best ab machines

Ab Machine: Test & Reviews

Author: Manuel Heitmann

Coach & Fitness Expert

Tight abdominal muscles are not only visually desirable, but also strengthen the entire body and posture. Of course, an abdominal trainer alone does not make a six-pack, but studies show that beginners in particular feel motivated by buying an abdominal trainer and thus stay better at training. In addition to external tests, our excellent consumer portal also analyzed customer ratings and identified the best abdominal trainers.

Questions to Consider Before Buying An Ab Machine

What is an ab machine?

An abdominal trainer is typically a piece of fitness equipment that stimulates and strengthens the abdominal muscles through the movements it supports. The specially developed abdominal trainers help to activate all muscle areas in the abdominal area. The fitness equipment is often suitable for training of several body zones and thus offer an extension of the abdominal muscle training. Various tests by the abdominal trainers look at the particularly high-quality fitness products and the popular devices in detail to highlight the respective features. Many external test comparisons offer a solid basis for the individual purchase decision.

As part of our comparison, we also offer helpful suggestions on the particularly popular belly-away exercises and to increase personal motivation.

The abdominal trainers in different designs are suitable for workouts at home and thus serve as fitness equipment for home use. There are so-called abdominal benches and floor trainers that work with a roller bike. With some ab trainers, you lean back on the bench or armrest and bend forward, tensing your muscles. The rolling wheels are pressed onto the floor in a bent position and rolled back and forth there. During this movement, the tension in the abdominal muscles can also be clearly felt. The training effect can be increased individually with additional weights or special functions. This intensification accelerates the success because it attacks the fat reserves faster.

If you now do the exercises regularly, the abdominal muscles are strengthened. Depending on the training plan and the frequency of the exercises, the result can be a tighter stomach, but also a so-called six-pack. Ultimately, it depends on what is desired.

But training the abdominal muscles is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also has a health value and benefit. Because: A strengthened stomach not only looks beautiful, it also strengthens the back. Among other things, this improves posture. For example, a hollow back can be counteracted by tight abdominal muscles.

In addition, other problem areas such as hips, buttocks and thighs are often tightened by the abdominal trainer, an important positive effect. With some ab trainers the fun factor is very high, with others the focus is clearly on the training effect.

How does an ab machine work?

How the ab trainer works depends on how it is constructed. The practical floor trainers are basically very simple. Their functionality is immediately apparent in practical use.

The floor trainers, which are also known as power rollers or roll bars, consist of a U-shaped rod that is provided with padding. They enable various positions and, depending on the movement, train the front or lower abdominal muscles. The intensity of the movement is rated as moderate.

The roller wheel is also one of the simple and small abdominal trainers. It works on a similar principle to push-ups. The user kneels in front of the roller wheel and pushes it away from him using the stable handles on the right and left and pulls it back towards him.

This movement creates a resistance which, depending on the rolling distance, engages the muscles slightly or more. Since these roller wheels are equipped without a mechanical auxiliary function, they are mainly suitable for trained people who have no back problems.

But there are also premium scooters on which it was possible to adjust the training intensity in tests. In various tests, some of these rolling wheels were not only equipped with one wheel, but with two wheels in order to facilitate safe operation.

The traditional exercise machines include the abdominal benches. This is an inclined surface on which the athlete lies on his back. The upper body is tilted backwards. The feet are placed in a holder provided for this purpose in order to have the necessary counter pressure for sit-ups, crunches and similar exercises.

Due to the inclined position, the hip flexor muscles are less strongly addressed than with normal sit-ups, instead the effect on the abdominal muscles is noticeably higher. This increased stress ensures that even short training units lead to good success. The abdominal benches are available in various designs.

Often the support surface can be adjusted individually. This is particularly advantageous if the abdominal trainer is used by several people who differ in size.

The incline of the lying surface can also be adjusted with a single handle on many of the abdominal benches. Some of the benches can also be supplemented with additional extension elements to expand the training options. That is why the abdominal benches are viewed as popular all-round exercise equipment.

As a training bench for at home, they are not only suitable for specifically training the core of the body, but also serve to strengthen the arms and legs in combination with dumbbells or other equipment.

