Best Ab Machines
In this day and age, it is never a bad idea to strive to improve your health. Some of you will be looking to enhance your physique while others will simply want to get rid of some of that body fat. No matter your reasoning, investing in an ab machine can really provide an excellent workout. But, there are different styles out there and not all of them will work the same areas. For instance, some will focus on the upper and lower abs and some will put an emphasis on the obliques. Of course, the best machines are the ones that offer versatility in several different areas. Speaking of the best, let’s take a look at some of them, shall we?
In a Hurry? The test winner after 2.5 hrs of research
Features a support handle
Designed with comfort in mind
Offers over 10 different heights
- XMark Fitness
- Fitness Reality X-Class
- Body Champ VKR1010
- Perfect Fitness Ab Carver
- Ab Circle Pro
- Cap Barbell
- Tristar Products Inc
- Powerline Roman Chair
- RitFit Evolution
- Core Max Star Uno
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
OUR TOP PICKS FOR THE BEST AB MACHINES
1. XMark Fitness
Features a support handle
Designed with comfort in mind
Offers over 10 different heights
Assembly can be a little tricky
The best model on this list is actually a sit-up bench and it is very versatile thanks to its multiple height adjustments. Of course, this is also built like a tank and will last for years to come.Read more
As mentioned, this is a sit-up bench and it is designed to allow users to target their abs from a variety of angles. Also, it comes equipped with 12 vertical height adjustments.
XMark Fitness is all about quality and it shows here. Their model is built with an all-steel frame (11-gauge) and sports powder coating. Also, the upholstery is double-stitched and made of vinyl.
Although it is simple, an integrated support handle allows you to easily mount and dismount on this machine.
Everything is in order when it comes to the comfort of this model. It sports contoured roller pads, optimally placed leg rollers, and three-inch-thick cushions.
Let’s just say that this is a beast right here. At 65 inches by 26 inches by 6 inches, it is going to take up a lot of room.
If you truly want the best then you need to look no further. Though the price is steep, the quality and the design are more than warranted.
2. Fitness Reality X-Class
Has a massive weight capacity
It is ideal for short and tall users
The upholstery is sweat-resistant
Some users have received theirs damaged
The X-Class is actually another sit-up bench but this one allows for multiple types of workouts. Much like the top model, though, it is also built to last and can accommodate users up to 650 pounds.Read more
With its 14 different height adjustments, this sit-up bench is designed to be versatile. In fact, it may just be the most versatile model on this entire list.
This bad boy can handle up to 650 pounds of weight, as mentioned, and this is thanks to its steel frame. Also, the double-stitched vinyl upholstery is moisture-resistant.
Both the push-up and dip handlebars are slip-resistant to provide a nice stable base for you to support your body.
The foam that is integrated on the X-Class is 2.5 inches in thickness. Also, as mentioned, it is sweat-resistant which enhances the breathability.
Yep, this is another large machine. However, to help the maneuverability, it comes equipped with transportation wheels for your convenience.
Once again, you are going to pay for this ab machine. However, it just goes to show how great sit-up benches can really be. Without question, this is highly recommended.
3. Body Champ VKR1010
The cushions are thick and heavy-duty
Ideal for beginners and experts
Comes with protective feet
A little bit more stabilization would be nice
Body Max presents another workout machine on this list. But, the VKR1010 is really nice and is dubbed the 4-Station for its high versatility.Read more
The Body Champ VKR1010, as mentioned, is another exercise machine but it comes with four different “stations”. All of which can target specific muscle groups.
Although this is made of heavy-duty steel, enhanced stability would have been nice as it can wobble if you try. In addition, the cushions are seam-stitched to enhance longevity.
Of the four stations, you have a vertical knee raise station for your legs, pull-up bars to build on your shoulder area, a dip station to develop your triceps, and also push-up bars.
Each of the cushions that are included is heavy-duty and box-styled. Additionally, the handles have grips on them to prevent any slipping.
There is no way to sugarcoat this, you will need room for this. It measures 83 inches in height and 58.5 inches in length. It is a beast and will need a dedicated location.
Versatility is the name of the game here. However, this is going to be overly complex and too large for some buyer’s needs. And, that is okay.
4. Perfect Fitness Ab Carver
The ultra-wide wheel offers stability
A downloadable 21-day workout plan is available
Includes a high-density foam kneepad
The spring mechanism has not worked for some
Not properly designed to align with your shoulder width
Unlike the previous options, this right here is a little different. This “machine” is actually an ab roller and it is powered by its kinetic engine. With this, it is able to produce exceptional core workouts.Read more
As mentioned, this is powered via a kinetic engine and it uses a carbon steel spring to provide resistance and this delivers the workout. Also, the wheel has been made extra wide to offer stability when you are carving in different directions.
