Ab crunch machines have been around for some time now. Still, people are using them less often than ever nowadays. Is it because they are not effective, or simply because there are other far better methods? In this article we will go through some of the pros and cons of this machine and answer the most important question – Is the ab crunch machine effective?
As with other ab training machines, the ab crunch machine is particularly effective for people looking to increase their core strength in a very straight-forward manner. The machine itself removes all sorts of imbalances or impurities from your form and reduces the risk of injuries in the long-run. Even so, it also creates a muscle group that is trained in repetition that won’t have much practical value in case you want to compete in a sport or have a flexible core.
Now, let’s dive straight into the important questions of this topic…
Are Ab Machines Actually Effective?
Ab machines might be far better than you’d think, especially for people that have poor exercising form. What we mean by that is that there are people out there that do crunches in a way that affects their lower back negatively. The fitness machine’s main strength is that it mostly eliminates the small wrong movements people do when exercising with their own weight.
This ensures less risk for the person training and targets the muscles more efficiently. That last part about the muscles can also be considered a downside as repetitive movements that are exactly the same tend to have a limited effect on our muscles. Think of it like that – if you only do biceps curls, you teach that particular muscle group to only move and have strength in that particular direction. You remove all flexibility and free movement options from it. This is why a healthy mix of free-weight and machine training should always be at place.
Ab machines in particular are far more generous to the back than just regular crunches. A free-weight alternative to crunches that exercises the core in a similar fashion is the plank.
Now, let’s take a look at the ab crunch machine and see whether its pros outweigh the cons.
The Ab Crunch Machine
This machine is one that very narrowly targets your abs. You are placed in a seated position and your shins are hooked below leg pads. Your arms grab the machine’s arm handles and that way you are sort of stretched across the machine. The hard part is getting your hands and legs meet in front of your chest. Move slowly and try to control the posture even though the machine will be holding you in place for the most part.
The machine also allows you to choose different weights but always start with the easiest one and build your way up, otherwise you are needlessly putting your body at risk of trauma.
Does It Work?
The ab crunch machine is one of the most effective ab machines out there to date. It keeps you steady during the whole exercise and makes you work for your money. The option to add weight can take your core strengthening exercises to the next level. Repetitions are also easy on this machine but avoid going further than 10-15 reps per session.
You will see the best results if you add the machine to your core exercises instead of using it to completely replace them. Let’s check out some of the advantages and disadvantages of training on an ab crunch machine now.
- Effectively trains solely your core muscles
- Eliminates the possibility of trauma in the long run
- You can add more and more weights to match your training progress
- It is easier to do more reps
And now let’s check out some of the disadvantages of training on such a machine.
- As with any other ab machine it might cause damage to certain parts of your body if you train excessively on it
- Takes away the balance element of free-weight core exercises
So, as a conclusion it is safe to say that people with back issues should always opt for an ab crunch machine or any other ab machine for that matter. Athletes and people that train on a regular basis can perform a mix of ab training with a machine and free-weight sessions.
If you are interested in getting an ab machine for your home, we suggest checking out our full Buyer’s Guide. Apart from the best ab crunch machines you will also find there some great tips on how to choose the right machine for your needs.
If you want to lose fat with an ab crunch machine, you should focus on repetition and proper warming up. Remember that burning fat solely depends on your caloric intake and the exercises you do. By just training your abdominal muscles you won’t bear any particular results. You will have to train your whole body and implement ab crunches in some part of that training session. That way you will burn through excess calories and fat and strengthen the core muscles at the same time.
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Do Ab Stimulators Really Work?
Short answer – no, long answer – also no. Ab stimulators are one of the best marketing tricks ever. All they do is either vibrate or warm above the belly area (or do both) and bring out the sweat from the skin there, fooling the user that this is due to fat burning. This does nothing but raise the temperature of that particular area. The increased temperature causes nothing apart from water loss through the skin.
What gym machines are best for abs?
Any machine that will make you work for your money and sweat it out is great for your abs and for reducing the fat in your body. Machines like the rowing machine, treadmill, or stair climber are great at exactly those things.
Can you lose belly fat on a rowing machine?
Rowing machines provide a mix of cardio exercising and resistance training. When those two are combined you get a strong upper body, even stronger core, and a lean body. It helps burn fat from all over your body, belly included.
If you are looking for some killer lean stomach tips, visit our full article on the topic!
So, is the ab crunch truly effective? Yes, it is. Still, many people prefer just using it once a week or less because it removes a lot of freedom from your core training and makes your abs work in one repetitive singular motion. Sure, the added weights will help you progress faster but you should always consider putting this machine in some of your workouts instead of solely relying on it for your ab muscles.