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What is Abdominal Exercise Equipment?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2018
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The vast variety of abdominal exercise equipment can leave many confused about which is best. There has been a great deal of study on this matter, and it turns out, most people need little to any additional equipment to strengthen and tighten ab muscles. However, there are some things that are easy to purchase or available at many commercial gyms that can help enhance an abdominal workout.

At the gym, a few machines and pieces of equipment may be suitable for abs workout. Some, like ab crunch machines, tend to be fairly effective. From studies on this issue, probably one of the most valuable pieces of abdominal exercise equipment is the captain’s chair. This is not technically a machine, but is instead a chair with armrests, without a seat. When a person lifts up onto the armrests, feet do not touch the ground. Bringing the knees up to the stomach and back down for several repetitions provides an excellent abdominal exercise that is rated as one of the best.

Other useful equipment at gyms are things like slanted benches or flat benches upon which people can perform crunches. The slanted bench may be helpful because it means the person must work against gravity to bring the body to a seated position. However, with all crunch exercises, people need to be mindful of exhaling as they crunch up and pushing the stomach muscles in instead of out for the best workout practice.

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The numbers of abdominal exercise equipment offerings for home are varied, and consumers should treat these with a bit of skepticism. If things like electric ab belts that promise a workout without any work seem too good to be true, it’s because they usually are. Even without equipment, performing crunches at home, and moves like the bicycle are fairly effective and attractively cheap. In bicycle, the person lies on the floor, and brings one knee up and a time while meeting that with the opposite elbow.

People can buy ab benches for home or even captain’s chairs, but these are pricey. An alternative is purchasing a balance ball. Crunches and other exercises performed on these balls force people to keep their abs and the sides of their body (core muscles) stable in order to maintain balance. This many enhance workout. Another option is getting cardiovascular exercise via a rowing machine, which depends on working the abs and other muscles.

Though not technically abdominal exercise equipment, numerous people turn to exercise tapes, and for ab workouts some of the best of these emphasize core workouts. Pilates tapes with lots of matwork may be particularly good at working out the hips and abs, and they tend to help create leaner muscle. There are exercise tapes designed specifically for ab work, and these may be helpful if used in conjunction with cardiovascular exercise.

For most, getting tighter abs also means losing fat around the stomach, and most abdominal exercise equipment, except for rowing machines, will not create much fat loss. People should still plan to incorporate regular cardiovascular or aerobic exercise into a workout schedule. Raising heart rate helps burn fat, and doing crunches or other ab exercises will help tone muscle. These two things together can soon lead to a tighter and more attractive abdominal region.

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