The upper abs are often neglected when it comes to general abdominal training. there's no good reason for it, they're awesome, functional, and just a generally used for pretty much everything. You aren't short of upper ab exercises either, with a huge range of them out there for you to choose form. Pick the right ones, and you'll see positive changes in no time. We're here with our 5 favourites to give you a nudge in the right direction.

Crunches

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Crunches are the fundamental iconic exercise when people think of abs because of the results that they produce and their popularity too. They have a  reasonably easy technique, plus you can do them pretty much anywhere, anytime, and get results. They’re definitely worthy of their place on the list.

As you lay flat on the floor and raise your shoulders to create the contraction, the lack of movement from the lower body means that your upper abs are the absolute focus, and you’ll often find that this is where you will be able to perform the most reps and see the best results.

Cable Crunches

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If crunches alone weren’t enough, the cable crunch almost definitely will be. This is one of the most difficult crunch variations, because of the added weight and positioning, but it’s technique guarantees success and forces you to use your full upper abdominal group. Training your abs with weights is tough, but worth it in the end.

Because of the need to bring the weight all the way down, you will have to contract even further. That will be the main cause of the muscle growth that you are looking for, and this will likely be the fastest and most effective route to your goals. Just make sure you’re not losing your form to try to get out more reps.

Ab Rollout

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Sometimes, a piece of equipment can be just what you need to help get you where you want to be. The ab wheel again is a classic. It’s a tried and tested way to build up your abs with reasonable ease, and it gives you the movement range that bodyweight exercises just can’t offer you.

Bringing the wheel from your waist through to the full extension, your abs are completely engaged. The final part of the movement, where your arms are extended in front of you rather than under you, your upper abs have to do all of the work to stop the motion and put it in reverse. That gives the biggest contraction and awesome results.

Toe touches

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All of the mechanics of these upper ab exercises are based on the same movement due to the constraint that the abdominal muscles place. With this in mind, a good way to keep things interesting is to perform these toe touches.

All you need to do is lay on your back with your straightened legs up in the air, and as the name suggests, try to touch your toes. Working against gravity will mean that your upper abs have to deal with the entire workload and you engage your core to lift your shoulders from the floor. This can also help you with your flexibility too.

Pike

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Last but by no means least, we have the pike. The pike is one of the less common but more effective ab sculptors, and it’s a shame that it is rarely seen in workouts. The movement is closely related to a crunch, but from the other side. It still hits your abs. Hard.

To do it, you’ll need to adopt a plank or push up like stance, whatever is more comfortable, and raise your hips and glutes upwards so that you create an upside-down V with your body, and then bringing yourself back down again. It’s easier if you can suspend your feet in TRX straps, but you’ll soon find what works best for you.

All of these upper ab exercises are great, and you can use them pretty frequently too! For more information on how often you can train your abs, click here.


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If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.