If you're an active person, then you know the importance of having a strong core. As the foundation of your posture, stability, and movement, core strength is about so much more than six-pack abs. And while bodyweight exercises can be effective, you probably get tired of doing all those crunches, plank variations, and V-ups.
Having the best ab machine at home can not only alleviate boredom, but it can also help take your core strength to the next level. This is important not only for athletic performance but for the many functional benefits a strong core offers, such as a healthier back and better posture. Of course, having a trim waistline and toned abs is a nice plus, too. Whatever your reasons are for wanting a strong core, an ab machine is sure to make a great addition to your home gym. To help narrow down your search, the ACTIVE Reviews Team compiled the 9 best ab machines available online. While they all might differ in design, each one offers a killer core workout, helping you build the abs you've always wanted in no time.
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The 9 Best Ab Machines in 2022
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- Best Overall Ab Machine: TRX RIP Trainer
- Best Ab Coaster: Sunny Health & Fitness Row-N-Ride Pro
- Best Ab Bench: Stamina X Hyper Ab Weight Bench
- Best Ab Roller: SKLZ Corewheels
- Best Sit-up Machine: Harbinger Ab Crunch
- Best Gliders: TRX Kevlar Ab Slider
- Best Budget Ab Machine: Core Max Total Body Training System 2.0
- Best Stability Ball: GoFit Stability Ball
- Best Ab Machine for Beginners: Ab Coaster Max Ab Machine
Best Overall Ab Machine - TRX RIP Trainer
Maybe it's a bit ironic that the first ab machine on our list isn't a machine at all, but the durability, versatility, and functional benefits of the TRX RIP Trainer make it our top pick overall. From the company that pioneered suspension trainers, the TRX RIP Trainer provides a standing workout that targets not only the entire core but all the other major muscle groups, as well. And the benefits don't stop there.
Unlike the double bungee system in their suspension trainers, the TRX RIP Trainer includes a single bungee cord paired with a weighted bar—a combination that's ideal for improving rotational strength and spinal stability. From baseball to tennis, golf to martial arts, athletes will love the advantages of using the TRX RIP Trainer. And general fitness enthusiasts will appreciate the fact that TRX's RIP Trainer is easier to use than their suspension trainers. Add to that the fact that the TRX RIP Trainer is durable, lightweight, and portable, and you essentially have a total home gym you can pack up and take anywhere.
- Includes: TRX RIP Trainer, door anchor, safety strap, carrying bag
- Product weight: 4 lbs.
- Materials: Nylon, commercial-grade rubber, industrial-grade carabiner
- Max user weight: N/A
- Functional and versatile
- Good for beginners
- Lightweight and portable
- Durable, backed by a 6-year warranty
- Included door anchor makes set-up quick and easy
- Optional access to on-demand workouts and classes starting at just $5.99/month
- Some advanced users might find it too easy compared to a suspension trainer
- Only comes with the medium resistance band, lighter/heavier bands sold separately
Best Ab Coaster - Sunny Health & Fitness Row-N-Ride Pro
Although the Sunny Health & Fitness Row-N-Ride Pro is primarily marketed as a squat assist machine, it also provides a killer core workout thanks to its dual-phase exercise design. During the push phase, the Row-N-Ride Pro targets other muscle groups like the shoulders, triceps, quads, and glutes, but the pulling phase strongly activates the core.
It's made of steel, not aluminum, which helps give it a weight capacity of up to 300 pounds. You can kick your workout up a notch by adjusting the hydraulic resistance and track your progress with the digital display. Plus, the non-slip foot pads and cushioned seat help keep you comfortable as you torch your abs.
- Includes: Row-N-Ride Pro, digital monitor, adjustable seat, non-slip foot pedals
- Product weight: 38 lbs.
- Dimensions: 44.5" L x 21.5" W x 46" H
- Materials: Steel frame, hydraulic resistance, padded vinyl seat
- Max user weight: 300 lbs.
- Provides a total-body workout, including cardio
- Adjustable hydraulic resistance allows you to customize workout intensity
- Digital monitor tracks workout duration, reps per minute, total reps, and calories burned
- Adjustable fit and built-in safety features
- Optional resistance bands add more exercise options
- Requires extensive assembly
- Pro model does not fold for storage
Best Ab Bench - Stamina X Hyper Ab Weight Bench
If crunches are your jam, the Stamina X Hyper Ab Weight Bench might be for you. You can use the bench for a variety of crunch exercises because the angle of the bench is easily adjustable. To really torch your obliques, simply turn sideways and perform side bends or slight corkscrew rotations over the cushioned torso pad. Because it's fully adjustable, users up to 6-foot-4-inches tall can use the Stamina X Hyper Ab Weight Bench.
