Lean Abs Machine Review
Training Equipment Review Ė The Lean Abs Machine
Finally! An abdominal exercise machine that actually works!
Learn about an innovative new piece of home training equipment
that can shred your abs AND provide you with a total-body workout
quickly and efficiently.
Now, Iíll be the first person to tell you that itís VERY rare to find a piece of abdominal training equipment that REALLY WORKS. Most of the entries into the abdominal training market are specifically designed to maximize their profit, NOT your midsection.
To really hit a home run with me, an abdominal training machine must satisfy four basic requirements:
1. It must be able to effectively work not only the rectus abdominus (the six-pack muscles) but also the obliques (the side ab muscles) and the transverse abdominus (the deep ab muscles that wrap around your core to stabilize it).
2. It must work the abdominal muscles in a functional manner, i.e. not just assisted muscle contraction, like an ab roller or ab folding chair.
3. It must be convenient enough to use that a person will actually use it regularly.
4. It must hold some advantage over doing bodyweight ab exercises alone.
** BONUS Ė It would be ideal if you can also use it to effectively work OTHER bodyparts as well!
Recently, Iíve had the privelege of testing a new piece of abdominal equipment called the "Lean Abs Machine." Truth be told, Iíd been searching for quite a long time for an abdominal machine that met all the requirements that I listed above. Most abdominal equipment (especially the infomerical type of stuff) can barely be classified as training equipment, in my opinion, and none of it ever close to meeting all those requirements I listed above.
But the "Lean Abs Machine" turned out to be a big step above the rest! It is the ONLY piece of ab equipment Iíve used that met all four requirements AND the bonus requirement.
The mechanism by which the "Lean Abs Machine" works is actually quite simple. The easiest way to explain it would be that it is a lever with resistance bands attached near the base. You push or pull against the lever using the bands for resistance. Itís a simple concept but the elegant design results in great versatility compared to other abdominal training equipment.
Hereís how it stacks up to the four requirements I laid out above:
1. Working all parts of the core effectively
The "Lean Abs Machine" is simply one of THE most versatile pieces of ab equipment available. Instead of just focusing on one single function of the abdominal area (as most ab training products do Ė generally itís a crunch type of movement) and then telling you to add a bit of shoulder rotation to work the side abs, the "Lean Abs Machine" actually allows for very specific, separate exercises for all functions of the abdominals.
With this machine, I was able to perform exercises that worked a crunching type of movement (against resistance), a direct side movement (to work the obliques), a rotational movement (to work the deep transverse abdominus), as well as a leaning movement (similar to the ab wheels where you roll out forward then back). This level of variety is simply not possible with any other abdominal training machine.
And the best part is, those exercises are not "tacked on" in order to try and artificially inflate the number of exercises you can do with the machine. Not at all Ė these are challenging exercises that work the abdominals HARD.
One of the biggest criticisms Iíve always had of abdominal training machines is that simply donít train the core muscles in a functional manner. And by functional, I donít mean you have to stand on one leg on a Swiss ball and wood chop with a medicine ball. By functional, I mean using the core in ways that your body normally moves in the course of the day.
For a normal person, functional core strength means being able to stabilize in typical patterns of movement, like squatting, leaning, standing, walking, etc. For an athlete, functional core strength means being able to apply considerable force through the core area while maintaining strength and balance. An ab roller will not do any of these things for anybody.
But the "Lean Abs Machine" DOES.
Because your body is not locked into position (which will force you to work your abs in isolation) the "Lean Abs Machine" allows for a more integrated abdominal activation. In plain English, it means that it works the abs as a unit rather than by themselves. If you want to optimize your abdominal strength and power and/or develop an extraordinary eye-catching midsection, this is CRITICAL! You teach the body how to properly activate the core muscles rather than just making individual muscles contract.
3. Convenient to use
If a machine isnít convenient to use, itís not going to get used, no matter how good the intentions of the person. Itís as simple as that. It it takes too long to set up or itís too complicated to easily work with, a machine will just collect dust (and laundry!).
Honestly, because the "Lean Abs Machine" does involve resistance and moving parts, itís not as straightfoward as simply grabbing an ab roller and lying underneath it. That being said, considering the number of options you have in terms of exercise, it IS quite easy to get set up and get started. And once you get the machine set up, you can actually do a number of different abdominal exercises using the same settings and resistance.
As with any new equipment, my recommendation is always to set aside some time and just play around with it and the options it provides. Once you get comfortable with how the machine works and the resistances you need to use, getting the machine ready to go for a workout is extremely easy.
The "Lean Abs Machine" also features a vertical stand attachment so you can store with a very minimal footprint. When youíre ready to use it, you just lay it flat and youíre ready to go.