A complete abdominal trainer station can also be set up in your own apartment. An extra fitness room does not have to be available for this. If necessary, the device can be moved aside in a few simple steps to save space when the training session has ended.

The abdominal trainer station is an effective system for combined muscle building and endurance training. The special construction activates the muscle groups through the weight of the person exercising. Depending on the position and direction of movement, there is an alternation of tension and relaxation phases, which intensifies the training.

These so-called body shapers are not only suitable for advanced users, they are also used by beginners. Due to the integrated mechanics, wrong movements are almost impossible. If necessary, the angle of inclination is changed, which affects the intensity of the follow-up exercise.

Advantages & areas of application

The various abdominal trainers fit perfectly in a youth room or bedroom, where they can easily find a place due to their mostly small size. Before starting the exercises with the floor trainer or roller bike, a mat is laid out. This exercise mat is not required for the abdominal bench.

The larger training stations can also be set up within a short time, so that nothing prevents the training of the abdominal muscles. The various abdominal trainers from various tests in 2020 have proven themselves to be health-promoting devices and impress with their stability.

With their flexible usage options, they are regarded as varied fitness equipment. Abdominal trainers are mainly used when better muscle building is to be supported. They are also suitable for physiotherapy applications.

Optimizing the abdominal muscles affects the overall posture and usually strengthens the back muscles.

In this context, abdominal trainers play an essential role in maintaining good posture and in preventing back problems.

Strength training for the abdominal muscles helps to stabilize the core and tone the body. This has both aesthetic and health reasons. If you want to lose weight, you can reduce your waist circumference with the help of abdominal training.

In addition to aesthetics, it is, on the other hand, physical health and well-being that can be improved by training the abdominal muscles. Because the abdominal muscles support the trunk, which improves posture. Targeted abdominal training can reduce or even avoid postural damage and the associated negative consequences. It also creates an upright gait and the internal organs are held in place and protected by the muscles that surround them like a corset. At best, however, the back muscles should also be strengthened and trained.

This is also beneficial in two ways: the fat is burned better, which automatically makes you feel fitter and healthier, and the body becomes leaner.

Losing weight with the abdominal trainer can only be crowned with success if you also change your diet.

What types of ab machines are available?

The different types of abdominal trainers are stable devices such as an abdominal bench or rollable training devices. There are floor machines and bench trainers on which the user lies on their backs to do sit-ups and other abdominal exercises.

A bracket for the feet creates a certain counter pressure, which gives more strength to lift the upper body. The fixation also ensures that the feet do not slip away. The comparison and test winners of the abdominal trainers in the form of an abdominal bench have an adjustment function as well as padding that makes training comfortable.

We list the important advantages of the abdominal bench in the following short list:

  • very effective method for ab training
  • suitable for various training levels and body sizes due to adjustment
  • the high-quality devices can be folded in to save space
  • stable stand.

The disadvantages of the abdominal benches only relate to the initial setup:

  • high purchase price
  • a lot of space required for training

The floor trainers are a very good solution for beginners. The ergonomically adapted cushions for the neck and elbows prevent tension and painful collisions. The comparison test winners of these floor trainers are partially equipped with integrated mini computers that display information on the duration of the training and the units completed.

After training, many models of the floor trainer can be taken apart or folded up so that they hardly need any storage space. The U-shaped steel tube can be used safely even by beginners and makes the exercises pleasantly easy.

In addition to the abdominal muscles, the back muscles are also activated during the training sessions. At the same time, the floor trainer is gentle on the intervertebral discs. Due to their rigid construction, these training devices are not suitable for all body sizes. Therefore, when choosing such a floor trainer, you should pay close attention to the size specifications.

The advantages of the floor trainer in a test:

  • handy and small format
  • inexpensive training equipment
  • easy to use even for beginners
  • gentle on intervertebral discs and back

The disadvantages of the floor trainer in a test:

  • is not suitable for all body sizes
  • rigid shape, so little variety

The abdominal muscle roller is also a popular and practical form of abdominal trainer in our test comparison. These devices are mainly used by athletic people because they require a certain amount of strength. The user kneels on a soft mat in front of the roller trainer and pushes it away from him in order to pull it back towards him.

This basic exercise is not a problem for people who play sports regularly or are well trained. However, if you have back problems or are in an untrained status, you should opt for a lighter training device. The abdominal trainers with roller wheels are available at an affordable price and are particularly flexible.

