It seems like every where you look there's another ab exercise machine that is marketed with promises of fast fat loss and the prospect of having beautifully toned abs. These products are usually promoted with “sexy” infomercials featuring even sexier models that present such a qualifying marketing message that it's difficult to ignore them.
The question is whether these ab machines actually work. Do they provide an effective exercise experience? Do they help you to lose belly fat? Are they worth the price?
What Ab Machines Do
All the ab exercise products that I've seen offer one thing in general: the ability to do targeted abdominal exercises in what is claimed to be a superior way to regular stomach exercises. Is there really any benefit in this?
Some ab exercisers come with various support mechanisms that are designed to provide a more comfortable workout experience. This can take the shape of a headrest or a back cushions. These may indeed make it easier for people with back or neck problems to perform crunches. However, they may also make the exercise less effective since part of the challenge is to keep your body steady as you perform the exercise. By providing this kind of support, you make the muscles work less, not more.
When the exercise machine provides added resistance the picture can change. If you're looking to strengthen your abdominal muscles, adding resistance can indeed make the muscles work harder and become stronger. However, one of the common complaints about many ab machines is that the resistance they offer is not substantial and may be suitable for beginners only.
Do Ab Machines Burn Belly Fat?
This is the most important question to answer. Unfortunately, it seems that the answer is no. This is due to a number of reasons:
1. The basic assumption that abdominal exercises can burn stomach fat is false. There is no such thing as spot fat reduction. It does not exist. Your body does not burn fat from the body parts that you train. It burns fat from your various body parts depending on your genetics, hormones, and other factors. You can not burn fat from your abs primarily just because you're doing stomach exercises. It does not work that way.
2. Ab machines do not really give you a workout experience which is calorie expensive. This means that you will not be burning a lot of calories when you use them, not a lot of fat, either.
So, are ab machines worth their price? I am not a big fat of these machines. I think that there are plenty of free ab exercises that do as much good as those that you can do with most machines.