The Ab Coaster - now known as the Ab Coaster Max - is an exercise machine purported to target "all the abs" and provide users with a core workout that is both easy and effective. Fitness professional and model Clark Bartram weighs in on this machine and shares his opinion on its effectiveness.
Personal Experience With the Ab Coaster
Bartram says his opinions of the Ab Coaster are based not only on his fitness expertise, but also on his own experience with the equipment. "I actually own two Ab Coasters and am very familiar with the product," says Bartam. "I understand the importance of getting my clients engaged in the activity I am asking them to do. This increases participation and eventually results."
Bartram first tried this equipment at a trade show, where he says he "jumped on and went for a ride. I like it because of the very intuitive movement pattern. Any person who jumps on, novice or extremely fit, will naturally understand how the movement works." Whether the motion is actually "intuitive" or not depends largely on the past movement experiences of the user, and it's important to note the Ab Coaster has a user maximum weight limit of 300 pounds.
Bottom Up Motion
The Ab Coaster's claim of a "bottom up" motion activates the same muscles as a lower abdominal crunch, but Bartam says the equipment makes the movement more fun. "Due to the coaster type of movement, the rider has fun while engaging all of their abdominal muscles from the bottom up." Avid exercisers will recognize this motion from using a captain's chair for knee lifts.
Bartram agrees with the manufacturer's claim of engaging the ab muscles with easy-to-use exercises. "One hundred percent without a doubt," says Bartram. "I've already explained the aspect of the Ab Coaster's instinctive movement pattern and that anyone can use it, but from a more how-it-works perspective it hits the harder to reach lower abs first because of the arc movement, which requires the rider/user to engage the harder to activate lower abdominal area."
Bartram goes on to further make claims that "a basic floor crunch will never engage these muscles efficiently like the Ab Coaster will; nor will many of the other infomercial type machines being sold by the millions." However, it's true that a basic crunch, properly executed, will target the ab muscles, and variations of crunches (such as reverse crunches) will target those ab muscles not targeted by a basic crunch.
Though Bartram suggest that "this could be your only abdominal/core exercise," it's important to note that the Ab Coaster is not a complete workout on its own, particularly for weight loss. Instead, consider this machine to be a good complement to your overall workout regimen.
Fun and Sturdy
Bartram heartily recommends the Ab Coaster and stresses that he is not a paid endorser of the product. "It's fun and it's well built," he says. Amazon reviewers typically gave the Ab Coaster positive reviews, and most seem to agree with Bartam. He further asserts that the design of the machine will compel users to use it as it can be a fun workout.
Better Than Nothing
The Ab Coaster does provide movement that can help strengthen abdominal muscles, and for some exercisers, the exercises can be fun and help them stay engaged in their workouts. Keeping core muscles strong can help with stability and injury avoidance, but should be accompanied by additional exercises of both cardio and full-body strength work.