Everything You Need to Know: How to Use Ab Machine
For beginners, it is a bit hard to pick the right ab workout equipment because there are many kinds of tools for abdominal training now. Most of the people only know the things from TV.
Within this post, I would like to show you what sorts of ab exercise machines there are and how to use them properly.
Crunches Play a Helping Hand
Although regular cardio exercise and healthy changes to your diet play an instrumental role in weight loss, don't overlook strength-building exercises such as crunches with an ab machine.
The use of an ab machine provides an alternative to bodyweight ab exercises such as crunches and front planks, it allows you to increase the resistance to deepen the challenge of the exercise. Improving the strength of any muscles, including your abs, can elevate your metabolism to aid in the fat-burning process.
Despite the minor role that the use of an ab machine can play in weight loss, building strong abs has a number of other advantages.
Although you might not frequently think about your abs, you use these muscles in an endless array of everyday actions, from sitting and turning to just standing upright. If you contend with lower back pain, stronger abs can lessen the discomfort, while also leading to better balance, stability, and posture.
Here are just a few benefits of stronger abs:
Prevents Lower-Back Pain
- Improving mobility and strength in the hips, thighs, glutes and back not only prevents back pain, it can also relieve the aches. Core strength makes people more mindful of performing daily living movements such as lifting a box, gardening, or sitting at a desk correctly since maintaining a straight spine becomes a subconscious reflex over time.
- The way you stand and sit will impact how you feel on a daily basis. Ideal posture places the least amount of compression on the back as possible, resulting in minimum wear and tear on the spine. Bad posture occurs when your pelvis tilts forward, causing an exaggerated spinal curve. Strengthening the core will correct bad posture by distributing weight evenly throughout the body.
- Breathing training and core training go hand-in-hand. Developing stronger breathing muscles, such as the diaphragm and intercostals, translates into better core strength, according to a Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, study. The participants in the aforementioned study also saw an improvement in running economy from combining breathing training and core training during six weeks of HIIT training..
- The proper intensity, exercise selection, and frequency of core training will reduce your waist circumference, a marker of long-term health risk, not to mention the aesthetically pleasing benefit of six-pack abs.
Now that you know the importance of stronger abs, we will now take a look at the most popular (READ: Effective) ab machines and how to use them effectively.
ABS MACHINES: What and How
Sit Up Bench
While it may seem like a one-trick pony, a sit-up bench is actually a very versatile piece of exercise equipment. Use it to strengthen multiple unique muscle groups, both in the abdomen and throughout the body.
Many different exercises can be performed on a sit-up bench to give you an effective workout.
- Trunk Extension - This exercise strengthens the erector spinae muscles that help extend the back and provide stability to the spine. Lie on your stomach with your knees bent around the end of the bench to secure them. Put your hands on the back of your head and lift your upper body off the bench until it is parallel with the floor. Hold this position for 1 to 2 seconds and then slowly lower back down.
- Russian Twist - Russian Twists strengthen the oblique abdominal muscles on the sides of your stomach. These muscles assist with flexing, side-bending and rotating the trunk. Fasten your knees on the end of the bench and lie on your back. Lock your hands behind your head and perform a sit up. As you do this, rotate your right arm towards your left knee. After a 1 to 2 second hold, straighten your body and lower it back down to the bench. Repeat with the left arm moving towards the right knee.
Improving your abdominal muscles has benefits beyond creating a sexy beach body. Abdominal strength helps prevent lower back pain and improves sports performance.
An ab wheel is an inexpensive piece of equipment that’s easy to use for effective core workouts. Start slowly with an ab wheel as you build your core muscles.
- When you first use an ab wheel, start from a kneeling position to learn technique and experience how much stress the exercises place on your abs, back and arms. Place the wheel in front of you, under your chest in a spot where you feel balanced. Move forward, letting the wheel roll you forward as your arms and torso straighten. Use your core to push you forward and roll you back. Don’t roll forward so that your arms are completely straight, or it may be too difficult to roll yourself back. Experiment with different forward roll lengths to see which one lets you roll yourself backward using your abs. Roll slowly, stop, then roll backward. Repeat this series 10 times, then take a break.
- As you are able to do this roll with more ease, begin rolling farther forward. This requires more muscular effort and helps increase your muscle size. When you are able to do longer rolls without failing, try rolling from the plank position, with your knees off the ground and toes supporting you, similar to a push-up position. When you first move to the plank position, start with shorter forward rolls, adding length as you build muscle. Keep your back in a straight line, rather than sticking your buttocks upward, to avoid back strain.
