Ab belts are made to be worn by those who want to give themselves a workout to create firmer abs without having to stick with an exercise routine that requires them to do standard crunches or push-ups. Such an ab belt provides stimulation to the nerves in the abdominal muscles which in turn carry the signal to the muscles nearby. The muscles respond by contracting in the same way they do during crunches.
The technology that is used in these belts is called Electronic Muscle Stimulation, or EMS, and it has been used in the medical field for many years. The recent improvements that have been made to EMS have led to the new generation of ab belts that are now available on the market.
As to the effectiveness of EMS, according to a study presented in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, a twelve-week program of EMS was used on elite rugby players, applying treatment to the knee extensor, plantar flexor, and gluteus muscles. At the end of the twelve weeks, the EMS training program showed beneficial effects on muscle strength and power while those in the control group showed no improvement.
Rating: At the top of the list for ab belts is the Flex Belt. Considered by many sources to be the most up-to-date toning belt available on the market, it has gotten the best reviews of all the ab belts. At about two hundred dollars, the Flex Belt comes with the controller, 3 gel pads, a rechargeable battery pack (no batteries needed!), an extension for larger size waists, a carrying case, a manual and a 2-year warranty.
A six-week clinical study conducted by a Professor of Sports Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse showed that 92% of the people who used the Flex Belt achieved firmer, more toned abs. The technology used in the Flex Belt is based on 100% medical science and is the first ab belt using EMS technology to be cleared by the FDA as a class II medical device for direct to consumer sales.
Rating: The Contour Abs system, also known as Contour Belt is currently being advertised on some TV commercials and websites with a $14.95 trial offer for a period of 30 days. After the $14.95 trial and 4 monthly payments of $49.95 the Contour Abs belt is yours.
There have been some consumer complaints about the Contour Abs because of confusion over the 30 day trial terms, but nevertheless the Contour Abs is one of the best ab belts on the market as of today.
The Contour Belt (one size fits most, no extension included) comes with a controller, 4 gel pads, a set of AAA batteries, a manual and a 1-year warranty.
Rating: One of the ab belts that have been advertised on TV is the Sport-Elec Shape N Tone Ab Belt. This ab belt sells for about 150 dollars and has four different programs as well as thirty levels of exercise.
There are four built-in conductive pads and according to the manufacturer it is for all fitness levels and all ages.
The Shape’n’Tone from Sportelec is a decent ab belt, but it can’t keep up with the likes of the Flex Belt and Contour Belt!
Rating: The Slendertone Flex Ab Belt is a less expensive version that is about $150. It is a previous model of the Flexbelt and comes with many similar features except that it does not have the high quality construction and performance.
Although the Flex Belt is a superior belt to the Slendertone, the Slendertone is a good choice for those who want a good ab belt without paying as much.
Improvements in electronic muscle stimulation have definitely brought about a new generation of electronic ab belts! Your best bet is to go with one of the market leaders which happen to be the Flex Belt (official website) and the Contour Abs (official website).
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