Abdominal weight machines, like other weight machines you might find in your gym, tone and strengthen targeted muscles. Ab weight machines enable you to work your abs against resistance, thus accelerating your ability to tone and build your ab muscles. But they won't help flatten your stomach or reduce girth. However, used in conjunction with other weight machines and regular fat-burning cardiovascular exercises, ab weight machines can help you get a lean, toned muscular body with a strong mid-section.
Identifying Ab Weight Machines
There are various types of abdominal weight machines. Some require you to lie down, and others have you sitting down. Some machines such as the lever seated crunch emphasize the upper and middle portion of your abs as you flex your waist and crunch forward. Others, such as the lever seated leg raise crunch give your abs a more intense workout by fully engaging your entire abdominal wall as you simultaneously crunch forward and raise your knees.
Using Ab Machines Correctly
To use ab machines with correct technique, adjust the seat, lever arms or pads to suit your body proportions. Brace your back firmly against the backrest, and where applicable, push your arms, chest or legs against the appropriate pads or levers. Perform the movements in a smooth, controlled manner, exhaling to contract your abs as you flex your waist and raise your knees. Choose a weight that allows you to perform two or three sets of 15 to 20 reps. You should feel your abs burning as you complete your last three reps.
Use abdominal weight machines as part of your overall strength training program. Work out two or three days a week on non-consecutive days. This allows your abs to recover between workouts. Be wary of using heavy weights for low reps on ab weight machines. You may build big ab muscles that thicken your waist, particularly if you neglect to do fat-burning exercises to strip your belly of excess fat tissue overlying the muscles.
Include fat-burning cardiovascular exercises in your workout program to reveal your underlying toned ab muscles. For example, start each exercise session with a 20- to 40-minute workout on any number of cardiovascular machines such as the treadmill, elliptical machine, stair climber, stationary bike or rowing machine. To avoid boredom, split your time between two or three of the machines.
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