While we wish the Stamina X Hyper Ab came with a better warranty, the durable steel frame and heavy-duty vinyl upholstery make it tough enough to stand up to all your home workouts. Non-slip pads on the bottom of the ab machine not only protect floors but help keep the bench in place for additional exercises like incline push-ups and triceps dips.
- Includes: Stamina X Hyper Ab Weight Bench
- Product weight: 25 lbs.
- Dimensions: 39.5" L x 22.75" W x 32" H
- Materials: Steel frame, vinyl upholstery, foam footpads, and grips
- Max user weight: 250 lbs.
- Effectively targets muscles of the abs, obliques, lower back, and hips
- Accommodates heights ranging from 4' 9"-6' 4"
- Durable steel construction yet folds for easy storage
- Thick foam padding on leg rollers for comfort
- Hyperextension exercises are not recommended for individuals with lower back issues
- Only comes with a 90-day warranty for parts, 1 year for the frame
Best Ab Roller - SKLZ Corewheels
Ab rollers are a simple but excellent device for effectively targeting your core. SKLZ Corewheels go a step further, offering more versatility than the traditional back-and-forth motion that primarily targets the rectus abdominis. Rather than mounting a single wheel on a single handle, SKLZ Corewheels come as a pair of axle-type rollers designed to transform all your push-up, plank, and pyramid exercises into a quivering core challenge.
Ergonomic foam handles provide a comfortable, non-slip grip, and the durable construction allows for a maximum user weight of 225 pounds. The design of SKLZ Corewheels allows for one-handed operation (if you're up to the challenge), or you can move each ab roller in a slightly different plane of motion. Either way, the instability created engages the entire core, hitting obliques, abdominal stabilizers, muscles of the lower back, and, of course, the six-pack muscle, rectus abdominis. Best of all, SKLZ Corewheels weighs just 3 pounds, which means you can take them with you anytime you want to light up your core.
- Includes: 2 SKLZ Corewheels, 90-day warranty, exercise guide included with owner's manual
- Product weight: 3 lbs.
- Dimensions: 9.5" L x 6" D
- Max user weight: 225 lbs.
- More versatile than single-wheel ab rollers
- Lightweight and durable
- Ergonomically designed for comfort and safety
- Ab rollers can be awkward for first-time users
- As with all ab rollers, there's a limited number of exercises you can do
- Only comes with a 90-day warranty
Best Sit-up Machine - Harbinger Ab Crunch
Sit-up machines come in a wide range of configurations and price ranges, but they essentially do the same thing—put your body in the proper alignment to do safe, effective sit-ups or crunches. The Harbinger Ab Crunch achieves that and more with its ab rocker design. Crunch to your heart's content, then flip it over for an upper-body workout that includes push-ups and triceps dips.
As you work up a sweat, you'll appreciate the breathable mesh backrest. The unique design of the aluminum frame makes the Harbinger Ab Crunch incredibly light, weighing in at just one pound. That doesn't mean it's flimsy, though—the Harbinger Ab Crunch has a maximum user weight of 300 pounds.
- Includes: Harbinger Ab Crunch
- Product weight: 1 lb.
- Dimensions: 27.09" L x 24.25" W x 26.06" H
- Max user weight: 300 lbs.
- Small footprint
- Works the upper body as well as abs
- Primarily targets the rectus abdominis, but not many other core muscles
- Doesn't fold for storage
Best Gliders - TRX Kevlar™ Ab Slider
While the TRX Ab Slider may not be a traditional ab machine, it still offers incredible core strengthening. If you've ever used ab sliders, then you know you don't need moving parts to get a great core workout. TRX incorporated Kevlar™—the same material in ballistic body armor—to create a rugged, durable product that can stand up to your toughest workouts.
Use the TRX Kevlar™ Ab Slider to add challenging asymmetry and instability to a host of otherwise humdrum moves like planks, push-ups, lateral lunges, and more. Plus, you can choose between a hard or soft bottom surface based on what kind of material you'll be sliding on. The hard bottom works well on carpet and artificial turf, while the soft bottom is suited to wood floors and other smooth surfaces.
