Abdominal exercise devices are a $250 million-a-year industry. Liz Vaccariello heads up a Health Investigation into which device, if any, can give you better abs than the traditional -- and free -- crunch exercise. She enlists the help of Dr. Eric Sternlicht, nutrition and exercise consultant in the Department of Kinesiology at Occidental College in Los Angeles, California.
Dr. Sternlight hooks electrodes to Liz’s abdomen to measure her muscle activity in the three abdominal muscle groups; upper rectus abdominus, lower abdominus and external obliques. Liz tries the Ab-Roller Plus, Ab Coaster, Torso Track 2, a stability ball and a traditional crunch.
After compiling the correlating muscle activity data for each device that Liz tested, Dr. Sternlicht concludes, “For every exercise, we found that none of the activities were higher [for the device] than it was for the crunch exercise.”
“The crunch is the winner!” Liz says.
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Creating Killer Abs
Do you ever dream about having the perfect six-pack but don't know how to achieve it? Devices such as the Ab Roller can help, but the first step to a sexy six-pack is diet. “Anybody who has a really good stomach,” trainer Bob Harper explains, “they are impeccable with their eating. That is the number one thing. The second [step] would be their cardio. They've got to burn the fat off their body. And then the third [is using ab machines].”
Bob explains that to achieve awesome abs, the old fashioned crunch works just fine, as well. Bob and fellow trainer Jillian Michaels have OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson demonstrate how to complete the perfect crunch.