It’s time to work on that core strength and what better way than with the exercises below. We’ve compiled 8 of our favorite upper ab exercises for a strong, leaner core.
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Upper Abs Definition
The “Upper Abs” is a group of muscles, including the rectus abdominus, the transversus abdominis, and the obliques that form a protective wall or dome-shaped muscle that wraps around your torso. The upper ab muscles help to stabilize your midsection and support your spine, they support your shoulder blade joints and pelvis in this way.
There is a connection between the upper abs and core stability. Often when people are in pain in the mid-back or low back it is a sign of weak upper ab muscles. When your upper abs are strong, they help you to have better posture, less back pain, and more efficient movements.
The Benefits of Training the Upper Abs
It is important to strengthen your upper body muscles because they are one of the few muscle groups that you can engage dynamically with your own body movements. An upper-body workout can be very helpful for posture, shoulder health, back health, and upper back strength increases. They also help you to engage dynamically in many different ways.
A strong upper ab muscle will help to stop excessive flexion on your low back and lead to improved core stability, improved posture. In addition, strong upper ab muscles will help you perform daily tasks more easily and with less risk of injury.
8 Simple Upper Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core
These 8 exercises are some of the best we’ve found for upper ab workouts. Not only will your upper ab muscles be stronger, but you’ll also be able to engage your core more effectively.
The most commonly used exercise for upper abs is a simple way for anyone to get their core in tip-top shape. This exercise helps to strengthens your upper ab muscles and gives an additional stretch to your abdominal area.
Lie down on your back with your knees pointing straight up at the ceiling. Your feet should be placed flat on the floor with a small bend so that your knees are slightly bent as well. Raise your arms straight up until they are parallel to the ground. Next, slowly crunch up and down by reaching your upper body forward and then back like you are trying to touch your knees. This helps to work out all the muscles in the core area as well as stretch out those tough adductors located near the upper abs. 5-10 repetitions is a great way to start off with this exercise as it allows for a gradual increase in intensity over time.
Another exercise that works the upper abs extremely well is this version of the crunch. It is similar to the crunch mentioned above but adds on more intensity and does a greater job of strengthening your core.
Lie down on your back with your knees up at 90 degrees and your feet on the floor. Next, place your hands behind your head and make sure they are supporting the back of your neck. Next, slowly raise your shoulder blades off the floor while at the same time twisting one side to touch your knee. This movement is like pedaling a bike, hence the name ‘bicycle crunches’. Repeat 10-15 times for best results.
This exercise is one of the best ways to work out your upper abs. You can start this exercise off by standing up and having your feet about shoulder-width apart with your knees bent at 90 degrees. Next, walk your hands forward while keeping your legs straight until you are in a ‘half-squat position. At this point, bend your knees and walk backward while keeping your hands on the floor. Your feet should be together and you should be maintaining that half-squat position while walking backward.
Ab Wheel Rollout
This exercise is a little more difficult as it requires a bit of upper body strength as well as the ability to balance. However, it does work those upper abs and gives a great stretch to those already tense muscles.
To begin, place an ab wheel about a foot in front of you on the floor with the handles facing away from you. Place your hands on the handle and make sure that your arms are shoulder-width apart. Then, roll out to a comfortable distance, usually about 6 inches from the starting line. Once at this point, raise your upper body up from your shoulders up and basically perform a crunch. Maintain balance throughout the whole movement and ensure that you don’t push the wheel off the ground. Make sure to also keep your abs tight throughout the entire exercise. Repeat 10-15 times or more for best results.
This exercise is simple but very effective at working out those upper abs. Just position yourself on the floor with your knees bent at 90 degrees and your hands on the floor. Next, have your feet straight out behind you. Then, raise yourself up off the ground by extending your knees and raising your butt in the air. This exercise works the upper abs by pulling in your lower stomach area to stretch out those stubborn ab muscles. Repeat 10-15 times for best results.
The Russian twist is an effective exercise for the upper abs also. It is also a great way to work out those intercostal muscles which are located on either side of your rib cage.
To perform this exercise, lie down on your back with your legs bent at 90 degrees. Next, raise the feet off the floor so that they are resting on your feet with your knees bent at 90ears. Maintain this position throughout the entire exercise. Now, keep your upper body steady as you twist from side to side. This movement helps to work your upper abs as well as those inter-costal muscles. Keep the exercise going for about 1 minute or longer for best results.
Another exercise that is great at working out those upper abs is the side plank. It helps to strengthen the core muscles as well as work out those obliques or ‘love handles.
To start this exercise, lie on your side with your legs straight and make sure your feet are firmly planted on the floor. Then, lift up your top elbow and rest it on the floor. Next, raise yourself up with just your sidearm until you have a straight line from shoulder to hips. Maintain this position for as long as possible. Repeat 10-15 times on each side for best results.
Side Planks with Arm Raises
The final upper ab exercise on the list is the side plank with arm raises. This is basically the same exercise as above but instead of just raising your body upward with your arm, you are also pushing off your elbow to help you raise yourself up even further.
Begin this exercise in the same position as before by lying on one side and positioning your feet firmly on the floor. Next, lift up with your top elbow and straighten out that arm as much as possible. Maintain this position as long as possible by raising yourself up from your side using that top elbow to push off from. As you raise yourself up, try to reach up for your toes so that you can also work your lower abs as well. Repeat this 10-15 times for the best results.
These are just a few of the top upper ab exercises that you can do. If you incorporate these into your workout regime, you will quickly notice the difference. These exercises are effective at working out those upper abs as well as strengthening your core muscles. Do these exercises regularly and not only will you see results, but you will also be able to maintain an overall healthy lifestyle for years to come.
What are the Upper Ab Muscles used for?
Like all ab muscles, the Upper Abs are important for posture. If you have weak Upper Abs you will generally tilt your rib cage forward and round your shoulders. This can lead to poor posture over time which can lead to back pain and injuries.
Why are the Upper Ab Muscles Wasted?
A sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, poor posture, and bad habits including heavy lifting are common causes of weak Upper Ab Muscles.
How do I know if my Upper Abs is Weak?
One of the quickest ways to check your upper ab muscles is with the crunch test. Lie on your back flat with your back with knees bent at 90 degrees. Now bring one knee up towards your chest while pulling the other knee towards your chest.
What Should I Do with My Upper Ab Muscles?
Upper Ab Muscles can be trained at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels. At the beginner level, you should use heavier weights with more reps. Intermediate level training should be done with slightly less weight with fewer reps per set. And advanced training should be performed using lighter weights with higher reps.
What Should You Do First When You Start Training the Upper Ab Muscles?
You should start by learning proper form on the exercises you are doing. This will include using proper weight, using an equal weight at each set, and using dumbbells rather than barbells.
How Often Should You Train the Upper Abs?
Research has shown that the average person should train their Upper Abs 2-3 times per week. You can go as low as once a week if you want, but it is recommended that you perform at least 2-3 sets of different exercises for each session.