If there is one area many of us obsess over during fitness routines, it has got to be the abs. And it is true for men and women. Have you ever wondered why? More than any other part of the human body, the abdominal region is most vulnerable to lack of fitness. It is the one area that can bulge and sag noticeably, if you lead an unhealthy lifestyle.
And unfortunately, it also happens to be the toughest nut to crack, when it comes to getting a desirable shape. Ask anybody who likes to work out, getting those shredded six pack abs takes a lot of sweat and hard work. This is probably one of the reasons why we have a profusion of workout machines for this particular muscle group.
Do a google search for “ab machines”. You will be amazed at the sheer diversity out there. There are ab machines of all shapes, sizes, and budgets out there. Identifying the ones that work can be a tough ask in such a crowded market. This is why we have created this shortlist of the best ab machines available online.
Check out our handy comparison table to get all the information about the chosen five. If you want to learn more about these machines, the science behind them, and their suitability for your needs, head to our buyers guide section. It is at the end of the article, after the reviews. And if you are considering buying one of these, don’t forget to read our in-depth reviews.
Best Ab Machines of 2018
|XMark XM-4416.1 Adjustable Ab Bench (Editor's Choice)||Frame - lifetime;|
Hardware, pop pins, pulleys and cables - 1 year
|Adjustable ab bench with twelve vertical height adjustments;|
Ergonomically positioned leg rollers to reduce back strain;
Support handle for easy mount and dismount
|Powerline Roman Chair PCH24X||Frame - 10 years;|
All other parts - 1 year
|Supports abdominal, back, gluteus, and hamstring training;|
Two by two-Inch heavy-gauge steel construction with a wide base to eliminate rocking;
Electrostatically applied powder coat finish
|Perfect Fitness Ab Carver Pro||1 year||Resistance rolling out;|
Assistance on the way back;
Rolling left and right
|Wonder Core Smart Fitness Equipment||-||Compact and portable;|
Comes fully assembled;
Adjustable dual resistance;
Exercise DVD & fitness guide included
|CAP Barbell Ab Trainer||30 days, limited warranty||Sturdy, ergonomic design;|
Durable steel construction;
Cushioned headrest for support
1. XMark XM-4416.1 Adjustable Ab Bench – Best Ab Machine For Home
The adjustable features make this Ab bench a good buy. It can be used by tall and short folks with equal comfort. The inclusion of a support handle improves safety and allows you to mount it and dismount it with ease. The bench has been ergonomically designed to reduce strain on your body.
It comes with a comfortable cushion and leg rollers. The 14 gauge steel used in constructing this device ensures that it can handle a lot of weight and remain safe and stable. The bench is very sturdy and durable, thanks to a powder coated finish.
Since the bench can be adjusted at different angles, you can perform numerous core exercises from different angles. This helps focus on various parts of your abs with ease.
The bench has a weight limit of 400 lbs. It is strong enough to support additional weights like dumbbells for presses and curls. The device comes unassembled, but the assembly is pretty simple and straightforward.
The roller pads lack quality and can cause circulation blocks in your limbs. The overall build quality is also lacking, especially in some of the welds. Also, the other plastic bits do not fit very well. The delivery also leaves a lot to be desired.
Overall, the XMark is a decent Ab bench, mainly because such benches provide you the chance to perform a wide range of core workouts. This one is quite sturdy and accessible to people of varying physique. The build quality and packing is weak and could use some improvements. But on the whole, the unit delivers as far as the workouts are concerned.
2. Powerline Roman Chair PCH24X – Best Exercise/Workout Machine For Abs
The good thing about the Powerline Roman Chair is that it is solidly built. It uses heavy gauge steel construction, which ensures that the machine is stable on the floor. This is very important, as your entire bodyweight will be hanging from this chair during the workout routines. Another nifty feature of the machine is the adjustable settings, as it ensures that people of different heights can all use the machine comfortably.
As far as the effectiveness of the roman chair is concerned, it does provide a solid workout to the lower back, as well as your abs. The machine has padding in all the right places and is very comfortable to use as well. The powder coated paint finish also ensures that this one stays durable for a long time.
The weight limit on this machine is a maximum of 250lbs. Also, while the ankle height setting can be adjusted, the other parameters cannot be modified. But as long as you measure more than 32 inches from your waist to your heel, this machine should be safe to use.
Our main complaint about this roman chair applies to all roman chairs: their main focus is on lower back support, not ab workouts. But you can perform some ab-focused workouts with this device; we have to concede. Build quality is fine but could have been better. The padding tends to come off at some places, and they should have used a secure mechanism to prevent this. The lack of adjustable bits is the other main concern on this roman chair from Powerline. Also, it needs assembly but doesn’t come with any detailed instructions.
