Why are your abs so important?
Your abs, actually called abdominals, are made up of six muscles that run from your ribs to your pelvis. They make up what is often called the core of your body. This is the part of your body that provides postural support and keeps your spine aligned correctly. The abdominal muscles are used to flex the spine forward in a bending motion. Strong ab muscles help you maintain a strong and healthy spine so they are an extremely important muscle group to focus on in your workouts.
Muscles that Make Up Your Abs:
- Rectus abdominis – These muscles are the ones most often targeted to achieve the six-pack effect.
- Transverse abdominis – This is the deepest ab muscle group, wrapping around your entire torso.
- Internal and External Obliques – They are located on the side of your torso and are used when you bend to the side.
With so many muscles making up your core, it is vital that you find an ab machine that works all of the muscles in your abdominals.
Factors to Consider:
- Is the ab machine comfortable when you use it? If it is uncomfortable, it will ultimately be useless to you since you are not likely to continue using something that hurts or causes you pain or discomfort.
- Is it adjustable to your specific body shape and size? This goes hand and hand with comfort. A machine that does not adjust to fit your body will not only be uncomfortable but could also potentially cause injuries.
- Is the machine well designed and constructed out of quality materials? You want to find an ab machine that withstand your workout and will last.
- How much do you want to spend and is it worth the price? Investing in a higher quality machine can save you cash over the long run if it outlasts a cheaper machine. Most ab machines range from $30 to $100. You can find a high quality machine for around $50 if you shop around.
Types of Ab Machines:
Ab machines come in a huge selection of styles from sitting, kneeling, and reclining to sliding and gliding. The ab machines listed are some of the top brands in their particular style.
- Ab Away Pro – This rocking machine provides great support as you work your abs but may not be suitable for taller people as the back rest does not lengthen.
- Ab Circle Pro – This machine helps you twist your way to firmer abs. While it is easy to use, people with knee problems may experience pain from the kneeling position.
- Ab Coaster Pro – Kneeling on this machine gives you a great ab workout with little to no strain on your back. It may not be the best choice for someone with knee problems.
- Ab Doer – This seated ab machine has a variety of twisting and crunching exercises but requires extremely precise movements to get results.
- Ab Lounge Sport – This workout chair features a jackknife design to give you a full range of motion while providing support to your head and neck.
- Ab Rocket Abdominal Trainer – This machine guides you through a crunching motion while providing support and a gentle massage with its cushioned rollers.
- Ab Roller – This rolling machine helps you to maintain proper form while performing a crunch. It is great for beginners.
- Ab Scissors – Utilizing a double crunch movement, this machine is easy to use but does not have much in the way of neck and back support.
- Ab Slide – This machine is a compact, rolling machine that delivers great results when used correctly. It is easy on your joints as well.
- Ab Straps – These arm straps are hung from a bar and deliver great results with off the floor crunches.
- Ab Swing – This reclining machine can also give you a leg workout as you target your abs.
- Marcy SB-410 Crunch Board – This unique bench can either be positioned flat or at a decline for a variety of ab exercises. It can also be used as a small weight bench.
Ab machines aren’t the only pieces of equipment that can work your abs. Exercise balls, also called stability balls, are a great cost-effective and comfortable alternative. There are countless exercises to do on an exercise ball and you can choose the exact size to fit your body. Additionally, ab components can be added to almost any exercise from lunges to push ups and with a variety of equipment such as dumb bells, kettle bells, medicine balls, and resistance bands. However, if you do not have experience with these various pieces of equipment, an ab machine is a great way to guarantee that you are targeting your abdominal muscles.
Where’s the Six-Pack?
One more factor to keep in mind, ab machines are designed to specifically target and build your abdominal muscles. Spot reduction is a myth. No matter how many repetitions of an abdominal exercise that you perform, you will not see your rippling muscles unless you combine your ab exercises with cardiovascular exercises and a healthy diet. Ab machines do not burn away that fat that may be on top of your abs. Ab machines will develop your abdominal muscles, but you must also do high intensity cardio exercises to get rid of the fat and reveal your chiseled abs.
Before you Buy:
Read reviews of various ab machines. If you workout at a gym, talk to the trainers to get recommendations. Try out various machines at sporting good stores in order to compare. Remember that no ab machine will give you instant results. If an ab machine claims things that sound too good to be true, they probably are.
So many machines are “as seen on TV” with endless hype, but anything that works will require some work 😉
Ultimately, the best ab machine is one that you will use. No matter how fancy or advanced your ab machine is, if you don’t use it, it is completely worthless. Find one that you’re comfortable with that offers you a challenging workout and stick with it!