Welcome to the very first Ultimate Fitness Equipment Championship battle. This will be a lowdown showdown between 2 pieces of fitness equipment that I have used. I’ll break down the good and the bad, then I’ll make my recommendation for best piece of equipment. Ready?
Let’s get it on!
UFEC I – Ab Lounge Sport vs. The Ab Wheel
Ab Lounge Sport
This weekend my friend bought an Ab Lounge Sport from Target. He set it up in my living room, which essentially forced me to try it out. For a comparison, I used the results from my handy ab wheel to gauge the effectiveness of this Smurf-blue chair-like contraption.
Round 1: Setup
Ab Lounge Sport: It took over an hour, closer to 90 minutes to set this thing up. Three men and one 8 year old boy tag teamed this thing, holding pieces steady, flipping pages in the manual, getting tools, etc… it was not that much fun.
Ab Wheel: It’s a wheel with a handle on each side. Even if you don’t buy one fully assembled, all you have to do is slip the handles on. It takes about 2 minutes.
Advantage: Ab wheel
Round 2: Ease of Use
Ab Lounge Sport: Sitting down in this thing for the first time, I thought it was going to eat me Cookie Monster style. You have to put your feet on the foot bar and grab or put your hands through the hand strap to be able to use it. I’m pretty sure this is actually a modified bear trap.
For some of the exercises I think I was suppose to put both of my arms fully extended through the hand strap to add resistance. Unfortunately the hand strap was too short, I could only fit one arm at a time through that thing so I had to resort to just holding it with my fingers.
To crunch, you have to pull with your abs to ‘sit up’ and keep your feet on the bottom bars to make your butt go back, which makes the thing fold up like a wallet. Essentially you use your abs to control the movement but there’s barely any resistance.
Ab Wheel: Get on your knees or stand up. Roll out. Roll back. Roll to the side to work obliques. Simple. Effective. Fun.
Advantage: Ab wheel
Round 3: Instructional Materials
Ab Lounge Sport: Comes with a DVD of chicks doing some workout routines for beginner and ‘advanced’ users. I actually started to feel a bit of tension after finishing a couple sets of the advanced workout, which includes a bounce at the top for added resistance or something. They show you how to work all the ab muscles and how to add ‘resistance’ to the workout. I think.
The manual also comes with a variety of exercises, programs and tutorials to teach you how to use it, as well as some nutrition advice and training charts to track your progress. I feel that they really tried to help with all this information.
Ab Wheel: Not sure if you get instructions when you buy a new one at the store, but mine didn’t come with any. It is pretty obvious how to use it, but a hardcore ab wheel workout DVD hosted by toned, scantily clad females, and greased up buff dudes with 6-packs would probably sell like hot cakes.
Advantage: Ab lounge sport
Round 4: Effectiveness
Ab Lounge Sport: If you have time to sit in a chair for 2 hours a night to watch TV, then you have time to use the ab lounge sport effectively. Don’t think for a minute that using this piece of crap for 10 minutes every night is going to get you a 6-pack. I doubt you will even break much of a sweat, aside from the increased blood pressure from having your arms above your head.
Beginners will probably follow the DVD, feel some soreness for the first couple days, and will think it’s working. Two months and 1,000,000 reps later, when they’re using it for 5 hours a day with absolutely no results, they might end up turning to the ab wheel anyway for a real workout.
There’s really no way to increase resistance either. I guess you could hold weight above your head or add ankle weights or something, but remember you HAVE to hold the hand strap to make this POS work. At one point they make you lie on your side with one hand through the strap in order to work obliques, so I guess you could find a way to add resistance. Seems like too much work for me.
Ab Wheel: The ab wheel can really build some core strength. After a couple months of not using the ab wheel, when I hit it for 10 minutes and 3 or 4 sets, I’m sore for like 4 days. Soreness not being a real sign of progress, it still gives you the feeling that you have pushed yourself, which the ab lounge sport fails to deliver.
Adding resistance is easy too, because you can use the wheel at different angles, either standing or kneeling, and trust me when I say using the ab wheel standing is a challenging workout for most athletes, unless they are really well conditioned. Furthermore, I have a feeling you could make it even harder by wearing a weighted vest.
Advantage: Ab wheel
Round 5: Cost
Ab Lounge Sport: $80
Ab Wheel: $9.95
Advantage: Ab wheel
At this point I have to stop the fight on account of the Ab Lounge Sport getting knocked the hell out. Battered and bruised, the Ab Lounge Sport makes its way to its corner and then falls apart completely, its 10,000 parts showering the floor with bloodless metal wreckage.
The advantage of the Ab Lounge Sport’s tutorials, videos, tips, tricks, and workout routines are fluff compared to everything else about the Ab Wheel. Good for a newbie, but lame for everyone else.
The Winner: Ab Wheel
The Ab Wheel is an awesome little abdominal training tool. It is so much more effective than any of these abdominal chair contraptions you can buy in Walmart, and cheaper.
If you are a beginner hell bent on getting an Ab Lounge Sport, go ahead. You might like it for a month, but I promise it will become a coat rack or a bookshelf with half a year. On the other hand, the Ab Wheel can sit in the corner or in a closet, and you can bust it out for 15 minutes, 3-4 days a week, to get a quick and effective abdominal workout.
Make it happen.