💪 15 Best Upper Ab Exercises to Try Right Now

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Here’s what we’ve got for you today:

  • Watch 2023 Mr. Olympia Derek Lunsford’s full back workout at the legendary Bev Francis Powerhouse Gym. 

  • Try the 15 best upper ab exercises to strengthen your core. 

  • Larry Wheels gained how much weight after making his Amateur Olympia debut?

TRAINING 

Back to Work

Credit: Derek Lunsford / YouTube

When Derek Lunsford won the Mr. Olympia crown a few weeks back, he made history as the only man to win an Olympia in two different divisions. (He previously won the 212 Olympia in 2021.) Instead of resting on his laurels, Lunsford’s already back to work, and he recently paid tribute to the sport's legends by visiting the renowned Bev Francis Powerhouse Gym, where he performed a blistering back workout. 

Situated in Syosset, NY, this 30,000-square-foot facility has been visited by icons like Jay Cutler, Ronnie Coleman, Chris Bumstead, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Looking to join some elite company, the 2023 Mr. Olympia captured his eight-move workout and posted it on YouTube so fans can follow along the next time they hit the gym themselves.

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EXERCISES

Upper Abs Heaven

Credit: Move Clips / YouTube

Achieving a stellar physique and peak performance in the gym hinges upon cultivating a solid core. While a low body fat percentage undoubtedly contributes to an appealing aesthetic, the importance of a strong core extends far beyond superficial enhancements. The primary muscles in your core — rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominals — are vital for your overall strength and athletic performance. 

These muscles, along with the other muscles that make up your core, aid with movements like bending, twisting, and withstanding the pressure of a heavy barbell. Whether you're squatting or sprinting, the strength of your core plays a vital role in your performance. However, maximizing the benefits of your workouts requires more than just a few sit-ups. Proper core training begins with targeting your upper abdominals, so we have 15 upper ab exercises to try to develop an iron core with unwavering strength.

BODYBUILDING

Wheels Gets Round and Round

Credit: Larry Wheels / YouTube

Larry Wheels was incredibly close to earning an IFBB Pro card at the 2023 Amateur Olympia on November 1, securing a silver medal and narrowly missing the top spot. After the show, the multi-superlative strength star uploaded a YouTube video disclosing that he gained a staggering 53 pounds within a couple of days after the event. 

Wheels experienced this rapid weight gain primarily due to water retention after using diuretics, which are typically used to reduce water retention and enhance muscle definition before a bodybuilding contest. However, when Wheels consumed food post-Olympia, his muscles absorbed water to restore electrolyte balance. This effect was amplified as Wheels transitioned from a low-carb/calorie diet to indulging in multiple cheat meals in the hours after showtime. 

But enough of the science: What did Wheels gorge on after the contest to gain that weight? Turns out, he enjoyed nine cheat meals, including burgers, fries, steaks, an entire pizza, wings, cookies, and Pop-Tarts in the two days following his Amateur Olympia debut. (We hope he at least opted for the s’mores Pop-Tarts.)  

THE DROPSET

Adjustable Savings

  • Do you need to upgrade your home gym? Check out the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday savings on adjustable dumbbells.

  • Ryan Terry reminisces on his decade-long bodybuilding career. Read about his journey to being crowned the 2023 Men’s Physique Olympia champ. 

  • The T-Bar row helps you build a bigger back without tinkering with your lower back. Learn how to do this chest-supported row that enables you to load heavy plates with less risk of injury.

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THE RESULTS ARE IN

Back to Back?

Credit: @dereklunsford_ / Instagram

In the November 14, 2023, edition of The Ripped Report, we who you think will win the 2024 Mr. Olympia. Here’s how you voted:

  1. Derek Lunsford (53.75%)

  2. Hadi Choopan (13.75%)

  3. Samson Dauda (11.25%)

  4. Brandon Curry (10%)

  5. Big Ramy (7.5%)

  6. Andrew Jacked (3.75%)