The Best Ab Equipment for Home Work Outs
The number of ab machines and other abs training and strengthening equipment keeps growing year after year.
It actually boggles my mind!
Since most people have a limited amount of space and budget, all these new options are making the task of choosing one even harder.
But that is NOT the case once you know where to start, what to look for and what to stay away from.
Make sure you read my post about the 5 Ab Machines that Don't Work to AVOID the junk and to make sure you cross those money wasting duds off of your list.
Coming up you will see the 5 General Categories of ab equipment to look at.
Following that, I give you the basic reasons why you should consider buying and using that type of gear.
After that I share at least one product recommendation for a good quality item within that category.
In some cases I have more detailed product reviews to point you to in case you want to get into an expanded product review.
5 Best Ab Equipment Categories
- Pull Up Bars
- Ab Carver
- Specialized Ab Machines
- Adjustable Sit-Up Benches
- Stability Balls
Why Pull Up Bars are Awesome for Working Abs
So it stands to reason that you need to be able to hang!
The cheapest and easiest way to have a chin up bar is to get it mounted off your wall or in a doorway at home.
This exercise works all of the midsection muscles and even the lats in your back.
It will also increase the strength of your grip. Now, it may look easy enough to do based on what you see in the picture. But these are really tough to do CORRECTLY. Proper form and correct execution is critical.
You need to do these without swinging and using momentum by raising your knees up with a slow and controlled movement. If you’ve never tried these before, trust me when I say they are killer!
This exercise is far superior to doing floor crunches or sit-ups. In fact, I suggest you don’t bother with traditional crunches at all since they are the least effective and slowest way to develop your abs.
If you don’t want to mount a chin up bar in your home, you can instead get a Power Tower station (see the image) which can also be used to do other exercises, such as dips. The great thing about the tower is how it can help you maintain the correct form with the rubber grip handles and back support.
There is another way to simulate the leg raise move and I will get to that and explain further in the ab machine category.
Choose an Ab Carver to Work Your Core
Ab Wheels are NOT all the same animal!
There are just a few which are any good and I will explain why here.
A well designed and good quality ab wheel like the Ab Carver can do more than just build your abdominal muscle strength.
When you get on your knees and roll it out, it also does a good job of working your upper and lower abs.
It will also engage your back, shoulders, arms, chest and even your legs.
And since you are in a state of continuous resistance, you don’t need to do a ton of repetitions because these are highly challenging.
Plus it helps with stretching your muscles which actually helps relieve stiffness and pain.
So there are many benefits to using an ab wheel.
But buying one of the cheap ones will not allow you to be as effective and could also be dangerous.
The problem with a no-name, $10 ab wheel is the material and lack of design quality. They are made from lower cost, cheap plastics, they don’t roll as smoothly and are too narrow to be stable.
Those poor quality elememts mean a less effective workout for you, short life product and possible muscle injury caused by the instability of the narrow wheel or even breakage.
You are a million times better off by choosing a product designed with superior engineering and quality materials like the Ab Carver Pro. You can check out my full review for it to understand how it can benefit you here: Ab Carver Pro Review.
Another excellent ab wheel to consider looking at is the Lifeline Power Wheel which is as highly rated as the Ab Carver.
Use a Specialized Ab Machine
The best of the best in this category is the Ab Coaster and you can read my full review about it to get all the specifics as to why.
But in a nutshell, this machine simulates the same action and the hanging leg raises.
And this is where it becomes more a suitable machine for a certain group of people.
Hey, if having an Ab Coaster makes working out more appealing or fun enough to finally get you working your abs effectively – then it's well worth it.
However, it might just be too pricey for some and the space it requires is another consideration.
Bottom line, there is no one-size-fits-all solution in the exercise world.
There are many excellent ways to effectively workout your core, but out of those most effective options, choose the one that appeals to you most.
The more you like the 'stuff' you have to workout with, the more likely you will exercise.
After all, actually USING your amazing fitness gear is what will get you the results.
Adjustable Sit Up Benches for Abs
They are also referred to as a decline bench.
I have found the prices can range from $45 to over $200 dollars, but I won’t get into detail about why except to say that the quality and the number of adjustment options are the overall reasons why the prices range so much.
Now it's true that one of the least effective of all abs exercises are simple sit-ups and floor crunches.
But doing them while in the decline position leverages the resistance from gravity, making them much more effective.
You can also use the bench to do reverse crunches and an incline leg raises.
Doing them using your decline bench will be easier than doing the hanging leg raises – but still VERY effective.
Keep in mind that it will work your core a little bit differently than the hanging version. It would be ideal to mix up your ab workouts and do both types of leg raise on different days.
Stability Ball to Work the Abs in Unique Ways
In fact, several of the best ab exercises done with a stability ball. These include the:
- Ball Jackknives
- Ball Table Top
- Ball Reverse Crunch
- Ball Ab Rollout
- plus more
See all 9 of them explained and demonstrated on one of my other post by clicking here: Stability Ball Exercises for Abs
In fact, you can do some of the exercises you would do on the bench on the ball instead. But if you can manage to own the bench AND the ball, there’s a really great exercise you can do by using both at the same time.
Just make sure to buy a heavy duty ball with a very high anti-burst rating. Also, make sure that you buy the right size to fit with your height. You can use the following as a guideline:
Size 45cm Ball ( 5' tall or shorter)
Size 55 cm Ball (5' to 5' 6" tall)
Size 65 cm Ball (5'6" to 6' tall)
Size 75 cm Ball ( 6' to 6 5" tall)
Size 85cm Ball (6' 5" or taller)
You should now have a more focused idea of what products to use at to effectivley work out your abs.
At the very least, you have a great starting point.
There are just a few more options that I didn't mention because this list is what is best suited to work for the majority of people out there.
If you have very bad back problems, you might want to consider looking at an ab belt with EMS technology to strengthen your core. That would be my top recommendation in that specific case.
Also, if you have the space in your home and the budget to splurge on yourself, there's other specialized equipment too. If that sounds like you, check out my Abs Bench Review and also the Total Gym Review.
Otherwise, get shopping from the list of abdominal equipment here in the 5 categories and get working on that core!