We tend to speak about ab exercises from a strictly aesthetic point of view. Sure, who wouldn’t prefer having a shredded six-pack? But there is more to it than that. Strengthening your core, which includes the abdominal muscles, is one of the first steps you can take towards a healthier physique. A six-pack only comes as a nice cherry on top.
What are the best ways for you to improve your core strength and tone those abdominal muscles? There’s no simple answer to it. Your physical condition, as you know, depends on many factors. Diet, exercise, genetic preconditions – these are just some of them. So, in our pursuit of fitness and core strength, which also implies stronger and toned abs, there is certainly more than one way to achieve the goal.
And, sure, you could also work on your abs with regular exercises: roll-ups, planks, crunches and the likes. Doing so, you could accomplish considerable results. But, if you use devices that will help you focus on a specific muscle group, you are far more likely to be successful.
That is where our list comes in. Namely, we have come to the conclusion that today’s market is oversaturated with various workout units. That means that, unfortunately, with every good piece of equipment comes at least a few that are just there to grab a quick buck by companies that could care less about the consumer’s results. That is why we have gone through the whole bunch and made our selection of the best ab machines for 2018. As you will see, we have included items from very different categories. Benches, chairs, wheels – you name it. The main criteria we used were their quality and effectiveness.
Table of Contents
|XMark Adjustable Ab Bench|
|Ab Coaster Max|
|Perfect Fitness Ab Carver Pro|
|Cap Barbell Ab Trainer|
|Powerline Roman Chair and Back Hyperextension|
|Body Champ Multi Function Power Tower|
|GoPlus Ab Power Abdominal Trainer|
|Rodeo Core Fitness Trainer|
|Ab Circle Pro Home Fitness Machine|
|Stamina Pro Ab and Hyperextension Bench|
We’ll start simple – sort of. In terms of home exercise equipment, a bench is usually where you should start – especially if you are a beginner. However, as any professional will tell you, the results you can squeeze out of a “simple” bench are practically limitless.
We’ve tried out more than a few models before opting for this one for various reasons.
Its structural characteristics were among the most important. Namely, when shopping for a bench, one of the key features that you should look for is stability. This model weighs 40 lbs, with dimensions of 61″ (L) x 20″ (W) x 47″ (H). Impressively, its weight capacity is up to 400 lbs. That comes courtesy of its sturdy, 14-gauge, 2 x 3″ steel construction, with the scratch-resistant powder coat finish. We cannot overstress the clever, ergonomic and comfortable design of this unit. For a device as simple as this, it provides great versatility and results.
Since our main target is the transformation of abdominal muscles, we’ve selected a decline ab bench. As its name suggests, it offers 12 vertical height adjustments. You can change these easily, with a simple pop pin locking system. Such a design makes it the perfect tool for a variety of exercises. All types of sit-ups, crunches, leg raises, oblique twists, decline presses – and more. The 12 positions enable you to focus on your abdominal area from numerous angles and truly attack the task at hand.
In terms of everyday use, even if you’re a novice in this area, you surely know the importance of comfort and ergonomic design. The last thing you would want is to hurt your back while working on your abs. That is why we have carefully considered the comfort/support aspect.
The back pad is 2.5″ thick, high-density and double stitched vinyl. We have found it to be just the right thickness for an ab bench. The four leg rollers are well-positioned to reduce any unwanted stress to your back region. In addition, this unit comes with a support handle which will make it easier to mount even when using the steepest of angles in your workout routine.
Last but not least, judging by our experience, you will have no problem whatsoever in assembling this bench.
Key Points at a Glance:
After breaking the ice with some old-school equipment, let’s move on to some exciting new developments in the fitness world. The concept behind this unit is somewhat of a reversal of what we’ve come to expect. Still, it delivers the results to back it.
Namely, this machine introduces the so-called bottom-up motion. When you kneel on it, you pull the weight of your body upward by means of the grips and your abdominal muscles. Sounds easy, right? Well, it is. But trust us, after a few minutes on the machine, your abs will be on fire, in a good way. Naturally, due to this motion of your body, your shoulders and arms will carry a part of the load and thus gain strength and mass. But at the same time, it will go easy on your back – the rest of your body will not have to suffer for getting stronger abs.
