The AbLounge: Some Notes

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Like most abdominal exercise equipment on the market today, the AbLounge—we’ll get to its specifics in a moment—promises to flatten and tone your beer belly in just minutes a day. (Ok, confession: I added the “beer” part in myself.) All you have to do is climb in, hold on, and fold yourself into the combination lounge chair/ hammock device a few hundred times, and they promise that you will see results.

In case you’re not already familiar with the concept, the AbLounge is an exercise device built kind of like an angled cot, with a hinge in the center so that you can squeeze your upper body toward your lower body in a massive display of abdominal strength… over and over again. Essentially it’s a crunch machine that starts you not quite flat and connects the upper and lower body with a central hinging motion so that you don’t strain yourself trying to move each part separately.

The unique element that makes the this product stand out (so they tell me) than other abdominal exercise equipment is its “jackknife” movement, and fuller range of motion: from hyperextension to super flexion of the torso. The standard advertisement states that the jackknife crunch is “clearly more effective than standard crunches.

Ok, I can see how that could be true. By bringing the upper and lower body toward one another simultaneously, it works the upper, mid, and lower fibers of the rectus abdominus (the six pack muscle), where a regular crunch wouldn’t effectively hit the lower part. But when you consider that a standard crunch is one of the least effective all around abdominal exercises you can do, I’m not sure what to make of this claim. Is it just better than that, or is it actually good?

Though I’ve never actually tried the device, my first impression is that it looks quite awkward. Furthermore, the combination of position maintaining elements (“handles”) for hands and lower legs combined with the hinging “jackknife” movement of the device make me think it’s probably pretty easy to cheat and use upper or lower body strength, instead of core strength, to perform the exercise. Finally, the AbLounge is just too big (in my opinion) for an in home piece of equipment. I know it can fold underneath the bed, but at my house, it would probably just stay there.

If you have one and love it: great. You should be proud of yourself for working out and ignore everything I’ve said here. After all, I’ve never even tried the thing.

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