The Best Gym Machines for Abs

Elliptical trainers, captain’s chairs, rowers, and cable systems are some of the best fitness machines for your abs.

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Sure, planks and crunches can help you build your core. But there’s quite a bit to be said about taking your abs off the mat on machines.

Integrating abs with fitness equipment into your routine will help you strengthen your core in more dynamic ways, says Jessica Mazzucco, CPT, a NYC-based certified personal trainer.

Think about it: cardio machines like treadmills and elliptical trainers let your abs workout for 10, 20, or 30 minutes at a time to improve muscle endurance. (They also burn belly fat!) And weight machines like the Gluteus Builder add to the intensity of proven isolation exercises like sit-ups.

But you can’t jump on any machine and hope for a six-pack. You need a plan. Here are nine trainer-approved cardio and strength machines for your abs. Plus, the best you can buy to equip your home gym.

4 cardio machines for your abs

Elliptical trainers, treadmills, ergometers and rowing machines are crucial for building functional core strength. Just like you need to tense your abs when running and cycling, a strong, stable core will help you cope with everyday activities more easily.

But cardio machines don’t just build your abs by building muscle. They also help you reduce the amount of fat that sits between your muscles and your skin to reveal your six pack abs.

Does the stationary bike work your abs directly? It can. Your core stabilizes your pelvis and keeps your hips straight in your seat. To get the best abdominal burn possible, draw in your tailbone, contract your core, and keep your upper body still as you ride.

best stationary bikes for abs

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The best exercise bikes for home training

Do not bypass the elliptical exerciser the next time you hit the cardio floor. It may seem inconspicuous with its sliding footplates, which leads you to wonder, “Is the elliptical exerciser working your abs?” But it can indeed provide a great workout for your midsection.

To get the most abdominal pain on the elliptical, focus on standing up straight and not bending over. This forces your core to work harder to stabilize you.

best elliptical trainers for abs

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The best elliptical trainers for home training

Whether you stomp on the sidewalk or work up a sweat on the treadmill, your core is responsible for your running posture. It’s also the connection between your arm and your legs – responsible for transmitting power from your upper to your lower body.

Do not hold onto the handrail when running or walking. Use it only when getting on and off the machine. If you lean on the handrail, you not only do your abs work, you also cheat yourself about the calorie consumption.

best treadmills for abs

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The best treadmills for home training

Which is better: elliptical trainer or treadmill?

In the game of treadmill vs. elliptical for belly fat, the real winner is … it depends. In which one can you try harder? Because more exertion means more calorie consumption.

Sprinting on the treadmill or elliptical machine forces you to contract your abs more than doing a medium-intensity workout. This creates a maximum power output that allows you to burn more calories both during and after your workout.

The sustained effect of this high calorie consumption is known as post-exercise excess oxygen consumption (EPOC). By using cardio machines this way, not only will you feel your abs working, but you will also burn belly fat faster. It is best to alternate between high and low intensity (e.g. 30 to 60 seconds each).

Rowers are famous for their back strengthening skills, but they train the front of your torso just as hard. During your rowing workout, your back should be straight but leaned back slightly from your hips. With the right form, you will feel a bit like you are almost (but not all) at the top of a sit-up.

best rowing machines for abs

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The best rowing machines for home training

5 strength machines for your abs

Any of the fitness machines listed below can help you strengthen all of the muscles in your core, including your rectus abdominis (the “six-pack” muscle), obliques (in the sides of your torso), and transverse abs (the deep abs). .

The cable machine is one of the most versatile strength machines in the gym. Almost any cable exercise will train your core to some extent. But cable exercises like the Pallof press and horizontal chopping of wood are some of the most effective abdominal exercises anyone can add to their routine, says Mazzucco.

best cable machines for abs

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The best corded devices for home training

Good news for those who haven’t quite gotten a pull-up. You can also use the chin-up bar in your gym to tone your abs with exercises like hanging leg raises, Mazzucco says. Every time you hang on to the bar and flex your core, you train your abs.

Best pull-up bars for abs

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The best pull-up bars for home training

The captain’s chair is an effective abdominal device that you can find in many fitness studios. And if you have one, take advantage of it with leg raises, says certified strength and conditioning specialist Henry Halse, CSCS.

On the chair, place your forearms on two raised handles. Then, prop your body up with your arms and shoulders – and your back against the cushion – and use your abs to lift your legs up in front of you.

best captain chairs for abs

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The best captain’s chairs for home training

4. Gluteal muscle developer

Many CrossFit boxes and gyms have a machine nicknamed GHD (short for Glute-Hamstring Developer). But despite its name, it’s not only useful for lower body training. It will also give you some heavy ab workouts. All you have to do is step on it with your feet against the plate and your torso hanging down from the large pad, face up. Then you can use the GHD for sit-ups or crunches.

But be careful: This device is not for beginners or people with back problems or tight hip flexors. You need to have a strong core before using the GHD.

best gluteus muscle developer for abs

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The best GHDs for home workouts

When you do sit-ups or other abdominal exercises on a bench, you add gravity that you put into the equation. It works your muscles in a different way and increases the intensity of your sit-ups.

best descent benches for abs

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The best workout benches for home training

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