T Nation

Building the Top Abs?

Ok so I do sit-ups and crunches and rainbows - what some consider sufficient ab work- but i need more. As I do crunches and sit-ups I get a real burn in my abs… kinda. The problem is I seem to only be able to work the bottom two thirds or 3 quarters of my abs, I can’t seem to work the top. Any advice, tips, tricks, or specific plans would be greatly appreciated.

Weighted ab work.

Weighted cable crunch.

Just remember, to be able to see your abs you need to have a low body fat %. Most people get their abs at 10% body fat

[quote]Bloobird wrote:
Just remember, to be able to see your abs you need to have a low body fat %. Most people get their abs at 10% body fat[/quote]

I’m not looking to see my abs - I’m a chunky guy. I need to make sure I have a strong core because I lift HARD.

Ah, in that case, you might want to try overhead squats and thing that require more stability rather than strength. don’t neglect your lower back either.

[quote]Bloobird wrote:
Ah, in that case, you might want to try overhead squats and thing that require more stability rather than strength. don’t neglect your lower back either.[/quote]

Or front squats.

Front squats

Stay away from all of those crunches.

Front Squat
Deadlift
Bench Press
RDL
Pull Ups
Rows

For Abs:
Front Bridge, Side Bridge, Progress to:
Ab wheel and Pallof Press.

Diet tip: NO Refined Sugar after breakfast.

i agree with everyone who says squats and deads, but if you want a crunch like exercise that you can feel isolating your upper abs i would try just laying completely flat on the ground with fists to both side of your head and do a crunch from that position.

my friend showed me this once and i feel it there. good luck man. dont get discouraged with ab work because from what i understand abs dont have a very large potential for growth… i think fat loss is the best way to get abs.

First, I would like to say again, I’m not looking for a killer six pack, I’m looking for a strong core. That said, I DO need exercises that don’t require machines or heavy weights. I’m looking for crunch like, or other simple move, high ab work.

—Side Note—
I would also like advice for my obliques and my spinal erectors.

[quote]rwong3030 wrote:
i agree with everyone who says squats and deads, but if you want a crunch like exercise that you can feel isolating your upper abs i would try just laying completely flat on the ground with fists to both side of your head and do a crunch from that position.

my friend showed me this once and i feel it there. good luck man. dont get discouraged with ab work because from what i understand abs dont have a very large potential for growth… i think fat loss is the best way to get abs.[/quote]

Thank you very much, those flat crunches are really working.

Thanks to everyone who submitted, I agree with your advice, and will use much of it.

[quote]DemonSevere wrote:
First, I would like to say again, I’m not looking for a killer six pack, I’m looking for a strong core. That said, I DO need exercises that don’t require machines or heavy weights. I’m looking for crunch like, or other simple move, high ab work.

—Side Note—
I would also like advice for my obliques and my spinal erectors.[/quote]

If you want a strong core to lift heavier shit, weighted ab work would be the key (in addition to bodyweight ab exercises and heavy compound movements).

As far as spinal erectors… deadlifts? Yep.

Want a strong core? Heavy deadlifts, heavy deep squats. Ab machines and stupid crunches will not work nearly as well as those.

[quote]shizen wrote:
Want a strong core? Heavy deadlifts, heavy deep squats. Ab machines and stupid crunches will not work nearly as well as those. [/quote]

I am in complete agreement. I already do heavy deadlifts and squats. This is supplemental, injury prevention, and heavy lift acceleration.

I don’t use machines. I hate them, therefore I do not own any. I work out with free weights exclusively. I work out twice a week. This ab stuff is what I do on my off days along with walking. Again, a lot of this is injury prevention, to ensure my core can handle what my limbs and extremities can.

Good injury prevention core work that doesn’t need cables/machines: planks (4 point, 3 point, 2 point), bridges (side and supine), russian twists, corkscrews, floor wipers, barbell rollouts, t-pushups, ect.

i have an adjustable bench at home and i recently tried two new an exercises (new for me)

  1. Do incline situps but hold the plate straight out behind you (above your head at your perspective) instead of holding it to your chest

  2. This may be unsafe but it gives crazy pain in the top half of my abs.

Put the bench on decline and lay with your back down and your head near the top, grab a barbell and hook it under the leg support, hold the bar in place behind your head by bending your arms, as you are in this position do a full leg raise from the decline position all the way up as far as you can go with decent form

yes i know these are just modifications of weighted incline situps and regular leg raises, i was doing those before and needed something more intense without trying to hold a 50 lb plate on my chest (too much effort on holding the plate, not enough on the actual concentric motion)

good mornings and overloading the top part of the deadlift for erectors.

…you need to lose weight first.

other than that deadlifts will seriously fix all your problems…and do decline situps or w/e they are. just explode up and sllllowly let down, obviously youre going to need to start with a lesser decline but as you lean out you can increase the depth.