The 5 Best Ab Machines for Home Use in 2019
If you want to improve your core, invest in one of the best ab machines.
A strong and defined core is a fitness goal for many. After all, ‘six-pack’ abs have become a cult image for health and fitness. From college students, business people, stay at home parents to seasoned athletes and celebrities — everyone wants a piece of the (fat-free, sugar-free, calorie-free) pie!
Here are the top 5 ab machines on the market right now.
#1 Body Champ Multi-Function Power Tower VKR1987
Everyone can benefit from the Body Champ Multi-Function Power Tower VKR 1987. A fantastically designed and well put-together piece of equipment, this has everything you need to smash your fitness goals. Features include:
- Adjustable features
- Design suitable for fitness levels
- Versatile exercise options
#2 LifeLine USA Power Wheel II
Unlike other ab wheels which can only be gripped with your hands, the LifeLine USA Power Wheel II also boasts pedals to increase the range of exercises that can be performed. Features include:
- Durable materials
- Foam cushioned handle and foot strap for versatility and comfortable use
- Portable design makes it perfect for traveling
#3 Marcy Pro JD-5481 Deluxe Hyper Extension Bench
In terms of comfort and versatility, the Marcy Pro JD-5481 Deluxe Hyper Extension Bench is an all-around winner. Users can adjust both the back support and the foot support, allowing a wide range of exercises to be performed. Features include:
- Adjustable options for all shapes and sizes
- Comfortable and durable foam back support
- Weight capacity up to 250 pounds
#4 DLT Sit-Up Bench
If you’re after an ab machine that supports your body weight, this is it. The DLT Sit-Up Bench has it covered with several options for training your core. It is adjustable and comfortable, as well as perfect for incorporating weights. Features include:
- Comfortable padding throughout
- Foldable design for easy storage
- Sturdy and stable build
#5 Perfect Fitness Crunch
With Perfect Fitness Crunch, you can exercise in the comfort and privacy of your own home while watching television, listening to your favorite podcast, or looking after your child. Perfect Fitness Crunch is easy to put together and there are no complicated features. Features include:
- Easy assembly
- Support for neck, back and shoulder areas
- Versatile design accommodates other exercises
Best Ab Wheel: Lifeline USA Power Wheel II
The Lifeline USA Power Wheel II is our chosen ally for travelers and frequent movers.
The coolest part about the Lifeline Power Wheel is that it’s not like other ab wheels. Sure, it looks a lot like other products on the market, but its selling point is the added foot support.
The Lifeline Power Wheel offers a more extensive range of exercises due to its dual hand and foot support design. More exercises = better ab development.
With the Lifeline Power Wheel, you can move in many directions and planes of motion. That versatility decreases the risk of overuse injury associated with repetitive movements.
The Lifeline Power Wheel features foam grips for hand comfort and foot straps for stability.
Its design is sleek and streamlined. It does come in a slightly larger size than the average ab wheel, but if you’re traveling, the Lifeline Power Wheel can still be packed away in the middle of clothes and soft materials. It weighs 3.1 pounds, so it’s perfect for long-term travel.
Lifeline Power Wheel II Pros
- Easy-to-use tool: There are no complicated instructions to follow; it comes already assembled and ready to use.
- Effective workout tool: This ab wheel provides a challenging workout.
- Portable design: The Lifeline Power Wheel II fits into a suitcase so that you can take it anywhere.
- Versatile exercises: This ab wheel offers more exercise options than other similar products on the market.
- Small size: You can store the wheel in most areas without adding clutter.
Lifeline Power Wheel II Cons
- Advanced levels: This exercise gear is not suitable for all levels and caters more for intermediate and advanced users.
- No adjustment: The foot straps are one size fits all and cannot adjust for larger feet.
- Specific uses: The Lifeline Power Wheel is for ab and core muscle training. It does not offer many different possibilities
Best Supportive Ab Roller: Perfect Fitness Crunch
One of our top picks is the Perfect Fitness Crunch. Best suited to beginners, this ab roller is as uncomplicated as they come.
