Stretch Your Healthcare Dollar

Home Fitness Gear: I Survived the Ab Coaster


Would you spend $400 on a piece of home workout equipment that helps burn ab fat and gives you a flatter tummy? If so, I've got a great recommendation for you: the Ab Coaster, a new device I got to test out last week.

You may have seen the Ab Coaster before, because the slightly larger commercial version has been in fitness clubs for years. (I found it tucked away in a corner at my own gym.) But now the company—the same minds that brought us the best-selling piece of abdominal workout equipment of all time, the Ab Roller—has unveiled a less expensive, miniature home version.

Here's what I liked about the Ab Coaster: It definitely works the right muscles; this I could tell from just a few minutes on the machine. And it's easy for people of all fitness levels to get something out of it, because you can control the difficulty of the workout. You kneel on a stool and use the arm grips and your stomach muscles to slide your seat and your lower body up and down the track in a smooth, arc-like motion.

Essentially, the motion mimics a hanging leg raise—one of the best ways to work your abdominal muscles—without putting stress on your back, neck, and shoulders or requiring you to hold yourself up on a pull-up bar. The people at Ab Coaster call it working your abs from the "bottom up" instead of the "top down" method of traditional crunches.

To work your side oblique muscles, you can easily rotate your hips so that your lower body is facing either direction. An electronic display counts the number of reps so you don't have to keep track, and there's even a place for you to stack additional weight (up to 20 pounds) to make your workout more challenging.

What didn't I like? It doesn't fold up, and, even though it's pretty compact, it still wouldn't fit anywhere in my tiny Brooklyn apartment. And then there's the price: $400 on a device that only works one body part?! Granted, people are serious about their six-packs—and to be fair, the Ab Coaster does come with a complete workout DVD and a book of meal plans so that hopefully, your sexy new waistline will inspire you to get healthier overall. But when I think about the cool all-in-one home gyms out there, some for less than this, it seems a bit excessive.

Decide for yourselves: Check out the video of me testing the Ab Coaster (in my work clothes!). And if you're really curious, you can order a 30-day home trial for only $15.

Me? Now that I know it's there, I'll definitely hop on this baby at the gym a few times a week. But the home version won't be gracing my living room any time soon.

Watch a video of Amanda on the AbCoaster here.
Amanda MacMillan
Last Updated: April 15, 2009

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