What are the Different Types of Ab Fitness Equipment?

Matthew F.

Ab fitness equipment is designed to work out the abdominal muscles in a person's midsection. Ab fitness equipment can be as simple as an exercise tool that helps one to do crunches, to complex machinery with weights attached. Each promises to work the muscles in the stomach and result in a flat belly. Different users may find they prefer using one type of ab fitness equipment over others, or that one type delivers better results.

An anatomical illustration showing many muscles in the upper body, including the ab muscles.
An anatomical illustration showing many muscles in the upper body, including the ab muscles.

A good example of simple ab fitness equipment is the Ab RollerĀ®. This piece of equipment is a single bar in a three dimensional "U" shape. The person's head sits at the back horizontal bar, where there is usually a pad, and his arms are supported on two vertical bars at the front of the "U." The bottom of the "U" rests on the floor.

The person lays back with the Ab RollerĀ® and does crunches on the floor, bringing their back up toward their legs, which should bent upward at the knee. After the person brings his upper body forward, he should flex his abdominal muscles. The point of the machine is to prevent the person from cheating on the crunch, and making the crunch motion more fluid.

A slightly more complicated piece of ab fitness equipment is the ab strap. Ab straps are pieces of material in the shape of a loop; the exerciser can put his arms through each loop to hang and support his body weight with the straps wrapped around the biceps. The ab strap usually comes with a metal clip attached to the strap so that it can be attached to a horizontal bar above the person's head, such as on a squat rack. Using ab straps, the person exercising brings his straightened legs up from the ground while flexing his abdominal muscles, so that his body forms a right angle at the end of the raise.

One of the most complicated pieces of ab fitness equipment is the seated ab machine. This tool is designed for people looking to seriously improve the strength of their abdominal muscles. Seated ab machines feature a seat to sit on and a support by the feet that the person may push his feet up against for support during the exercise. There is also a pad which is pressed up against the chest, and attached to the weight mechanism on the machine. The person then pushes down and tries to bring his chest toward his lap to achieve the abdominal exercise. The amount of weight used on the machines may be adjusted for comfort.

There are many other types of ab fitness equipment, and new types seem to be produced regularly. In addition, many types of fitness equipment can be used for more than one purpose; an exercise ball, for example, can be used to work the ab muscles as well as to increase the user's balance. Other exercises, like crunches and sit ups, require no equipment at all.

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