The Perfect Fitness Crunch has a more significant padding section than most other ab rollers, offering superior back and neck support. This support also ensures better exercise form. It keeps you using your abs — preventing soreness in separate body areas.
If you are a beginner and find other abdominal machines intimidating, the Perfect Fitness Crunch will be your best friend.
It will help you develop the required ab endurance to progress to harder exercises and machines eventually. It won’t daunt you with complicated set-up and too many instructions.
Perfect Fitness Crunch Pros
- Easy-to-use tool: The Perfect Fitness Crunch is easy to assemble and use.
- Sturdy frame: Although the structure is thin, it can hold up to 300 pounds.
- Supportive build: It offers more neck and back support than most ab rollers on the market. That build makes it easier for the user to target the midsection without straining other body parts.
Perfect Fitness Crunch Cons
- Awkward shape: It’s difficult to store. It’s also most likely going to add clutter.
- Difficult to add overload: Even the suggested “expert level” exercise options are not challenging enough for seasoned athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Its shape is also unsuitable for added weights.
- No adjustment: It comes in a one size fits all. That build makes it difficult for some users to reach the handles adequately.
Best Power Tower: Body Champ Multi-Function Power Tower VKR1987
When it comes down to it, the Body Champ Multi-Function Power Tower VKR1987 offers the ultimate array of versatility and longevity.
The Body Champ Multi-Function Power Tower VKR1987 is our favorite way to train the abs. It has many functions and — most importantly — it works.
The structure is 84″ tall and is durable reinforced steel. It can handle body weights of up to 300 pounds with excellent stability.
The icing on the cake is that it has stability bars installed on the bottom of the tower.
Why is this so important? Two words: posterior chain.
In laymen’s terms, this refers to the back muscles of the body. These muscles get overlooked but are vital to exercise if you want a strong core. Most people don’t realize that the erector spinae forms a critical part of the overall abdominal area. You have to work on this area to develop the more cosmetically aesthetic sibling, the rectus abdominis.
The Body Champ Multi-Function Power Tower VKR1987 provides an option to utilize these stability bars to secure the feet while performing back extensions — a feature that few power towers offer.
You can do many different exercises with the Body Champ Multi-Function Power Tower VKR1987. Don’t believe us about this top-rated fitness equipment? Check out the customer reviews and its consistent 5-star rating on Amazon.
Body Champ VKR1987 Pros
- Durable materials: This tower power is sturdy steel with padded areas where comfort is necessary.
- Easy-to-use machine: Once it’s assembled, there are no tricks to it.
- Stable design: This tool can hold up to 300 pounds without any movement.
- Versatile tool: The Body Champ VKR1987 is a gym all on its own. You can even add suspension cables to its frame and multiply the possibilities.
- Year warranty: This power tower comes with a 12-month warranty for the frame and a 90-day guarantee for all parts.
Body Champ Power Tower VKR1987 Cons
- Large size: The Body Champ Power Tower VKR1987 is large, so it’s not always suitable for people’s homes. If you don’t have a home gym, you may not have a place to put it.
- Limited adjustments: While there are many ways it can be adjusted, you can’t customize the chin-up and dip bar width.
Best Sit-Up Bench: DLT Sit Up Bench
The DLT Sit-Up Bench is an excellent option for an ab bench. You can use weights or other forms of resistance to stimulate the muscles to grow.
For those who want a bit of extra ab definition, the DLT Sit-Up Bench provides the support you need to perform exercises with added weight. The DLT Sit-Up Bench comes with resistance bands to get you started if you aren’t ready for heavier loads.
This bench provides a comfortable cushioned surface and eight possible adjustments. It is sturdy and versatile, providing additional exercise options for when you want to complement your ab training.
A bonus feature is that you can fold the bench. Not many are this easy to store. When folded, it is only 36% of its original size!
DLT Sit-Up Bench Pros
- Color options: This bench comes in three colors. Choose green, red, or pink.
- Comfortable padding: The bench has padded areas and support throughout the equipment.
