Anyone can do crunches. Yes, crunches are good for abdominal exercises. However, they target the upper abdominals only.
If you want to get serious about ab development and hit the lower abs as well, the Ab Coaster is for you.
Seldom do I do an ab workout without including a few sets on the Ab Coaster. I love it way more than doing leg lifts.
How does the Ab Coaster work?
It’s like doing a vertical crunch targeting both upper and those hard to hit lower abs.
- You place your knees on the lower padding.
- Place your elbows on the left and right ledges at the top.
- Grip the upright handle bars.
- Pull your knews up into your chest.
- The part where your knees rest has wheels that roll along the dual-rails.
The higher your pull up your knees, the more vertical the rails making every inch of movement more and more difficult.
Check it out:
You can target your obliques by slightly twisting the knee platform to the left or to the right. As you crunch upward, your body is slightly twisted hitting your left or your right obliques.
Targets entire abdominal section
Because you’re doing both a crunch and leg lift, you target you entire abdominal section.
Going extreme with the the Ab Coaster
You can add weight plates to the section your knees rest. This increase the resistance of your upward crunch which works out your abdominals even more. It’s absolutely brutal.
Tips for maximum Ab Coaster effectiveness
- Don’t do this exercise at the end of an ab routine. I start with this exercise and do at least 3 sets (2 of which targe my obliques). Then I do crunches and other abdominal exercises. The reason I start with the Ab Coaster is I want to get maximum benefit by being able to lift my knees as high as possible.
- It’s better to lift up your knees higher than adding weight and not lifting it as high. Add weight when you can bring up your knees to the top.
- Follow the manual on maintaining the rails for a smooth and fluid movement. If it gets sticky it’s not very good.
- Avoid lifting with your back muscles and arms. Instead, focus on your abdominals lifting your knees.
- Avoid rolling back and forth too fast. If you go too fast, it will be the momentum that moves your knees and weight rather than your abdominals. Moreover, you can injure yourself. The key is doing it in a controlled movement both up and down.
My Ab Coaster workout routine
- I generally do 3 to 6 sets. For every set targeting my abs head-on, I do a set on each side targeting my obliques.
- I shoot for 10 to 15 reps per set. Once I can do 15 reps comfortably, add a small amount of weight.
- I take 30 to 60 seconds of rest between sets.
Ab Coaster Workout Options: Ab Coaster Workouts to Blast Your Abs
There aren’t many ab machines that work out your abs quite like the Ab Coaster.
The best part of the Ab Coaster is its ability to target your central and lower abs. Working out upper abs is easy with crunches, so adding in a few Ab Coaster sets in your ab workout ensures you hit those more difficult abdominals.
My Ab Coaster Workout Options
The Straight Shot Ab Coaster workout targets your central abdominals.
Essentially this is using the Ab Coaster facing forward, including your knees facing forward.
The Side Shot Ab Coaster workout targets the side abs (a.k.a. obliques), which are not so easy to work out on the floor or using other ab machines.
In order to target your obliques, you must turn your knees to the left or right. When you twist slightly to the left, you target your right obliques. When you twist to the left, you target your left obliques.
Beginner Ab Coaster Tips
If you haven’t worked out your abs for a long time, it’s easy to over-do the Ab Coaster.
The following are tips for beginners on the Ab Coaster:
- Don’t add weight plates. The weight of the knee bench is sufficient to work out your abs. It’s better to bring your knees up as high as possible than using weight. It’s the extra inches upward that will give the added oomph to your abdominal workout.
- Move back and forth slowly. This is a must-follow tip whether you have highly conditioned abdominals or are just starting out.
- Limit your pause at the top of the movement. It’s better to retain abdominal energy to squeeze out a few extra reps than burn out by holding your position at the top.
- Focus the effort on your abs. It’s easy to lift with your arms and/or back. Avoid the temptation. Let your abs do the work.
- Don’t get too discouraged if you can’t do more than 3 or 4 reps in the beginning. The Ab Coaster, even without weight plates and no pause at the top of the movement, is a demanding ab machine.
Beginner Ab Coaster Workout:
- 3 Sets of 4 to 10 reps with no weight.
- Move slowly through the movement.
- Don’t pause too long at the top of the movement.
- 1 set do facing forward and 1 set to each side.
- Again, avoid over-doing it. You’ll have more abdominal pain the next day than you want. It really is a killer abdominal machine.
Advanced Ab Coaster Tips
How much weight?
It depends on how strong your abs are. Start with 2.5 or 5 pound plates on each side and increase as you’re able to do 12 to 20 reps per set.
Pause at the top of the movement
Pausing at the top of the movement is my favorite method to blast my abs with the Ab Coaster. I focus the effort on my abdominals.
How long should you pause?
Start with 1 to 2 seconds. Increase to 5 to 10 seconds as you build up strength.
Note, pausing places pressure on your spine so if you have back issues, talk to a physician before pausing at the top of the movement. In fact, consult a physician about the Ab Coaster.
Slow and steady
If you move too quickly back and forth, you won’t work out your abs because you’ll build up too much momentum.
The slower you do a rep, the more you’ll workout your abdominals. I maintain a slow and steady rep pace moving at the same speed up as down. Remember, by slowing down on the downward movement, you also workout your abs (it’s a negative rep).
Is the Ab Coaster all you need for an ab workout?
Like all things fitness, you can plateau doing the same workout over and over. I include leg raises, leg cycling and crunches in my ab routine. However, I start my abdominal workout with the Ab Coaster because it’s so effective. Also, if I wait until after other abdominal exercise, I won’t be able to do a very effective ab workout on the Ab Coaster.
It’s also a good idea to mix up your ab workouts over time, which means periods where you don’t use the Ab Coaster. It’s much like weight lifting … you want to mix up the exercises you do.