Ab Machines Necessary?

By David Grisaffi
Corrective Exercise Kinesiologist
Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach

Here is a question some one sent me…

Question: I understand that diet is the most important aspect
of AB development. I also know would like to know your
opinion of AB machines in general we get from the TV Ads.

I would like to hear your opinion. I know these products are
all grossly overpriced. I have had some problems with my
back, which has caused me to give up squatting and make
some ab exercises uncomfortable. Do you think any of these
machines will help some merit for someone in my
circumstance?

Answer: To answer your question, the answer is yes and no;
but I’m definitely leaning more toward the no. Here’s why any
of these products including the Ab-doer, AB DOMINATOR,
Ab Swing, AB ROLLER PLUS, Toros Track, Toros Tiger, Smart
Abs and I could go on and on..

Typically, any machine that involves gripping handles out to
the side, in front for support aren’t good because once you
begin to get tired, your body will naturally have a tendency to
use the arms to force the abdominal motion, taking the abs
out of the picture almost completely and asking your
back to do more work setting you up for injury.

I’ve tested similar gym equipment, which use handles in
almost the same position as these machines. It shouldn’t
differ that much. Even though you’re sitting upright as with
the AB-DOer or lying prone as with the torso track.
Each tend to focus on a specific area to the detriment of full
range of motion.

If you are going to get the latest product the AB SWING you
are only moving your body in one direction or plane of
motion. As you increase strength in that area you will then
create an overload syndrome and set your self up for
muscle imbalances that may cause injury.

Another example is the AB-DOer if you were to turn this
product clockwise, you would clearly be able to see this. I
understand the AB-DOer uses a circular rotating motion, but
50 percent of that exercise doesn’t even incorporate
abdominal muscles. The other 50 percent uses the lower back
muscles.

Now, a product like this may feel better on your back
(regarding my yes answer), but I doubt it. Here’s a self-test
you can try: Sit in a chair with your back pressed against the
chair’s back. Pretend to have your arms out to the
side, just as the AB-DOer displays. Now contract and crunch
your abs . . .

You probably felt a slight lower back strain because the body
is naturally designed to slouch down when you try to crunch
the abs from an upright position. This lower back strain can
actually feel more acute if you add the resistance of the AB-
DOer. There’s one exception to the rule: Sometimes,
gym abdominal equipment will have the same range of motion
as the AB-DOer, using weights, but no hand grips. The
difference is the fact that you’re pushing a padded weight
forward with your chest.

This range of motion naturally keeps your back straight mainly
because you must push the weight forward. You can do a test
to see what I mean by finding an adjustable chair, lowering it
so that a desk edge is at chest level, and pressing against it.
Your upper body is “forced” to stay straight in order
to push the weight forward. It won’t allow you to slouch down,
as the AB-DOer will.

To get the real information go to
http://www.flattenyourabs.net

till next week…

David Grisaffi Visit my site at http://flattenyourabs.net for
more information about my new book Flatten Your Abs:
Abdominal/Core Conditioning Program