- Includes: 2 TRX Kevlar™ Ab Sliders (choose between hard or soft bottom)
- Product weight: 2 lbs.
- Dimensions: 7" D
- Max user weight: N/A
- Incredibly durable
- Lightweight and portable
- Textured top surface helps keep hands and feet in place
- Choice of hard or soft bottom surface
- More costly than other ab sliders
- Limited number of exercises you can do with ab sliders
Best Budget Ab Machine - Core Max Total Body Training System 2.0
If you're looking for an ab machine that can give you a quick total-body workout at an affordable price, the Core Max Total Body Training System 2.0 might be right for you. The Core Max was designed to provide both resistance and support for eight different exercises: sit-ups, chest presses, glute bridges, push-ups, scissor kicks, triceps extensions, inner thigh presses, and cycling.
Three resistance levels allow you to customize your workout to your desired intensity. The Core Max Total Body Training System 2.0 is also incredibly lightweight and folds for easy storage. With the inclusion of a nutritional guide, downloadable workout videos, meal prep videos, and a workout chart to track your progress, the Core Max offers an incredible value.
- Includes: Core Max Total Body Training System 2.0, exercise chart, exercise, and nutrition digital downloads
- Product weight: 2 lbs.
- Dimensions: 18" L x 22" W x 14" H
- Max user weight: 220 lbs.
- Gives a total-body workout
- Lightweight and folds for easy storage
- 3 resistance levels
- Comes with free digital downloads, a meal plan, and an exercise chart
- May not be challenging enough for advanced users
- Max user weight of 220 lbs.
Best Stability Ball - GoFit Pro Ball
The versatility of the stability ball makes it a must-have for any home gym, and the GoFit Pro Ball is our top pick for a couple of reasons. First, with a static weight rating of 2,000 pounds, the GoFit Pro Ball can accommodate heavier users more than any other ab machine on this list. When it comes to core work, the ball effectively targets the entire abdominal region through a variety of exercises, such as crunches, pikes, and planks.
The real beauty of using a stability ball is its ability to recruit your core's deep stabilizer muscles which can be more challenging to target with standard ab exercises. Once you're comfortable doing core exercises, you can stretch out to a tabletop position and grab a pair of dumbbells for an upper-body workout.
- Includes: GoFit Pro Ball, 2 ball plugs, hand pump, training DVD
- Product weight: 3 lbs.
- Dimensions: 55cm = 21.7" D; 65cm = 25.6" D
- Material: Non-phthalate PVC
- Max user weight: 2,000 lbs. static weight
- Versatile ab machine that works the entire core plus other muscle groups
- Top exercises are printed right on the ball for easy reference
- Choose between two different sizes based on your height (55 cm and 65 cm)
- Only comes with a 90-day warranty
- Stability balls are notoriously pesky to store
Best Ab Machine for Beginners - Ab Coaster MAX Ab Machine
For beginners looking to sculpt those six-pack abs, consider bringing a piece of the gym into your home with the Ab Coaster MAX Ab Machine. The “bottom up" motion targets the hard-to-reach lower abs that crunches, and other ab machines often fail to reach. You'll get an intense oblique workout, too, by switching the seat pad to the side-lift or freestyle configuration.
Because the Ab Coaster MAX guides you along its fixed double track, you won't have to wonder whether you're in the right position, making it perfectly suited for beginners. With nothing to adjust besides the seat configuration, simply settle your shins and forearms onto the molded foam pads and coast your way to chiseled abs. The commercial-grade steel frame and heavy-duty molded foam seat and arm pads also make it incredibly durable, guaranteeing many killer ab workouts to come.
- Includes: AbCoaster with Free-Style Seat, Rep Counter, 14-Day Express Program, and Fast Track Meal Plan
- Product weight: 55 lbs.
- Dimensions: 51" L x 25" W x 50" H
- Material: Commercial-grade steel tubing, molded foam seat and arm pads
- Max user weight: 300 lbs.
- Easy for beginners to use Effectively targets the rectus abdominis and obliques
- Heavy-duty, commercial-grade construction
- The digital display makes tracking workout progress easy
- Front-wheel rollers make moving for storage easy
- Large footprint
- Only comes with a 60-day warranty
Benefits of Using an Ab Machine
Although different ab machines might target different areas of your core, there are still a few benefits that they all have in common:
- Increased Core Strength: A strong core is essential to all your daily activities; from the time you roll out of bed in the morning up until you turn out the lights at night. Ab machines not only strengthen the core safely and effectively, they also do so in unique ways that can add a whole new dimension to your training.
