Ab Infomercials. You see them almost every night. From the Ab Lounge, to the Ab Circle, to the Ab Rocket, to the Ab Glider, to the Ab Coaster. It's seems like it's all Abs, all the time.
It never ends. Everybody is looking to get flat abs or a six pack and they have the product that will give it to you. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
1. Misleading Models
The models you see in those infomercials don't get their bodies from using the product they're demonstrating. In fact, they are probably using it for the first time the day of the filming.
It takes a lot more work to get a ripped physique than can ever be achieved with any ab device.
2. Strict Diet Required
Six Packs come more from what you eat than how you exercise. Spot reducing doesn't work. Thousands of crunches won't burn the fat off your belly.
No matter how many crunches you do, you won’t have a six pack if your diet isn't right. They don't tell you that on those infomercials. The most they'll do is mention it in tiny little letters for 10 seconds on the screen.
Many of the ab infomercial products cost a significant amount. The Ab Circle and Ab Lounge can cost up to $200. You don't need to spend a lot or any money at all to have good abs and a strong core.
An Ab Wheel costs $15 and will give you a better core workout than any of the expensive ab devices.
4. Emphasis on Spinal Flexion
When you do a crunch or a sit up you are performing spinal flexion (bending forward). It's the movement that most people think of when doing ab training. It's also what most of the ab infomercial products emphasize.
Research in the last few years has shown that in most real life activities your abs act as stabilizers to stiffen your spine to prevent motion, rather than as flexors. They are more often used to brace while stopping motion, acting as stabilizers.
That’s the opposite of what these ab products train you for. Since most of the products are spinal flexion devices, you're not training your abs in the best manner.
5. Injury Risk
Research has also shown that repeated spinal flexion can lead to disc damage. Think of your spinal discs as tires on your car. The more crunches (spinal flexions) you do, the more mileage you're putting on your discs. At a certain point they wear out.
You only have so many spinal flexions in your discs for a lifetime. If you're doing hundreds and hundreds of crunches, you're wearing out your discs prematurely. Most of the ab infomercial devices help you do that.
So not only are they less effective in training your abs, they are wearing your back out at the same time. Not a good deal for you.
So Let's Review: The ab infomercials are misleading in their promised results, emphasize the wrong type of ab training, and can lead to injury in the long run. Next time you see one, change the channel.
The majority of your ab training should consist of stabilization exercises like the Plank, Side Plank, Ab Rollouts, Plank on an Swiss Ball, etc. None of those exercises are featured in ab commercials and require minimal or no equipment.