Find The Best Ab Exercise Equipment

Before you shop for ab exercise equipment, consider this. In 2003, the American Council on exercise performed a study to determine the most effective abdominal exercises. It’s interesting to note that some of the top performers did not involve the use of ab exercise equipment.

Here’s how the different exercises ranked.

Best Ab Exercises for the Rectus Abdominus

1. Bicycle Maneuver
2. Captain’s Chair
3. Exercise Ball
4. Vertical Leg Crunch
5. Torso Track
6. Long-Arm Crunch
7. Reverse Crunch
8. Crunch with Heel Push
9. Ab Roller
10. Plank
11. Traditional Crunch
12. Exercise Tubing Pull
13. Ab Rocker

Best Ab Exercises for the Obliques

1. Captain’s Chair
2. Bicycle Maneuver
3. Reverse Crunch
4. Plank
5. Vertical Leg Crunch
6. Exercise Ball
7. Torso Track
8. Crunch with Heel Push
9. Long-Arm Crunch
10. Ab Roller
11. Traditional Crunch
12. Exercise Tubing Pull
13. Ab Rocker

Here’s another interesting observation about this study. Although the stability ball generated less oblique and rectus abdominal activity than some of the other exercises, it is generated less activity in the hip flexors. The researchers believe that this might actually make it the best piece of ab exercise equipment. Here’s why.

Our hip flexors are the ligaments that connect the thigh with the pelvis. Since many of spend all day sitting at a desk, they have a tendency to get tight. Then, when we try to perform exercises such as the bicycle maneuver, the crunch, the full crunch or a leg raise, they tend to take over the movement. Thus, the hip flexors get tighter, and the abdominal muscles remain under worked.

This is one of the problems with the Captain’s Chair, which received top billing for both oblique and rectus abdominal muscular activity. The Captain’s Chair is usually seen at the gym. It is performed from an upright position, with your forearms resting against two arm pads. Then, the legs are drawn towards the chest. While this exercise stimulates a high level of abdominal activity, it is limited by your upper body strength and hip flexor flexibility. Fortunately, you can mimic this exercise on a stability ball, which will require less upper body strength and less hip flexor flexibility. Here’s how:

Assume a push-up position with your feet propped up on the stability ball and your hands resting on the floor underneath your shoulders, supporting your body weight.
Inhale to prepare.
As you exhale, hollow out your abdominal area and bend your knees, pulling them toward your chest and rolling the ball closer to your hands.
Inhale; engage your pelvic floor as you extend your knees to roll the ball out to the starting position.

Perform eight to twelve repetitions. You can also vary this exercise to work the obliques. Instead of bringing your knees towards your chest, alternately bring your knees towards each shoulder. Since you are working from a prone position, your deeper core muscles will work harder to support your spine. As such, you are getting the combined benefits of the Captain’s Chair, the bicycle maneuver and the plank in one inexpensive and versatile piece of ab exercise equipment.

With the overwhelming popularity of the World Wide Web, many people are now using it as a means of researching home exercise equipment. Unfortunately, there are two types of information that can be found on the Internet; propaganda and well-researched studies. When shopping for ab exercise equipment, look for studies performed by the American Council on Exercise, the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the American College of Sports Medicine. Since these organizations are not involved in selling equipment, their research is more objective. is your one stop information resource for ab machine reviews. At we know that we all work hard for our money and want to make the best possible purchases, hopefully by visiting our site we can educating you on ab fitness equipment so you can make your purchasing decisions with more confidence.

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