Everyone wants those perfect rock-hard abs, but with so many devices claiming to give you perfect abs with little to no effort, it can be hard to know where to start, and even harder to find the best ab machine that will actually do the job.
To make the world of ab machines a little bit easier to navigate, let’s take a closer look at what you should know before purchasing an ab machine.
We’ve also taken a close look at some of the more popular ab machines on the market today to see what makes these machines stand apart from the crowd – and see whether or not they can really live up to the hype.
Ab Machines to Review:
What Is An Ab Machine?
Machines designed to target your abs are as varied as the people who use them.
Ab machines are designed to target some or all of your abdominal muscles with a variety of body weight or resistance based exercises.
The design of the ab machine will depend on the brand, and the type of machine you buy.
We’ll take a closer look at some of the different types of machines currently available, as well as the features that should look for before making a purchase.
What Are the Benefits of Using an Ab Machine?
Ab machines, when properly used, can have a host of different benefits including:
- Targeted Core Workout- Ab machines are designed to specifically target your core muscles, allowing you to target, tone and strengthen those muscles.
- Protects Your Back During Crunches – Crunches get a bad reputation for being damaging to your back. Ab machines help by keeping you in the proper position for your exercises while protecting your back and preventing injury.
- Better Balance – Stronger core muscles contribute to better balance. Working your core with an ab machine also helps to work your hips and back, creating a uniformly strong core to improve balance.
- Improved Posture – Strong core muscles make it easier to keep proper posture, which helps to protect your back and skeletal health.
- Improved Sports Performance and Endurance – There’s a reason that your ab muscles are called your core. Using an ab machine to get a strong core can help improve your overall sports performance and endurance, as well as your overall wellness. It should be at the core of your workout, after all.
What Workouts Can You Do With An Ab Machine?
Most ab machines are designed for one type of exercise – crunches and sit ups.
That being said, it can also be used to help keep you stable while doing a variety of crunches and ab exercises, like:
- Oblique crunches – Crunches designed to work the oblique muscles, otherwise known as your flank muscles.
- Butterfly Crunches – Also known as knee to elbow crunches, these movements work the majority of your core muscles.
- Reverse Crunches– Lifting your legs with your knees bent, to work the lower abs.
- Leg Lift Crunches – Lifting your legs with your knees straight. Also work the lower abs and core.
- Knee Lifts – Pulling your knees up to your chest to work the lower ab muscles.
- Double Crunches – A combination of a traditional crunch and a reverse crunch.
Essentially, any ab exercise you can do on the floor, you can do more efficiently and more safely with an ab machine in your arsenal.
Some machines are designed to be used for a variety of different exercises. The Ab Roller, for example, can be flipped over and used for upper body exercises like tricep dips and pushups.
What Should You Look For When Purchasing an Ab Machine?
You can’t turn on the “As Seen on TV” Channel without seeing at least one advertisement for an ab machine – but which are really worth your time and money and which ones should you switch channels on?
When you’re purchasing an ab machine, there are a few things you should look for, including:
- Budget – How much money do you have to invest in an ab machine? While they’re not usually terribly expensive, the the old adage rings true – you get what you pay for. A cheap ab machine might not do everything you need, and may not stand up to the punishment.
- Footprint and Storage Option – How much space does the ab machine take up, both in use and when stored? Can it be folded up or disassembled for storage? Make sure you are aware of the size of the machine and it’s storage capabilities.
- Weight Capacity – How much weight can your ab machine hold? While this rating will likely be much lower than the machine’s actual failure rating, it is always safer top adhere to a piece of equipment maximum weight rating to prevent failure and injury.
- Adjustability- Can the ab machine be adjusted to accommodate users of different heights or is it more of a one-size-fits-all machine?
- Versatility – How many different types of exercises can you do with your ab machine? Is it a one trick pony or can you do a variety of different exercises? Some ab machines are only designed to work your core, while others can be adjusted or even flipped over to allow them to be used for upper and lower body exercises as well.
There are a great number of ‘one trick ponies on the market – they’re cheap, but they don’t always stand up to the pressure.
They may work for you, but if you have the budget to splurge on a higher quality machine, don’t waste your time with the single-exercise machines.
Ab Machine Reviews
And now the part we’ve all been waiting for – the ab machine reviews. Let’s take a look at some of the different types of ab machines on the market, and what makes these machines stand apart from the crowd.
