So, now you have mastered basic and intermediate upper abs exercise and by this I mean that you can do all the upper abs exercise easily but you still haven’t got the satisfaction of achieving that model like six packs.
Don’t lose heart when you have come such a long way there should not be any problem in going that extra mile by stretching your limits.
Before starting any discussion let me remind you that no amount of exercise can give you six packs until and unless you follow a diet.
To attain your dream of having those gorgeous six packs abs you have to increase the level of difficulty in your exercises.
Mind you, it might look like you are back to square one because you will again have to go through pain that you use to feel when you first started exercising and will need a lot of dedication to stick to these routines.
As the saying goes there is no gain without pain so pull up your socks and get ready to for one the most testing and agonizing upper abs exercises.
Following are few of the exercises which when done correctly is sure to make your upper abs perfect for a six pack.
1. Crisscross Crunch
This crunch tones the abdominal muscles very effectively and so has to be included in your daily exercise routines.
- Lie on your back with your hands behind your head.
- Contract abdominals to go into a half sit up.
- Extend your right leg straight out and let it hover 2 to 4 inches off the ground; tuck your left leg in so that the left knee is at a 90° angle and directly above the hip joint.
- Crunch upward and twist your right elbow in towards your left knee. Get as close as you can without letting your knee come in conflict with your hip joint.
- Switch leg positions; extend your left leg straight out while simultaneously bringing your right knee in over your hip joint. This time, crunch your left elbow up towards the right knee.
- Alternate back and forth for a set number of repetitions or a set period. Pulling in towards each knee makes one repetition.
2. Pilates Hundred
This exercise is sure to tone your upper abs and make it look slimmer.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent at a 90°and your feet on the ground. Place your arms by your sides palms down.
- Rock your hips upward and contract your abs to push your lower back down firmly into the mat. Slowly lift one leg at a time straight up from your hip. At the same time pull your shoulders down by reaching past your thighs with your hands.
- Inhale slowly then exhale as you roll your upper body up off the mat, continuing to reach past your thighs with your hands. Slowly lower both legs until you reach the maximum angle you can control. Continue to contract your abdominal muscles to keep your shoulders up and tilt your hips upward as if trying to pull your tailbone off the mat.
- Pump your arms up and down roughly the distance from hip to knee with a quick, choppy motion.
- Pump your arms 5 times, inhaling each time with small breaths so that by the 5th pumping motion your lungs are full. Pump your arms another 5 times; this time exhaling each time until your lungs are finally empty on the 5th arm pump
3. Cable Crunches
For this exercise, you would require to attach a rope to the top of the cable pulley station and set the weight stack to a resistance level that makes it challenging to bang out 35 reps.
- Grab the rope with both hands and lower your body down onto both knees. Stick your butt out, set your hips back and down, and form a 45-degree angle with your torso
- Hold the rope out in front of your nose through the movement
- Tighten your abs, puff out your chest, and slowly — WITHOUT moving your hips — crunch your abs down towards the floor
- Once your chest is roughly parallel with the floor, hold your breath for about three seconds. Hold it tight.
- Slowly extend your back, stretch out your abs and spine, and return to the starting position.
- Aim to touch your right elbow to your left knee and vice versa
4. Toes touch Crunches
These crunches will increase the strength and flexibility of your abs.
- Lie on your back with your feet up in the air directly above your hips. Keep your legs as straight as possible.
- With your hands reaching out above your shoulders, slowly pull your head and shoulders off of the ground by reaching towards your feet as if you were trying to touch your toes.
- Slowly drop your shoulders back to the mat.
- Do not rest your head on the ground until all repetitions are complete.
5. Russian Twist
This exercise targets abdominal muscles through twists.
- Sit with your knees bent, heels resting on the floor.
- Lean back so your torso is, at least, a 45° angle, so that your abs become engaged.
- Arch, your chest up towards the ceiling, to flatten your back and straighten your spine. Slowly lift your heels off the ground and balance on your tailbone.
- Hold your arms out completely straight in front of your chest and twist at your torso, rotating your shoulders as far left and right as you can.
- Turning from left to right is one repetition.
6. Standing abs rollout
Although this exercise looks deceivingly easy to most people about to try it for the first time, looks can be deceiving as an immense core strength needed to master this great exercise.
- You can stand a distance from a wall that you think you can safely rollout to let’s say for example one meter or so.
- Then with your legs straight and your stomach muscles pulled in towards your naval push the roller forward keeping your legs and arms locked and stop an inch or so away from the wall.
- Pause and then breathe in as you pull the roller back to the starting position.
7. Advanced Plank
This is very similar to the standard and intermediate plank exercise except one arm, and one leg is lifted off the floor which makes it both an advanced and very effective core exercise.
- Begin in a press up position and pull your ab muscles in towards your naval.
- From there lift your right arm and left leg up at the same time and hold this position for as long as possible.
- It is important to ensure that you keep both the raised arm and leg and the rest of your body straight and in alignment and that you breathe throughout the exercise.
8. Side plank star
- Begin in a straight arm side plank position and from supporting your weight on one leg and arm while you raise the opposite ones into the air and hold the position for as long as possible.
- It is important to breathe throughout the exercise and also ensure that your body is straight and in alignment without sagging in the middle.
9. Elbow Plank
You have to include this exercise in your daily routine to achieve your goal of six packs.
- Lie face down on a gym mat with elbows and forearms flat on the mat.
- Raise the trunk, thighs & knees off the floor so the body is supported only by the forearms and tip toes.
- Pull in the abdominals tight and keep the pelvis straight.
- Maintain a straight back throughout the exercise.
- Hold this position for at least 10 seconds or until form begins to fail.
10. Pilates Teaser
This exercise is seriously going to challenge your core strength and balance.
- Lie on a mat in the Imprint position; feet on the ground so that knees are at 90° and arms straight down by sides, palms down.
- Exhale, and lift one leg at a time to the Table Top position; knees directly over hip joint and knee at 90°. Inhale and hold.
- Exhale, and extend both legs up and out with toes pointed and heels squeezed together. At the same time raise and extend your arms up and over your head resting them on the ground.
- Inhale, and raise your arms directly above your shoulder joint, keeping your elbows straight.
- Exhale, and slowly curl your chest upward leaving the mat one vertebra at a time pulling your arms slightly forward. At the same time, lower your legs for counter balance as you extend your upper body out straight, tilting your chest up and straightening your spine to make a “V” shape with your body.
- Hold this position and inhale. Your arms should be parallel to your legs.
- Exhale as you roll back down one vertebra at a time, bringing your legs back up slightly and your arms over your head. Repeat from step 4 to complete additional repetitions.
11. Weighted Ball Crunch
- While doing crunches on exercise balls, make sure that that you begin with the ball touching the small of your back, and you end with the ball beneath your tailbone.
- To add weight to this exercise, simply employ the same flat weight technique used for weighted sit ups.
12. V-Sit Exercise
This exercise helps to activate the upper abs muscles.
- Raise the legs to a 45-degree angle. Reach the arms towards the feet and raise the torso off the floor.
- Hold these V positions until the abs are exhausted and form is compromised. With conditioning, the time in the hold position can be increased.
All the above-mentioned exercises are of the advance level so make sure that you do them under the guidance of an experienced trainer. As these exercises are heavy before starting do visit the doctor just to make sure that your body is capable of handling these exercises. Also, do not start any of these exercises before you are comfortable with the intermediate and beginner level exercises.