Abdominal Exercise Machines

Abdominal Exercise Machines—Do They Really Work?

We’ve all seen them. You know, the late night TV commercials for abdominal exercise machines promising amazing washboard ads in just a few weeks. Whether it’s due to mid-drift fashions, or the swimsuit models we see on TV, the fact is that rock hard abs are the trend these days. This trend has created quite a market for abdominal exercise machines. The question is, do they really work? Studies and comparisons have been done on these machines to find out the truth about whether or not they are worth the time and money spent on them. In this article, I’m going to give you the results of the research in a nutshell, and save you the time and hassle of doing the research on your own.

THE TRUTH: The truth is that these machines really do work, but they don’t work as advertised. All of the commercials (at least the ones I’ve seen) promise results that just aren’t realistic unless you are already a thin person. What do I mean exactly? OK, have you heard the promises of being able to lose inches off your waist in 30-60 days? Or have you heard the bit about losing your spare tire? Well, the only way to really lose inches or get rid of the spare tire is by reducing the overall fat on your body. Targeting your abs will indeed make the muscles under the fat stronger and more defined, but it won’t lose the fat that is covering up the muscles (and therefore you won’t be able to necessarily see the results, and you definitely won’t look like the models on the commercials after only 30-60 days). The key is to do the ab exercises along with regular muscle conditioning (overall muscle conditioning, not just ab conditioning), aerobic exercise, and a change in diet. If you do these things, it will melt off the layers of fat and reveal the rock hard abs that you’ve been working at building up.

There is a possible advantage to using these types of machines over traditional sit-ups and crunches, and that is comfort and support to your neck and back. Some people (whether due to age, injury, or discomfort) need the extra support and comfort that some of these machines provide. Some experts argue that along with this extra comfort comes a less effective workout (e.g. using your arms to help lift the body rather than total reliance on the ab muscles). The flip side is that with exercises that are more comfortable, you would most likely do more reps, which would counteract the extra help from the machine and other areas of the body.

One thing to be aware of when looking at abdominal exercise machines is that, like with most things, you get what you pay for. For example, Nordic Track puts out an ab machine called “Ab Works” which is more expensive than most of its competitors. The comfort and quality you get with this machine, though, is worth its weight in gold. It is far superior to most (if not all) of the machines you see on late night infomercials. My suggestion would be to go to an exercise equipment store and actually try out the machines to see which one suits you the best, instead of just picking up the phone and ordering it off the TV.

As you can see, there are some benefits to owning an abdominal exercise machine. These machines do offer a decent workout, and can provide extra comfort and support. Just remember that they won’t melt the fat off of your abs and reveal a washboard stomach, unless you put in some extra work. I personally will stick to traditional sit-ups and crunches because they take less time and I don’t have to fill my home with another piece of equipment. With that said, these machines definitely have their place with certain niches in the market.