Who doesn’t want to have a nice set of six-pack abs?
Whether you are inspired by the latest movie star, your favorite athlete, or want to impress the ladies at the beach, having a six-pack has never been more popular and there are more and more tools than ever to help you reach your six-pack goals.
The appeal of having a home gym has been booming as well and many people are abandoning traditional fitness ideologies to set up shop in the comfort of their own home.
One of the best pieces of equipment you can invest in for the quality of your home gym is a great ab machine. There are many different ab machines to choose from and this guide will help organize these machines by type to help you make the right decision.
It’s important to note before we go further that ab exercises alone will not give you the results you want. You need to balance ab exercises with a healthy lifestyle in which you consume fewer calories than you burn off.
There are workout intensities for all kinds of different people and it is important to understand the different types of ab machines and what fitness level they are best adjusted for.
Types of Ab Machines
Plank Style Core Trainer
This is a relatively new type of machine on the market, and it’s one of the most expensive. It consists of a plastic board about the size of a small beach bodyboard.
The board sits on a base that allows the board to pivot and twist and til in all directions.
The user would place his/her cell phone in a cradle on the board with a special game app that directs them to tilt and twist the board while doing a plank and playing video games simultaneously.
Sportconsumer.com owns one of these trainers, so based on our experience, we can offer one word of caution; if you have lower back problems or pain anywhere in your back, this trainer may not be for you. It can stress your back muscles and spine.
Click the picture below to see more information about the Stealth Plankster Core Trainer.
Typically a wheel designed with two handles used in exercises such as rollouts, (abdomen and back), roll-ins, (thighs), and arm work, (arms and back).
This machine is very simple to use and easy to understand. Assembly of this usually take little or no time at all.
It is recommended to use pads for your knees or do this exercise on a comfortable mat and some more advanced users can roll the ab wheel while on their feet.
Mat used to provide cushioning and alleviate pain from typical floor exercises such as situps, leg raises, and the hundreds of other on floor ab exercises.
This can really help as a nice complement for other exercises and is almost a necessity for building a great home gym.
Bench can be used to gain leverage on exercises and work different kinds of muscles. Benches are widely regarded as the most versatile pieces of gym equipment, investing in this will not only help your ab training, but many other fitness goals as well.
Some of the most common uses of benches in ab training can be for decline ab crunches, but there are so many variations that can be imagined with the use of the bench tool.
For example, you could put your leg up on the machine while leaving the rest of your body and do hip raises, crunches, situps, or you could leave your back on the bench and support your body with your core to develop your muscles with static holds or glute brdiges.
Abdominal Trainer/Ab Rocket
These unique ab machines target very specific muscle groups, although they don’t allow for as wide a range of uses.
These machines may look like gimmicks out of an infomercial, but they can be a great way for beginners to ease their way into ab training with something that is fun, untraditional, and comfortable to use.
Medicine Balls are multi-purposeful and can really help athletes and fitness enthusiasts improve their strength and fitness.
There is a reason why medicine balls are so heavily used by professional athletes and bodybuilders because they are a great tool for very intense exercise.
They can be slammed into the ground, thrown, or used in a twisting movement in many ab exercise variations. “Buddy” workouts commonly use medicine balls as they can be easily passed from person to person.
Ab Machine Buying Guide
Here are some additional components to consider before making a decision about your ab machine:
As mentioned above, many of these ab machines serve different purposes. It is important to look over your goals and see which machine is the best suited for those goals.
Ease of Use
Some of these exercises can be very challenging to get started with, whereas some can be very easy. It is important to make sure the intensity level of the exercise best matches with your current fitness level.
Size in Home Gym
It is important to look at the footprint of the machine and make sure space required fits in your home gym.
With some of these machines, you will be able to overpass their exercise capabilities and render the machine useless. Make sure the intensity of the machine can be adjusted to keep up with the progress you are making towards your goals.
Best Ab Machine Reviews
Learning how to use this machine can be as easy as watching a simple 5-minute youtube video. There are many popular demonstrations that can be found of bodybuilders and other fitness influencers using this product.
The Ab Carver is incredibly easy to assemble and it comes packaged with pads for your knees to help you use at home if you want to use it on a hardwood surface.
The Ab Carver is the most modern remake of the traditional ab wheel and features many unique features that will welcome you to this year with a sweet set of abs.
The unique design of the handle saves the stress on your elbows and works to properly direct the focus of the exercise on your abs. The Ab Carver will give your abs a workout that is comparable to holding a plank, much like many other ab wheels.