The interior is comprised of the aforementioned steel spring and it is very durable. As for the core, not too many buyers have experienced durability concerns.
The spring mechanism is not foolproof and some users have noted it can lock on them from time to time. Most of the time, however, it seems to work efficiently.
While the alignment with your shoulder width could be improved, the ergonomic hand grips have been raved about. Also, this comes with a high-density foam kneepad.
This is a handheld device and measures nine inches by eight inches by nine inches. It weighs less than six pounds and the handles can even be removed when you store it.
When the internal spring mechanism is functioning correctly, this design is both functional and practical. It may lock up on your from time to time, though.
5. Ab Circle Pro
Includes a workout DVD
Offers three different resistance levels
Will fold up for storage
Superior knee padding would have been nice
The knee pads should be more secure
To say this is unique is a bit of an understatement. What is really nice about it, though, is that it works your lower and upper abs, as well as your obliques.Read more
This almost looks like a mini trampoline or even a part of a drum set. But, it is actually an ab machine that works out your lower and upper abs (and also can provide your obliques nearly a 360-degree turn).
Ab Circle constructed their model out of gym-quality steel and this allows the base to have a capacity of 275 pounds. In other words, this is not for 300 pounders.
To vary up the exercise, there are actually three different resistance levels that you can select from. Plus, this can also enhance the challenge factor.
Without question, this is the area that has been criticized the most. Buyers have felt the padding for the knees was insufficient and others have noted the padding itself is not very secure.
When not in use, this is actually able to fold down completely. Thus, you can store it under your bed or even vertically in your closet.
With some superior padding, this could have been even better. The concept is brilliant and it really provides an excellent work out for your abdominal region, however.
6. Cap Barbell
Includes a limited 30-day warranty
Very compact design
Works your core muscles
A little on the flimsy side
Shorter users may find this uncomfortable
Some ab machines can really put a hurting on your wallet. However, this ab trainer does not and it utilizes a simple concept to produce optimal results.Read more
Being a crunch tool and nothing else, this is simple yet effective. It is not very versatile but it certainly succeeds in its designed purpose.
Do note that the tubing is made of steel. But, the tubing itself is not incredibly sturdy, making this unsuitable for larger folks. If you feel a significant bend, you are probably too heavy for this.
Truth be told, this is all but devoid of any features. It is a simple concept through and through.
Thanks to the ergonomic design, this is going to help eliminate back and neck pain that is associated with crunches. However, it is not optimized for short people as the hand grips can be difficult to reach.
Though this can’t be folded down, it is quite compact and only weighs five pounds. Due to the shape, however, it can be a bit odd to store it.
Is this design perfect? No, but for the right demographic, this is going to get the job done with flying colors. Ironically, that demographic is people who are not too short or too heavy.
7. Tristar Products Inc
Ideal for just about everyone
Your entire core is targeted
The seat provides ample padding
The included counter is not efficient
Not optimized for heavier users
At first glance, you could mistake this for an elliptical machine. Admittedly, this is a bit less advanced. Yet, still, it uses a unique design to target your entire core.Read more
The secret to the success of this design is the smooth bottom-up motion. Basically, because of this natural arc, it creates a constant core contraction to engage your entire core.
This is supported by a frame that is comprised of steel. However, it can only handle up to 300 pounds and some users have even said they have felt flexing at around 220 to 250 pounds.
What is nice is you can twist the seat and work out your obliques. And, even though a counter is included, it is highly inefficient and not consistent in the slightest.
There have been one-star reviews that have claimed this can cause serious pain to your knees. However, the seat is properly cushioned and easy to kneel on.
As you may have guessed, this is going to require a bit of room. Also, it weighs nearly 55 pounds and is not exactly light.
It is only natural that there will be those of you who are not appealed to this design. That is fair but if you allow it to, this can more than deliver a satisfying abdominal workout.
8. Powerline Roman Chair
Finished with an electrostatically applied powder coating
Supports multiple muscle groups
The frame is backed by a 10-year warranty
The installation can be tedious
It is limited in its adjustability
Powerline is not going to blow very many users away with the design of their Roman chair. It is not a flashy design but it does get the job done, for the most part.Read more
Powerline classifies this as a roman chair and it is a device that is specifically designed to target your hamstrings, abdominal region, back, and gluteus.
Overall, this can support up to 250 pounds. The frame is comprised of heavy-gauge, two-inch thick steel that has been finished with a powder coating.
While the ankle pad height is actually adjustable, the actual padded post can’t be adjusted. Quite a few users, though, have claimed the design would have been better if it were.
While not exactly optimized for comfort, this is also not unbearable to exercise on. However, what would have helped is longer foam rollers.
With this assembled, it measures 36 inches tall by 46 inches long by 25 inches wide. It is not massive but much like some of the others on this list, it will require some room.
