Ask a PT: Ab Wondercore Machines

Ab machineQuestion: I keep seeing these ads for ab machines on TV- do they really work?

Answer: If buying a new gadget to work out inspires you to take some time to exercise, then I guess it works. But is it any better than just doing your own set of ab and hip strengthening exercises? No, definitely not. In fact, any ab gadgets are typically only working the abs in a plane of motion that does nothing to actually stabilize the core, since rectus abdominus (the six-pack muscle) is a muscle that looks good, but only flexes the trunk. So if you are a body builder actively competing in body building competitions, then you will want to increase definition in this muscle. For the rest of us, we would be much better off with ab exercises that target the ab muscles that stabilize the spine, transversus abdominus, with assistance from the internal and external obliques. To find out how to work these muscles at home for free without any gadget to purchase, check out our Build a Better Body Series: Mythbusting the Abs. Check out the Advanced Hips and Abs section as well, to fully round out your “core” strengthening and stabilization. No special equipment required!