By targeting your muscles this way, you will be able to activate all desired muscle groups – upper, middle and lower abs as well as obliques.
The machine features a robust steel frame which supports up to 300 lbs. It has the so-called “free-style seat.” It means that its shape allows you to easily switch positions and twist both your body as well as the seat itself. That way, you focus on a different muscle group. For example, if you kneel in a way that your backside is all the way down, you will target your upper abs.
An additional cool feature is the fact that you can load weights on this unit. Namely, underneath the seat, you’ll find weight plate posts which can carry up to 20 lbs. These will surely come in handy once you move on to advanced exercise levels.
As for the ease of use, the grip handles are comfortable and suitable for long workout sessions and repetitions. Speaking of those, this unit comes with a digital workout counter. It’s a neat feature that you can use to set your daily repetition goals.
Extra features come in the shape of a DVD with workout routines for this unit as well as a fast track meal plan by the manufacturer.
Key Points at a Glance:
Ab roller wheels have been increasingly popular in the sporting equipment market for some time now, and deservedly so. However, there sure seems to be plenty of different models out there. So much so that it is hard to distinguish between them.
We have selected this model for several reasons – its design, weight capacity (300 lbs), structural properties and, primarily, the punishing workout it provides for the core muscles. With that in mind, let us underline this right away: this is probably not a good choice for beginners. However, once you get to a more advanced fitness level, this machine will propel your core strength and your abs in particular.
So, what exactly distinguishes this model from other ab wheels? Mainly, its ultra-wide roller which gives you more stability. You can carve in all directions, thus covering all abdominal muscle groups, with much more balance.
Secondly, the kinetic engine in this unit, with its carbon steel spring, generates more resistance than the other models. That way, you get a more comprehensive workout for your abs and arms as well as your chest. The rubber hand grips are ergonomic and provide sufficient comfort. At the same time, they are angled in a way to keep your body in a position that will focus on your abs. You can also remove the handles when transporting the unit.
This roller comes with a foam knee pad which will provide additional comfort, especially for the users with fragile knees.
Finally, a purchase of this machine comes with a free 21-day workout plan.
Key Points at a Glance:
In comparison with some of the other machines on our list, this is a rather straightforward unit. We do aim to present you with a number of options, and perhaps simplicity is the right path for you.
This trainer features a compact design. It weighs around 6.5 lbs, and its dimensions are 25″ (W) x 28.5″ (H) x 27″ (D). The steel construction is durable and reliable, yet with an ergonomic feel so important for a daily exercise routine. As we’ve all experienced at some point, crunches sometimes come with annoying neck and back strains. The comfortable headrest on this model provides the very support that prevents such problems. That way, you can focus your energy on strengthening your abdominal muscles.
In conclusion, if a simple design is what you’re after at this point, and crunches are the main exercise you wish to pursue, we suggest you give this model a try.
Key Points at a Glance:
With regards to building a strong core, a roman chair has long been a standard in the fitness world. In terms of versatility, we would be hard-pressed to name another tool that can help you focus on so many different muscle groups.
There are experts who don’t believe the roman chair to be a good solution for the ab workout. They claim that the machine, by design, does not allow you to concentrate on abs as much as you would like to. That may be true to a certain extent. However, as our list is all about versatility and different options, we decided to include our pick of a quality roman chair as well.
Who is the main target group we have in mind for this product? The answer is simple: fitness enthusiasts who seek to work their abs as part of an overall regimen to increase core strength. That way, and with the other options it offers in terms of back, chest, arms and glutes training, the roman chair can be an excellent overall solution. You could even combine it with some of the other tools that center on abs alone for more comprehensive core results.
So, why did we select this model out of the bunch? The thing is, a good roman chair relies on its stability. If there’s even the slightest wobbling, you can forget about it fulfilling its purpose. This model weighs 42 lbs and has a 250 lbs weight capacity. Its dimensions: 36″ (H) x 46″ (L) x 25″ (W). Also, it rests upon a stable 2″ x 3″ heavy-gauge steel construction with a powder coat finish for extra durability. The wide base further prevents any instability whatsoever.