To put it best, this is a simple yet effective design. It does not sport all the bells and whistles but it is designed with the purpose of delivering abdominal workouts.
9. RitFit Evolution
Supports your head and neck very well
No assembly is needed
Pretty compact size
The design of the headrest needs to be improved
The price may not warrant the purchase
To be honest, this seems to be a hit or miss with most buyers. It seems to be you either love this design or you hate it. Let’s find out why shall we?Read more
This works almost identically to the other crunch tool on this list. It will support your neck, head and upper body while you perform crunches.
Being made with steel, this has a weight capacity of 220 pounds. Also, the foam that is utilized is thick EVA foam and built to last.
As with the last crunch tool, this is devoid of extra design features. It does have extra handles on the sides, however, so that is nice.
The foam for the headrest is not necessarily the issue here as much as the design is. You see, when you use this the entire base will move. This action causes the headrest to jam down your spine which can be a bit unsettling.
While not overly large, this can still be a bit awkward to store due to its engineering. Still, it is pretty light and fairly easy to maneuver.
There are many redeeming qualities to this design and many users have loved using it. With that in mind, it can cause discomfort and that may be enough to scare some of you off.
10. Core Max Star Uno
Ideal for all fitness levels
Comes with an exercise guide and a workout DVD
Folds up nicely
There are not enough resistance levels
The comfortability has been criticized
This is one of the more raved models on this list. The main reason it is not higher is it is limited in its resistance levels. For the right people, though, this will be money.Read more
Due to the Fast Track technology and also the power-assisted spring (which is hidden from view), this ab machine is able to work you just like a personal trainer.
The core makeup of this model is made of steel and not too many reviewers have had negative comments about the build quality, in general.
In reality, more than three resistance levels should have been implemented. But, that is what you get here (along with a workout DVD, an exercise guide and a healthy eating guide).
Some softer foam could have been integrated into this design as the foam that is present has been criticized for being too hard and too firm.
This is already a compact design but when you add in the fact that you can fold the arms down flat, it makes it all the better.
Buyers have excellent use out of this product. Just because it landed number 10 on this list does not mean you will not love it. But, some specific buyers have pointed out its weaknesses.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
As you will learn, there are several different types of ab machines out there. Selecting the right type for your needs should be concern number one.
Without going into too much detail, it is important for you to understand that there are several different types of ab machines out there. Not only will different types offer different features but many of them will offer completely different workouts. To better explain, let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular types. For starters, you have your sit-up benches (and other similar exercise machines) and you really can’t go wrong here. Due to their adjustability options (with most models), they can be tailored for both beginners and experts. Without question, they are excellent machines.
However, you also have what is known as a Roman chair. This machine tends to work more on your lower back and is a bit weaker when it comes to your abs. Still, typically, Roman chairs are versatile machines. Then you have ab wheels (often called ab rollers) and these are very simple in their design. While they can provide an excellent work out for your abs, they can also work out your upper torso. Also, they take up very little room and can be transported easily. Then again, they require a lot of core strength and are not ideal for beginners. There are also ab chairs and these are suited for beginners because they protect your back when you perform simple crunches on them. Of course, they will not offer enough resistance for users with stronger cores.
No matter the type you prefer, the build needs to be sufficient and should last a lengthy amount of time.
No matter what style you end up going with, if the individual model is not built to last then you may want to pass it all together. What is really nice is you do not necessarily have to break down each individual type to determine what to look for in regard to the build quality. Instead, most types will integrate the same types of materials. For instance, in regard to the frame, or the structural foundation of the model, most of the time you will see steel used as the primary material. Steel itself is a very strong metal that boasts fantastic characteristics. If you want the steel to be protected, though, you better look for models that come with a powder coating. Oh, and you should always keep an eye out for the weight limit. If you are a heavier individual, this concerns you more as the ab machine needs to be rated to support your weight without breaking.
Outside of the foundation, you also need to assess the design of the upholstery. The integrated padding not only needs to be comfortable but also durable. So, look for high-quality materials such as EVA foam and vinyl and also superior stitching methods (such as double-stitching and seam-stitching).
There will be certain features that you will need to keep a close eye out for. But, perhaps none compare to the adjustability.
When you assess the features of a specific type of ab machine, it does come back to the actual style. For example, you would look out for different features when looking into an ab wheel as opposed to a sit-up bench. While there are small and minute features that you can keep an eye out for, there is one that comes to the forefront with pretty much all ab machines (no matter the style). This is, of course, referring to the adjustability. That word right there needs to be drilled into your cranium as it is essential when looking into an exercise machine.
With the ability to adjust your machine, you can not only vary the exercise itself but you can also enhance or decrease the difficulty. Think about it for a second; once you master a specific setting, will you not get bored of it if you can’t change it? The simple ability to alter the resistance level or adjust the height of an ab machine can really make all the difference in the world, folks.
