Saturday, April 23, 2011

Proform Ab Glider Reviews: Does The "Hasselbeck" Ab Machine Work?

Anyone who watches television late at night knows there are lots of ab workout machines out there. There's a reason for that: they sell really, really well... despite the fact that many, if not most, are basically rip-offs. Well now there’s a new ab machine taking the world by storm: the Proform Ab Glider. It’s quickly become one of the hottest abdominal exercise products on the market and, understandably, lots of people are asking for reviews and opinions for the “as seen on TV” workout gadget.

Here’s one comment left last week by a reader named Olivia B:
"Hi I was hoping you could help me. I just saw the infomercial for the new Elisabeth Hasselbeck Ab Glider machine. It looks like a great product. What's your opinion? Do you have any reviews on it yet? Please help. I don’t want to waste my money again. Thanks!”
Well Olivia, we’ve got some good news for you and anyone else looking for genuine, unbiased Ab Glider reviews: we got our hands on one! In fact my partners-in-crime (aka fitness blogging buddies) and I have been using it for the past 2 weeks. The thing certainly isn't hard to find: it's currently being sold by QVC, Walmart, Sears, Best Buy, Amazon, and several online and offline fitness stores. At the time we bought ours the best Ab Glider deal was being offered on, which has become a great place to order discount fitness and cardio equipment!

So far we’ve been pleasantly surprised by the Proform product (the lovely Mrs. Hasselbeck is just the spokesperson/heavily-paid-promotor) . The well-built machine really does provide a very nice at-home ab workout and even a decent cardio workout option. But it’s not perfect and there are a few “negatives” which we’ll cover below...

The Good

The Ab Glider is definitely a unique piece of exercise equipment. Unlike most ab machines it gets you up off the ground and allows you to work your abdominal muscles in multiple planes of motion. That's big! There’s a twisting circular motion -- called “circular burn” by the Proform guys -- and a crunching/knee raise motion -- called “arc crunch” by those marketing whizes. Both motions closely mimic traditional abdominal exercise movements, like hanging leg/knee raises and ab twists, and can be combined in several interesting ways.

Being able to work your abs, obliques, and various other core muscles in 3 dimensions, smoothly, gives the Ab Glider a BIG advantage over most other ab machines. Anytime you can move your body through space in multiple directions you’re able to get more bang for the buck. In other words, you get more fat-burning, muscle-toning benefits in less time. (This is one reason why so many bodyweight exercises -- like pull-ups and dips -- are so incredibly effective.)

Proform says that the Ab Glider provides a fast, fun, unique workout that allows the user to engage more muscle tissue and even get an effective cardiovascular workout. Surprisingly we agree with them!

95% of the time when ab gadgets are marketed as “cardio” machines it’s pretty much bullcrap. Most ab-focused products are simply too uncomfortable or difficult to use long enough to get any real cardio conditioning benefits. But in the case of the Ab Glider we’ve found that it's smooth and comfortable enough to use for the 10-20 minutes necessary to get a good heart-pumping, sweat-producing cardio/aerobic workout.

But like I said above, this isn't a perfect product and certain people should definitely avoid it...

The Bad

There are a few negatives associated with the Proform Ab Glider that we need to point out. First off, the thing is heavy. You’re gonna need some upper and lower body strength if you want to move it around a lot. It’s very solidly constructed out of high-gauge steel which is great in terms of safety and durability, not so great in terms of portability.

The biggest Ab Glider “con” is probably the way the arm handles are designed. Once again you’re going to need a decent amount of upper body strength to use the machine properly. Holding onto the handles while swinging and twisting your body around requires some serious chest, shoulder, and arm strength. Someone who’s very out-of-shape, who has a weak upper body, or who has any shoulder problems isn’t going to be able to use the Ab Glider very effectively.

Other online reviewers we’ve seen also talk about the handlebar problem quite a bit. The problem, as usual, is that the Ab Glider infomercial makes it look really easy to use. And it is... if you’re a strong, fit fitness model or Elisabeth Hasselbeck (who surely has her own $1000/session personal trainer!). But the thing simply isn’t as easy-to-use as the marketing guys make it look and you should be aware of that before you buy.

Personally I have a strong feeling that Proform will eventually come out with an “Ab Glider 2” (or, more likely, an “Ab Glider Pro”) that features padded arms rests like the ones on the popular Ab Coaster. The Ab Coaster is another great "gliding" abdominal machine but, in some ways, the Ab Glider is superior due to its multiple planes of motion. More comfortable and supportive handles and arm rests would make the Ab Glide almost perfect in our opinion!

The final negative we found using the machine is this: it’s not for very short people. My 5 foot tall assistant tried it and she found it more than a little difficult to use. She had to fully extend her arms during the “bottom” portion of the swinging arc motion, putting her in a very awkward-feeling position. Again, future versions of the Ab Glider will probably be more adjustable, especially since their primary target market is women!

The Bottom Line

The Proform Ab Glider is a nice piece of home exercise equipment that provides a unique and very effective ab/core workout as well as a decent cardio training option. It's better than 95% of the ab workout gadgets we've tested in the past. But it is relatively heavy and requires a good amount of upper-body strength to use properly. Very weak people should increase their arm, shoulder, and chest strength before buying. Also, very short people should realize that it's not very adjustable and that they may have a difficult time using it!

Overall we give the Ab Glider 4 out of 5 stars.

Do you have a review of the Proform Ab Glider? Please leave your own useful reviews as well as any questions or comments in the area below. Thanks!


Anonymous said...

I want an ab machine to get in shape for summer but I can't decide between all the different options out right now. They all look pretty good to me. How does the Ab Glider compare to the Ab Circle Pro, the Ab Rocket Twister, the Ab-Doer, the Contour Belt, the Ab Lounge, Slendertone, etc... ? I really want to avoid the scam and rip-off products for once!

Karen Long said...

My husband and I got our new Ab Glider last week and so far we both really like it. It's simple to put together and easier to use than I thought. It also definitely works the core muscle well, better than expected. But don't make the mistake of thinking this product is going to give you ripped 6 pack abs all by itself. All it is is an exercise tool that makes it more easy and fun to strengthen the abdominal muscles and burn some calories at home. I think it will help us get into better shape for summer but I'm not expecting it to do so without us following a good diet plan, which is a version of low-carb right now (and is working great!). I'll use it for a few more weeks and come back to leave a more complete review then.

Anonymous said...

I have had the Ab Glider since last year. I do like it however, the handle bars are in a very awkward position and you begin to literally slide off of the padded seat as you're working out. Too bad there isn't an "edge" on the front of that seat that you can rest your knees on. Sometimes I can't even finish my workout because I'm sliding forward right off of the machine.

Ridoy said...

I've got a page on my site that sorta resembles this...great minds think alike, right? I even have Troy's video.Fitness equipment,

Ridoy said...

This is a story? Looks like work experience kids are in again!Fitness equipment,