The 13 Best Ab Machines of 2021

Work your midsection the right way with these at-home tools

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Our Top Picks
"Its carbon steel design should offer plenty of resistance as you roll, and its wide silhouette prevents any wobbling as you move."
"A solid addition to any home gym, the bench can be used to tackle sit-ups, bicycle crunches, or any other favorite ab exercise."
Best Stability Ball:
URBNFit Exercise Ball at Amazon
"A classic exercise ball that lends itself to a variety of stretches and exercises, it's easily deflated for on-the-go packing."
"If you have enough home space, this ab coaster provides the ultimate core workout—without putting any strain on your neck."
"Take your sit-ups to the next level with this roman chair, complete with padded assist handles for extra support."
"A solid way to make crunches more manageable, the ab rocker is complete with a padded pillow so you can comfortably lie down."
"A way to intensify your routine, the compact gliders are ideal for small spaces, on-the-go workouts, and just about any surface."
"A pick that's made for a range of strength exercises, the bar can be used for pull-ups while the handles are ideal for push-ups."
"It's equipped with 12 different resistance levels, so you can easily up the intensity of your workouts as you build your strength."
"An alternative to free weights, it's durable enough to withstand slams and lifts, and can also be used for weighted sit-ups."

When many of us hear the words "core workout,” we immediately envision six-pack abs. And while this is one potential benefit of regular core work, it’s not the only reason to add a few ab exercises to your fitness routine. Core strength can help you improve your posture, thus reducing strain on the spine and helping you cut down on back pain. A strong core can also help you maintain proper form during any kind of exercise, allowing you to avoid injury and stay active for longer as you age.

Given the many benefits, it makes sense that you’d want to incorporate more core work into your fitness routine. The only question is: Where to start? Thankfully, there are tons of excellent ab machines out there that make core work easy—and a little bit exciting. Use a roman chair to make sit-ups more challenging, use an ab coaster to target those lower core muscles, or use an ab rocker to make core work more accessible. 

Here are the best ab machines on the market.

Best Ab Roller: Perfect Fitness Ab Roller

Comfortable, versatile, and easy to use, the Perfect Fitness Ab Roller is an excellent piece of fitness equipment. To do an ab rollout with this tool, start by gripping the ab roller’s ergonomic handles. Then, assume a modified push-up position, where your knees are on the ground and your hands (still gripping the ab roller) are directly below your shoulders. From there, you’ll want to engage your core to slowly roll the ab roller forward—roll it back in to complete one rep. 

The ab roller’s carbon steel spring design should offer plenty of resistance as you roll forward and back, and its wide silhouette should keep you from wobbling as you move around. Remove the built-in handles to carry this piece of equipment on-the-go. And use the foam knee pads it ships with to keep your workouts comfortable and manageable.

Best Bench: XMark Fitness Adjustable Decline Ab Workout Bench

The XMark Fitness Adjustable Decline Ab Workout Bench will make a solid addition to any home gym. Start by draping your knees over the built-in foam-lined leg holder, then let your back rest on the bench’s plush padding—once there, you should be facing the ceiling, and your head should be relatively close to the ground. Secure yourself in this position by sliding your feet under the foam-lined ankle holder, then tackle your favorite ab exercises—sit-ups, bicycle crunches, Russian twists, and more. 

The bench’s heavy-duty steel frame should keep it stable and sturdy as you work out. And its 12 adjustable decline settings will help you keep your workouts dynamic and comfortable. 

Best Stability Ball: URBNFit Exercise Ball

URBNFit Exercise Ball

The URBNFit Exercise Ball is a classic exercise ball that lends itself to a variety of stretches and ab workouts. And since it comes in five sizes (and 11 colors), it’s incredibly easy to find an option that works for you. Your stability ball will arrive alongside an air pump and two air stoppers, giving you everything you need to get started. Inflate the exercise ball for workouts, and deflate it when you need to take it on-the-go.

Since it’s crafted from durable PVC, it promises to hold up over time. And its 2,000-pound weight capacity will keep it from bursting mid-workout. 

Lie on top of the ball as you tackle elevated crunches, or use it to perform pikes. You can use exercise balls for all kinds of workouts, so don’t be afraid to get creative.