Sure, the machine needs to be effective but the darn thing better also be comfortable.
Look, it really does not matter what type of features an ab machine offers or the performance of the model if it is unbearable to use. It really goes without saying that the comfortability is extremely important. But, what you do need to know is what to look for so you can whittle out the pretenders, so to speak. For certain, the padding that is integrated needs to be sufficient, for starters. Much like on a bicycle where the seat needs to have ample padding, any area that comes in contact with your body on an ab machine needs to have comfortable padding.
But, the padding is just one variable in the overall equation. The other is the ergonomics. In short, the more ergonomic an ab machine is designed, the better. Every aspect of the model should be ergonomically designed (from the frame itself to the positioning of the padding and of the grips).
Expert Interviews & Opinions
What good would any type of machine be that was not built well? It is a simple concept but, boy oh boy, is it ever important. Really, though, the features you need to look for in regard to the build quality are not overly complex. What you really want is a machine that has a strong foundation and one that implements high-quality materials (such as the padding and the cushioning).
For the most part, this comes down to the style that you choose. Each design type will offer different types of features. However, you have an important decision to make. Do you want a model that is adjustable? Unless you do not mind being stuck with the same resistance level, angle, etc., then you will want some form of adjustability. This can really be a game changer that much is for sure.
While it may be tempting to up the resistance and challenge yourself, it is best to take it slow. Remember that keeping the correct form is most important for best results as well as your safety. For this reason, some of these machines are better suited for advanced, more disciplined trainees who know the proper form.
Other Factors to Consider
Most certainly, you have heard the expression that size is everything. While it is not necessarily “everything”, in this case, it certainly can be very important. Really, it just depends on your preferences and the type of machine that you want in your home. If you have a limited amount of space then you may want to look for more compact models (which would be ab rollers and other similar designs). Of course, if you have a dedicated exercise room in your home and have room to spare then you could go with much larger equipment (such as sit-up benches).
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Why use them, in the first place?
Well, do not listen to anyone who informs you that it is mandatory to use ab machines to develop your abdominal region because they are wrong. In reality, you can perform exercises as normal while increasing the tone of your abs. But, it can be more efficient to do so with a machine that is specially designed to do so. Think about it this way; if you are writing out a math equation, you can add five, seven times to reach 35. But, instead of writing five out seven times (with addition symbols in-between) you could just write “5 * 7” and you would get the same result. The same concept applies here as it simply is more efficient.
q: How should you warm up beforehand?
It is never a good idea to go dive head first into ab workouts if your core is not warmed up yet. Clearly, if you plan on working out this region after your original workout regimen then your body is already warmed up and you will be good to go. However, if you want to start with some abdominal exercises then warm up beforehand. This can be as simple as performing some stretching activities or even some light shoulder rotations. Just get your body ready to go.
q: How do you properly use one?
One of the issues with exercising is you can do it wrong. It seems ridiculous to say that but if you ask any health or fitness enthusiast of any kind, they will all tell you improper form and poor technique can do more damage than good when exercising. The same applies when working out on an ab machine so it is essential for you to learn proper form on whatever style you are using. The easiest way to do so is to search online tutorial videos of trained professionals who teach you how to maintain a proper technique.
q: How long should your workout regimen be?
To be honest, the answer to this question is going to be different for most people. It all comes down to the current state of your abdominal region. If you have a lot of body fat then you will have to spend more time on it then someone who already has a six-pack. There is no reason to overexert yourself, though, as you should only do what your body allows you to do. If you perform core workouts for 30 minutes a day, correctly, that should be sufficient. Others with virtually no belly fat may only need five to 10 minutes a day. Then again, always remember to workout correctly as an hour of abdominal exercises will do no good if you perform the movements incorrectly.
q: Will exercise balls accomplish the same thing?
There has been one type of device that has been glanced over in this guide. While an exercise ball is not technically a machine, it is an optimal device when it comes to working out your abs. In fact, exercise or stability balls can actually be exceptional when it comes to this. You see, when you perform abdominal exercises on a stability ball it is going to engage your smaller core muscles. These same muscles will help to keep your balance on the ball and will be strengthened because of it.
If you already own an exercise ball then research some workout regimens that you can perform that will target your abdominal region. You may find it sufficient enough to the point where you do not require another type of machine.
q: Per week, how many times should you work on your abdomen?
If you know anything about human anatomy then you are probably aware that muscles need to be given time to rest and recover. This is why it is not recommended to work the same muscle group over and over again on a regular basis. So, your abdomen is going to be no different. Now, what is interesting about this is there are experts out there who believe that the abdominal region can be trained every day. However, opinions are like noses and everyone has one. So, you will also have those individuals who will advise against this. Truth be told, if you focus on this area three to five times a week then you should be in good shape.