If you want to focus only on your abs, the roman chair is not a good option. But since core workouts should also include an emphasis on the lower back, this is not a useless purchase by any stretch of the imagination. It will help you improve your abs somewhat as well. The machine is very sturdy and stable. It can be used by beginners as well. We just wish it had some more adjustable features and better padding.
3. Perfect Fitness Ab Carver Pro – Best Ab Roller For Increased Resistance
This is one of the best-designed ab roller wheels on the market. The extra width of the wheel ensures that you are entirely stable during your workout routines. It is very forgiving when you end up with the occasional slip-up. The hand grips are made of soft rubber, which makes this wheel very ergonomic and comfortable to hold.
This wheel scores handsomely over its rivals in the market, thanks to an advanced carbon steel spring mechanism inside. This coiled spring ensures greater resistance during your workouts. Thanks to the extra width, you can also safely pivot to the sides, engaging all the ab muscles more efficiently in the process.
Around 300lbs is the maximum weight this machine can handle. And even though it has rubber rolls on it to protect your floor or carpet, we would recommend that you don’t use this wheel in the same spot continuously. It is bound to leave patterns due to the effort and weight during the exercise.
The Ab Carver is a serious piece of equipment, and beginners can get hurt if they do not have a certain level of fitness. That is one of the main flaws of this product. It is very challenging and not suitable for beginners. And we also wish it had adjustable resistance settings. Another thing you have to beware of is the extra pressure this thing exerts on the lower back region.
Do we hate the Ab Carver? We most certainly do not. If you have been working out for a while, this is a great option to put some strain on your core muscles. It is well designed and well built. The lack of adjustable settings is indeed a missed opportunity. But overall it delivers a punishing workout. The question is, is your body up for that kind of punishment? If you think so, this wheel can put your abs to work. If not, it is best left for the future when your fitness levels are higher than what it is now.
4. Wonder Core Smart Fitness Equipment – Best Compact Ab Machine For Home Use
The best thing about this product is its compact dimensions. It is essentially a small padded seat with movable supports. It takes up very little space, yet promises support for eight different exercises that target your entire core. So this is one of the more versatile ab machines on the list.
This is designed more as a beginner friendly product. So you get exercise DVDs and fitness guides as part of the package. We also like the fact that it comes fully assembled. The portability of the Wonder Core deserves special mention as well. It has two adjustable resistance settings, which are very useful for beginners.
Accessibility and ease of use are what truly sets the wonder core apart. It provides support for a wide range of exercises that work for your core muscle groups. This is a particularly useful tool if you need assistance doing stuff like situps and pushups.
The Wonder Core has a maximum weight limit of 250lbs. And this is not a product for seasoned fitness enthusiasts. It is aimed mainly at the beginner crowd who don’t frequent gyms.
As this is a beginner friendly device, it may not suit reasonable fit individuals very well. You may find the results lacking unless your core is fragile. The padding needs improvement as they don’t cushion your body effectively. The springs also tend to make a lot of noise with constant use. Many of the workouts it assists with can be easily performed on your own, which does reduce the utility of this machine somewhat.
The Wonder Core is not a poorly designed product. But it is a bit too forgiving and intended mainly for folks who don’t work out at all. Therein lies the main weakness of this product. If your core is really weak and you need assistance doing situps and crunches, this might be a good choice. But if you maintain a healthy workout routine, you might find yourself getting lesser use from the Wonder Core. If you are a beginner to fitness, it could be a good buy.
5. CAP Barbell Ab Trainer – Best Minimalist Ab Roller Trainer For Improved Crunch
This Ab trainer has a deceptively simple looking design. It is made from a durable steel tube construction that is very easy to assemble at home. The best part about this trainer is the extra neck support it provides during the crunch. It has a padded headrest for additional support to your upper torso region.
The device can help you improve your core, not just the abs. It is designed to assist with at least four different workouts. If you suffer from frequent back or neck pains, this can be a fantastic option. Since it helps with stuff like situps, this machine is good for your abs.
The device is around two feet wide and does not fold up. So you will have to take storage space into account. Also, it is rated at 220lbs.
Though the headrest is a good feature; it could have been made better. At times, we could feel it biting into the back of our heads. Despite the steel construction, the trainer is rather flimsy and is not suitable for heavy set individuals. It is also not very suitable for taller folk above 6 feet 2 inches in height. And it also fails to get much traction on smoother surfaces, so you might end up sliding all over the place.
All in all, the CAP Barbell is a cheap product with some noticeable flaws. It does not suit tall, well-built individuals, so we can assume that it oriented more towards beginners and seniors. The device does provide some support for core workouts, so it is rather useful. But it is weighed down by some design flaws. If you only started core workouts recently, this can be a good choice. It is also a good option for people suffering from back pain.