- Folding ability: This bench folds to a much smaller size for easy storage.
- Stable design: This bench gives you the perfect amount of support to complement with added weights and can handle a whopping 661 pounds.
- Versatile uses: Adjustments allow a variety of additional exercises.
DLT Sit-Up Bench Cons
- Adjustment options: The bench is best as a decline because of the location of the support. To use it flat, you need to remove the foot, which adds to the difficulty. It also rests directly on the ground when used flat, which is not ideal for diversifying its use.
- Large size: Even though you can fold it, the DLT Sit-Up Bench requires a large enough place for storage. You can’t take it everywhere with you without disassembling it first.
Best Roman Chair: Marcy Pro JD-5481 Deluxe Hyper Extension Bench
The Macy Pro JD-5481 feature durable 14-gauge steel and comfortable padding in the areas you need it most. It also allows a greater number of adjustments compared to other roman chairs.
Most brands in the market only offer adjustments to the hip padding height. However, the Macy Pro JD-5481 goes above and beyond, allowing additional modifications to the foot and knee support levers.
The Macy Pro JD-5481 is sleek-looking and not as bulky as most roman chairs. The steel frame prevents it from wobbling and provides a smooth exercise experience from start to finish.
Macy Pro JD-5481 Pros
- Adjustment options: It boasts a broader range of adjustments than most other similar products.
- Durable materials: This tool can support up to 250 pounds in its sturdy steel frame.
- Supportive design: The overall support provided by the Macy Pro JD-5481 is unmatched. It features back padding, foam leg padding, and a footplate.
- Versatile exercises: This fitness equipment offers an extensive range of workout moves for the entire core area. The work you can do also extends to some lower body muscles.
Macy Pro JD-5481 Cons
- Difficult storage: This tool does not fold in any way. Therefore, it’s best suited for home gyms, not living rooms.
- Large size: As with most gym equipment, it is substantial in size. It requires a lot of space in your home.
Types of Ab Machines
You don’t need a rowing machine to work on your core muscles.
Lots of fitness equipment helps target the core, including kettlebells and exercise balls. Ab machines are another kind of exercise equipment that has lots of types and can help you get the kind of body workout you want.
Familiarize yourself with the kinds so that you can pick the best type of abdominal machine for your exercise goals, weight loss program, or core exercises.
Remember the late night infomercials telling us how easy it is to get a six pack at home in only five minutes a day?
At some point, ab wheels (also known as ab rollers or ab rollouts) were all the rage. Many variations on the market promised to give you washboard abs while watching TV.
Well, here’s the thing. You can get defined abs at home, but it requires hard work and dedication. We aren’t here to tell you that this equipment will do the work for you, but it’s a starting point.
An ab wheel roller consists of a plastic wheel with one handle on each side of the axle. This equipment provides a killer ab workout while being small enough to be taken anywhere.
Its portability is a huge advantage. If you are always on the go, it’s almost impossible to maintain your workout routine uninterrupted. An ab wheel can easily fit in your suitcase or stay in the trunk of your car if you travel by road.
Anyone who has used an ab wheel of any kind knows that it’s not a walk in the park. The concept is simple, but the burn is anything but simple.
Ab rollers are lightweight, easy to use, and perfect for those who are getting started on their six-pack quest.
If you are serious about core training, a power tower will be your best investment.
It trains your entire body in a way that promotes core stability and overall body strength. Most people get bored with exercise programs, which depends on consistency and adherence. This multi-functional piece of equipment throws all excuses out the window because it offers endless possibilities for training.
Part of abs and core training is a mixture of direct exercises (such as the crunch) and indirect exercises (compound movements such as chin-ups). If you want to transform your body, it’s not enough to do a few sit-ups once a day while watching TV. You’ll have to accept that nothing worth having is easy.
Grind through moves like push ups, pull ups, dips, rows, back extensions, leg raises with the help of a power tower.
Ab benches are excellent for weighted ab exercises.
Muscles define the midsection. Muscles need stimulation to grow.