- Better Posture: Whether you're locked into proper alignment on an ab coaster or bench or placed into a position of instability while using balls, discs, or bands, your key posture muscles are targeted. This can go a long way toward correcting the damage from sitting or standing with your head bent, looking at a screen for hours each day. Plus, having a stronger core makes it easier to stand or sit in a healthy posture. Without a strong core, you may find yourself slouching more often.
- Less Back Discomfort: While you can cheat your way through sit-ups and crunches using poor form, the design of a good ab machine creates the support your lower back needs to do the exercise properly. The best ones will also engage your lower back muscles, helping to strengthen this typically weak area.
- Enhanced Sports Performance: One of the key factors separating serious athletes from recreational ones is consistent core training. Here's where an ab machine can give you a competitive advantage. By offering a multitude of exercises to strengthen your core, ab machines don't just alleviate boredom, making you more likely to train more often, but they can also challenge your entire core in new ways.
- Increased Balance: There are a number of different ab machines that can improve balance and proprioception tremendously. To reap the performance and functional benefits of balance training, look to those devices that purposely create instability, such as gliders, stability balls, and ab rollers. It won't be long before your core is quivering as you fight to maintain balance for one more rep. And the stronger your overall core is, the easier it becomes for you to balance both in everyday activities and during workouts.
What to Look for When Buying an Ab Machine
If you're considering an ab machine for your home gym, you want to be sure you're getting the right one for you. Here are a few factors to consider before you buy:
Goals and Fitness Level
The most important thing to ask yourself is what you want from an ab machine. While some machines are more well-suited to toning your waistline, others do a better job of improving overall core strength and balance.
Once you know what type of ab machine you're looking for, consider your current fitness level. Buying an instability-type device won't do you much good unless you're fit enough to use it properly. In this case, you may want to start with a more beginner-friendly option and work your way up to a more challenging ab machine as you progress. Also, don't ignore the "fun factor"—which machine do you see yourself using on a regular basis?
Construction and Durability
You'll want to make sure the ab machine you're purchasing is made from durable, quality materials so you don't have to repeat this purchase anytime soon. Typically, any machine made from steel or high-density foams, as well as any machine that's made for commercial use in a gym, can be relied on for sturdiness and durability.
Size and Fit
Besides making sure the ab machine you purchase is fit for your size (some have specific height and weight restrictions), you'll also want to make sure the machine is the right size for your space. If you're more limited on space, opt for a foldable machine or something more compact like an ab roller or TRX bands. Both options also work well if you want a device that's portable. If you have a built-out home gym, you can get away with a larger machine that can double as a workout for your upper or lower body, too. An improperly sized ab machine won't work well and is unsafe to use.
It's best to keep in mind what your budget is before browsing machines, so you have a better idea of what price range is right for you. Smaller devices like sit-up bars or stability balls are more budget-friendly and still offer a killer core workout, while benches and ab coasters are on the upper end of the price scale.
Also remember that it's not always about finding the cheapest product—you don't want to end up with a low-quality piece of equipment that won't stand the test of time. Luckily, ab machines come in a variety of price points, offering something for every budget.
FAQs About Ab Machines
Do ab machines actually work?
While some ab machines deliver better results than others, the only way any of them work is if you use them. That's not to say you should discount tried and true exercises like planks and sit-ups, though. For better results, try completing these basic exercises in conjunction with a workout on an ab machine.
Which ab machine is the best?
The best ab machine is the one that best matches your core strengthening goals and current fitness level. This increases the chances that you'll use it consistently, which is the best way to guarantee results.
What is the most effective ab workout?
There isn't any one single workout that's best for the core. A good core workout is typically one that targets all four abdominal muscle groups, which can usually be achieved by combining multiple exercises together into a single workout (like a combination of planks, crunches, leg raises, and mountain climbers).
How often should you do ab workouts?
Because our core muscles are critical to posture, stability, and movement, it's best to incorporate abs into almost every workout you do. Whether that's three times a week or closer to five, it's helpful to include abs into your exercise routine so that they're regularly activated.
How long should an ab workout be?
It doesn't take hours in the gym to build a strong core. About 10-15 minutes of focused work is all you really need. Start by performing one set of 15-20 repetitions for 5-8 different exercises with short rests in between. When that starts to feel easy, you can either add more repetitions or modify the exercises to make them more challenging.