If you’re looking to get a chiseled six-pack but your upper abs appear to be lagging behind compared to the rest of the core, you might want to target them directly.
We’re all built differently, so it’s only natural to develop weaknesses when training a particular muscle group.
You’ve probably seen dudes doing biceps curls with their right hand doing the vast majority of the lifting. That’s because their left bicep appears to be weaker than the right one due to imbalanced training.
One way to fix this is through concentrated biceps curls for the left bicep. But enough about biceps, that’s not why we’re here today, right?
As in the case with biceps training, strengthening certain parts of your core can be done as easily.
The good part is that if you feel like your upper abs are weaker than lower abs, training the upper rectus abdominis is much easier than lower abs, obliques or serratus (the finger-like muscles below the pecs).
Strong Upper Abs – Key to Gorgeous Six-Pack
In order to build a decent six-pack, you’ll have to strengthen your entire core: that means upper and lower abs, obliques and serratus.
You want your six-pack (or eight-pack, if you’re rocking an eight-pack abs) to be symmetrical, chiseled-out and well-defined, which is why it’s vital to make sure the upper abs – or the rectus abdominis – are strong enough.
Let me explain. The upper abs is the key muscle that really unlocks a sexy six-pack. With well-defined upper abs, you can make your six-pack pop in a perfect 3D way.
A sure-fire way to get well-developed upper abs is to start training them directly. That means: no more regular crunches.
There are two major points I’d like to point out before we get started:
- no matter how hard you train your upper abs – or other abs, for that matter – you’ll never see the 3D, chiseled definition in your six-pack if it’s covered by layers of fat (meaning: in order to see a gorgeous six-pack you need to burn fat first);
- overdoing upper abs exercises is just as bad as not doing them at all, because training one section in the core may result in unsymmetrical abs.
So what are the best upper abs exercises to train the rectus abdominis and potentially burn fat (there are quite a few cardio-based exercises)?
Best Upper Abs Exercises to Get a Chiseled, 3D Six-Pack
A cable machine can be used not only to train your chest, back, biceps, triceps… and pretty much ANY muscle group.
By using a cable machine you can also target your upper abs. How?
The exercise is called “cable crunches,” and as the name suggests it – those are crunches done with a cable. But they are vertical crunches, not horizontal.
You can either use ropes or a pulley. The greatest part of cable crunches is that you can increase or decrease resistance by using heavier or lighter weights.
- Note 1: using heavier weights gives your six-pack that 4K-definition look.
- Note 2: when performing the exercise it’s important to stick your butt out and set your hips back. As you lower your torso, squeeze your abs as hard as you possibly can (you’ll feel your upper abs engaged the most).
- Note 3: cable crunches are a so much better alternative to regular crunches because it allows a full range of motion.
- Note 4: you also perform the exercise while standing, but kneeling is easier.
This one gets your upper abs burning like never… in a good way.
Ab sprinters is also a good exercise if you’re looking for a 2-in-1 exercise: to target the upper abs and burn fat simultaneously. The exercise also trains your obliques, but the upper abs do the majority of work.
Note 1: don’t forget to contract your upper abs as hard as you can when you explosively raise your torso; also, keep your back straight throughout the exercise.
Note 2: control the motion to maximize gains.
Another great exercise to target the upper abs is the V-ups.
Keep your back straight throughout the exercise, even when trying to touch your toes.
Note: you can make the exercise more challenging by holding a medicine ball or a light dumbbell.
Although bicycle crunches target your entire core, including upper and lower abs as well as obliques, you can engage your rectus abdominis more by bringing your knee closer to the chest as to be able to squeeze your upper abs as much as you can.
TRX is one of the best inventions of gym gurus, and yet only a handful of people are actually using it.
If you want to target your upper abs, using TRX can be your savior. This powerful fitness equipment allows to target pretty much any muscle you want, including the rectus abdominis.
There are quite a few TRX exercises for upper abs, but the body saw and the rollouts are by far the most effective ones.
While an AB wheel can be found in pretty much every public gym, some people prefer doing core exercises at home.
For this reason, investing your money in an AB wheel may be a great option if you want to get and maintain a chiseled six-pack 365 days in a year.
Basically, the AB wheel exercise that targets your upper abs has the same movement pattern as the TRX rollouts.
Fitness Ball Crunches
Using a fitness ball to perform crunches is another great alternative to regular crunches, because:
- a fitness ball allows a much greater range of motion;
- it puts less stress on your lower back;
- you can target specifically the upper abs.
In order to get a more powerful contraction in the upper abs, lie with your lower-middle back firmly pressed against the top of a fitness ball.
Keep the movement slow and controlled throughout every rep and don’t forget to squeeze your upper abs as hard as you possibly can at the top.