Best Ab Coaster: Tristar Products Ab Coaster MAX

ab-coaster

If you have room for a fitness machine, consider investing in an ab coaster, like the Tristar Products Ab Coaster MAX. Because the machine relies on a simple sliding motion, it’s incredibly straightforward and easy to use.

Start by standing on top of the built-in footplate and gripping the cushioned handlebars. Then, engage your core to bend your knees and slide the footplate up toward your chest. Keep your core engaged as you slide the footplate back down in a slow, controlled manner to complete one rep. This motion should strengthen your core from top to bottom—without putting any strain on your neck. 

And if you want to challenge your obliques, you can always turn so that your feet are facing one corner of the footplate and complete your reps from there. 

Best Roman Chair: Marcy Adjustable Hyperextension Roman Chair

Looking to take your sit-ups to the next level? A roman chair, like the Marcy Adjustable Hyperextension Roman Chair, can help you get there. To perform a sit-up on a roman chair, start by sitting on the cushioned seat and sliding your feet under the padded ankle holder—once there, you should be facing the ankle holder, so that when you lean back you’ll be facing the ceiling. Then, lean back to complete sit-ups the way you normally would. 

Since there’s nothing physically supporting your back, you’ll have to engage your core during every part of your sit-up. And the padded assist handles under the seat will be there to help you whenever you need a little extra support. 

Best Ab Rocker: CAP Barbell Ab Trainer

Ab rockers can be a great way to make crunches more manageable, and the CAP Barbell Ab Trainer is a particularly easy-to-use option. Start by sitting on the floor and sliding the ab rocker over your body. The padded pillow should fall just behind your head and neck, allowing you to comfortably lie down. And the other side of the rocker should be within reach. 

Grip the front of the rocker, plant your feet on the ground, engage your core, and begin to lift your upper body to complete a crunch or sit-up. You can use the built-in pillow to keep your head and neck supported, and if you need a little extra leverage, you can press into the front of the rocker.

To lie back down, keep your core engaged and slowly lower your upper body. Again, you can use the pillow to keep your head and neck supported, and you can press into the front of the rocker to add resistance as you lie down.

Best Gliders: Synergee Core Sliders

Synergee Core Sliders

Core sliders offer a great way to make your workouts more dynamic and intense. And since they’re compact and lightweight, they’re great for small spaces—and for carrying on-the-go. Start by assuming a plank position, and place one core slider under each foot. From there, you can slide your feet in and out—or forward and back, if you want to complete a few mountain climbers

Because the Synergee Core Sliders are dual-sided, they should work on just about any surface. Use the grippy foam side when dealing with smoother floors, and use the plastic side when dealing with carpets. Each set comes with two dual-sided core sliders, so once yours arrive, you’ll have everything you need to get moving.

Best Tower: Bang Tong & Li Power Tower

If you’re looking to challenge your abs and upper body in equal measure, you can’t go wrong with a power tower, like the Bang Tong & Li Power Tower. The sturdy piece of equipment is great for a range of strength-training exercises. You can grab the bar across the top of the tower to knock out a few pull-ups, and you can grip the handles on the base of the tower for elevated push-ups.

If you want to use the power tower as a dip station, you can grab the handlebars at the center of the tower. And if you’d like to tackle some leg raises, you can use the same handlebars—just facing the other direction. 

The tower is crafted from heavy-duty steel, and it boasts a weight capacity of 330 pounds. The height of the tower is adjustable between 74.8 inches and 82.68 inches, and since all of the handles are lined with high-density foam, they should be comfortable to grip. 

Best Sit-Up Machine: Sunny Health & Fitness Rowing Machine

The Sunny Health & Fitness Rowing Machine isn’t your average rowing machine. In fact, its unique design makes it act a little more like a sit-up machine, giving you a workout that primarily targets your core. Start by sitting down on the seat, placing your feet on the pedals, and gripping the handlebar with both hands. Engage your core to pull the handlebar toward you and slide your seat backward. Then, engage your core to slowly press the handlebar forward and slide your seat back toward the front of the machine. 