Keeping your body perfectly straight is one of the best ways to build core muscles. The wider handles give you more support and this will help you stay balanced to work your hamstring muscles as well as stretch your rip and lat muscles.
The Winding mechanism in the Ab Carver will provide more resistance when you are going down into your ab roll. Some people have complained that it gains dirt in the wheels quickly and you should only use it on non-skid surfaces.
It is recommended that you rest your knees on a yoga mat or something soft that won’t slide. It is very affordable for a fitness machine, as are many ab wheels.
A recommended exercise for using this ab wheel is to do slow reps, count 5 seconds on the way down, hold the pose stretched out for 1 second, then go 5 seconds back up. This will definitely help you hold a plank longer and reach your fitness goals.
The Elite Sportz ab wheel has many of the similar benefits of use as the Perfect Ab Carver Pro.
Using ab wheels are sure to strengthen your core, increase your plank time, as well as inadvertently strengthening other muscles such as your hamstrings, ribs, and lats.
This wheel has a slightly different dual wield design to provide extra balance. This makes the Elite Sportz Ab Wheel a better ab wheel for beginners to get a little more stability in the beginning of their fitness journey.
Assembly of this machine is practically nonexistent, as it comes fully assembled right out of the box. Like many ab wheels, the Elite Sportz Ab Wheel is compact and lightweight for easy storage. It comes with comfortable ergonomic handgrips.
The Fitness Insanity Ab Wheel is a super wide wheel for incredible stability. It’s 3 inches wide and holds a whopping 600 pounds! We doubt you can even remotely approach this weight limit if you are in fact human!
It comes with a very much appreciated knee pad, workout guide, workout poster, resistance bands and push-up bars!
The wheel itself is made of stainless steel (not plastic – amazing!). Granted, that’s only part of the construction. It also is made of TPR (thermoplastic rubber) and PVC. It will last a lifetime of normal use (even daily) and won’t destroy your floors!
They offer a very satisfactory return policy as well!
This ab machine does not necessarily fall under the category of a “machine”, but having an ab mat can be an essential component of a successful and impressive home gym designed for shaping and toning that six pack.
The Power Guidance Abdominal Mat features a unique design from other ab mats.
It has abandoned the traditional concept of a flat, thin surface and instead offers a bulky, robust padding that is designed to be placed right under your lower back during ab exercises such as crunches, leg raises, hip thrusts, you think of it!
It has a unique curve design to mimic the orientation of the spine and eliminate the limitations of similar standard mats.
This is also a relatively new addition to the ab machine marketplace and ownership of this is sure to make you look like you take your fitness seriously!
The Abmat Silver Original Abdominal Trainer has been used and by many people trying to lose weight and get in shape. This mat is used by personal trainers who raved about it’s convenience and portability.
The Ab Trainer is small and can fit almost anywhere in your home gym. Many people have been enticed by these types of ab mats from Crossfit gyms and trends across the world.
These exercises are great for strengthening side oblique muscles and other abdominal areas. With as little as 5 minutes a day going hard on this mat, you can expect great results for your abs.
It may be recommended to put this mat on top of a traditional yoga mat. The difference between this and another ab mat models of this type seems to be the colorways and design. Both are priced at reasonably the same price.
The CAP Ab/Hyper Bench Pro is more along the lines of what you may have had in mind when you think of ” in-home ab machines”. Benches are one of the fundamental cinderblocks of in-home gyms.
When you own a bench you can perform so many exercises, it would be simply impossible to list them in this guide. However, this guide provides an emphasis on your abs and lower back.
It offers support and padding with pivoting foam rollers that hold your lower leg in place for hyperextension exercises, and it will hold your feet in place for crunches.
The hyperextension exercise to strengthen your lower back has been raved about among fitness communities and incorporating this exercise into your workout will not only strengthen your core, but help alleviate some of the dreaded back pain we all fear about growing older.
The Stamina Ab/Hyper Bench Pro has adjustable thigh support that is covered with durable stitched vinyl upholstery.
This bench is sure to hold up for a long time, granted you don’t leave it outside or let your dog have a turn on it.
Some of the negative aspects of this machine is that it can be somewhat pricey, especially compared to getting something like an ab wheel or a medicine ball, (which will be discussed in further detail later in the guide).
Some people also complain about the danger of the hyperextension support. Some users claim that the rod supporting the frame of the machine is not very stable.