- When you are able to perform multiple, long forward rolls from the plank position, add oblique turns. Instead of rolling straight forward and back, start rolling forward, then turn to the left and finish the roll in that direction. Roll back, then roll forward to the right. This works the obliques, located on the sides of your stomach area. When you have built enough muscle strength that your ab rolls are easy to do, start from a standing position to perform your exercises.
In my opinion, one of the best exercises equipment you can have at home is the power tower or pull up and dip station. If somebody asks me what the best tool to buy for bodyweight exercises is, I always say to get a tower. With the help of it, we can make most beneficial moves.
- Pull up / Chin ups - Both of these power tower exercises are excellent to train your back, but they also strengthen your shoulders and biceps. These moves can boost your upper body pulling strength very efficiently. They make your shoulders and back broad. There are also variations for both, for example, by changing the distance between your hands. This way you can focus on one particular muscle group more and “attack” the muscles from different angles. Here’s how to do it correctly.
- Push Ups is the best bodyweight exercise to build your chest, but also strengthen your triceps and shoulders. Not each, but many pull-up and dip stations come with low handlebars. Why is this function useful? Because it lets you go deeper. This way, your muscles are stimulated better because of the full range of motion.
- Leg / Knee Raise - If you ask me what the best move for abs is, I vote on leg raise. It works the entire core. Though, it is not easy to perform correctly for beginners, so they should start with knee lifts. The power towers come with a leg raise station that is equipped with back and arm pads. They are thickly padded with foam or other materials, so it is comfortable to use. Plus, this leg raise station holds your body in the right position during the movement. Also, if you lift your leg diagonally, you will be able to train your oblique extremely well.
- Dips - Dip is a powerful compound exercise for triceps, but it also works your shoulders and chest. If you lean forward more, it works your pecs more. It is a killer upper body exercise that should be in your workout routine.
Ab Lounge / Ab Chair
Ab Lounges have joined the ranks of garage sale fitness equipment, circulating from one pair of hands to another until someone decides to actually blow the dust off and break a sweat. The Ab Lounge itself resembles nothing more than a bizarre-looking chaise lounge and is famous for its use as a chair when you're not working out
Its primary purpose, however, is to give you a challenging abdominal workout in a short amount of time - perfect for a busy professional.
- Step over the Ab Lounge so you're straddling it, facing the footrest. Hold onto the Ab Lounge's stationary side handles for balance as you sit down and place both feet on the footrest. Your heels should rest comfortably on the footrest with your legs fully extended, but not locked. If this isn't the case, stand up to adjust the footrest. Loosen the locking knob on the footrest support, adjust the footrest to a better position, then tighten the locking knob and sit down again.
- Reach overhead and grasp the hand bars beside or above your head, depending on which Ab Lounge model you have. Inhale and lie back, swinging the Ab Lounge flat.
- Keep hold of the hand bars and exhale as you squeeze your abs, "crunching" back up to a sitting position. This completes one repetition.
- Aim for a set of eight to 12 repetitions the first time you workout with the Ab Lounge. That's usually enough for any general strength-training exercise, but if you can do more than 12 repetitions with good form, go ahead and build endurance by performing more repetitions. The Ab Lounge doesn't offer adjustable resistance, so doing more repetitions is the only way to make the exercise more challenging.
- Add a twist to work the muscles along the sides of your abs - the obliques. In the lying-down position, twist your hips to the right - about a 30- to a 45-degree angle. Perform another set of "crunches" in this position to engage those obliques. Once you're done with this side, turn your hips to the left and repeat to work the other side of your obliques.
- Use the Ab Lounge for a satisfying abdominal stretch. Just lie flat on the Ab Lounge, arms straight overhead and legs straight. Make sure you stretch to the point of tension, not pain; if the Ab Lounge provides too much of a stretch, you might be more comfortable doing the same stretch lying across an exercise ball.
Complementing a strength-training or stretching routine with an exercise ball is a great way to get a more effective workout, but not if you're committing these common mistakes.
- Using the Wrong Size Ball - Not all balls are created equal. They come in three sizes, so you should choose a ball based on your height.
- Feeling Too Unstable - Find ways to feel steady when using the ball, either by widening your stance, placing more of your body on the ball or by moving at a slower pace.
- Incorrect Technique - Follow along to a DVD or a book, learn moves in a fitness class, or better yet, meet with a personal trainer to learn proper form and technique. A trainer can also demonstrate which moves are best at toning the muscles you want to strengthen, and can help you eliminate poor form habits.
There are many other sorts of tools and equipment that we can use for training or burn fat on our stomach. For example, there are ab belts and muscle toners which can help.
I believe we can only have great looking flat abs if we work for it. They may help to reach goals a bit faster, but training and your diet is the key. And always remember to follow our guide on what to do and what not to do and practice safety at all times.