The pedals pivot, making it easy to settle into a position that works for you, and the foam-lined handlebars will keep your hands comfortable as you row. What’s nice? The rowing machine comes equipped with 12 different resistance levels, so you can easily up the intensity of your workouts as you build strength.

Best Medicine Ball: Champion Sports Medicine Ball

Medicine balls can be a great alternative to free weights—especially when you’re tackling core-centric exercises. When you’re knocking out a few Russian twists, you don’t want to worry about a dumbbell wobbling around in your hands. You need something that’s comfortable and easy to grip—like the Champion Sports Medicine Ball. Crafted from synthetic leather, the Champion Sports Medicine Ball is soft and supple. But it promises to be durable enough to withstand throws, slams, and lifts. 

Use it during classic exercises, like Russian twists and weighted sit-ups. Or get creative, and use it as a modified ab roller.

Best Balance Trainer: Bosu Balance Trainer

People abs on BOSU

The Bosu Balance Trainer may not look intimidating, but stand on top of it and you’ll quickly realize what a challenge it can be. The trainer will provide you with an endlessly unstable surface to try to balance on, making simple moves—like standing straight up—feel like a workout. The trainer is crafted from durable materials and boasts a weight capacity of 300 pounds. 

Place your hands on top of it to tackle elevated planks, or use it for simple lunges. Because the surface is so dynamic, you can do just about anything on it and you’ll end up engaging your core. 

Best Resistance Bands: Letsfit Resistance Loop Exercise Bands

Resistance bands are a popular choice for lower-body exercises. But you can also use them to make classic ab exercises—like mountain climbers and bicycle crunches—more challenging. Simply loop the resistance band around both feet to add tension to your mountain climbers, and do the same to make your bicycle crunches a little tougher. The Letsfit Resistance Loop Exercise Bands set is a great pick for this kind of exercise.

The set comes with five different resistance bands that boast five different tension levels, and the color-coded design makes it easy to keep track of which band is which. Work your way up from extra-light to extra-heavy. If you need an extra challenge, you can always use multiple resistance bands at once.

Best Sit-Up Bar: Aduro Sport Doorway Exercise Bar

Don’t have room for a decline bench or a roman chair? Try a sit-up bar, like the Aduro Exercise Bar, instead. The bar will keep your feet firmly in place as you tackle the exercise—just like a decline bench or a roman chair would, but in a fraction of the space.

Simply slide the clamp under a door and close the door to secure the sit-up bar. Then slide your feet under the bar. It should stabilize you as you tackle sit-ups, allowing you to log an intense workout without sacrificing your form. 

Final Verdict

There are tons of different ab machines out there, and which one is best for you will depend a lot on your preferences and goals. If you’re craving a core workout that isn’t sit-up-centric, the Perfect Fitness Ab Roller is a solid choice. It will help you build strength in your upper body and your core, and you can modify your ab roller workouts to be as challenging as you want them to be. The Tristar Products Ab Coaster MAX is a great pick for anyone who loves working out on a full-blown machine. And the Aduro Sport Doorway Exercise Bar is a small space-friendly choice for anyone looking to upgrade their sit-ups. 

What to Look for in an Ab Machine

Fitness Level

There are tons of different ab machines out there—some of which are beginner-friendly, and some that are more advanced. Consider where you are in your fitness journey, and select a piece of equipment that meets you there. If you’re looking for a way to make exercise more accessible, you can find it. And you can just as easily find a machine that’ll make your workouts more intense.

Size

Some ab machines are bulky, while others are decidedly small space-friendly. Consider your space—and your habits—when selecting a piece of equipment. Do you like working out on-the-go? Make sure to select a more portable option. Have plenty of space to spare? Feel free to spring for a big machine. 

Workout Style

Different ab machines lend themselves to different ab workouts, so find one that suits your preferences. If you hate sit-ups, avoid ab rockers and roman chairs—try an ab roller or ab coaster, instead. Likewise, if you love cardio, opt for an ab machine that will encourage a more active workout—like a rowing-style sit-up machine.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

As a seasoned health and fitness writer, Lindsey Lanquist understands how vital quality product recommendations can be. She is careful to recommend products that are reliable, comfortable, and genuinely well-reviewed by those who’ve tried them.

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