Things to Do When Training the Abdominal Muscles

When training the abdominal muscles, it’s important to remember that to target all the abdominal muscles requires exercises for both the lower and upper regions of your midsection.

In this article, I’ll address the upper abdominals and the best exercises to make them grow. The abdominal muscles that are developed and not covered by a layer of fat are very impressive. Having a clearly defined set of six-pack abs gives the ultimate look of lean muscle mass. This can be an asset to every bodybuilder, athlete or training enthusias.



If you’re specifically targeting the upper abdominals, one of the most effective exercises is the lying crunch movement. The crunch can be performed while you are lying flat on the floor or on a bench.

When crunching, it’s best to keep your legs bent and your feet either flat on the bench or on the floor. You can either cross your hands behind your head or keep your hands over your chest when performing the movement. There’s no need to use your arms when crunching.

From a lying flat position, you must raise your upper body forward and crunch at the waist holding the crunch position for a second at the top of the movement and then lowering your body flat to the floor. Do this for at least 10 repetitions per set.

The more often you do this exercise, the stronger you’ll make your upper abdominals and the more repetitions you’ll need to perform to continue to improve. I recommend 3 sets of upper abdominals twice per week, to begin with, and work up from there.


Another effective and more intense crunch movement is the decline crunch. This is performed with your head positioned at the lower part of a decline bench.

It’s a little harder and more intense than a lying flat crunch. This is also for the more advanced trainers since you need to push your body a bit harder from the lying decline position until your body is upright.

To really blast your upper abdominals, try doing the decline crunch from the halfway point to the uppermost position with your body crunching at the top of the movement.


You can also smash your upper abdominals with the seated crunch machine. It’s best to keep the seat low and cross your arms in front of your body holding onto the padded bar at the front of the machine.

Allow your body to fully extend to the top of the movement and then crunch down hard holding the padded bar down as low as you can go. Do this for a second or two before rising to the upright position. Bringing your body up slowly has the added benefit of helping to strengthen your lower back as well as blasting your upper abs intensely.

Instead of targeting the upper and lower abdominals every day, I like to alternate my upper and lower abdominal training. So if I workout 4 times per week, I’ll do about 3 sets of upper abs at the end of 2 of those workouts and then do 3 sets of lower abs training on the other 2 workout days.

Your abdominals need to be trained for a several sets towards the end of each workout. You can do this 3 to 4 times per week if you want them to really stand out. There really is nothing more impressive than a defined and muscular six-pack.


Anthony Hill

When you put together the sum total of my 30 years of bodybuilding training, the contests, the vast array of diets I have experimented (tortured) myself with as well as the experiences I have been through with various training partners in the gyms I have trained in all over the world, it’s been a great ride and I wouldn’t change it for anything. Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to be able to do lots of personal training for private clients alongside my day job. For a few years during my 30’s, I moved to Asia and worked as the Fitness Manager and head personal trainer at one of Thailand’s leading gyms in Bangkok. Learn More

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