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What is an Ab Chair?

Micki Elizabeth
Micki Elizabeth

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.

The Ab Chair simulates the same range of motion used in traditional sit ups.
The Ab Chair simulates the same range of motion used in traditional sit ups.

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.

Ab chair exercises can be used to strengthen and tone the obliques.
Ab chair exercises can be used to strengthen and tone the obliques.

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.

Discussion Comments


I have been really pleased with my ab roller chair. I bought this because I wanted to get in shape, and I also don't have much space to work out or keep exercise equipment.

I have the kind of ab chair that has pedal attachments, so I can get a good cardiovascular workout at the same time. It also came with some resistance bands that I can use to build up some strength.

I like having the extra options as it gives me more flexibility and keeps me from getting bored. For me, this one piece of equipment is all I use to give my whole body a good workout.

I will usually use this in front of the television while a good show is on. Before I know it, I have easily done 30 minutes of exercise and can really tell a difference in my muscles in my stomach and all over my body.


After watching an infomercial, I ordered an ab chair and was excited to get it and start using it. Ever since my pregnancies, I haven't been able to get my flat stomach back.

I realize it will probably never be quite the way it was before, but I need to do something to make it look better. Even with being at my ideal weight, I still would like to have a flatter stomach and stronger abs.

I was pretty disappointed when I opened the box. I felt like this was cheaply made and not worth the money I paid for it. I didn't want to send it back, so did use it for awhile, but never noticed any difference at all.

It seems like I have the best results when I do my sit ups and crunches the old fashioned way.


@LisaLou - Not only do the models look fabulous, but they also make it look so effortless. I also don't know if using the words 'lounger' and 'recliner' in the same context as a piece of exercise equipment is a good idea.

I get the impression that I can sit back in this lounger and will magically get great looking abs. The name of the piece of equipment I have that is supposed to work like this is called an ab cruncher chair.

This gives a little bit more of a realistic picture, as I do use this when I do crunches. I think that being able to sit back in the chair, helps take some of the pressure off of my back.

Either way, someone should get some kind of good results if they use it on a consistent basis. It takes work, motivation and discipline to get strong ab muscles.


Whenever I see commercials or advertisements for an ab lounger chair, the person using it always looks so slim and trim. I look at their abdominal muscles and think mine will look like that if I stick with it for a few months.

I ended up buying one of these, vowing to be consistent and not give up until I had a flat stomach and tight ab muscles.

I can't say whether it was the equipment or the person using it, but I never did end up with the flat stomach I was hoping for. My ab lounger ended up the rest of my exercise equipment and doesn't get used nearly as often as it should.


@shell4life – I think an ab chair might be your only option. It could really help you start to improve your abdominal strength.

I used to do regular crunches, and though I had the abdominal strength to handle it, the exercises really placed a strain on my neck. I didn't want to develop big neck muscles or do any damage to the area, so I tried an ab chair instead.

Using it was so easy that it was hard to believe I could get away with calling it exercise! It is definitely a good choice for people like you who aren't used to working out their abs.

I will say that different models and brands vary greatly, so do get the warranty if you can. I'm very happy with mine, but my friend got a different kind, and hers fell apart after just a month.


I'm wondering if the ab chair might be a good option for me. I've only attempted to do crunches once in my life, and my muscles were so weak that I couldn't do more than five. I've basically given up on doing abdominal exercises because of this.

I have begun to develop back problems, since my core muscles are not that strong. My posture is awful, and I know that a good ab workout could improve this.

Would the ab chair be good for a beginner like me, or would it be just as hard as doing regular crunches? Should I take advantage of the free trial offer?


I can only use my ab chair for a few minutes at a time. I don't think that abdominal muscles were meant to be worked out for half an hour like our leg muscles.

When I walk or ride a bike for exercise, I can do that for thirty minutes at a time. However, if I do too many crunches at once, I start to feel nauseated and I get fatigued. I learned after my first attempt that I should use the ab chair for about a minute at a time, doing more reps after a rest.

So, I don't think it's bad that this chair claims you can develop good abs by using it just minutes a day. If you don't have a lot of fat to lose, then you really can tone your abs in the short time the chair was meant to be used.


It is so true that ab chair workouts alone cannot sculpt a six-pack. I bought one before I knew any better, and I was disappointed when, after a few months of using it, I still had some flab.

The reason you need cardiovascular and aerobic workouts in addition to the ab chair is that just because you build muscle doesn't mean you will melt fat. You simply get a layer of muscle underneath your fat, which can actually make it stick out a little further.

A workout that gets your heart and lungs going burns lots of calories, and this is how you lose the fat. If you have been using an ab chair while doing other workouts, then once you lose the fat, you will reveal a layer of beautiful muscles.

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    • The Ab Chair simulates the same range of motion used in traditional sit ups.
      By: Mat Hayward
      The Ab Chair simulates the same range of motion used in traditional sit ups.
    • Ab chair exercises can be used to strengthen and tone the obliques.
      Ab chair exercises can be used to strengthen and tone the obliques.