Most people find it difficult enough to train their abs using body weight, but true enthusiasts will need overload. What overload means is that once the exercise gets too easy, you need to add more difficulty to make progress. The saying is true: you can’t keep doing the same things and expecting different results.
The ab bench helps you to change things up by providing safe stability to support your body weight as well as added weight plates and dumbbells.
It is the perfect partner for strengthening the core and giving you a sufficient upper body workout.
Are you a runner?
If so, roman chairs are the best machine for you.
Earlier on, we stressed the importance of working on your posterior chain (your back and stabilizer muscles). A roman chair is the best equipment for this function.
As a runner, you’d be familiar with demands the sport has on your glutes, core, and hamstrings. With a roman chair, you can strengthen those areas and improve your running speed and power.
If you are not a runner, no problem. You would still benefit from training with this type of equipment.
This machine assists in developing strength through all of your core. You can still train your rectus abdominis (your six-pack) using a roman chair while you work on your posterior chain.
Yes, this workout equipment does include your butt.
Ab Machine Buyer’s Guide
If you aren’t familiar with the PROVRBS fitness principles, let us give you a crash course.
To design an effective training routine, you need the following aspects:
- Progression: The intensity of the workload must progressively and gradually increase
- Regularity: The work must be done often and consistently enough to yield results.
- Overload: The workload must exceed the typical demands you place on your body
- Variety: The work must change frequently enough to avoid plateaus.
- Recovery: You must allow sufficient recovery to stimulate muscle growth and performance.
- Balance: The work must include both the cardiovascular and the musculoskeletal systems.
- Specificity: The work must work toward a specific goal.
After you have revised (or learned) about these principles, ask yourself: which equipment can assist me in achieving the above principles with regards to my ab muscle training?
Your answer will be specific to you. People’s bodies are unique and have different strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, different people have different workout routines.
Some people prefer to workout as hard as they can to the point of throwing up during sessions. Yes, some people genuinely enjoy this! Others prefer to exercise lightly and “not notice” they are working out.
Some people have large homes and can accommodate a home gym. Other people need their equipment not to take up too much space in the living room.
Regardless of your personal exercise preference, we have compiled a list of common factors we recommend looking into when choosing your ideal ab machine. Use these factors to help find what you need.
No one wants to buy something only to have to replace it a few months later.
Unfortunately, a lot of manufacturers compromise on quality to keep production costs down.
Watch for inferior quality products by paying close attention to the structures. For example, steel will be stronger than plastic, and leather will be stronger than vinyl.
It isn’t always possible to get a feel for the product if you are purchasing online. However, you can get clues about the durability from:
- The material of the product
- How much weight it is capable of sustaining
- Photos of its joints and levers
If you can see that the handle looks too small, the bars have one screw, and the padding seems too thin, the item isn’t excellent quality. In that case, you’ll need to read independent reviews, contact the manufacturer with your questions, or find nearby stores where you can try before you buy.
Most reliable manufacturers do offer a warranty. Read the conditions carefully to avoid getting stuck with a machine that is unsuitable for you.
Ease of Use
Admit it. You have (at least once in your life) bought a product only to let it gather dust. Maybe you became overwhelmed by its intimidating plethora of features. It’s okay. It happens to the best of us.
Sure, it sounds incredible to have the latest gadget that does everything short of cooking your breakfast for you. But in reality, no matter how many incredible features a product has, you need to be able to use it.
Many people will buy a versatile ab machine but only take advantage of one setting or adjustment. Sometimes this is because they don’t know how to convert it. Sometimes they need tools and instructions they don’t have at hand.
Remember that sometimes less is more. Don’t pay extra for settings you won’t ever use.
Ease of use is such an important consideration because most of us are time poor. We’re already tired from the constant responsibilities of living. The last thing we want is to spend hours trying to figure out how to set up and use an ab machine. After all, you are buying exercise equipment so you can workout faster and avoid going to the gym.
Don’t forget to take into account whether the equipment is as user-friendly as it looks!
How much space do you have available for a piece of equipment?
