The Truth About Ab Exercise Equipment

Uploaded by ACEfitness on 01.02.2011

Jessica Matthews, Academy Exercise Scientist, ACE-CPT, ACE-GFI: With the new year underway,
many of us are already thinking to the warm months of summer and setting goals of sporting a toned midsection at the beach.
But before you consider purchasing the latest piece of fitness equipment that promises to give you six-pack abs in just minutes a day,
or before you set aside time in your workout to complete an endless number of crunches, let's discuss the truth about abs,
and highlight some of the most effective ways to strengthen your core at home, or at the gym, no equipment needed.
While the thought of touting a toned midsection might be the motivation for some, it's important to understand
that a strong core serves a much higher purpose than just being easy on the eyes.
Strengthening the abdominals is important for:
improving posture, alleviating lower back pain, preventing injuries, and improving overall performance.
While the images of ripped abs and rock-hard bodies on infomercials may have you tempted to spend your leftover holiday cash
on the “latest, greatest piece of ab-sculpting equipment,” you may want to think again before making that investment.
A Consumer Reports study of at-home equipment found that there are essentially no additional benefits to be gained
from spending money on specialized equipment.
In fact, research has shown that many of these products, such as the Torso Track and Ab Roller,
yield only slightly more muscle activity, if any, in the rectus abdominis and obliques than a traditional crunch.
And some products, such as the Ab Rocker, were shown to be up to 80 percent less effective than crunches.
The reality is, these products are derived from the common fallacy that spot reduction is possible,
in that selectively exercising a part of the body, that we can burn off fat from that particular region.
However, numerous studies, both in recent years and decades past, have refuted this claim.
Only regular exercise, both cardio-respiratory and strength training, in conjunction with a sensible diet,
can eliminate excess body fat and help you on your way toward a flatter stomach.
There are a few things to keep in mind when selecting abdominal exercises to incorporate in your workout routine.
As with any resistance training exercise, you ideally want the last few repetitions to be difficult to complete.
Therefore, when performed correctly, 10 to 25 repetitions for one to three sets of abdominal exercise
should provide more than adequate training stimulus.
If you can perform more than 25 repetitions of an abdominal exercise,
you're likely performing the repetitions too rapidly, or with improper form.
If you're looking for ways to strengthen your abdominal muscles, and improve the definition of your midsection,
try incorporating these three exercises into your current workout routine.
Front plank, side plank, and bird dog. These exercises can easily be performed at home or at the gym, with no equipment needed.
And detailed descriptions of each can be found in ACE's exercise library.
If a program is more of what you're seeking, be sure to check out the core workout featured on our website at
Remember: regular, consistent exercise is the key to reaching your goals, not the latest fitness gadget.
We'll see you next time.