Are Abs Machines Necessary?

I’ll be honest… the average person doesn’t possess
the patience required to develop a great set of abs or
the work ethic to maintain it.

They lack the discipline and determination needed to
achieve their goal. Many people go on “quick fix” fad
diets to reduce their midsection. Others buy every
ab training gizmo and gadget advertised on TV only
to end up folding them up and sliding them under the
bed or using them as “expensive clothes hangers.”

Based on the amount of email I get on the subject, I know
how fixated most men and women are about finding the “Holy
Grail” of abdominal development in some type of machine
advertised on TV.

Read on to see my answer to Are Ab Machines Needed? 

Here’s A Question Sent In By A subscriber:

“David, I understand from reading your e-book and newsletters
that diet is the most important aspect of ab development. I also
would like to know your opinion of ab machines that are advertised
on TV.  Some of these products seem a bit overpriced. However,
I’ve been thinking about buying one of them because I have had
some problems with my back, which has caused me to give up
some abdominal exercises I used to do with no problem. Do you
think  any of these machines will help some merit for someone
in my circumstance?”

ANSWER: The answer is yes and no; but I’m definitely leaning more
toward the no when it comes to any of these infomercial products
such as the Ab-doer, Ab Dominator, Ab Swing, Ab Roller Plus, Torso
Track, Torso Tiger, Smart Abs (and I could go on and on):

Typically, any machine that involves gripping handles out to the
side, and 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,
which sets you up for an 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 absolutely dead set on buying some type of TV-advertised
abdominal product, get the Ab Swing (although I will recommend
something cheaper and more versatile at the end of this email)

The trouble with almost ALL of these ab machines is that you
are only moving your body in one direction or plane of motion.
As you increase strength in that area, you will create a pattern
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.

One piece of simple exercise equipment that I highly recommend
you invest in is called a Swiss ball (also known as a stability
ball). The Swiss ball is more versatile than any piece of
infomercial ab equipment ever will be. It’s also safer and
more effective. My abdominal and core conditioning course,
Firm And Flatten Your Abs teaches you exactly how to use
the Swiss ball, including dozens of photographs. You’ll also
learn simple but powerful abdominal exercises that require
no equipment whatsoever. For more information, visit :