Best abs machine for lower ab workout

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Oct 282010

Best abs machine for lower ab workout

In our last article, we have seen the importance of a good lower ab workout, what benefit it has for your back and your health, and also how it can help you to get a flatter stomach. We also explained reverse crunches, the best lower ab workout for beginners. Abs machines can you help to exercise your lower abs and can make your workout more effective, so today we will look at the best ab machines for your lower ab workout and what exercises to do.

Using an abs bench for lower ab workout: doing inclined reverse crunches

Initial position: lie on your back on an declined abs bench, using your arms to stabilize your body, with your feets raised and your knees bent.


Exercise: now bring up your knees towards your chest, trying to raise your pelvis off the board. Hold for a second and lower your knees back to the initial position. Make sure not to lower your legs to far as this might cause you to overstretch your back and hurt your back.


The higher the angle of the incline, the more challenging the exercise is for your abs.



Decline leg raises with an abs bench

This is an advanced exercise. It works your abs a lot but it also really puts a lot of strain on your lower back. Personally, I would rather jump to the hanging knee raises and skip this exercise.


The exercise is the same as the decline reverse crunch, but instead of having your knees bent, you have your legs straight at all times. You lift your legs up as far as possible, curling your torso towards your chest and then lower them again. Don’t lower your legs too far down as this will only increase the stress on your lower back.



Using ab balls for lower ab workout: knee tucks on stability ball

Initial position: you have your shins on an ab ball and are in push-up position (i.e. face down, rested on your arms and on your shins which are on the stability ball).


Exercise: use your abs to roll the ball closer to your hands. To do this, bring your legs towards your body, bending the knees and sticking your buttocks into the air.



By the way: you can also do the reverse crunches on the abs ball. On the abs ball you will obtain a greater stretch of the abdominals, so the exercise will be more effective. Lie on the ab ball, face up. Use your arms to stabilize your body and then lift and lower your legs.



Using ab straps for your lower ab workout

As we have seen in the article on ab straps, doing hanging knee raises and hanging leg raises are two great exercises to train your lower abs. Find the detailed description of the exercise in the article. Please read this review if you are interested in cheap ab machines.

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Oct 182009

The truth is that you can train your abs perfectly without an abs machine. And if you’re one of those hard-core “no pain, no gain” bodybuilders, you probably prefer the good ol’ crunch. In that sense, the floor is the cheapest ab exercise equipment you can find!


However, if you think about what is the most effective and most comfortable abs workout, then the abs machines come back into consideration. One of the most common reasons why exercisers stop doing crunches are neck and lower-back strain. The best ab machines support your neck, thereby avoiding the neck stress and making your abs workout more comfortable. And when your workout is more comfortable, this might lead to that you do work out more and longer.


Also, on the floor in the initial position your back is just straight. But the most effective way to train your abs is to have them pre-streched, like for examplewhen you lie on an ab ball. So, using an abs machine you can train your abs more effectively.

As we haveseen in our last article, hanging abs exercises are great for lower ab workout and some even claim that hanging exercises are more effective thanlying exercises. You can do a hanging lower ab workout just hanging from a chin-up bar, or if your grip is not that resistant you can use ab straps.

And finally the mere act of investing into an abs machine might make you take your abs workout more seriously, be more motivated and determined to really get the maximum out of your investment.


So, you definitely can do just ab exercises on the floor, but using an abs machine can make your abs workout more varied, more fun and it can be more effective. And there are some cheap ab machines out there so you don’t need to spend a fortune.

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Oct 142009

Can ab straps serve as abs machine? Well, it’s a little strange to describe a few straps you hang your body on as “machine”, but strangely enough they are the best tools for your lower ab workout.

As we have seen in a previous article, the abdominals are actually a group of muscles, including the “washboard”-like rectus abdominis. Some researchers claim that one of the best and most effective lower ab workouts targeting this muscle are hanging abs exercises, such as the hanging leg raise (see below for an explanation of how to perform hanging leg raises). However, you have to keep in mind that generally all abdominal exercises target at the lower abs are dangerous for your back and you have to be very careful to choose the right exercise and to perform it properly. On the Wikipedia there is a comparison of the back risk involved with doing ab exercises.

The tricky part is that – in order to perform hanging abdominal exercises – you need a strong grip, as you need to hold on to a chin up bar. Sustaining your body during the length of your lower ab workout takes a lot of strength in your hands and forearms, and many people don’t have grip to hold on to the chin up bar for that long.

That’s where the ab straps come in. Ab straps are slings with a ring or carabiner onone end where the straps can be fixed to the chin up bar. You then just fityour arms into the cushioned slings and that way your body hangs on the straps, while your arms and shoulders support your weight and you can focus on your abs workout instead of fighting with your grip.

(image courtesy of amazon, the featured product are the Perfect Pullup Heavy Duty Performance Series Ab Straps)

Now you’re ready to start your lower ab workout. First of all, it’s very important that when you train your abs with ab straps you need to do slow, controlled movements and you don’t swing. You don’t want that the momentum of your swing lifts your legs, you want to train your abs! Also, if you make any jerky movement you can easily strain your back, so you really need to make slow controlled movements and you should try to maintain your back in a neutral position as much as possible.




Hanging Knee Raises:

In the initial position you hang in the ab straps, arms parallel to the floor. Now you slowly raise your knees towards your chest while bending the knees until you reach a 90º angle, with your thighs parallel to the floor. Slowly lower your knees back to the initial position. Remember: no swinging!

Hanging Leg Raises:

This is an advanced exercise and it works your abs even more. From the same initial position, you slowly raise you straight legs without bending the knees until your legs are parallel to the floor. You hold them for a count of two and then slowly lower them back.


If you want to train your obliques, you can vary the previous exercises by twisting your body, i.e. while lifting your legs you lift them first to one side and then in the next movement to the opposite side.

Ab straps are relatively affordable, costing around 10-30 US$. The problem is that you need a chin-up bar to fix your ab straps on, so if you want to train at home and not in a gym you’ll also need to buy a bar.

In a nutshell, ab straps are a good way to trains your abs, especially your lowerabs. However, if you don’t perform the exercise correctly you can strain your back, so if you have any kind of back problem you’re probably better offlooking for a different ab exercise equipment. Read also our post on the best ab machines.

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