Now I'm the first to admit I'm an infomercial junky. I like to watch them with my cup of coffee on Sunday mornings and take note of their sales pitch methods and get hints on new exercise moves.
There are quite a few infomercials for ab products because everyone wants the washboard abs look and I'm no exception. Most of the models in these commercials spent hours doing aerobics and dieting like mad to get this look, and it's the infomercial's job to make you think their simple little ab device is all you really need to get the six pack. Most of these simple little ab devices are purchased and never or seldom used, ending up in garage sales, on craigslist or on eBay.
You really don't need any special equipment to work your abs. Simple crunches while lying on the floor are effective, but boring. Many people do not use good form when doing an ab crunch. Not only can this cause back and neck problems, it will also make your ab workout less effective.
Another popular ab exercise is the hanging leg raise. The hanging leg raise works, but it's very hard to do. I have ab slings that hang from the power rack's pull-up bar which support the upper body and this is supposed to make it easier to do leg raises.
But my upper body swings too much and momentum makes this exercise easier and less effective. Also, my lower back and arms start to give out way before my abs do.
Unless you've been living under a rock, you have probably have seen the Ab Coaster on TV. The Ab Coaster is one of the hottest ab workout machines in the fitness market today. It won the 2008 FIBO innovation award. FIBO is the world's largest fitness exposition, with more than 45,000 guests and 438 exhibitors at the annual show. The Ab Coaster was selected from among hundreds of fitness equipment nominations from major fitness companies around the world, including Precor, Nautilus and LifeFitness.
The Ab Coaster movement is a combination of a hanging leg raise and crunch. The Ab Coaster is better than the hanging leg raise and crunch because it eliminates lower back stress, allowing the abs to be worked to failure before your lower back and arms fail. You don't have to support your body weight while using the Ab Coaster thus allowing you to do many more reps correctly.
In my very first workout on the Ab Coaster, I did eight sets of twenty reps -- I NEVER did this many hanging leg raises. My abs hurt for two days!
This machine did a great job of isolating and targeting my abs. This first workout was a cardio workout as well, because I really didn't hold the crunch at the top position. During my next workout I tried doing twenty crunches holding each one at the top for a second or two - brutal!
They must have really good actors on the Ab Coaster infomercials because they are all smiling while using this torture device.
The motion on the Ab Coaster is unique. It really is like being on a mini roller coaster. I don't know of any machine that's comparable to it. The arc motion by the Ab Coaster lets you build all the ab muscles faster. The seat moves smoothly and can be rotated freely or locked so you are targeting the "luv" handles. The motion does take some getting used to. If you feel the seat dragging and not moving in a fluid-type motion, you are doing it wrong. The learning curve is pretty quick, though.
The Ab Coaster places no pressure on the back or neck. You avoid injury because you don't have to worry about strict form. It is easy to do for anyone of any fitness level. Best of all, it is effective.
Can the Ab Coaster give you six-pack abs all by itself?
Not without paying attention to diet.
It's relatively simple: eat a little less, exercise a little more (easy to type, hard to do!). It's all about calories in vs. calories out.
The literature that Ab Coaster provides gives you a sample diet to follow, along with an instructional DVD. The DVD is nothing spectacular, just how to do the motion and also includes a somewhat silly aerobics routine.
The Ab Coaster is made out of high-quality steel and is heavy and sturdy. It's very easy to put together and all tools are included. The model I have is the CS1000, which is the light commercial model. The dimensions are 57" L x 27" W x 53" H, and can hold up to 400 pounds. The rails the seat rides on are 2" thick instead of 1.5" thick like the home model version. You can also add up to 30 lbs. of weight plates to the seat.
I haven"t found a single negative review regarding the construction. My two teenagers will test out the durability, though.
After reading an Ab Coaster review, I decided to get the CS1000, which is the light commercial model (sold to hotels, etc). I found a so called refurbished model (which is basically a new one repackaged) on eBay for only $499 including shipping and of course no tax. I ended up winning the auction for $499, plus I had a 10% off coupon from eBay, so I ended up paying just under $450! This was a really good deal for the light commercial model considering the $899 price tag on the Ab Coaster website.
This is the best abdominal workout machine on TV. What's great about the Ab Coaster is that it does exactly what it's supposed to do: isolate your abdominal area. The motion is easy and, yes, fun to do. I would never say this about crunches or hanging leg raises. I actually look forward to my abdominal workouts now.
Here's a homemade ab isolation strap that makes the Ab Coaster even more effective.
It's really refreshing for a product to live up to its marketing.
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