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12 Best Bodyweight Exercises for the Upper Abs

Find the best ways to sculpt your abs and strengthen your core muscles without any equipment.

Looking for effective exercises for the upper abs? Read on to find out about the best bodyweight exercises for toning and tightening your upper abs.

The upper abs play a vital role in your overall core strength. You need to exercise these muscles to get that strong and sculpted look you desire. It can be challenging, however, to find the right exercises that are both effective and easy to perform.

Best Bodyweight Exercises for the Upper Abs

Upper abs are often the most difficult area to target when trying to tone your stomach. It’s almost as if they have a mind of their own and no matter how much you diet or how many crunches you do, they just don’t seem to respond.

The good news is that there are some great exercises you can do to target your upper abs and finally start seeing the results you want. You do not need to spend hours in the gym or lift heavy weights to achieve a toned and defined upper stomach.

Read More: Best Bodyweight Ab Workout for a Six Pack (400 Reps)

Here are ten of the best bodyweight exercises for the upper abs:

1. Bodyweight Exercises for the Upper Abs – Squats

Squats target the entire core, including the upper abs. To perform a squat, stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at your sides. Lower your body by bending at the knees, keeping your back straight and your chest lifted. Return to a standing position, then repeat.

Chelsey Grigsby does back squat standing calf raise Bodyweight Exercises for the Upper Abs

2. Bodyweight Exercises for the Upper Abs – Plank

The plank is a great exercise for toning the entire abdominal area, including the upper abs. To perform a plank, get into a push-up position, but with your elbows bent and close to your body. Hold this position for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds. Repeat as many times as you can, aiming for at least 3 sets.

3. Bodyweight Exercises for the Upper Abs – Mountain climbers

Mountain climbers are a great way to work your entire core, including the upper abs. Start in a push-up position, but with your hands resting on an elevated surface, such as a bench or low table. Bring your right knee forward under your body and toward your left elbow, then quickly switch sides. Repeat as many times as you can.

4. Bodyweight Exercises for the Upper Abs – Bicycle crunches

Bicycle crunches are another great exercise for targeting the upper abs. To perform a bicycle crunch, lie on your back with your hands behind your head and your knees bent. Lift the shoulder blades off of the floor, then alternate bringing your left elbow toward your right knee and your right elbow toward your left knee. Continue alternating sides for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds. Repeat as many times as you can.

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5. Bodyweight Exercises for the Upper Abs – Knee tucks

If you’re looking for a challenging exercise that targets the upper abs, knee tucks are a great choice. To perform this exercise, hang from a pull-up bar or other elevated surface, with your feet off the ground. Bring your knees toward your chest, then slowly lower back down to starting position. Repeat 15 times, aiming for at least 3 sets.

6. Bodyweight Exercises for the Upper Abs – Spiderman abs

Spiderman abs are an advanced variation of the traditional crunch/sit-up that targets all areas of the core, including the upper abs. To perform this exercise, start in a push-up position. Bring your left knee forward to your left elbow, then immediately bring your right leg forward to your right elbow. Repeat as many times as you can, aiming for at least 3 sets.

7. V-ups

V-ups is one of the most effective exercises to build upper abs. To perform these, lie on your back with your legs off the ground and your arms extended overhead. Lift both your legs and upper body together, reaching for the toes with your hands. Lower back down to starting position, then repeat as many times as you can.

8. Bodyweight Exercises for the Upper Abs – Reverse crunches

Reverse crunches are a great exercise for targeting the upper abs and working your entire core. To perform reverse crunches, lie on your back with your hands behind your head and your knees bent. Lift the shoulder blades off of the floor, then pull in your abs as you curl your tailbone toward the ceiling, contracting the upper abs. Slowly uncurl back down to starting position, then repeat for 30 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds, then repeat as many times as you can.

9. Russian twists

Next on the list of top bodyweight exercises for the upper abs is the Russian twists. To perform this exercise, sit down on the floor with your knees bent and your feet off the ground. Lean back slightly, keeping your back straight. Hold a medicine ball or weight in both hands, then slowly rotate from side to side for 30 seconds.

10. Hanging leg raises

Hanging leg raises are another great exercise for targeting the upper abs and working your entire core. To perform this exercise, hang from a pull-up bar or other elevated surface with your legs together and your feet off the ground. Cross your legs at the ankles, then slowly lift your legs straight up in front of you. Try to keep the rest of your body still as you hold this position for 30 seconds, then slowly lower your legs back down. Repeat as many times as you can, aiming for at least 3 sets.

11. Side planks

No list of bodyweight exercises would be complete without side planks – one of the most effective and challenging core exercises out there. To perform the side plank, lie on your side with your feet together and your arm underneath you to support your body weight. Lift your body up off the ground, supporting yourself with your forearm and the outer edge of your bottom foot. Hold this position for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds. Repeat as many times as you can.

12. Windshield wipers

Windshield wipers need to be part of your workout if you’re looking to target your upper abs as they not only work those hard-to-reach muscles but also the entire core.

To perform windshield wipers, lie on your back with your legs extended and your arms lifted off the ground. Slowly bring one leg up and over the other, lowering it to the ground as your torso twists. Alternate between legs for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds. Repeat as many times as you can.

Conclusion

Doing these exercises 2-3 times per week will help you to tone your upper abs and finally start seeing the results you want. Remember to focus on quality over quantity and be sure to keep your abs engaged throughout the entire movement. Breathe deeply and move slowly to get the most out of each exercise.

Read More: Abs 101 – The Best Step by Step Six Pack Plan (Targets every Area)

Image Sources

  • bruce-mars-tj27cwu86Wk-unsplash: Unsplash

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