An ab chair, also referred to at times as an ab lounger or recliner, is a piece of home fitness equipment designed to target one’s core muscle groups. Manufacturers of the product attest to the ab chair’s results in strengthening and toning the upper and lower abdominal muscles, as well as the obliques and lower back. The equipment can promote weight loss and strength when used as instructed, but despite that and other potential benefits, many users and experts caution that the ab chair cannot do everything that it promises.
The product is sometimes called an ab recliner because the chair’s appearance so closely resembles a reclining sofa chair. The ab chair claims it can deliver results faster than performing crunches without fitness equipment because the chair allows for back extension, creating a fuller range of motion. To use the equipment, one sits in the chair, holds a pair of handles near the head and places the feet on or inside footrests. He can then perform an abdominal crunch by pulling the arms toward the feet, bending at the waist as the chair moves with the body. One then returns to the starting point in a reclining position, perhaps extending past a 180-degree straight line, in order to engage more core and back muscles.
Some chairs offer added features. Resistance bands are a common addition and are supposed to create tension, forcing the muscles to work harder while making the same crunching move. Other products come with a bicycle pedal attachment for the bottom end of the chair so that the same piece of equipment offers not only abdominal exercise, but a leg workout as well. Many models come with a basic computer that provides a read out of time, estimated calories burned and crunches per minute.
There are several fitness experts who criticize the ab chair. Many brands promise six-pack abdominals to users who work out with the equipment for only minutes per day. While the chair can assist with overall core strength, experts recommend a variety of intense cardiovascular and strength-training workouts for at least half-an-hour per day, along with a sensible diet, in order to deliver the often coveted “six-pack." Even consumers who have tried the product and have liked it complain that it is poorly constructed of materials that feel cheap. When considering purchasing an ab chair, one may do well to check the return policy and warranty of the equipment in case of dissatisfaction.