The 15 Best Upper Abs Workout Exercises for A 6-Pack

Best Upper Abs Workout Exercises for A 6-Pack

1. Best Exercises for the Upper Abs – Bicycle Crunches

Side Plank with Leg Lifts

Side Plank with Leg Lifts

Bicycle crunches engage the entire rectus abdominis, making them optimal for targeting the upper abs. To prevent plateauing, include weighted crunches, reverse crunches, and Russian twists in your ab training. Proper form is crucial to avoid lower back pain and effectively work the upper core.

Consistency, a balanced diet, and full-body strength training are essential for achieving six-pack abs and maintaining overall abdominal strength. Vary your exercises to target different muscles and reduce body fat for optimal results.

Read Also: Ultimate Guide: Inner Thigh Workout with Bands

2. Side Plank with Leg Lifts

Side Plank with Leg Lifts

Side Plank with Leg Lifts

Targeting the obliques and upper abs, the side plank with leg lifts is an effective exercise for core strength. Begin in a side plank position with the elbow under the shoulder and feet stacked. Lift the top leg and hold before lowering it down.

Repeat on each side, adding pulses at the top or holding a weight for added challenge. This exercise engages the entire rectus abdominis, internal obliques, and external obliques, contributing to optimal results in ab training and overall strength.

3. Hanging Leg Raises

Hanging Leg Raises

Hanging Leg Raises

Targeting the upper abs, hanging leg raises demand significant upper body strength and stability, along with core strength. Executed by hanging from a pull-up bar, this exercise involves lifting the legs straight up toward the ceiling, with variations including lifting the legs to the side or performing a knee tuck for added challenge. To intensify the workout, incorporating weights or slowing down the movement can be beneficial.

Read Also: 9 Lower Chest Cable Exercises for Sculpted Pecs

4. Crunches on an Exercise Ball

Crunches on an Exercise Ball

Crunches on an Exercise Ball

Engaging in crunches on an exercise ball involves the rectus abdominis and destabilizes the body, engaging different muscles like the transverse abdominis. This exercise targets the upper abs and requires the stability of the shoulder blades and spine neutral position.

Choosing the right size exercise ball is crucial for proper form and optimal results, as it ensures a stable core and prevents lower back pain. Throughout the movement, maintaining a strong core and spinal flexion is vital for effective ab training and to avoid any risk of injury.

5. Reverse Crunches

Reverse Crunches

Reverse Crunches

Reverse crunches engage both the upper and lower abs simultaneously, promoting balanced development and strength in the entire rectus abdominis. This exercise can be customized with added resistance like a medicine ball, amplifying the challenge for the anterior core and transverse abdominis. It also targets the lower back, contributing to a stable core and reduced risk of lower back pain.

Emphasizing proper form and controlled spinal flexion is crucial to avoid strain and optimize the involvement of the entire rectus abdominis. Integrating reverse crunches into a comprehensive ab training regimen facilitates optimal results and a stronger, more stable core.

Read Also: 13 Best Chest and Back Workouts With Dumbbells

6. V-Ups



V-Ups, an effective upper ab exercise, involve lying on your back and raising your arms and legs into a V shape, engaging the abs throughout. The exercise can be modified by keeping the legs straight or bending the knees.

Aim for 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps while focusing on breathing and maintaining proper form to avoid injury. This exercise targets the upper abs and is crucial for building a strong core.

7. Bird Dogs

Bird Dogs

Bird Dogs

Enhance core strength, stability, and posture with bird dogs, targeting the upper abs and lower back. This exercise engages the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and spinal extensors, promoting spinal stability and strength.

By performing bird dogs in a controlled and extended position, you activate the entire rectus abdominis muscle, promoting optimal results for a stronger core and enhanced stability.

Consistency in ab training, incorporating variations, and maintaining a healthy fitness routine are crucial for achieving a defined upper core and optimal pack abs.

8. Leg Lifts

Leg Lifts

Leg Lifts

Leg lifts effectively target the upper abdominal muscles and can be modified for increased difficulty. Whether performed lying down or hanging from a bar, the key is to lift both legs straight up toward the ceiling and lower them down slowly.

It’s crucial to engage the core and refrain from swinging or using momentum during the exercise. Including leg lifts in a comprehensive upper abs workout routine can yield optimal results, especially when combined with other best upper ab exercises.

Read Also: PowerBlock Dumbbells: The Perfect Addition to Your Home Gym

9. Jackknife Sit-Ups

Jackknife Sit-Ups

Jackknife Sit-Ups

Targeting the upper abs, lower abs, and hip flexors, jackknife sit-ups involve lying on your back with extended arms and straight legs. Simultaneously lifting your arms and legs, create a V-shape with your body by bringing your hands towards your feet.

Engage your core and exhale as you lift, then slowly return to the starting position. Variations include using weights or a stability ball to intensify the exercise. This movement is ideal for building a strong core and engaging different muscles for optimal results.

10. Planks



Planking effectively builds upper abs, engaging the entire core. Begin in a push-up position, lower onto your elbows, and maintain a straight body. Aim to hold for at least 30 seconds initially. To intensify, lift one foot or arm, or add a side plank for obliques.

Engage the core and keep the back straight to prevent injury. Planks are crucial for a strong core and optimal results in ab training. Adding variations like lifting limbs or incorporating a side plank also engages different muscles, contributing to stronger core and pack abs.