It is recommended to further bolt that down and also put some weights on the base of the machine. Maybe wear a helmet if you are further paranoid of injury.
Oh, and one last thing; This ab bench is VERY ECONOMICAL when you compare it to a bench like THIS! … am I right??
Everybody who is a frequent gym-goer knows that the decline ab bench station is always crowded. Avoid the crowd and bring the coveted exercise to the comfort of your home with the Fitness Reality X-Class decline ab bench.
This bench comes with 1 flat and 3 decline bench adjustments along with 14 thigh support cushion adjustments. It can hold 650 lbs of weight (not sure where that weight will come from!) and you can be as tall as 6’4″.
It’s 36 inches long with 8-12 inch wide tapered bench with 2-1/2 inch thick medium-density foam. It’s got 24″ long stabilizing bars to make the bench exceptionally firm and stable.
The bench is covered with sweat-resistant double-stitched vinyl and it features wheels for easy moving along a hard floor. The foam/padding on the thigh pads is 2 inches thick for maximized comfort.
I could go on about all the exercises you can do on this bench, but just to name a few …
Flat and incline sit-up/abs crunches, lower back extensions, preacher curls, single dumbbell rows plus knee and leg raises just to get you started.
A unique ab machine that may confuse buyers trying to figure out its functionality. The intended use of the machine may not be instantly clear from viewing the machine, but it comes with great resources to help you figure out how to use it.
The Ab Doer Twist Abdominal Trainer comes with a workout DVD and 3 workouts, traditionally classified into beginner, intermediate, and advanced.
The package also includes a quick start guide.
The design of the machine is optimal for ab training because it combines muscle toning with aerobic training while using brand new Torsion-Flex technology that works muscles that are typically ignored or not focused on by other exercises.
The machine has anatomically correct positioning that will minimize the stress and pain induced by many common ab workouts and fitness machines.
This machine is especially great for beginners to fitness. Many of the positive reviews come from older people who are just looking for something that is comfortable and easy to get into and learn how to use.
The Ab Doer Twist Abdominal Trainer will give older people the support needed for moves. The roller on the back has also been raved about as it can work to alleviate and reduce back pain during exercise.
This machine has a fairly impressive weight capacity for it’s appearance of 300 pounds. It is one of the unique ab machines for targeting your obliques and getting a very unusual and unorthodox workout in.
This is another ab machine that looks like it came to life out of an infomercial. This abdominal trainer has a very unique roller system that is designed to deliver gentle massage while working out.
The Rocket features varying height adjustments which changes the intensity levels and extra included springs further allow you to add or subtract resistance levels. The workout plan is very simple, but you still have to put in the work!
It’s made to withstand over 100,000 repetitions and can handle a 330 lb user! This simple Rocket trainer allows you to sit-ups, push-ups, scissor kick, tricep extension, pectoral extensions, shoulder press, and bicep curls. Wow!
It has a folding storage feature that can make this machine ideal for small living spaces.
Some of the more positive reviews come from people who enjoy rocking on the machine and find that the massagers and unique design of the machine entices them to workout and motivate them for exercise.
However, the more intense exercise enthusiasts feel as if the Ab Rocket Abdominal Trainer was not worth the price they had paid for it.
All in all this machine is a great ab machine for those looking to just get into exercise and may need a sort of entertaining machine to stay committed to exercise.
The Perfect Fitness Situp Assistant comes with a unique design and comfortable head padding that will entice you to workout and be comfortable doing so.
This machine probably won’t offer a whole ton of resistance when you first start using it, so it can be a great ab machine for beginners looking to ease their way back into intense exercise.
The Situp Training Assistant has a sturdy, ergonomic design that works to tone and sculpt your core muscles with a very easy to use crunch tool.
Doing crunches can be hard, but with this machine assistance you will build up the core strength to graduate to hardcore crunches in no time.
The support around the head area will ease any undue stress on your neck, head, and upper body and it also allows for the addition of weights on the side handlebars to opt-in for additional resistance.
Customers love the support that the neck padding gives you, this helps avoid dreaded neck strain that can be very dangerous for people who are just getting into working out and are probably not in great shape yet.
Some people have complained that the machine is not very sturdy. Some have reported problems with their assembly and wish for clearer directions.
There are many assembly and workout tutorials that can be found using a simple google or youtube search. In Conclusion, this machine is very comfortable and great for people looking to get started with their ab training.
This machine also offers the option of adding weight, so it may make a better long-term exercise equipment investment than other models as it is very important to have an ab machine that can keep up with the pace at which you are making those coveted gains!
