It’s almost shirtless season and that means it’s time to think about getting those abs in order. Short of doing thousands of practically pointless basic crunches, the best way to work your abs is to use the best ab machines designed to work them.
We say ab machines as a catch-all, but really there’s a wide variety of equipment and machines that can help you work and refine your abs. There are classic items such as the ab roller or roman chair, but there are also things like ab sliders, ab straps and proper ab machines, such as a crunch machine.
What all of them have in common is the ability to take your abs from zero to hero through targeted exercise. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the best ab machines we know. We’ve used some version of all of these products to work out our abs and we know they can help you reach your ab goals, whether you’re going for “not Dad bod” or Michaelangelo’s “David.”
1. Sports Research Ab Wheel Roller
BEST AB ROLLER
Ab rollers are one of the best ab machines you can buy. They’re generally cheap, easily storable and also provide an excellent core workout. We like the Sports Research Ab Wheel Roller. The wheel is thick, the roller has straight, cushioned handles and it’s reasonably priced for a high-quality ab roller.
2. Marcy Adjustable Hyperextension Roman Chair
BEST ROMAN CHAIR
Nothing gives you the range needed for full ab extensions and crunches quite like a Roman chair. The Marcy Adjustable Hyperextension Roman Chair promises to deliver just that. Sit on the nicely cushioned seat with your butt for core workouts or reverse it for cobra-like back workouts. While there are cheaper options out there that also fold for storage, we like the construction enough on this Roman chair to still recommend it.
3. Core Max Pro
BEST AB ROCKER MACHINE
Ab rockers essentially assist you through crunches and sit-ups, making it easier to get started or to push past higher limits. We like the Core Max Pro for this functionality, but also because it’s a versatile piece of equipment (and versatility never hurts in a home gym setup). In addition to your basic ab crunches, you can also use this equipment to tone your chest, back, shoulders, arms, legs and glutes using just the rocker itself or the rocker and the included resistance bands.
4. Synergee Core Sliders
BEST CORE/AB SLIDERS
Core sliders are basically like furniture sliders: They’re little discs that go between your feet and the floor to reduce resistance and improve sliding, which can be great for exercises that hit abs like mountain climbers. The Synergee Core Sliders are utterly basic, cheap and perfect for carpet or hardwood floors for those kinds of exercises.
5. DMoose Fitness Hanging Ab Straps
BEST AB STRAPS
Ab straps can help you work your lower abs and obliques through leg lifts, vertical crunches and side crunches. The DMoose Fitness Hanging Ab Straps easily wrap around a bar so you can perform your ab workouts in the air and padding ensures your arms won’t suffer while you’re working out.
6. Sportsroyals Power Tower
BEST POWER TOWER
A power tower might be overkill if you’re just trying to hit your abs, but if you have the space and the money, it’s an investment worth making. Whether you’re hanging ab straps from the top bar or using the arm bars for leg raises, the Sportsroyals Power Tower will hold up to the rigors of whatever workout you throw at it.
7. Tristar Products AbCoaster Max Ab Machine
BEST AB COASTER MACHINE
Getting into some proper, best ab machines, we recommend the Tristar Products AbCoaster Max Ab Machine. This machine basically supports your legs and rises with you as you crunch your body, working it on the way up and the way down. Plus, you can twist the seat side to side to target your obliques and glide from side to side similar to ab twists.
8. Daiwa Rodeo Core Trainer
MOST FUN AB MACHINE
Exercise shouldn’t always be all about just work and sweat (though it should be like 90% work and sweat). In addition to strenuous exercise, fun and enjoyment matter too, and the Daiwa Rodeo Core Trainer puts a different, fun twist on your basic ab workout. It basically simulates a gallop, like riding a horse, and engages your core, hips, glutes and legs. It may look like just easy rocking back and forth, but do it rigorously for 20 minutes and your abs will be on fire.
9. Vertical Crunch Core Training Machine
BEST WEIGHTED AB MACHINE
For the seriously bulky abs enthusiast, you have to turn to a weighted ab machine, like the Vertical Crunch Core Training Machine. Though extremely expensive for a home gym, ab machines like this one are standard fare in gyms for their ability to add weight to your crunches. Unfortunately, weighted plates are not included, but if you’ve got the plates already, the Vertical Crunch ab machine is one of the best ab machines and really the only way to take your abs to bodybuilding levels.
10. Ab Doer 360
BEST AB CHAIR
A staple of early aughts TV infomercials, we couldn’t forget about ab chairs such as the Ab Doer 360. Silly and incomprehensible though they might seem, ab chairs like this one enable just about any user in any condition to safely start exercising their abs. It basically works to support your body while you take it through ab exercise motions. For example, you can use this ab chair to do oblique crunches, instead of lying on the floor, which is certainly cleaner and more comfortable for your body.