Abs are considered a sign of an incredible physique, which gets the person a significant appraisal. This also represents the fact that the person is managing well in the kitchen. However, only the ab holder knows what the person had to go through to get there. Generally, abs range from 2-8, but many prefer to make 6 biscuits calling it six packs. The body muscle is focused on in two ways, upper abs and lower abs, and both have specific upper ab workouts and lower abs exercises to perform in routine. One can also combine both together to form the best upper ab exercises routine to follow.

What are upper ab muscles?

The upper abs are generally considered the upper part of the rectus abdominis to work on. This part begins from the bottom of the sternum and goes up to the bottom of the pelvis, i.e., pubic bone. It lies below the rib cage.

But technically, there are no upper or lower abs in the body, just the left and right parts of the core. Whereas the rectus abdominis is supposed to work as an integral part where the entire core is worked up no matter on which part the focus is.

upper ab workouts
Upper Ab Workouts

What role do upper abs play in the body?

The upper ab, i.e., rectus abdominis, plays the role of bending the body towards the knees.

The trunk flexion is broken into two parts: hip flexion and spinal flexion. Hip flexion is driven by hip flexors that move the hips towards the torso, and Spinal flexion is driven by rectus abdominis, which bends the body towards the knees. To make abs is developing both parts better and losing the extra body fat with hip flexors exercises and spinal flexion exercises.

The whole rectus abdominis is one single body part that needs muscle activation while getting upper and lower abs. It is unnecessary to divide the parts into two and consider the movements. And it is suggested to work on both together to avoid the imbalance of muscle fibers.

The overall core muscles play a crucial role in protecting the spine from unnecessary stress when the body goes under movements like extension, rotation, and flexion. This is the part that connects the lower body and upper body with each other.

Core Muscles with their primary function: ( Upper Ab Workouts )

There are six core muscles, each serving a responsibility in support, movement, and stability of the spine. The involvement of these muscle fibers is high when following abs-engaged workouts. The list of the same is as follows:

Erector Spinae:

The responsibility of this muscle is to stand in a straight line when bending forward, backward, or sideways.

Internal and external obliques:

The responsibility is to twist from left to right and vice-versa with support bending sideways.

Rectus abdominis:

This is the organ involved in bending forward or curling up and supporting bending sideways.

Transverse abdominis:

It compresses the abdominal muscles drawing the belly button to the spine.


Responsibility is to keep the spine stable during any movements.

15 Upper Ab Workouts For Six Pack And Strong Core
Upper Ab Workouts

In what ways can upper muscles be targeted? ( Upper Ab Workouts )

While working on abs, the targeted muscles are spinal flexion and hip flexion. Hence during workouts following actions will be focused on:

For upper ab exercises, muscle activation will focus on bending the upper body, i.e., upper torso towards hips or legs, through exercises like Sit-ups and crunches.

In the case of lower abs exercises, movements for muscle movements will be focused on bending up the legs or hips towards the upper body with exercises like Hanging leg raises or flutter kicks.

Whereas exercises like planks and V-ups with hanging leg focus on the thorough movement activation of core muscles.

How to get defined abs? ( Upper Ab Workouts )

To get well-defined abs is to manage well in the kitchen, balancing the proper fat percentage in the body. Otherwise, no matter how much bodyweight exercise the person does, no abs will appear on the body.

To get visible abs, a man has to possess around 13-16% of body fat, whereas a woman needs 22-25% of body fat. The lower the percentage of body fat, the more defined the abs.

Getting upper abs takes less time than lower abs as the most favorable area of getting fat saturated in the body is the lower belly, where it gets more stubborn to lose. Developing upper abs with simple-to-follow best upper ab exercises is easy for people who work out regularly.

Benefits of developing upper abs: ( Upper Ab Workouts )

  1. Working on abs in the body improves overall strength, endurance, and performance. It works more on the core, enhancing the functions of the muscle growth present there.
  2. The exercises involved in upper ab workouts also train muscles like the pelvis, hip, and anterior core to work together.
  3. Fitter abs are essential for resilience, stamina, posture, and balance as the part is involved in every person’s movement.
  4. It will help the person maintain a lower and stable fat percentage in the body.
  5. A strong core helps in keeping the spine neutral.
  6. The better muscles in the area pass on the energy from the upper body to the lower body without any loss or pressure.
  7. While performing the best upper ab exercises, other muscles in the core also engage in the practice and develop alongside.

