The thought of having to do an additional 20-30 minutes of abdominal work after a regular workout can sometimes be enough for you to skip the ab training altogether. But, with these six upper body exercises, you'll gain all the benefits and more of a regular ab workout, without the extra time.
This 15-minute upper body workout will not only build your arms, your chest, and your back, but every one of these exercises is also going to work your abdominals.
So this workout will include as I mentioned 6 exercises, but they will be broken down into 3 super sets at 5 minutes each.
So, the first super set will pair chin-ups with spiderman push-ups.
Now, just because these aren't specific abdominal exercises don't think your abs will walk away unscathed. I remember training a client before and a couple of days after doing the chin-up exercise she commented how shocked she was that her abs were so sore.
With proper form, the chin-up exercise can very powerfully target your abs.
For proper form, begin in the dead hang position. Now, keeping your body tight, brace your abs and pull your body up and chin over the bar, then in a controlled fashion, lower your body down. You will
noticeably feel this exercise working your lats and your biceps.
Perform enough repetitions that take you until one short of failure. For example, if you can do 15 repetitions, then only do 14 and so on.
After the chin-up exercise, you will move into the spiderman push-up. In this exercise, you will get into a regular push-up position, and then as you come down bring your knee up to your elbow and back down. Alternate sides.
As previously noted, each super set pairing will be done in five minute intervals. Once finished with the first super set, move onto the next upper body combination of one-arm standing dumbbell shoulder press and heavy weighted dumbbell rows.
For the one-armed shoulder press exercise, place the DB at shoulder height with your palm facing outward. Next, brace your abs and place your opposite hand on your side to ensure your obliques are working while pressing up with the DB. Do eight repetitions for one side, and then switch to the other side.
Immediately after completing your repetitions for the shoulder press, move to DB rows. This time you will choose a weight you can normally do 10 times, but now try to get 12 repetitions. However, be sure to use only good form.
By keeping your body and back in a straight position, you will end up working your abs very hard, especially as you get closer to failure and your obliques work against rotation. If you find that you need to take a 5-10 second rest after ten repetitions in order to use perfect form for the remaining two, then do that.
Again, you will do this super set for five minutes going back and forth between these two exercises.
To finish off the 15-minute workout, you'll do two arm exercises that simultaneously work your abdominals. The first exercise is the lying dumbbell triceps extension. Now, in order to get a good ab workout from this exercise, when you're at the bottom position, drop a little more and you stretch your abs. Then, bring the
dumbbells back up overhead and repeat.
That little extra stretch at the bottom of the exercise will really work your abdominals to give you that six pack abs look, much like the stability ball roll-out when you stretch out at the end of that exercise.
The final exercise is the one-armed standing dumbbell curl. For this exercise you want to begin in a braced position. Since you will be using a heavy weight, your abs will have to work very hard throughout this exercise. To get in proper position, if your right arm is working, then your left leg will be in front. You can do
this exercise for 6-8 repetitions per side.
That's the 15-minute upper body workout that will work your abs just as hard if not harder than any ab crunching workout you could possibly do.
For DVD workouts using these exercises please visit:
If you have any questions, just let me know.
Have a great week.
Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Author, Turbulence Training