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UberExercise — The Upper Abs Trifecta [Abs]

The Upper Abs Trifecta

Want upper abs like this? The Upper Abs Trifecta is your magic 1, 2, 3 punch.

The Upper Abs Trifecta — Quick Hits


Primary Muscle:
Rectus Abdominis, aka the upper abs.


Secondary Muscles:
Lower Abs, Transverse Abdominis (aka the inner abs), Obliques.


What You’ll Need:
Swiss ball.


Why They’re Über:
The Upper Abs Trifecta (UAT) combines three high-velocity abs exercises back-to-back, which grind the upper abs, tear up the muscle fibers, and sculpt a flat, strong, rippled midsection in no time flat.



About The Upper Abs Trifecta


You asked for it, you got it. I’ve built the highly anticipated counterpart to one of my favorite UberExercises of all time, The Lower Abs Trifecta, which specifically blasts the upper abs. If you’re looking to sculpt a washboard midsection defined by rock-hard ripples, undulations, and ab crevices, consider The Upper Abs Trifecta your personal abdominal excavation unit. It’s powerful. It’s fast. It burns like hydrochloric acid. Your abs WILL feel like they got walloped by a jack hammer the day before, but it’s insanely effective and produces results.

Combine it with a few sets of The Lower Abs Trifecta (LAT) and you’ve got one all-encompassing, ab-defining circuit.

Like LAT, the Upper Abs Trifecta (UAT) is a circuited superset of 3 different upper abs exercises in sequence. UAT combines the following three upper ab specific exercises into one set, completed in order without any rest:

  1. Swiss Ball Ab Crunches — Center, Left, Right
  2. Bicycle Crunches
  3. Swiss Ball Ab Planks

The first two exercises — Swiss ball ab crunches and bicycle crunches — pinpoint the upper section of the abdominals and create vigorous contractions from a variety of different angles, while gradually ramping up in intensity. Swiss ball ab crunches provide a controlled, deep hyperextension followed by an accordion-like compression, driven down the center, left, and right side of the upper torso. This provides end-to-end stimulation, and shreds the upper-center portion of the abs and the serratus anterior — the little finger muscles above the rib cage (see below).

Bicycle crunches replicate a similar motion, but turn things up a notch with turbocharged strength, speed, and intensity. This stimulates different types of muscle fibers (bicycle crunches use Type 1/Slow Twitch muscle fibers, SBACs recruit more Type IIa/Fast Twitch muscle fibers), creates an extremely powerful burn, and fatigues the region into maximal muscle breakdown.1

Exercise 3 — Swiss Ball Ab Planks — exploit the fatigue and muscle breakdown left behind from exercises 1 and 2, and leverage the transverse abdominis (inner abs) to compensate for the deadened upper region. Even though the upper abs will be running on E and searing from circulating lactic acid, the transverse is able to effectively dominate and hold up the core for the duration of the plank. Again, Swiss ball planks provide a different source of stimulation — in the form of an isometric contraction, or a contraction where the length of the muscle doesn’t change — to infuse variety, keep the abs off balance, and encourage optimal growth.

Sections Of The Abdominals

Sections Of The Abdominals



  1. Find an open floor space and a Swiss exercise ball.
  2. Complete 15 Swiss Ball Ab Crunches down the middle, 10 to the left, and then 10 to the right. Picture/video demo below. Once this gets too easy, hold a dumbbell behind your head as you crunch.
  3. Without resting, immediately do 45 seconds of Bicycle Crunches. Picture/video demo below.
  4. Without resting, immediately do a Swiss Ball Ab Plank for 60 seconds, or for as long as you can. Picture/video demo below. If you can, slowly tilt your body from left to right.
  5. Rest 1 minute and 30 seconds.
  6. Repeat steps 1-5 two more times, for a total of 3 UATs.



1. Swiss Ball Ab Crunches


Swiss Ball Ab Crunch

Swiss Ball Ab Crunch



2. Bicycle Crunches


Bicycle Crunches

Bicycle Crunches



3. Swiss Ball Ab Planks


Swiss Ball Ab Plank

Swiss Ball Ab Plank




Avoid The Upper Abs Trifecta if you have lower back problems.

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Bryan DiSanto

Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Lean It UP
ELLO ELLO I'm Bryan DiSanto. I'm the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP, a CPT/CSN/Fitness Coach, Chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu – Paris, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid, and all-around fitness junkie.

I also contribute to Men's Health Magazine.

When I'm not working on my abs (or somebody else’s), whipping up avocado roses and avocado toast, or running a Tough Mudder, I'm probably yelling at a Carolina Panthers game somewhere.

Come be friends with me on Instagram (@BRYDISANTO) & Snapchat (BRYDISANTO).
Bryan DiSanto
  1. Fast and Slow Twitch Muscle Fibers []
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