Upper ab exercises to perform with props: ( Upper Ab Workouts )

Barbell rollout

The main focus of the exercise is to work the core muscles in two ways, one when rolling the bar out and the second when rolling the ball in.

How to perform:

Load the barbell weighing 5-10 kgs and get the knees bent in front of the loaded barbell. Grab the bar shoulder width apart.

Now roll the bar forward slowly with legs extended straight until getting the shoulders near the ears and body parallel to the floor.

Pause the extended position for some seconds and slowly return to the original position.

Go for the desired number of repetitions ranging from 7-10.

upper ab workouts
Upper Ab Workouts

Stability ball crunch:

This great exercise focuses on enhancing balance and stability through the overall physical function of muscle fibers improving muscle activation in the rectus abdominis.

How to perform:

Get the stability ball of approximate knee height and sit on the ball, ensuring knees are bent at 90 degrees and feet flat on the floor.

Keep your hands crossed on your chest, and comfortably bend backward to wrap the back around the ball.

Hold the position for some seconds and bring the shoulders up slowly, keeping the hips and legs stable during the process.

Repeat the posture at the desired number of times ranging from 5-10.

Weighted Cable crunch:

Weighted kneeling cable crunch is one of the upper ab exercises that focuses on trunk flexion, bringing the upper body towards knees bent on the floor with weight on the other side.

How to perform:

Attach the rope at the highest standing height with reasonable weight on the other side. Stand facing the machine, grab the rope handle with an overhead grip, and go back a few steps.

Kneel on the floor, pull the rope until the shoulder blades or side of your face, and hold as this is the starting position.

Then slowly lift the hips and bend until the elbows reach the knees. Hold the final position for seconds and slowly return to the original pose.

Repeat the pose a reasonable number of times ranging from 8-15.

Weighted decline sit-up:

This is one of the very effective core exercises that helps improve core stability and strength. Beginners can start with crisscrossed hands behind the head.

How to perform:

Lay on the back on a decline bench and hook the legs for stability. Hold the weight with your arms straight over the chest and slowly start sitting up, raising the torso.

Hold the position and then slowly lower the body back to the bench maintaining the weight in the hands until the shoulder touches the bench.

Repeat the position for the desired number of times ranging from 8-15.

upper ab workouts
Upper Ab Workouts

Deadbug Pullover:

This exercise is either performed with a kettlebell or a dumbbell of a reasonable weight in the position of deadbug. It involves the movement of the upper abs, shoulders, and lats.

How to perform:

Lie on the floor with legs up in the air, bent knees having calves parallel to the ground.

Keep the arms extended over the chest, holding a reasonable weight of a kettlebell or dumbbell, as this is the starting position of the exercise.

Then extend one leg straight and bring the weight down over the head. Hold the position for seconds and slowly get back to the starting position.

Then repeat the same with the other leg extended in the air.

Repeat the position with the desired repetitions ranging from 5-10 for each leg.


This is one of the intense exercises performed slowly and steadily on the floor. This strengthens all the core muscles.

How to perform:

Lie on the back and hold on to the strong pole or bench behind the head.

Then lift the legs and torso in a straight line shifting the weight to the shoulders and upper back.

Hold the position for some seconds and return to the ground slowly.

Repetition can be implemented at the desired number with a pause of a few seconds.

upper ab workouts
Upper Ab Workouts

Weighted strict toes to bar:

This intense exercise improves grip, upper back, and shoulder strength.

How to perform:

Hold a ball into the ankles and jump enough to hold the chin-up bar wider than the shoulder width.

Then squeeze the lag muscles together and bring the ball upside to touch the bar between the hands.

Keep the back straight during this time and slowly lower the ball and legs to the hanging legs position.

Repetitions can be preferred at the desired number between 5-10.

Hanging knee raise:

This excellent exercise helps in improving the grip and strengthening the legs. It helps in torso coordination and overall body control, and strong core strength.

How to perform:

Hang from the bar with arm straight at a wider than shoulder width. Bring the legs together and pull them up from the knees to the chest without swinging. Hold the position for some seconds and lower the hanging legs.

Repeat the position at desired number ranging from 8-12.

Upper ab workouts to perform without any prop:

Hip Lift:

This reverse crunch position empowers the upper abs and core muscles when the lift is done with straight legs.