These are indeed the features you look for in this type of product. After all, the steel frame comes with a 10-year warranty.
At the same time, it is very easy to assemble, and also very mobile and compact in comparison with other models.
You can perform various types of exercises, confident that the chair will support and carry your body weight without problems: ab crunches, side crunches, hanging crunches, back extensions, etc.
Key Points at a Glance:
This is another machine that does much more than just help build abdominal muscles. Having said that, it does a truly great job in the ab department. But if it’s multi-functionality you are looking for, be sure to give it a try.
Generally speaking, a power tower is a machine for exercises that use your body weight. In a lot of ways, it means going back to basics. This particular model is also known as a four-station fitness tool. What do the four stations entail? Specific features of the machine allow you to use them in order to focus on a specific muscle group. For instance, the vertical leg and knee raise station serves the purpose of working your obliques and abs.
Other stations are no less effective, and together they create an all-around machine that’s effective for dips, chin-ups, pull-ups, and push-ups – basically any type of exercise in which you carry your own body weight.
Apart from the knee raise, the design features that achieve such versatility include push-up bars for arms and chest, dip station for general upper body workout and a pull-up bar for back, arms and shoulders.
For a machine like this, the key feature to look for is stability. It weighs 88 lbs. Its dimensions are 58.5″ (L) x 46.5″ (W) x 83″ (H) and it features a high-quality, reliable steel frame. In addition, a D-frame base and two stability bars further support its construction.
Furthermore, with the thick and durable seam-stitched cushioning, you will be getting an overall quality product built to last.
Finally, the bottom of the construction has protective features that will make sure your home’s floors remain intact despite having a gym-style piece of hardware around.
Key Points at a Glance:
Our previous item was ‘old-school,’ in terms of the exercises it supports and the general setup. Keeping things fresh, we will follow that with another modern machine. This one will specifically deal with your abs, as its name shows, too.
We’ll start off with the technical aspects and the general quality of structure since we were quite impressed with both. The machine has a rugged steel frame, with dimensions of 51″ x 21″ x 26″. The maximum weight capacity is 250 lbs.
The typical abdominal workout that this model enables begins with placing your knees between the knee rollers. Then, by using the handles, you pull your body weight up and down along the machine. This motion will especially engage your lower abs, which is something that does not always happen with regular crunches. When exercising, you can choose one of the four resistance levels, and in time progress towards the more difficult ones. Apart from working your abs, this type of exercise will also engage your glutes, arms, and chest.
The modern concept behind this machine is best illustrated by the addition of an LCD, a training computer of sorts. It serves to deliver you necessary information during your workout. The time you spend on the machine, calories you burn and repetitions per minute – all clearly visible at any time.
In addition, we have found this unit to be very user-friendly with regard to the initial setup. The instructions were clear and precise, and it took us just a few minutes to assemble it. Also, when you are not using it, you can easily fold the machine so that it doesn’t take up much space.
The manufacturer claims that all you need to do is spend 5 minutes a day with this machine. In our experience, that might be a bit too optimistic. However, marketing claims aside, we found this to be a product definitely worthy of your time and attention.
Key Points at a Glance:
This is another interesting machine from a manufacturer trying to shake things up a little bit. Essentially, it is a trainer that helps you strengthen and tone your core muscles, by simulating the motion of horseback riding.
The unit itself is rather lightweight – 32 lbs, and it can support up to 250 lbs. It works off of your own power – no batteries are necessary. The exercise motion works in a rather straightforward way. You sit on the saddle and put your feet on the machine’s pedal. As you lean and place your body weight back and forth, the motion helps activate your abs, glutes, back and thigh muscles. In the process, you will also be getting quite the cardio workout which is a welcome bonus on top of your core exercises.
As for comfort and ease of use, the trainer enables three height adjustments for different body sizes and types. Also, it includes a cushioned seat as well as an ergonomic handle.
As with other products using new approaches, this trainer’s manufacturer also claims that 5-10 minutes per day with this product will make all the difference. While we take this with a grain of salt, we do acknowledge the product’s interesting new concept and advise you to check it out.