The Ab Trax is one of the most stylish and professional looking ab machine models available anywhere. Like the Ab Rocket and the Ab Doer Twist, it offers a unique exercise that you will not find in a classic gym setup.
The ProForm Ab Glider focuses on maximizing core training exercises by combining circular burn and arc crunch.
This is designed to help target the definition of your six-pack and build not only strength in your upper and lower abdominals, but the clear-cut obliques that will really bring your abdominal masterpiece to fruition.
The ProForm Ab Trax Core Trainer features an off the floor workout that is sturdy to avoid injuring neck or back.
It is equipped with a 180-degree rotation track ensuring smooth lateral motion and locking in place for vertical motion purposes. The Ab Trax offers varying levels of resistance so you can push harder each workout session.
We also love the fact that the Ab Trax is designed to fold into itself for compact storage. An exercise chart is included to get you started and you’ll be thrilled with the 1-year frame warranty and 3 month parts warranty.
Medicine Ball workouts can also be a great way to develop your abs at home, especially if you have an outside driveway that you can use to slam the medicine ball down on the ground to get a great range of motion and very explosive movement.
Medicine Balls have been used for ages by intense fitness enthusiasts and if you are ambitious about really pushing yourself to the limit in pursuit of those ab gains, a medicine ball may be a great tool for you.
These exercise balls can improve coordination and balance. They are also great for training for a ball sport.
Some examples of exercises that can be performed with medicine balls include lunges, slams, squats, torso twist/Russian twist, situps, chest pullover, pushup with hands on top of ball, knee lifts with ball between knees.
However, one of the cons of medicine ball use is that it can be annoying to increase the weight if it becomes too light as you will likely have to buy a new ball altogether.
With the advertisement of medicine balls in general completed, here are some models you should consider when buying a medicine ball for your ab machine purposes.
The Alpha Strong Wall soft medicine ball is our favorite medicine ball because of it’s “softness”. You’ll be less prone to injury or discomfort while using it, compared to a hard ball.
This ball is designed to handle dropping, smashing, bouncing, etc. without losing integrity. Alpha Strong insists this ball is center-balanced more than any other on the market so you’ll never experience an “off-balance” workout.
Balls range from 6 to 40 lbs and feature a very grippy rubber surface.
Alpha Strong also insists their customer service is excellent and they’ll “make it right” whatever your problem may be.
This Medicine Ball features a newly designed leather that boasts a durable construction and helps with maximum grip and control. Because of its thick leather cover, this ball will last a long time and stand up to extreme exercises.
The smooth cover has been reviewed very well, although some complain that it is slippery.
The core of the Champion Sports Leather Medicine Ball feels like sand and the texture of it makes it so that you are less likely to irritate your skin or jam your fingers.
The comfortable leather padding won’t kill you if you drop it on your foot. It is important to keep in mind when purchasing and using this medicine ball that it will not bounce because of its texture.
Conclusion and Recommendation
In Conclusion, there are many different ab machines to choose from to build an impressive home gym. Having an ab machine can transform your body and make abdominal exercise much more convenient than a traditional gym membership.
You always can add an ab machine to your gym workouts to supplement and increase the intensity of your commitment to fitness.
Many of these machines come with nutrition guides and DVD training guides as well to arm you with the knowledge you need to overcome plateaus and set new benchmarks of personal fitness.
When buying ab machines it is important to consider the functionality of the machine to see if it targets the same muscle that you are ambitious about developing.
It is also important to test the durability of the machine, not only for the purpose of longevity in material but in the growth potential of the resistance the machine provides.
If the machine can only last you two weeks and then you are too strong for continued use, it might not be smart to buy. Armed with this knowledge, you will be able to find the best ab machine for your goals and work your way towards better fitness, good luck!
What’s Our Parting Wisdom on Abs?
You’ve seen some reasonable options to start you on your journey to better health.
However, I’ve changed my gut (and the rest of my body) so much in the past 24 months, that I am sold on one of the very best machines out there for building muscle mass on my abdomen (which will help burn the fat, along with cardio exercise).
The machine I’m talking about is (well one is a machine, the other is just an exercise) – the IRONMAN Triathlon X Class Multi-Function Power Tower.
Of course, it’s more $$, but it also offers you a ton of workout options you don’t get with a small ab seat. It’s my own personal favorite. And one other thing; DO PLANKS! You don’t even need an ab machine.
I combine planks with the Ironman power tower and I’d have it no other way!