Nevertheless, they do not lack stability. This is also important as they will have to withstand a lot of weight moving back and forth while doing ab exercises.

A particular advantage of this simple training device is the high level of motivation that results from the fact that you can feel the effect immediately and can clearly see it after just a few units.

The advantages of the floor rolling wheels:

  • low acquisition costs
  • high motivation through fun and success factor
  • very effective
  • light weight with strong resistance
  • handy and space-saving

The disadvantages of the abs roller:

  • only suitable for trained people

All ab trainers from a test can only lead to success if they are used regularly. The abdominal muscles cannot be built without two to three training units per week.

Abdominal trainers are not an invention of the modern age. For several decades, people have been trying to define or strengthen their abdominal muscles using various devices. Very popular ways of doing this today are the so-called crunch abdominal trainer, the abdominal bench, the abdominal muscle roller and the electrical stimulation device. All of these types have their own advantages and disadvantages and address very specific training projects.

In our abdominal trainer test 2020, we will of course also tell you what these are and what you should know and consider when looking for a suitable abdominal trainer in relation to the different types.

However, you shouldn’t train with it every day, because the body needs a regeneration time for good muscle building.

What do I have to look out for when buying a dumbbell?

Choosing an abdominal trainer is based on various conditions. Among other things, you should take into account the maximum body weight so that the fitness equipment is not overused or accidents occur.

It’s also about finding a device that optimally trains the desired muscle groups. Depending on the environment, the size or the possibility of folding also play a role when buying an abdominal trainer. If you live in a small apartment, you will certainly prefer the compact devices. The abdominal trainers with a folding mechanism can also be used flexibly and simply put out of the way after training to make space for other things.

A test of the abdominal trainer presents various models that are suitable for use at home. When comparing the devices, it is made clear which criteria must be observed in order to avoid a bad buy.

There are training devices that only activate the muscles in the abdomen, but also systems that can be used for various training purposes and also address other muscle groups.

In many tests and in the ratings of the numerous abdominal trainers, those devices that enable the training of several muscle zones did particularly well.

This effectively activates both the upper and lower abdominal muscles. Furthermore, the training devices are also suitable for strengthening the muscles in the back and chest, so that a wide range of training is supported.

The floor trainers are a good start for beginners who are just starting out with abdominal muscle training. These make getting started with fitness or abdominal training easy. The spine is not excessively stressed, but not only the abdominal muscles but also the back muscles benefit from the training.

Thanks to the practical and easy-to-use device, the exercises are really fun, so that motivation doesn’t wane. If you want a more effective training after a while, you can equip yourself with a higher quality abdominal trainer in order to achieve the higher goals.

However, if you are considering buying such an abdominal muscle trainer, you should consider whether the necessary requirements for optimal use are met. The following criteria also play a decisive role when choosing a different type of abdominal trainer:

  • There should be enough space in the apartment to train with the fitness machine. Then the abdominal bench or the abdominal, legs and buttocks fitness trainer can remain in the room even after use. The collapsible ab trainers are a sensible solution for a small apartment.
  • In general, the abdominal trainers have been developed for use at home. With their handy format or a practical system, some models are also suitable for traveling, as they can be disassembled. The training equipment fits in the suitcase and is also included on business or private trips. There is no need to take a break from training.
  • As a result of an abdominal trainer test, we present classic and mainly functionally designed devices, but also trend models that look stylish. The combination with other fitness accessories is possible in both cases. If you are interested in a chic fitness room, the design of the training equipment will be precisely coordinated. Modern colors increase motivation and make you want to go to the next training session.
  • There are exercise machines that focus on strengthening the abdominal muscles, but there are also workout machines that target multiple muscle groups. When deciding on a device, the focus is on the flexibility of the training plan. The question is: Should only the abdominal muscles be improved, or is training of other muscle parts also desired?

When the decision to buy fitness equipment has been made, there is no longer any excuse. The abdominal trainer only fulfills its purpose if it is used regularly. You should practice with the abdominal trainer at least twice, preferably three times a week, in order to gradually approach the desired success. Whether it is a classic, mechanical abdominal trainer or innovative equipment, an intensive workout is required for the dream figure.

