Home Workout Equipment: The Best Abdominal Exercise Machines

Read on for help with choosing the best abdominal machine for your home workout.

For the last decade it seems America has been obsessed with one area of fitness over all. The sexiest, most obsessive desire is to have those washboard abs of myth and legend.

Since the release of the Ab Roller, the granddaddy of the modern abdomen machines about a decade ago, ab machines have saturated the exercise market and have eaten up air time on the informational channels.

The prices on these machines range from around $40 up to $300. They vary in size from simple, foldable versions that fit under your bed to models that are nearly as large as home gyms.

Before rating the current crop of ab machines, let's take a look at what the machines are trying to tone. The abdominal region is basically comprised of three regions of muscles. The first muscle is the Rectus Abdomininis. This is the most visible of the three muscles. When one succeeds in developing the much coveted "˜six-pack' abs, it is the Rectus Abdomininis that has been worked. The second muscle is the Internal Obliques. Internal Obliques are located to either side of the torso. The third main muscle is the Intercostals, which run from the upper pectoral muscles to the lower latissimus dorsi.

The first thing to note about ab machines is that as a general rule, doing free exercises without the benefit of a machine seems just as effective or more effective than buying bulky, sometimes expensive equipment.Leg raises, reverse crunches, and cross-knee crunches are all just as or more effective than the benefits gained by using an ab machines. However if one is to choose between models of ab machines, there are some things to recommend with certain models while other models appear to be devoid of any real selling point.

The Ab Rocker is the lowest rated machine. This is a lower-end machine that mirrors the design and method of the original Ab Roller. In study after study, this machine has proved less effective at isolating and toning the ab muscles than doing plain crunches. The bolts on the machine also tend to need tightening after only a few uses. One huge problem that the Ab Rocker has is a lack of full back support. Other ab machines, such as Ab Toner and the Ab Blaster Plus, fall into the same category in both performance and general price range. These models cost anywhere from $40 to $70.

Not much better than the Ab Rocker but much more expensive is the Torso Track. The machine is used differently than the traditional rocking motion of other machines. The Torso Track is used from your knees with your stomach placed downwards. This exercise machine has tested slightly better than a traditional crunch. With versions of the Torso Track running up to $499.99 that might not be such a good deal.

The Torso Track has an improved rating than the Ab Works. This machine has variable resistance and full back support. It uses the familiar crunch-like rolling method of ab exercise. This machine runs about $149.

The best rated machine of the group is the Weider Ab Shaper. This is priced competitively and is constructed well. Weider is one of the best known names in fitness, and perhaps this is an example of protecting oneself by going with a good company. This machine retails at only $49.99.

When shopping for an ab machine it is important to keep in mind that some machine-free methods are just as effective and obviously cheaper. Abdomen exercises, whether done the old fashioned way or with the aid of machines, is only one small component in the battle for good health and a firm stomach.

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