While most of us wish we had unlimited storage, we are limited by our living spaces.
Some of us live in apartments, which also means we have to consider our neighbors. Nobody wants to hear you bouncing up and down an ab machine from their ceiling. Awkward!
Before you click the “Buy Now” button on Amazon or your favorite online shopping site, examine the product specifications, including the dimensions. Have a tape measure handy to cover all sides (height, length, depth). Don’t forget to allow extra room for machines that require extensions.
There’s no use in having just enough room for the machine only to find out that you can’t extend your legs while performing the exercise.
Support is paramount when it comes to training. There is always a risk of injury in physical exercise.
What’s comfortable for one person may not be ideal for someone else. Think about what your deal breakers are in terms of comfort.
Maybe you don’t mind a hard surface, but you must have foam padding on the handles. Or perhaps you can’t use something that doesn’t support your neck because of a previous injury.
It doesn’t matter if it looks good in the picture if you can’t use it correctly.
Naturally, a certain amount of discomfort is necessary because it’s exercise. As people say, no pain, no gain. However, don’t do more harm than good.
Some of the main aspects that contribute to stability are:
- Adjustments: Can you adjust the machine to fit your body type and size?
- Padding: How durable is the padding? Is it adequately soft while still sufficiently firm?
- Material: Is it made from a sturdy material that provides stability without wobbling or creaking?
You should always ask yourself these crucial questions to determine which machine has the stability and comfort you need.
As you’ve probably noticed, versatility is the name of the game.
If you’re going to invest in exercise equipment, you want to get the best bang for your buck.
This is not going to be the case if you have to buy multiple machines to suit all of your fitness goals. Wouldn’t it be much easier if you could buy one that does the job?
Not to mention the space constraints. Who has room for ten pieces of equipment? You might be fine if you have a home gym, but not many of us do. Equipment that comes fully assembled might be harder to move to the side when you need extra room.
Aside from cost-effectiveness and space, people get bored with exercise routines. Boredom is probably the number one reason people quit exercise programs!
Doing the same thing loses its appeal after a while. Sadly, the average exerciser will stop a program before even seeing results.
Also, as we have learned from the PROVRBS principle explained above, you need to vary your training to progress.
Therefore, choose an ab machine that offers possibilities. Versatile options to look for include:
- Alternative options
- Different exercises
- Level progression
A versatile piece of equipment will help you stick to the routine and make progress.
If you want lots of exercises, look for things like pull-up bars and adjustable resistance.
Finally, let’s discuss the warranty. The warranty is probably the only feature of a product that the buyer does NOT want to use!
We usually assume that a product we buy will work as expected. However, sometimes that’s not the case.
It’s inconvenient to have to send a product back or call a technician to repair it. We have demanding lives and don’t need to spend any extra time fixing something that should have worked in the first place.
This fact is why you should always consider the warranty offered by the manufacturer.
The warranty should (at the very least) cover aspects such as:
- Duration: Is it covered for a reasonable amount of time?
- Expectation: Does it work the way it is supposed to?
- Satisfaction: Is there a guarantee on parts and materials?
These are just some of the aspects of good warranty policies.
There are some other extras to look out for, which can include:
- Free returns
- Trial periods
- Money back guarantees
We don’t buy a product to return it, but there’s no harm in protecting your investment by getting a warranty.
If you want to improve your workout routine, an ab machine is an excellent place to start. Use this buying guide and our list of top picks to choose the best one for your needs.
About the Author
Cristy is a freelance writer interested in a variety of topics from poetry and self-development to fitness, travel, and culture.
As a qualified personal trainer and group fitness instructor, she specializes in Muay Thai kickboxing, resistance training, and running.
Cristy usually achieves most of her daily tasks before the sun is up as a self-confessed extreme morning person.
When she isn’t writing or watching the sunrise, you can find her hanging out by the ocean, exercising, or enjoying a strong caffeine hit. Sometimes she’s doing all of these things simultaneously.
Cristy lives in Australia, where she enjoys long walks on the beach and indulging in the occasional Tim Tam.Read More