4. Advantages over bodyweight abdominal training
The final requirement that a piece of abdominal training equipment must have is that it should hold some sort of advantage over bodyweight abdominal training. This is a requirement because, in my experience, most abdominal training "equipment" doesnít give you many benefits over and above a good set of crunches.
If you can get the same results with crunches, why would you want to buy a piece of ab equipment?
The "Lean Abs Machine" DOES offer significant advantages over bodyweight abdominal training.
The first advantage is the ability to add RESISTANCE to the exercises. One of the biggest things holding people back in developing their core is lack of resistance. A simple bodyweight exercise such as the crunch can typically be done for MANY MANY reps. This low-intensity of exercise does very little for strength, power and abdominal development.
If you want fast results and you want a strong core you simply MUST train the abs with resistance. The "Lean Abs Machine" accomplishes this with the uses of rubber resistance bands of different tension levels. By adding these bands to the machine, you can specify EXACTLY how much resistance you want to use for an exercise and you can ADD resistance whenever you need to for progression.
You wouldnít try and build your chest by just trying to bench press the same weight more and more times...why would you try and develop your abs by just doing more and more crunches? There is no progression and no reason for your body to change.
The second major advantage over straight bodyweight ab training is the varying body positions and patterns of movement you can put tension on your abs in. You use the machine as a tool AND as resistance.
The third major advantage is that youíre training your core while standing up. It may sound strange but think of it this way...when youíre playing pretty much any sport (other than wrestling perhaps!), how often are you lying on your back? There are very few, if any, strictly bodyweight exercises that can be performed in a standing position.
The standing position is a more natural position to work the core in and it really helps with the carry-over of core strength to daily life and athletics because it teaches you how to activate your core (and manipulate your body position for optimal core function) while standing.
BONUS Ė The ability to perform exercises for other bodyparts
Even though this is not technically a requirement for a good abdominal training machine, the ability to perform exercises for other bodyparts on the machine is a very nice bonus!
A few of the exercises you can do include:
- front squats
- lying rows
- chest press
- shoulder press
- leaning calf raises
- glute extensions (i.e. butt blaster)
- standing dips/pushdowns
- many more!
The versatility of the simple design of the machine and the included equipment (the single handle and the moveable pads and handles) means you can very easily perform a total-body workout on the "Lean Abs Machine."
In fact, included in the introductory instructions is a 6 exercise circuit that uses all the same settings on the machine (so you donít have to make any changes in setup while training) and covers every major bodypart! Itís a very effective circuit and it means you can get an excellent workout in a very short period of time.
While reviewing the "Lean Abs Machine," I did come across a few minor drawbacks that I want to be sure to mention. None of these interfere with the effectiveness or functionality of the machine and are, in my opinion, quite minor.
1. Initial setup time
From opening the box to having the machine fully assembled, it took me about 30 minutes. While the assembly instructions are very good, if youíre not familiar with putting together training equipment (as I am), it may take you a bit longer. To put it in perspective, a few years ago I put together a multistation home gym and it took me approximately 3 days (not straight through but spending a number of hours each day)!
For the number of exercises you can perform with the "Lean Abs Machine," the set-up time is pretty reasonable.
2. Having available floorspace
If space is VERY limited where youíre training, you may find the machineís footprint when laying flat to be a little constricting. At itís largest setting, it does cover about 4 feet of floorspace in length. Itís definitely smaller in size than a Total Gym, though. To really have this be a serious problem, you would have to have EXTREMELY limited floorspace Ė the machine itself will even fit in a hallway without a problem, if thatís your only option. Again, this is a minor drawback that can normally be worked around quite easily.
3. When performing certain exercises, you must step on the machine
to keep it anchored down
In a few of the exercises (most specifically, those exercises where youíre pushing up against the lever arm of the machine against a heavier resistance), you will need to stand on the frame of the machine to keep it from lifting up.
For the most part, this is a minor thing. Standing on the machine is natural for most of those exercises, especially the abdominal exercises. But there were a few where I had to adjust my stance in order to stand on the frame to keep it from moving. These were actually exercises for other bodyparts, so as far as abs go, this drawback didnít affect the training at all.
The "Lean Abs Machine" is not a cheaply-made piece of equipment, therefore it does cost more than other abdominal training equipment. The frame is solid-gauge steel and the rubber bands are well-made and practically unbreakable. So even though it does cost a bit more than the typical "impulse buy" infomercial ab machine, itís a machine that is built solidly to last a lifetime.
The "Lean Abs Machine" is a VERY effective piece of abdominal training equipment. It meets all the requirements for an effective piece of ab training equipment AND allows you to work other bodyparts very effectively as well.
If youíre looking for a functional abdominal training machine, the "Lean Abs Machine" is an excellent choice. I would recommend it above any other abdominal machine on the market today in terms of properly targeting the entire core area (including the "deep" core muscles), allowing for a great variety of exercises, and in overall quality of construction.