Best exercises for upper and lower abs

The 5 Best Exercises to Target Your Upper and Lower Abs

See real results fast as you blast belly fat from your upper and lower abs with these trainer-picked exercises. Having six-pack abs is one of the common fitness goals for both men and women.

But uncovering the abs under the belly fat is one of the biggest struggles for people after six-pack abs. This is because most people do the wrong kind of ab exercises.

In this article, I’ll share 5 of the most effective ab exercises to target both your upper and lower abs. These ab workouts will not only help you burn belly fat, but they will also shred and strengthen your core muscles.

But it’s important to note that diet plays a huge role in revealing your abs. If you need to clean up your diet, check out our 7-Day Flat-Belly Meal Plan and the 3 Easy Steps to Get Rid of Stubborn Belly Fat. A combination of healthy eating and performing these 5 exercises regularly will melt off belly fat and reveal six-pack abs.

Here are the 5 best ab exercises to target and shred your upper and lower abs.

1. Stability Ball Knee Tuck

Stability Ball Knee Tuck

The stability ball is one of the best tools for building core strength. The unstable bouncy ball forces your core and other stabilizer muscles to become engaged. They constantly stay activated to keep you from falling from the ball and create more muscle engagement. 

  1. Start in a high plank position with shoulders over wrists, and rest the tops of your feet on a stability ball.
  2. Keeping hips level, and your core engaged to draw knees in toward your chest as you roll the ball forward, then return to plank. Perform 15 reps, aim for 3 sets. 

2. Hollow Hold

This ab exercise, the hollow hold works both the upper and lower abdominals.

Holding this pose also improves your core endurance and strength. You’ll build anti-rotational strength, which will help prevent you from twisting while lifting. 

  1. Start by lying flat on your back.
  2. Flex your upper abs into an ab crunch position and reach your right hand and left hand to the side, palms facing down, about 6 inches off the floor.
  3. Then, keeping the legs straight, raise your heels off the ground. Find the center of gravity, making a “boat-like” position with your upper and lower body.
  4. Brace your core and hold the position until it’s time to rest.
  5. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds. Rest and repeat 2-3 more times.

3. Reverse Crunch

Reverse crunch abs

The reverse crunch is a popular ab exercise that targets and works the abdominal muscles, particularly the lower half. You can perform on either the floor or a flat, incline bench.

It’s easy to perform on either the floor or a flat bench.

  • Start by lying on your back with your knees up. Arms can rest to your sides, palms face down.
  • Remove the curve in your lumbar back by pressing it down on the floor.
  • While keeping your upper body stable, lift your legs up and bring them toward your chest (while keeping the 90-degree bend in the knees).
  • Return back down. Continue for 2-3 sets and 12-15 repetitions

4. Russian Twist

Russian Twist abs

The Russian twist is a core exercise that strengthens and tones all parts of your abdominals. It’s a great ab exercise to strengthen the obliques.

  1. Sit on your mat with your knees bent. Start to lean back until you feel your abdominals engage, it’s a 45-degree angle. Lift up your feet off the floor. Hold your arms out in front of your chest or hold additional weight. 
  2.  Twist your torso and ribs to the left, pause, squeezing your ab muscles. Make sure your elbow clears your quads. Return to center and repeat on the right side. Return to center. That’s one rep. 
  3. Continue for 12-15 reps on each side.

5. Side Plank

Side Plank

The side plank is a great exercise to strengthen your obliques and the transverse abdominus. It’s the muscle that’s located deep within your core and helps protect your spine. 

Additionally, performing the side can help improve your core stability and coordination. 

  1. To perform the side plank, lie on your right side with your legs straight. Have your right elbow directly under your shoulder. Spread the fingers on your right hand creating a stable base.
  2. Your right forearm is parallel with the front of the mat. Press through your forearm raising your hips until your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders. Raise your left hand creating a straight line from fingertip to right arm.
  3. Engage your abs and hold this side plank position for 30 seconds. Don’t let your right hip drop towards the ground.
  4. Add time with the more you practice. Return to the starting position and repeat on the left forearm for the same length.

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