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The 12 Best Upper Ab Exercises; Miracle-Gro To Annihilate Your Rectus Abdominis & Cultivate A Six-Pack That Pops

The 12 Best Upper Ab Exercises; Miracle-Gro To Annihilate Your Rectus Abdominis & Cultivate A Six-Pack That Pops

The colloquial “six-pack” muscles are the visible product of a strong, chiseled-out, well-defined rectus abdominis — the symmetrical, 2-by-3 columns of tantalizing midsection meat spanning from pecs-to-pelvis (they can be asymmetrical as well, it’s genetics).

While the obliques, serratus (the diagonal finger-like muscles below the pecs), lower abs, and transverse abdominis are each requisite elements of an elite core, the rectus abdominis (RA) is arguably the trump muscle that unlocks six-pack potential. It’s the meat-and-potatoes (or, better yet, salmon and goji) that helps the abs look like they’re always freshly pressed by a waffle iron and chiseled out with a fiery vengeance.

The surest way to add substance, striation, and density to the RA — and ultimately help the region pop — is with a heavy dose of effective, challenging upper ab exercises.

Our list of the 12 Best Upper Ab Exercises is abdominal Miracle-Gro. Use it as potent fuel to recalibrate your routine and annihilate your RA, leaving it prepped-and-primed to sprout budding little abs from the inside-out.

 

*As always, your abs won’t “pop” if there’s blubber plastering your core. Diet (read part 1 here) and a foundational workout routine/ample cardio are absolutely KEY — effective ab exercises are only one small contributor to a lean, healthy body.

 

The 12 Best Upper Ab Exercises; Miracle-Gro To Annihilate Your Rectus Abdominis & Cultivate A Six-Pack That Pops


The 12 Best Upper Ab Exercises; Miracle-Gro To Annihilate Your Rectus Abdominis & Cultivate A Six-Pack That Pops

 

Upper Abs Exercise 1: Wide-Leg Cross Sit Ups


How to: 
  • Lie flat on the ground with your legs spread out wide.
  • Powerfully contract your core, raise your torso, and touch your right hand to your left foot.
  • Return to the bottom. Extend your arms long over your head and stretch out your core; immediately crunch up and touch the ground in between your feet.
  • Return to the bottom a 3rd time. Repeat the motion, touching your left hand to your right foot.
  • Continue to alternate left, middle, right.
  • Hold a dumbbell or medicine ball to increase the difficulty, if possible.

Upper Abs Exercise 1: Wide-Leg Cross Sit Ups

Video:

 

Upper Abs Exercise 2: Cable Crunches


How to:
  • Attach a rope handle attachment to the top of a cable pulley station.
  • Grab the rope with both hands and lower your body down onto both knees. Stick your butt out, set your hips back, and form a 45° angle with your torso.
  • Tighten your abs, puff out your chest, and slowly — WITHOUT moving your hips — crunch your abs down towards the floor.
  • Once your chest is roughly parallel with the floor, SQUEEEEEZE the life out of your abs for 1.5 seconds.
  • Slowly extend your back, stretch out your abs and spine, and return to the starting position.
  • Increase the weight as your abs strengthen.

Upper Abs Exercise 2: Cable Crunches

Video:

 

Upper Abs Exercise 3: Sprinters


How to:
  • Lie flat on the ground with your arms at your side.
  • Powerfully contract your core and explosively raise your torso, right arm, and left leg; your elbow and knee should reach the same height so that they’re directly across from one another.
  • Return to the ground and immediately repeat for the opposite side.
  • Increase the difficulty by holding a light dumbbell in either hand.

Upper Abs Exercise 3: Sprinters

Video:

 

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Bryan DiSanto

Owner & Editor-in-Chief at Lean It UP
Bryan DiSanto is the Owner & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP, ACE-CPT & CSN, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid, and all-around fitness/nutrition nutjob.

When he’s not working on his (or somebody else’s) abs, whipping up Eggocados, or running a Tough Mudder, he’s probably off yelling at a Carolina Panthers game somewhere.

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