Ab Machines Buyers Guide
What are Ab machines?
The abdominal muscles, or abs, are a group of muscles in the belly region of the human body. To improve these muscles, you perform a set of workout routines called abdominal exercises. There are exercises that you can perform without equipment, like variations of the crunch, the plank, roll-ups, and pilates.
But when you need more resistance while doing crunches, you use ab exercise machines or ab machines. These are specially designed workout machines that help you perform exercises that focus on the core abdominal muscle groups.
Why use ab machines?
There are no hard and fast rules that state that you have to use ab machines to get shredded abs.It is possible to achieve toned abs and six packs without using ab machines. Think about it this way. You can improve your biceps and triceps without lifting weights.
But incorporating dumbbells and barbells into your workout makes the process faster, and more focused. The same goes for ab machines as well. When used correctly they can enhance your ab crunch workouts, and maybe help you achieve faster results.
Are ab machines really effective?
This is a somewhat complicated question. One of the main problems is that of plenty: there are far too many ab machine designs on the market. Some are really effective, while others do precious little for the asking price.
Another thing you need to understand is that there are no shortcuts in fitness, especially for toned “washboard” abs. If any machine promises to deliver shredded abs in a short time, know that they are talking out of their posteriors. It takes a lot of commitment, focus and effort to get six pack abs.
There are so many variables you have to focus on: a proper diet, and a balanced workout routine for your core. No single machine can take care of all the muscles in your core. For that, you need a comprehensive workout plan.
But when you combine these two with the best ab machines, yes, you can get amazing results. Not super quick, but still, amazing results.
That in a nutshell, is the answer to the question. Some ab machines are really effective, but only when combined with the right kind of diet, and as part of a balanced core workout routine.
What are the different kinds of ab machines out there:
As we already mentioned, the amount of diversity out there makes it almost impossible to list all the different variations of design in ab machines. But if we had to pick the most common models, it would have to be the following:
1. Sit Up Benches
As the name suggests, these machines assist in performing various kinds of sit-ups, raises, and crunches. You will find these type of machines in most gyms, Simplified versions with a compact design are also available for home use. Among ab machines, sit up benches are a good option for beginners as well as advanced fitness experts alike.
For extra effectiveness, many sit up benches come with adjustable angles and resistance settings. If we had to mention one flaw associated with these machines it would have to be the stress they cause in the lower back region. But this is only a concern when the workouts are done with the improper form.
2. Ab Wheels
These are deceptively simple looking machines that can give your core a real workout at home. These wheels provide an exercise not just for your abs, but also for your entire upper torso. They are easy to use and take up very little space. This makes them incredibly popular as home workout machines.
You can find advanced designs with more sophisticated resistance levels. But these wheels are not without flaws. They require a strong core to use properly. So if you are a rank beginner, these may not be the best options.
3. Roman Chairs
These are machines that focus more on your lower back than any other part of the body. And they are pretty good at what they do. You can perform hyperextension exercises very effectively with these machines. But they are no one trick ponies, and can also help with your glutes, hamstrings, and abs. That last reason is why these machines are included in our list.
Their versatility is what makes them so good as home workout machines. But when compared to some of the other ab machines on this list, they have a relatively weaker impact on your abs. And that is the main criticism we can level against these machines.
4. Ab Chairs
These are mainly designed for beginners and weaker individuals who are just starting out with workouts. They protect your back and make ab workouts easier. It uses a folding mechanism to simulate the crunch.
Their main advantage is also their main weakness: since they do not require strong cores, stronger individuals will not get the required resistance levels for an effective workout. Ab chairs are popular home workout machines, available in various designs.
5. Ab Rollers
The ab roller trainer is often confused with the ab wheel, since ab wheels are also called ab rollers. But the ab trainer here is a workout machine made from a curved metal frame. They are designed to assist with the crunch while providing extra support for the neck. These are very effective machines that work on your upper abs.
But as with most other ab machines, they do not provide a complete core training. They are nevertheless a good addition to your home gym, especially if you are a beginner.
Ab machines for home use are a mixed bunch. There are products suited for seasoned fitness enthusiasts, as well as those aimed at beginners and fitness newbies. These machines also vary greatly regarding their design and the effectiveness of core muscles. Some machines only work on some muscles, while others help with all the core muscles.
But none of them can deliver washboard abs or shredded cores on their own. They have to be combined with proper diet and comprehensive workout plans for best results. Look for models with adjustable resistance for long-term use. If you are not careful, you can end up with beginner oriented products that offer zero benefits for more fit individuals.
Size and storage requirements are another factors that need to be taken into consideration. But budget is not a major issue since the best ab machines are available in almost all price ranges.