With so many different types of abs machine and training equipment now available, it’s easy to forget about the ones that are most effective for actually working the muscles.
[one_half]When many people first think about buying a new abs machine for using at home, they are usually thinking about the 6 pack abs and washboard stomach that features in the monthly muscle building and fitness magazines.
The truth is that everyone has abs already to some degree, it’s just about deciding whether you want more definition in the abdominal muscles or if you want to build up the muscle group as well as get the definition.[/one_half]
Fat loss is the most effective way to start seeing more defined abs, and should become part of your regular training routine if you want to maintain and improve the definition in this area. You can have all the abs machines and the best looking abs in the world but if they are hidden under a layer of stubborn fat then you won’t see them at all well.
Once you have brought your body fat down to a level where you are starting to see more definition, or if you have decided to focus on building up your abdominal muscles then the next thing to do is pick the exercises and abs machine that will be most effective.
Abdominal muscle toner products
[one_half]There are usually two main reasons why the idea of an abdominal muscle toning belt attracts so much popularity. The first is that even for high quality belts the price is usually a lot lower than standard abs machines and training equipment.
The second is the ease of use. It looks an attractive idea to simply attach the belt and let it tone your abdominal muscles for you. But do they really have the desired results?[/one_half]
There is no better way to learn about how well or badly a product works than peoples own experiences, and certainly the majority of people seem to find these products work, and in particular the Slendertone Flex Max and the Slendertone Women’s abs toning belt designs.
An important area for differences in quality between belts is in the contact pads and how well the belt moulds to fit your body, so always make sure that the belt can adjust well to your body shape and keep the pads touching your abdominal area.
[one_half]Ab trainers are perhaps the most popular form of actual ab training equipment. Designed with a curve in the frame on both side to create a smooth rolling motion, they have been designed to put your body through a motion similar to situps and crunches.
Many of these ab trainers come with a pair of handles to grip and a padded head rest section to keep your neck supported and less pressure on your lower back when compared to traditional sit ups.[/one_half]
Because the movement is so natural and simple to perform, and the fact that they are very light and can be stored away very quickly if needed this makes them perfect for anyone looking to start abs workouts from home.
Hyper Extension benches
[one_half]This type of abs workout product resembles a higher, half complete workout bench, with a padded section for resting your thighs and waist on and usually foam rollers to lock your feet under to stop you sliding off.
Although this is considered more of a lower back and oblique focussed movement, you still work your abdominal muscles and strengthen your entire core.
You can even hold onto a weight plate as you perform the movement to make it more difficult and build your core even stronger if body weight becomes too light.[/one_half]
These take up very little space compared with the full sized abs machines at commercial gyms that need a weight stack and cable pulley system to generate resistance.
As you are leaning over the ground at such an angle when performing exercises on this piece of abs workout equipment, you need to make sure the frame is solid and doesn’t move at all even when holding a heavy weight plate.
There are also models available that have adjustable padded roller sections to adjust to different user heights.
Seated cable resistance abs machines
[one_half]If you have been a member of a gym and you took a walk around the cable machines, you probably saw one of the seated cable style abs machines. These work in a similar way to the roman chair and ab trainer combined.
You have a head rest and handles to hold onto for the contraction part of the movement, as well as padded rollers to wrap your feet under allowing you to bring your legs up towards you against a resistance usually in the form of a weight stack.
By bringing your legs up to your body this works mainly the lower abs, while the back and head rest, and handles used with the upper body movement work the upper and middle abdominal muscles. The idea is to work your entire abdominal muscle group as well as your hip flexors to build a stronger overall core section in one controlled movement.[/one_half]
These are more popular in gyms due to being one of the more expensive forms of exercise equipment for developing your abs, but can be very effective when performed in a controlled manner and focussing on the abdominal muscles doing the work.
[one_half]Usually found as an addition to pull up and dip stations, the roman chair is an exercise that mainly works your lower abdominals through resting your arms and back against padded rests and performing leg raises.
The core muscles that you work will depend on how far up you bring your legs, and at what angle. If you twist your knees across your body as you bring your legs up then this will work more obliques, whereas if you bring your legs up and keep them straight then this will work much more lower abdominals.
These usually hang from a bar and you can slide your arms through the slings until your triceps rest on the material, then hold onto near the top of the slings and perform leg raises.
The only disadvantage of this is you need to find somewhere to hang the slings from, and won’t have the padding against your back to prevent cheating on the movement and using momentum to swing your legs up.
How to decide which one is right for you
If you are looking to buy a new abs machine for home use for exercising your abdominals and core, then you will need to consider three main points and compare these between products and their reviews.
These have really been put in order of importance, as you probably wouldn’t be concerned about paying a little more for a product that got results in just a few weeks compared to paying less for a product that doesn’t get results at all. At the same time, although most ab training equipment takes up very little room compared to training for other exercises, if you are looking to buy a pull up and dip tower to have the roman chair leg raises as an option then space is definitely something to think about.
Once you have decided on the type of abs machine or exercise equipment that is right for you, compare several different manufacturers and products of this type and read as many reviews as possible by other users to see what has been most effective for them.
Although your abdominals are a relatively small muscle group compared to others such as your legs, there are still a number of useful abs machines that work your abdominals, obliques and entire core from a variety of angles.
It can be difficult to decide on which ab machine is right for you. Our comparison chart will help you compare the basics, while reading any of their articles will help explain their use and benefits in a bit more detail.[/two_third]