Which Abdominal Fitness Equipment
Is Essential For You?
With such a huge choice of abdominal fitness equipment, it's hard to separate the gimmicks from the gems.
You'll find the essentials here.
I think loads of the abdominal exercise equipment out there are gimmicks. Well maybe that's a harsh word.
What I mean is, equipment that promises you things it just can't deliver: 6-pack abs in a couple of weeks with little effort.
Ultimately, I'm guessing that's why you're here. To find equipment that'll help you get 6-pack abs. But there's more to it than just abdominal fitness equipment.
Find out about the 6-pack abs mystery here.
It's the best way to focus your time and effort on getting those 6-pack abs. There really is no need to over-complicate things.
On that page, you'll also find the best abdominal exercises that I recommend. Those dynamic exercises only require an exercise ball (stability/ab ball) and an ab wheel. Is that all the abdominal fitness equipment you really need?
Abdominal Fitness Equipment - Essentials
If you're just starting out, it's best to focus on whole body, fat burning exercises e.g. swimming. If you do include some specific abdominal exercises, choose the ones that don't require abdominal fitness equipment.
Exercises such as mountain climber twists, bicycle crunches and u-crunches. All you need for these is an
exercise fitness mat.
I experimented with many different types of abdominal fitness equipment and exercises. I've realised that dynamic abdominal exercises as circuit workouts, are the best way to go.
So for any abdominal fitness equipment to be "essential", it has to go hand-in-hand with dynamic exercises. When you notice some fat loss, it's time to purchase the essentials to progress.Exercise ball..
This is probably the best investment out there. You can do so many workouts with an exercise ball. Most of my abdominal exercises involve this. There are so many uses, other than just for an abdominal workout e.g. in pilates. True value for money.Live results from eBay:Ab wheel..
Many people might consider this non-essential, simply because it's limited to 1 or 2 exercises. But for me it's essential. Good quality double ab wheels are the best, at very cheap prices too. They're easy to assemble and store, meaning you can take them anywhere. Essential because you get a full body workout in 1 move, main focus on your abs of course.Live results from eBay:
So to answer the question "is that all the abdominal fitness equipment you really need?" Yes. Those 3 items (including the exercise mat) are really all you need.
There are loads of exercises you can do. Vary them in each circuit and keep going. You'll enjoy strengthening your core and seeing those abs tone up.
Abdominal Fitness Equipment - Non-Essentials
It's only fair to include some of the non-essential abdominal fitness equipment. I'll briefly describe each product and give it a verdict (excellent buy, good buy, poor buy or terrible buy).
This is based on value for money and my experience with the product (as of product range available in April 2008).Ab trainers
Pros: Supports your neck during sit-ups. New styles also have back supports (but comfort depends on your body size).
Cons: You can only do sit-ups with them (there are more enjoyable and better exercises). Difficult to store. They're way over-priced. Cheap ones are poor quality, good quality ones are far too expensive.
Verdict: Terrible buy.Ab lounge
Pros: Provides more support for your neck and back. Generally quite well priced (considering the amount of material used).
Cons: Because it provides so much support, your abs aren't worked as hard, so it takes longer to see results (if any). You'll need a large storage space even when folded.
Verdict: Poor buy.Balance trainers
Pros: These are so good they almost made it into the essentials. Great for strengthening your core, but also for when you're returning from injury. The cheaper ones are great value for money. The more expensive "Bosu" models are also great. If the "home" version is in your price range, it's definitely worth a try.
Cons: A choice between these or exercise balls? I'd go for exercise balls, they're better value for money.
Verdict: Excellent buy.Ab machines
Pros: Good for going the step further and adding muscle bulk (rather than just tone). Good as part of a customised home gym. Provides stability that you don't have with free-weights.
Cons: I'm not a huge fan of ab machines. Their cost doesn't reflect their use. Even for combined ab and back machines, I think back exercises with free-weights are better value.
Verdict: Ab machines - Poor buy. Ab and back machines - Good buy.
Pros: These are great for adding resistance to any workout. A great buy to progress your core exercises and keep enjoying them. Materials, weights, sizes and prices vary. But you can find great quality at good prices.
Verdict: Excellent buy.Ab and back (hyper extension) boards
Pros: These are better than just ab boards. You get better value for money being able to exercise your abs and back. Get even more value by using it as a bench for your free-weight exercises. Great as part of your customised home gym.
Cons: Some models can be flashy and over-priced. Go for sturdy and quality models at reasonable prices.
Verdict: Good buy.Captain's chair
Pros: This is great if you have the money to spare. They usually come with extra bars so you can do push-ups, chin-ups and dips, as well as the leg and knee raises. Good as part of your home gym.
Cons: I think it's a lot of money to pay for things you can easily do for free. Knee lifts can be improvised using home furniture. A simple chin-up bar is all you need for the other exercises.
Verdict: Terrible buy.Rowing machine
This isn't strictly abdominal fitness equipment, as its main focus isn't just on your abs. But I had to include it here because rowing gives your whole core such a great workout.
There'll be more extensive advice on rowing machines in the home gym section of this website. The price and quality of rowing machines has improved so much, they're now great value for money.
Verdict: Excellent buy.
Abdominal Fitness Equipment - Buying Tips
I don't recommend spending loads of money on abdominal exercise equipment, it's just not necessary. But after all it's your choice, depending on what you specifically want.
Here are some quick buying tips to help you spend wisely:Don't be talked into buying anything just because someone famous uses it. They get paid handsome sums of money, many endorsements are not based on the truth.Check the user reviews and compare prices between brands. If one is more expensive, find out why it is. (Popular brand name? Better quality? Innovative feature? New model?)Always check the warranty on expensive items. They should have a 1-year warranty at least. Check the guarantee on all items.Have a look in your local retailers to compare offline prices with online. Is the item cheaper without shipping/delivery costs?Measure your room space before buying large items. Don't forget headroom for tall items!Final Word
You now know the essential abdominal fitness equipment. Some of the non-essential equipment is also good value. But it's still down to you to use them.
Keep your abdominal fitness equipment somewhere you can see it everyday. Get into a routine of doing 15 minute circuits whenever you see the equipment.
Have fun buying quality abdominal fitness equipment.
Enjoy using it on your journey to great 6-pack abs and a strong core.
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