11.Circuit 3: Crunches

Circuit 3: Crunches

Circuit 3: Crunches

Targeting both upper and lower abs is crucial for achieving a complete six-pack. Incorporating crunches into your upper abs workout routine offers various benefits.

Different variations of crunches, such as basic crunches, reverse crunches, and bicycle crunches, target the rectus abdominis and promote optimal results. It’s essential to maintain proper form and technique, ensuring spinal flexion and posterior pelvic tilt while avoiding strain on the lower back

. To maximize effectiveness, incorporate crunches into a full upper abs workout circuit, engaging the entire rectus abdominis muscle for a stronger core.

Read Also: Tristan Thompson’s Personal Trainer: All You Need to Know

12.Hollow-Body Hold

Hollow-Body Hold

Hollow-Body Hold

Engaging the rectus abdominis and promoting spinal flexion, the hollow-body hold is a demanding yet effective upper ab exercise. Starting by lying on your back with extended arms and legs, lift your head, shoulders, and legs off the ground, engaging the core muscles while maintaining a stable spine neutral position.

This challenging hold, lasting 20-30 seconds per set, can be modified to suit varying fitness levels, ensuring optimal results in upper ab training without straining the lower back.

13.Jack Knife Pullover

Jack Knife Pullover

Jack Knife Pullover

Targeting the upper abs and obliques, the jack knife pullover requires lying on your back with extended arms and straight legs. Simultaneously raise your arms and legs towards your toes, then lower them back down, engaging the core throughout to keep the lower back pressed against the ground.

Variations using a stability ball or dumbbells add resistance to this effective exercise. This movement promotes spinal flexion and engages the rectus abdominis muscle for optimal results in strengthening the anterior core.

14.Plank Knee-To-Nose

Plank Knee-To-Nose

Plank Knee-To-Nose

The plank knee-to-nose exercise is crucial for upper abs workouts. It helps strengthen the rectus abdominis and the transverse abdominis. Performing this exercise also engages the serratus anterior, which supports the shoulder blades and aids in overall stability.

By incorporating the plank knee-to-nose into your routine, you can maintain a strong core and reduce the risk of lower back pain. This exercise targets the entire rectus abdominis, making it one of the best upper ab exercises for optimal results.

Varying your upper abs workouts with exercises like the plank knee-to-nose is essential to keep challenging different muscles and avoiding plateaus.

Read Also: What Makes You Itch in Pre Workout? The Ultimate Guide

15.Circuit 2: Toe Reach

Circuit 2: Toe Reach

Circuit 2: Toe Reach

Targeting the upper abs is crucial for achieving a defined six-pack. Incorporating a variety of exercises into your upper abs workout routine is beneficial for optimal results.

The Toe Reach exercise effectively challenges both the upper abs and hip flexors, promoting overall core strength. It is important to maintain proper form and consider modifications for beginners or individuals with limited mobility.

To fully engage the upper abs, incorporate the Toe Reach exercise into a comprehensive upper abs workout circuit for stronger core training and optimal development.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of focusing on upper abs exercises?

Focusing on upper abs exercises offers multiple benefits. It improves posture and core stability, enhances athletic performance, reduces the risk of injury, and helps create a defined six-pack. By targeting specific areas of the abdominal muscles, you can achieve a balanced and aesthetically pleasing workout.

How often should I incorporate upper abs exercises into my workout routine?

The frequency of including upper abs exercises into your workout routine depends on your fitness goals. To develop defined upper abs, aim to do these exercises at least twice a week. You can incorporate them into your core workout or do them as a standalone routine. Always listen to your body and avoid overworking your muscles.

What are some modifications to upper abs exercises for beginners or those with injuries?

Modifying upper abs exercises is important for beginners or those with injuries. Start with easier variations like crunches or seated knee tucks. Consult a healthcare professional if you have an injury. Reduce range of motion or use props such as stability balls for support. Focus on engaging the core muscles and maintaining proper form.

Can I achieve a six-pack solely by working on my upper abs?

Achieving a six-pack solely by working on your upper abs is not possible. A well-defined six-pack requires targeting all parts of your abdominal muscles, including the lower abs and obliques. Strengthen your entire core with full-body exercises like planks and crunches, and remember to maintain a balanced diet and incorporate regular cardio exercise for visible results.


To sum up, incorporating upper abs exercises into your workout routine can help you strengthen and tone your core muscles, leading to a defined and sculpted six-pack. Consistency is key, so aim to include these exercises at least two to three times a week. However, it’s important to remember that spot reduction is not possible, and achieving a six-pack solely by working on your upper abs is unlikely.

To see optimal results, combine upper abs exercises with a balanced diet, overall body strength training, and cardiovascular exercise. Remember to listen to your body and modify exercises if needed, especially if you’re a beginner or have any injuries. So, get ready to work those upper abs and achieve the strong, chiseled core you’ve always wanted.

Read Also:

Walking Barefoot on Treadmill – Pros and Cons

Workouts to Improve Health

Back Workouts: Ultimate Guide for Building Muscle

Perfecting the Romanian Deadlift Technique

Lara Beck
Fitness Coach

    20 Lower Abs Workouts for Men That Actually Work

    Previous article

    The 15 Best Gym Cardio Workouts for Health and Weight Loss

    Next article

    You may also like


    Leave a reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    More in Workout