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Building that Six Pack-Upper Abs (Rectus Abdominis)

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Your upper abs form part of the rectus abdominis (straight abdominal) muscle chain. The rectus abdominis muscles are the muscle pair that span vertically across the length of the abdomen. It is the long chiselled out muscles (genetics may give a staggered or asymmetrical appearance) that are responsible for the “six pack” Each muscle consists of 4 muscular bodies, connected by a thin layer of tendon.

These muscles are part of the makeup of your core – the stabilizing muscles which supports the spine, ensuring your upright frame, generating force and thereby movement. It is also responsible for flexing the torso and spine in the abdominal region, which in turn lends support to the abdomen for functions such as childbirth, exhaling, urinating and defecation.

The core consists of 3 layers – the deepest layer consists of small muscles that span a single vertebra, the middle layer is made up of the stabilizing muscles that incorporate the lower area of the spine while the outmost layer are the large muscles that generates strength and movement.

The rectus abdominis/upper abs are not more important than the lower abs, the oblique’s or the transverse abdominis but, it is the upper abs that lay bare, the potential for showing your six-pack.

Eating whole food or also known as clean eating is definitely a contributing factor to building these muscles (and your complete body for that matter) and no matter how much you train the muscles, if they are buried beneath a layer of fat (count your calorie intake) they will not be visible in the terms of a six pack. Remember, Garbage in – Garbage out – if what you eat are poisoning the body, don’t expect your muscles to thrive. So cut the sugar and the processed food out, but, include protein, as protein is the building block for muscles.

Timing is everything – especially if you want to build prime muscle. Plan your meals to from Breakfast, Pre-workout, Post workout and even snack time.

Also remember to hydrate your body by drinking sufficient water throughout the day.

Certain exercises concentrate more on building these muscles, but overall cardio workouts and a healthy exercise regime is all important.

Exercise, target-building the upper abs/rectus abdominis would be as follow and you should consult with your personal trainer as to how many reps and/or if a certain exercise is applicable to you, should you experience any medical conditions:

  • A plank pike
  • Cross sit-ups with wide legs
  • Crunches
  • Ab Sprinters
  • Cable crunches
  • TRX body saws
  • Swiss ball weighted crunches
  • Ab V-ups
  • Bicycle crunches
  • Overhead decline weighted sit-ups
  • Ab wheel roll-out
  • Table top crunch
  • Toe touch crunch
  • Floating BOSU crunches
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