Updated: June 4, 2015
Ab Machine Reviews:Every year people start exercise routines after New Year's with good intentions. Perhaps the most desired area of the body to build up are the abs. People are always saying things like "I want six pack abs" as if it were so easy to do. We've been bombarded with tv infomercials with ab rollers, ab workouts, and abdominal gadgets that are supposed to workout our abs and leave us with a washboard stomach. I can tell you from personal experience that the fat around your abs is probably the hardest to get rid of - mostly because our genetic makeup wants to store fat around the stomach area. Don't worry, you can still build up your abdominal muscles even if the fat doesn't disappear so easily. I used to do stomach crunches when I was younger but have since noticed more neck pain so I have switched my exercise routine to include an ab machine. Ab machines are huge sellers in exercise stores and fitness centers. Just which ones actually work? Is there one ab machine that is better than the rest? These are common questions we get from our visitors and we have tried to answer the best we can down below.
When you are shopping for an ab machine keep a few things in mind. You want something that can target your ab muscles, is comfortable to use, and adjustable. Price is really not that big of a consideration since most items are not expensive. Stay away from the false claims and products you see on television - infomercials are notorious for creating hype around a product that really doesn't work that well. Perhaps you belong to a gym - check out the ab equipment they use. The gym I go to has a few ab wheels, but mostly people use exercise balls or ab benches to get in a good workout. Rarely do you see people lying on the groud doing the old fashioned sit ups anymore. For some reason when I do sit ups lying on the ground my neck hurts afterwards. I talked with several of the trainers at my gym and reviewed several online reviews done by exercise websites like Trainersecrets.com and Exerciseequipmentexpert.com. They both offer up reviews and buying guides to help you make an informed decision. The best source of reviews are those on consumer product websites like Amazon.com. You can read literally 100's of owner comments and feedback on all types of abdominal exercise machines and products which should help you in the buying process. The ab wheels are the cheapest of the bunch with most costing only about $15 while the ab lounges (often called ab chairs) are over $100 and the ab benches (hyper bench) are around $100. I have tried ab wheels (also called ab rollers) and they are hard right from the start. You'll get a good stretch and definitely "feel it", but I would say those are good products for people who have done some basic ab workouts to begin with. I play lots of tennis and golf and those sports require a solid "core". You need strong stomach muscles to be able to torque your body and swing a tennis racket. The one thing that all trainers will tell you is that you should build up your abs so that the rest of your body doesn't have to work so hard. Those with good ab muscles have less back pain and are certainly less prone to become injured doing basic exercise as they get older. You can browse the most popular core and abdominal trainers here.
Ab Wheels and Exercise Balls:RECOMMENDED - The #1 seller on Amazon.com is the Valeo Dual Ab Wheel although we suggest going with the slightly superior Ironman Double Ab Wheel. Ab wheels go beyond just tightening your abs, they tone shoulders and arms as well. I have found that ab wheels tone and strengthen your abdominals and they are really a cheap way to get started with ab workouts. Isolating the muscles and stretching them out is what an ab wheel will do. You start on your knees and slowly roll the wheel outwards extending your arms and really stretching our your abs and forcing them to strengthen. Another basic tool is the FitterFirst DuraBall Pro Exercise Ball 55cm which sells on Amazon as well and gets excellent reviews. These are the core balls you find in gyms and personal trainers use them in workouts all the time. They take the stress off your other body parts and let your abs get a great workout. You can find all the latest ab and core balls here.
Ab Bench:RECOMMENDED - I prefer to do my ab workouts with a bench. At the gym I use an incline bench to do ab training and you can really isolate and work all areas of your abdominals. For those of you that are looking for a good home ab workout using a bench, consider the Stamina Pro Ab/Hyper Bench. It's sold in most major sporting goods stores but we found it on Amazon for the lowest price around. Reviews are definitely positive on this ab bench and it will help strengthen your core muscles (abs and back). The contoured bench and support pad are adjustable so you can choose which of the 4 levels gives you the best workout. Owners like the fact that it is foldable and stores easily. Customer comments posted online include "good, versatile ab bench" and "gives you a great ab workout". For about $150 you will get a good core workout.
Ab Trainer/Ab Lounge:These are the most expensive of the lot, but reviews show that products like the Ab Lounge XL provide a safe and reliable abdominal workout. Often referred to as ab chairs, these ab lounges look like a very simple recliner chair. The ergonomic design is noticeable right away and you get a quality ab workout that focuses on your stomach muscles. Work your lower and upper abdominals and the obliques. Owners say the Iso-Grip handles are perfect for varied positions so you get a complete workout. I like the way this ab machine supports your head, neck, and back better than most. You will pay a premium for these types of ab machines, but if you suffer from neck or back problems then it's worth it. Eventually your core muscles will gain enough strength that your neck and back will become less sore. The only drawback I found with this machine is that it only supports up to 250 lbs of weight. With many Americans overweight you might find that this ab machine will not support your weight. An ab workout DVD is included with the purchase so you can quickly get on track to a slimmer and firmer midsection.
Get detailed information on specific brands - Ab Coaster Review