Useful accessories

Depending on the type of ab trainer, various accessories are available that can optimize the training. The exercises are intensified with weights or a dumbbell set. Other additional elements for the various training devices also support individual abdominal muscle training, which can be extended to other muscle groups if necessary.

Many tests by the abdominal trainer also provide information on other useful accessories that are often not included with the equipment. It may be necessary to buy a soft fitness mat for the floor trainers, which makes training more comfortable. A storage system or special brackets help to neatly stow away the training equipment.

For some ab trainers from the 2020 test, additional pads are available to help avoid pressure points. These pads can not only be used by beginners, but they also expand the range of uses of the training equipment. With an additional leg rest or shoulder pad, the abdominal trainer can also be used by professionals for dumbbell exercises, for example.

If you set up your own training room, additional devices for massage or hanging are an interesting addition.

Following the abdominal muscle training, you relax your body on these devices. A tape massage device loosens the stressed muscles and promotes blood circulation, while the wall-mounted devices for loosening and unhooking convince with a good relaxing effect.

Abdominal muscle training can be planned individually with instructions in the form of exercise books, CDs or DVDs. The programs can be taken over directly or adapted to the respective requirements. With the help of an activity tracker, the planning and control of the training is even easier.

The fitness exercises are recorded precisely by the corresponding sensor, taking into account the respective effort, muscle load and calorie consumption. A special app rounds off this innovative equipment.

Additional elements that are used together with the abdominal trainer or are used in connection with other training methods can also be included in the extended range of accessories.

Sportswear is also part of it. For beginners and as part of physiotherapy, clothing with a supportive function can be useful.

Ab Machine Alternatives

In addition to the comparison test winners of the abdominal trainers and the simple products, there are various other alternatives that are advertised on the Internet and on TV. However, this muscle training is never as easy as the advertising claims.


Ultimately, increased effort is required to stimulate the muscles in a way that encourages their growth. Strength training for the abdominal muscles can also be carried out without a device, even if normal sit-ups or crunches are by no means as effective as the same exercises on the abdominal trainer.

The suspension trainers are an interesting concept that is becoming more and more popular. This is a construction made of tapes and fasteners that is fixed to the wall. The exercising person hangs his or her body into this suspension trainer and tenses the muscles in order to perform certain movements.

The high body tension also stresses the abdominal muscles, even if these are less targeted than with the abdominal trainers. That is why the suspension trainers are also called full-body training devices.

Other devices also work through vibrating force, but they don’t seem to be as mature as experience reports show. The weight benches and gymnastics equipment, which can be found in fitness studios but can also be used at home, are considered reliable if not as effective.

There are corresponding exercises for targeted training of the abdominal muscles. Large-format equipment such as cross trainers also have a positive effect on the overall constitution and thus also on the slim figure, but they only train the abdominal muscles to a small extent.

Frequently Asked Questions: Ab Machines

What goals can be achieved with the ab machine?

In the short term you can neither get a six-pack with the abdominal trainer nor lose ten kilograms. Still, it makes sense to write down a goal and work towards it. With a training plan, you stay motivated. There are tips on the Internet about the exercises and the training plan lasting several weeks, some including a nutrition plan.

A certain discipline should not be missing if you want to get slim and stabilize your core. The self-made plan helps not to lose sight of the goal. However, it may be necessary to adjust the training sessions if the body sends alarm signals and muscle soreness or excessive strain occurs prematurely.

How can you tell that the muscles are properly activated during training?

Physical exertion is essential to stimulate the muscles of the abdomen. Because only when the muscles are challenged can they grow. Pulling in the abs is a good sign. If the movements with the abdominal trainer become harder after a while, do one or two more repetitions of the exercise before stopping the movement.

As long as the training unit can still be carried out properly, it is important to persevere. However, the exercises should not be completed with momentum. The muscles get the necessary stimulus for the desired growth through the last movements or repetitions.

How do you start and complete your abs workout?

Before you start exercising your abdominal muscles, there should be at least a short warm-up phase. During this warm-up, you walk in place or do a few squats while circling your arms. A few stretching exercises will also help prepare for the abdominal muscle training. In this way, the muscles receive better blood circulation and can more easily adapt to the upcoming stress caused by muscle training.