How to perform:

Lay down on the back with palms down by your sides. Inhale while pulling the navel in. And lift the legs from hips until toes point to the ceilings as you exhale. Ensure that the hips are a few inches in the air.

Try to hold the position, and while inhaling, bring the hips down at a slow pace, then touch the legs to the ground again.

Repeat the process at desired number ranging from 10-20.

upper ab exercises
Upper Ab Workouts

Hollow body hold:

This position focuses more on abdominal muscles while contracting inward and also help lower ab muscles as legs are held in the air.

How to perform:

Lay on the back with straight hands overhead and straight legs extended downward with pointed toes. Then inhale and start lifting the straight legs from hips and straight line hands from shoulders in the air, pushing the lumbar spine region in contact with the ground.

Tuck the chin into the chest and try to hold the position as much as possible. Slowly lower the body and go back to the lying position again.

Repeat the position to make the contraction position last for 30-60 seconds.

Tuck crunch

This bodyweight exercise primarily focuses on upper abs improving abdominal muscle strength and midsection muscle building.

How to perform:

Lay on the back and cross the arms above the chest, grabbing the shoulders with opposite hands. Then raise the legs and bend them at the knee, making the calves parallel with the floor. Hold the pose as this is the starting position of the exercise.

then start to roll forward, taking the torso off the floor but keeping the back in touch with the floor and exhaling. Hold the pose and reverse back to the starting position to repeat.

Repeat the position as much as possible in 10-20.

Front Plank Walkout:

This position involves the abs, shoulders, chest, back, and legs, one from strength training core exercises. It is the simple version of barbell rollout without the barbell.

How to perform:

Take the plank position with straight hands, palms resting on the floor. Start moving the hands away from the legs to get on the toes. Hold the position for 3 seconds and take the hands back towards the legs to stand back up.

Reverse the same procedure to complete another set of exercises, making the extended hold 30-60 seconds.

The hundred:

This exercise involves the hamstrings and calves along with the entire core muscles.

How to perform:

Lay on the back and position the legs straight in the air at 90 degrees with extended hands overhead and beside the ears.

Then start lifting the straight hands in the air, bringing them towards the legs until the back is entirely off the floor. Ensure the body is balanced on the lumbar spinal flexion on the ground.

Hold the position before returning to the starting position of lying back on the floor.

Repeat the exercise for desired number ranging from 10-20.

McGill curl up:

This exercise minimizes the stress on the lower back and helps in reducing lower back pain. During this exercise, the lumbar spine remains neutral while extending or flexing resulting in the early development of upper abs.

How to perform:

Lie on the back on the floor with the left leg straight and the other right leg bent at the knee, having the foot flat on the ground. Keeping the hands on the side of the hips, inhale and lift the chest to the ceiling keeping the neck straight. Hold the position for seconds and slowly lower the chest to ground level.

Repeat the exercise at desired rotations ranging from 5-10.

RKC plank:

The RKC plank looks like a regular plank but has some different features. In this exercise, hands and arms are pushed into the floor and squeezed the quads. It works on the anterior core strength along with the upper ab workouts.

How to perform:

Take the push-up position with elbows touched to the floor. Clench the fists and pull the shoulders down and back. Then squeeze the knees and glutes to lock the hips and pull the elbows towards the feet.

Count the breaths and use them as the repetition count.


This is the primary bodyweight exercise to do without any equipment. This primarily targets the entire rectus abdominis.

How to perform:

Lie on the floor with knees bent at 90 degrees and feet flat on the floor at feet hip-width. Then keep both the right and left arm crisscrossed at the back of the head and lift the upper body to touch the knees bent. Hold the position for some seconds and then slowly lie back on the ground.

Repeat the position at desired numbers ranging between 10-15.

Right and Wrong in crunch and plank position: ( Upper Ab Workouts )

How to do the Crunch right:

Don’t Tuck the chin too much into the chest, jerk up while performing the crunch, raise the boys too high in the air, keep hands behind the neck, and have no abs contraction.

But use the core to lift the body, perform the same in a slow and controlled manner, place the hands behind the head, and keep the lower back in contact with the floor.

How to do the plank right:

To make it right, Don’t engage too much core or arc the back, lower the hips or become fatigued, and don’t put a strain on the neck but keep eyes focused on the ground, squeeze the glutes and keep the hips raised, and maintain the tight core.

How many sets and reps should be done per week?