Key Points at a Glance:
Some people see this machine as an attempt to get strong abs without the necessary work invested. However, you can look at it differently. Namely, there are many people who have trouble doing many crunches, sit-ups or similar types of exercises. That is mainly due to back or knee issues or other injuries or conditions. In those cases, using this unit might be a good solution to avoid the strain.
The circular, 360-degree approach helps you focus on your lower, middle and upper abdominal muscles as well as your obliques. During the workout, you can select one of three resistance levels on the machine, depending on your fitness level.
The machine itself features quality steel construction, weighing around 31 lbs, with a 275 lbs capacity. The dimensions are 28.2″ x 8″ x 26.5″. You can also fold it which is highly convenient for storage and transportation.
Lastly, if you decide that this is the right piece of equipment for you, there are free perks that accompany the purchase. Along with the machine, you’ll get a 10-day nutrition guide as well as a workout DVD.
Key Points at a Glance:
This is another machine mainly dedicated to helping you transform your abs. Concretely, it targets your lower, middle and upper abs as well as your core and obliques. It is designed in the form of a padded chair, with a very light, 12 lbs construction. The unit offers three resistance levels, and you use it by moving your body or twisting and turning while in the seat. During the exercises, your head and neck receive ample support from the padded seat. As with the previous model, concerns were voiced with regard to the effectiveness of this machine. However, we decided to add them to our list as another option for fitness enthusiasts with limited possibilities when it comes to straining their neck, shoulder or head.
Nearing the end of our list, we decided to include another bench for your consideration. Since this is a basic piece of equipment, one that belongs in every home gym, it is only right to present you with at least two options.
This model will assist you in a wide range of exercise routines. Both your abdominal muscle workout as well as your core strength and back will benefit. Split squats, bent-over rows, dips, sit-ups, and pushups – these are just some of the routines that you can do with it. As for specific abdominal exercises, this bench offers four positions for crunches, which range from a flat position to a 30-degree decline.
You can adjust and switch between different angles easily, with a quick pull of the pin.
The unit comes with a high-quality 2-inch steel frame, which is a type of construction perfectly adequate to support this type of workout. It weighs around 42 lbs and the dimensions are 36″ x 17″ x 7″.
The design of the bench highlights several features that are very user-friendly. Most importantly, it has excellent padding in the form of stitched vinyl. That way, it provides comfort and durability. The thigh support will suit users of different heights and sizes as it also features durable vinyl. Hand grips are extended and provide just the right support. Also, the bench features the customary foam rollers that will keep your legs and feet firmly in place during various routines. Finally, neat touches such as the non-slip footrests and the non-slip rubber caps further underline a detail-oriented product.
Last but not least, you can fold this bench in no time. That way, it uses up very little space as you can store it underneath a bed or behind a closet whenever you’re not using it.
We have come to the end of our list of best ab machines for 2018. As you have seen, they come in various shapes and sizes. These include ab wheels, benches, roman chairs, and products that focus on very specific routines and muscle groups. With some of them, you can work primarily on your abs, but also engage other muscle groups such as your arms, chest or back.
There is also a distinction with regard to one’s level of fitness. Some machines are just as adequate for a beginner and a seasoned pro, while others are not. Apart from quality and effectiveness, our main two measuring sticks, we have taken other criteria into account, too. Thinking from the consumer’s point of view, we considered the machines’ size, transportability, durability and basically any factor we thought might play a role in your selection.
As for the prices, we’ve tried to keep things on the affordable side. But we encourage you to double-check with your local reseller and find the best deal available.
Also, bear in mind that we decided to stick with ab machines. For that reason, we have omitted products such as exercise balls, for example. Mind you, these have also proven to be an effective core training tool – very useful for ab crunches. Still, they can hardly qualify as machines, and thus we didn’t consider them.
Finally, whatever your ultimate choice may be, make no mistake – these are machines, but they will not work instead of you. But, if you’re willing to put in some time, effort and sweat, they will help you get to a body type you aim for.
We hope that our list has provided you with a good starting point for choosing the right ab machine for you.
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Liam is a 23-year old student. He has dedicated his time to compile these product reviews and product guides on DB Strength to help consumers determine their best purchasing options. Avidly involved with fitness, Liam spends much of his time working out and testing top health products to provide expert opinions available on this website.