focus on overall fat loss. And this means that if you want your upper abs to look visibly prominent in your body, you cannot just reduce fat around them. However, you can enhance the muscles around those regions by some targeted exercises and Upper Abs Workout plans.
This is the tricky part and that’s why here we reached out to a qualified fitness expert, Luciana Pascuali. Luciana says, “Before working out abs, one should know that full-body strength training is a crucial part of fitness regime and it should not be ignored. You will have to focus on compound movements like squats, deadlifts, chin-ups for at least 3 days a week, and low-intensity workouts like walking, and running for at least 2 days a week to maintain a good full-body strength ”.
So getting serious about full-body strength is something that you will need to start before working up those abs. Later, Luciana presses on the consistency of the exercises by saying, “Whole regime is going to work out only if you are being consistent with it.”
Some Exercises in Upper Abs Workout:-
So let us emphasize once again that it is important to work on strengthening your core muscle as it is a crucial part of your body strength. It can be done by a wide variety of upper abs exercises that include planks, squats, and crunches. These exercises also help strengthen your upper abs (it’s all connected, remember?) So the primary focus should always be about giving more strength to Rectus Abdominus as a whole, as all your abs are actually an integrated unit.
So, we are listing out the workouts which will work on your core strength but will really fire up the upper ab region and you will get a neat definition around your midsection.
A V-up involves sitting on the floor or a mat and positioning the body in the form of V. It is an Upper Abs Workout that works your abdominal, upper, and lowers abs simultaneously.
How To Do A V-Up?
Start by lying back on the floor or on a mat. Your arms must be on sides, and your legs must be stretched. Now you have to lift your upper body, arms, and legs in one movement – allowing your body to form a ‘ V shape’. Lower body back down. That was one rep and you have to continue as many reps as you can do in 30 seconds.
Works on– External oblique, Internal oblique, and Rectus Abdominis.
2. Sprinter sit up
This is another amazing core strength move that will bring definition to your upper abs.
Upper Abs WorkOut
How To Do A Sprinter Sit up?
Lay on your back with arms on your side and legs stretched. Sit up explosively, bringing your right knee to your chest and throwing the left arm forward as if you are running. Fully extend the right leg and bring the left arm to its starting position. Repeat this movement with your left knee and right arm. That’s one rep. Continue doing this for 35 seconds and move on to the next exercise.
Works on – Rectus Abdominis, Oblique muscles
3. Bicycle crunch
This is an effective ab exercise and works as a full-body workout.
How To Do A Bicycle Crunch?
Lie on your back on the floor or mat. Press your lower back onto the floor and bend your knees while keeping your feet flat on the floor. Keep your hands behind your head and raise your shoulder blades up the mat. Now gaze at your thighs, keeping your head relaxed.
Now take your right elbow towards your left knee. Keep your right leg straight and do not touch it to the mat. Repeat on another side as well. That’s one rep. Do as many as you can for 35 seconds and move on to the next exercise.
Works on – Obliques, upper and lower abs.
4. Dumbbell Crunch
This move is said to be the true test for core body strength. It provides great stimulation to the abdominal muscles and hence helps in working up your abs.
How To Do A Dumbbell Crunch –
Lie on a floor or mat with bent knees. Press your feet firmly on the ground. Hold a dumbbell behind you with your hands. Now use your core as you raise the weight overhead and do a sit-up or crunch. That’s one rep. Do 10 reps and take 10 seconds to break in between.
5. Tuck Crunch
This move is another best way for Upper Abs Workout and helps in bringing that chiseled look you are striving for
How to do a Truck Crunch –
Lie on your back on the floor or mat. Fold your arms across your chest. Start bending your knees to 90 degrees and lift your legs so that your thighs remain parallel to ground. Draw your knees closer to your chest. Keep your fingers by your temples throughout. Don’t let your feet touch the ground between the reps.
6. Sitting Abs – Upper Abs Workout For Those Who Have Back Problems
This one is Innstar expert exclusive.
Luciana Pascuali who has been successfully training various individuals to achieve fitness and their goals for a long time has shared this super beneficial Upper Abs Workout exclusively with us.
Luciana shares, “Someone told me that they wanted to work out their abs but had trouble laying on their back, so I came up with this exercise for them.”
How To Do Sitting Abs ?
Sitting on your knees, keep maximum tension on your arms, deltoids, and back. Core oscillates from mild to extreme tension, accompanied by glute and quadriceps work.
For the tougher ones, lean on your knuckles, otherwise on the palm of your hands. Do 15 reps and then rest for 30 seconds. Then repeat again.
In addition to working out, you also need to keep a check (and a strong one!) on your diet. You need to lose body fat and that means your diet plan doesn’t include any desserts or junk food in excess.
For visible six-pack abs, you need a very strict diet in terms of both calories and ratio of carbs, proteins, and fats. And you will have to live with this diet for as long as you want your abs to be ripped.
To get those washboard abs that most guys are chasing, you need to put a lot of thought, effort, and focus. The ripped look comes with a lot of dedication and depends on a lot of factors. Though ab focussed exercising is a great way to enhance the muscle look on specific parts of your body but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you must overdo it. Any kind of physical exertion when done in excess can cause injury.
Innstar Expert Tip
Your core is basically an integrated unit and you should focus on building your core strength rather than chasing impractical quick solutions for a fabricated look. A stronger core means that you will be performing far better in the sports fields (like more exerted power in bat speed or ball speed in cricket) and in everyday activities (like quickly lifting a heavy load).
The above-mentioned workouts will lead to having a strong functional core while also increasing the strength of your upper abs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Do My Upper Abs Bulge Out?
A visible bulge in the upper abdominal region could be due to various reasons. It can be your usual bane -the belly fat. To get rid of it you pay attention to lose your body fat. You can also focus on upper belly exercises
The upper ab bulge can also be due to a medical condition known as diastasis recti. It is a disorder where the left and right halves of the core abdominal muscle separates. Due to this separation, underlying tissue protrudes causing the bulge. It can be improved through the proper strengthening of the core using exercises.
What exercises work upper abs?
Crunch, Plank, Leg Raise, Sit-up are some of the most popular ones which work well on the upper abs.
Can I train abs every day?
No, the excessive ab workout might lead to overworked muscles and injury. You can focus on hitting your core 2 or 3 times a week post-workout.
Can uneven abs be fixed?
Well, there are many underlying reasons for uneven abs. It could be –
a) Staggered Abs – Not directly lined up from side to side. You cannot fix this up because you cannot change the shape of any muscle
b) Imbalanced Abs – Could be due to uneven fat. You can focus on lowering the overall fat of your body.
c) Abdominal Muscle imbalance – Use the recommended exercises we discussed above