How many sets to perform depends more on the fitness level and stamina of the core. Repetitions can begin from 2-10, ranging to the highest of 20 sets at a time.

It is necessary to divide the routine correctly, which helps focus on all the muscles evenly instead of overtraining one. Abs exercise can be performed daily, but the even management of focus on all the core exercises is a must.

Upper ab workouts involve both slow-twitch and fast-twitch, making it necessary to create a combination of upper ab workouts containing Low reps with high weight and high reps with low weights to manage the balance.

It is suggested to gradually increase the repetitions and the weight while performing upper abs exercises, which helps progress instead of an injury because of sudden strain on the muscles. To have distinct abs, it is necessary to burn the fats with bodyweight exercises and weight exercises in a well-managed combination.

upper ab workouts
Upper Ab Workouts

Wrapping Paragraph: ( Upper Ab Workouts )

Core stability is the strength-driven muscle in the body, known as the abs structure, further divided into upper abs and lower abs. Some abdominal exercises focus on developing both parts to make them distinctive in the body structure and grow equally.

The core structure works as an integral part of the body that needs to be turned into a strong core stability organ, providing a part for which many kinds of exercises are suggested.

For upper ab workouts, the exercises like sit-ups and crunches are given, whereas, for the lower part, flutter kicks and leg raises are suggested. In contrast, to make it a balanced development, exercises that revolve around core tightening planks and v-ups are preferred per the repetitions in the desired number of sets.

FAQs: ( Upper Ab Workouts )

Q.1 Should abs exercise be performed every day?

A person in a regular workout routine or proper fitness can go for daily abs training. Still, it is necessary to divide the workout evenly to focus on all the engaged core muscles for stability and equal development. Focusing on a single muscle can create a strain and might cause an injury to the person.

Creating a well-crafted routine that focuses on all core muscles and strengthens them equally is necessary for everyday upper abs or lower body workouts.

Q.2 How to tone upper abs?

When looking forward to focusing on the toning of upper abs, specific exercises focus more on the spinal flexion exercises with the entire rectus abdominis. This organ consists of the upper abs, yet no such division exists. Exercises that revolve around the original concept of sit-ups and crunches can be focused upon more when want to tone the upper part of the core muscles.

Exercises like Barbell rollout, Cable machine crunch, or weighted crunch with stability ball crunch can be focused upon. But in case of the absence of such equipment, exercises like hollow body hold, tuck crunch, and plank walk can help.

Q.3 How to lose upper body belly fat?

The most favored area of fat saturation is the lower abdomen, making it challenging to lose stubbornness from there. But in the case of the upper body, the fat saturation is lower, and with a proper focused workout, it can be lost easily. To lose the fat saturation in the upper belly, one needs to focus and work more on the workout that is curated from the combination of sit-ups and crunches.

Also, strengthening core stability is essential to contribute to the fat loss process. Exercises like planks or v-ups focus and work equally on the whole core muscle without making any division over there. These can also be included in the routines to lose belly fat.

Q.4 What muscles are there in the upper abs?

In reality, there is no such division of lower abs or upper abs, to be specific, but the whole core muscle is supposed to work as the integrated unit. There are 6 muscles in the core, such as the Erector spinae, internal Obliques, external obliques, Rectus abdominis, Transversus abdominis, and Multifidi, which work together to keep the spine straight and safe.

From the above-stated names, Rectus abdominis, Transversus abdominis, and internal and external Obliques form a significant part of the upper abs.

Q.5 What ab exercises to focus on for upper ab workouts?

While setting up a workout for the best upper ab, it is necessary to see that the exercises chosen must revolve around the forms of sit-ups and crunches. Still, it is also essential to balance it well with other muscles workout for equal development.

Exercises to include in your upper abs workout are hollow hold, abdominal rollout, plank, sit-up, cable crunch, dumbbell pullover, hanging knee raise, and stability ball crunch. There are also many other exercises to include as per the choice and equipment available,

Q.6 What role do upper abs muscles play?

There are 6 core muscles, such as Erector spinae, Obliques, Rectus abdominis, Transversus abdominis, and Multifidi, from which upper abdominals like Rectus abdominis, Transversus abdominis, and Obliques play the role of keeping the spine straight and safe in all kinds of body movements like bending forward or backward or sideways or the movements of the body rotation.

These muscles play a crucial role in joining the upper body with the lower body to pass on the energy and support spinal and hip flexion movements.