This ab roller might look simple, but it’s got more to it than meets the eye. With a maximum weight capacity of 220 lbs, this roller works to keep your neck and back in the perfect position while you’re doing crunches and other abdominal exercises.
Flip the steel frame over to create the perfect tool for dips, incline push ups and other upper body exercises.
This is a great tool if you’re just starting out with core exercises, and or need something that can give you more versatility without taking up a ton of space.
The ab roller doesn’t fold up for storage, but it can be easily disassembled by removing a few screws if you need to get it out of the way for a while.
If you’re avoiding adding crunches to your routine because they hurt your back, consider adding a tool like the RitFit Ab Roller to your collection to keep your back in the correct position while you’re exercising.
This can be a great piece of starter equipment for someone who’s just starting out with crunches – it’s easy to use, can work both your core and upper body, and doesn’t have any bells and whistles to confuse you.
This might look like a piece of equipment that you might see in the ab room of your local gym, but it can be just at home in your living room or garage.
The Ab Coaster allows you to do body-weight assisted knee pull ups, targeting your abdominal muscles with smooth controlled movements.
Instead of just targeting your upper or lower abs, this motion allows you to target your entire core.
The machine itself is made of a solid steel frame which can hold up to 300 pounds.
This design is ideal for users of all fitness levels, and while it is not inherently adjustable, it can be utilized by users of varying heights. The knee pad can be moved along its track before use, so even shorter users shouldn’t have any trouble using the machine comfortably.
This isn’t the kind of ab machine that you want if you’re short on space though – once it’s assembled, it’s there to stay.
It doesn’t have an enormous footprint, but it definitely takes up some space and doesn’t have any options for storage.
It is one of the more expensive ab machines on this list, but you definitely get what you pay for – solid construction and a piece of equipment that will serve you well for years to come.
This might not look like much of an ab machine, but don’t let it’s slim stature fool you – the WonderCore is definitely provides one of the most versatile core workouts on the market today.
This compact little piece of equipment uses spring-loaded arms to give your ab workout an extra punch.
This is good for more than just abs, though it is designed to primarily target the core muscles.
It can also be used for tricep dips, push ups, and other upper body exercises, in addition to scissor kicks and lower body workouts. For one single price, you can get a full body workout.
This is one of the best options for saving space too. The arms can locked in the down position, making it flat and easy to stash under a bed or in a closet.
Simply pull it out when you need it and stash it away again you’re done. It is easily one of the best options on this list when it comes to saving space and it’s quiet, so you can easily work out in an apartment or other crowded setting.
If basic crunches aren’t getting the job done anymore, consider augmenting your ab exercise with something like the WonderCore.
There is no listed weight limit for the WonderCore, but it may provide less resistance if you weigh more so it’s important to keep that in mind before you order.
This ab machine might look a little strange, but don’t let the appearance fool you – it’s the perfect thing for doing some bodyweight assisted reverse crunches in the comfort of your own home.
The steel frame can hold up to 250lbs, and it’s adjustable resistance levels make it ideal for users of all fitness levels, whether you’re a newbie or a fitness junkie.
The frame is protected with padded nylon rollers to increase your comfort while you’re working out.
In addition to helping to tone up your abs, this reverse crunch machine works to tone your buns and thighs as well, making it a perfect lower body workout machine.
It is also equipped with an LCD screen that keeps track of things like your calories burned, resistance levels, and workout times.
This is the only ab machine that we’ve reviewed that keeps track of your reps and resistance level, so if you hate counting reps this might be a good option for you.
In addition to a perfect lower body workout, the GoPlus Ab Power machine is totally collapsable.
It folds up flat to fit under a bed or stand vertically in a closet.
It doesn’t provide any sort of upper body workout, but it takes up so little space once collapsed that you can use more than one type of equipment even in limited space.
Wrapping It Up
The ab machines that we took a look at only represent a small sample of what is available on the market.
You might find a totally different type of machine works best for you, or one of these might be the thing that you’re looking for to get you over your weight loss plateau.
Thankfully, most ab machines tend to be very budget friendly, so you can try out a number of them without breaking the bank to find the one that works best for you.
Make sure you do your research before you order your first ab machine – don’t go with whatever looks shiniest in the TV commercials!
An ab machine should work for you, not the other way around.
The ones we took the time to review are vastly different from one another but they all provide the same thing – a comprehensive core workout that can help you tone and strengthen your abdominal muscles.
A good ab machine should serve you well for years to come – as long as you take the time to be smart about your decision.