Warming up and loosening up reduces the risk of overexertion later on, while these introductory exercises are also a good way of preventing muscle soreness.

The cool-down phase follows after training with the fitness machine. The muscles that were used during the abdominal workout are stretched and relaxed. This final phase is also very important for a good body feeling and counteracts subsequent pain.

There are some tips on how to warm up and cool down on the internet. You can also find the relevant information in many instructions, some of which are included with the abdominal trainer.

An experienced fitness trainer can also give tips on how to start training or help with exercise examples. With a video it is easy for beginners to find the optimal rhythm, both for the warm-up phase and for the cool-down exercises.

How do you know that your posture and movements are correct?your abs workout?

People who already have experience with sporting activity know the signs of their body and can feel during training whether they have taken the optimal position and are moving correctly. For beginners, however, it makes sense to get help from an experienced professional. This is possible, for example, in a gym or in a specialty shop.

The videos that can be found on the Internet also help with the first exercises with the abdominal trainer. The demonstrated exercises are initially repeated slowly by the beginners. A trainer can make corrections or give tips if necessary. The correct sequence of movements is essential for the successful use of the abdominal trainer.

That is why manufacturers often provide detailed exercise instructions that support training at home. In a test by the abdominal trainer, the test subjects examined the understandability of these instructions, among other things. If you want to use the device effectively, you should read the instructions carefully and consider the individual advice.

To check whether your posture is correct, it helps to do the exercises in front of a large mirror. This way you can keep an eye on the individual training units and make small changes to your posture if necessary. After a while, the movements become flesh and blood, so that constant checking by looking in the mirror is no longer necessary.

Can the abdominal muscle training be influenced by increased body tension?

Strong body tension activates the muscles particularly well. When tensing the muscles in the abdomen, legs and buttocks, the exercisers feel the increased intensity. By pulling the belly button inward during sit-up or other exercises, the deep muscles are also trained. The tension in the pelvic floor also has a positive effect on the training effect for the abdominal muscles.

Do you have to pay special attention to breathing during training?

It is recommended to breathe in before starting the exercises, breathe out with tension or exertion, and breathe again while relaxing. However, the breaths should not be exaggerated, but should be as calm and even as possible. In this way, the exercises can be repeated several times without getting out of breath.

Should the ab trainer be used daily or is weekly training enough?

The results of training with the abdominal muscle trainer are particularly good if you do the exercises twice or three times a week. You should rest for at least a day between training sessions. During this break, the muscles are given the time they need to rest to concentrate on growing.

After a few weeks it makes sense to vary the exercises in order to address the muscles in different ways and thus to activate them more intensively. These new exercises create different stimuli, which on the one hand have a positive effect on the muscles and on the other hand counteract boredom.

How long should you train per session?

The duration of the training phase depends on the physical condition or the level of training. For beginners, just ten minutes with the abdominal trainer can be very exhausting. After a while of muscle training, the time can then gradually increase.

If you think you can’t do another repetition while exercising, you should just try it again or twice: This stimulus is important for the muscles because it stimulates growth. If you train regularly, a training time of 20 minutes to half an hour is generally sufficient.

The manufacturers of the abdominal trainers and also the professional fitness trainers give recommendations on the duration of the training or the appropriate workload. In this context, the training time also depends on the intensity of the exercises.

After what period of time can you expect the ab machine to have a visible effect?

This question cannot be answered with a general answer, as various factors play a role. If you only practice with the abdominal trainer but do not change your diet, you need significantly longer for visible success.

Depending on the original constitution, the change in the body fat percentage only shows up when there is a difference of around 10%. With a well-combined training of endurance and strength and with a change in diet, the first signs of a firmer body can be seen after about six weeks.

How can you increase motivation during abdominal muscle training?

At the beginning, the motivation for fitness and muscle training is still relatively high. However, after a period of time, it gradually subsides. This development can be seen in every type of training. However, there are a few tips to keep you motivated. A fitness diary helps to understand the physical improvement and to recognize even small successes.

Anyone looking through this diary with their family is putting themselves under pressure. With the help of other people, it is easier to stay disciplined. In general, it helps the trainees when they are not alone. Training together with your partner or a friend is enormously motivating, especially when small internal competitions take place after a while.

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