Regardless of whether you are just getting in to fitness or you have been going to the gym for 5 years and you are now missing out with all the gyms being closed, choosing the best home ab equipment can be a challenging task. I’ve already talked in a previous post about setting up your home gym that you can read here, so this post will focus more on the specific types of ab equipment to avoid and which to consider.
If It Sounds Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is.
Let’s get this out of the way before we get too deep in to this. If you read an article or a review on the best home ab machine that promises a 6 pack and you think to yourself “that sounds so easy”, don’t buy it! It’s a scam! Unless you are one of the very few that is naturally ripped then nothing about getting a toned midsection is easy, there is no miracle pill, no 5-minute workout and definitely no magic muscle stimulating belt that is going to make this effortless.
That being said, nothing worth doing is easy. I know we have all heard it a thousand times and it’s become a bit of a cliche now but it could never be any more true than when it comes to fitness. There is no better feeling than looking in the mirror a month in to your journey and being proud of the results you worked your butt off to achieve.
Budget Friendly Equipment
When it comes to picking the best home ab equipment on a budget there are two items that come to mind, the first is the ab roller. The Ab Roller is a simple piece of equipment consisting of two handles on either side of a small wheel that you use by kneeling on the floor with your hands on both handles of the roller and you roll away from yourself as far as you can reach. Then using your abs you pull the wheel back in toward yourself. When done properly this is one of the hardest core workouts you can do, it can be used at any experience level with a little bit of modification for beginners.
Second is the physio ball, or the stability ball, you can get one at almost any fitness store or Walmart in many different sizes. Not only can you use it to lay on while doing sit-ups but you can lay on the floor and holding the ball with your legs raise it up to work your lower abs. The physio ball is so versatile I recommend it for any home gym no matter what your budget is.
Best Bench Style Ab Equipment
Now your journey to pick the best home ab equipment may take you in to the ab bench section and this can get overwhelming very quickly. There are several different styles of benches and chairs all designed to workout your core in a number of different ways. Having used most if not all of these I will tell you which styles I prefer and which ones are over-priced.
I would recommend that anyone in the market for a bench look at an adjustable ab board or bench that has a place to hook your knees and lock in your feet and can be adjusted from flat through a number of different decline settings. These are great for working more than core and are avaliable to match most budgets.
Another great piece of ab equipment to consider is a roman chair or a glute/ham developer. Typically these are used to work your lower back and your posterior chain which are great foundations to a solid core but there are several ab specific exercises that can be done on one of these.
You may also see several different styles of bench that have a place to put weights or some that even have their own built-in weight stack. These machines will work your core but they are typically over priced and the same effect can be achieved with any of the benches I have already mentioned and the addition of a dumbbell or a weight plate or even a backpack full of heavy books if you don’t own any weights.
Sit Up Assist and Ab Machines
Sevreal of the low end machines you see in the infomercials aren’t doing much to help you build core muscles, they simply make it easier to do a sit-up. These are the rockers you see with a headrest and a big loop handle you grab on to, all these do is provide leverage from your arms to help you complete a sit-up. If your goal is a stronger more defined core than leave the arm workout for another time and skip buying one of these.
Next we have the ab coaster style of equipment that you kneel on and while gripping a set of handles pull your knees up to your chest. These types of machines are effective and can be used to target your abs as well as your obliques but they are only used for core training. If you are limited on space this same effect can be accomplished with a pull-up bar in a doorway or even laying flat on your back on the ground and raising your legs.
If space and budget allow a power tower or captains chair is a very useful piece of equipment that can not only be very effective for targeting core exercises but is useful for all sorts of body weight exercises.
Don’t Believe All the Hype and Put In the Work
Now that you know the truth about the gimmicks and what to look for based on your budget the only thing from holding you back is your determination. You can buy the best home ab equipment available but if you aren’t putting in the time and effort you won’t see results. Training like a professional athlete however, is not required. No matter what your skill or fitness level is you only need to be better tomorrow than you were today. If your eating habits are in check and every workout you do a little more, an extra sit-up, 2 more hanging leg raises, 30 seconds of additional cardio, you will see results.
The name of the game is consistency! Now get out there and find the better you!