While equipment does cost money some people find that equipment helps. Perhaps it is more effective for them or perhaps they simply are more likely to work out if they have the equipment then they are to simply do an exercise on their own. Purchasing the equipment is not always necessary as you can find most equipment already present in gyms.
The most effective exercise for working the abdominal muscles that requires equipment according to the American Council on Exercise is called the captain’s chair leg rise. The captain’s chair is a piece of equipment available in most gyms. It consists of a rack with padded arms. It allows your legs to hang freely. This exercise will always work your obliques (sides/love handles). Stand on the chair and grip the handles to stabilize the upper body. Press your back against the pad then contract your abs to raise your legs and lift your knees towards your chest. Slowly lower your legs back down. To keep this exercise safe and effective be sure to not swing your legs or use your movement for momentum to bring your legs up. Also, if you keep your knees bent this will help you focus on your abs instead of your hip flexors. Do 2 or 3 sets of 12 to 16.
The next most effective exercise for the abdominal muscles requires the use of an exercise ball and is called the exercise ball crunch. Exercise balls usually run around twenty dollars and can be found at most gyms. This tool is excellent to have for working out and can be used for a countless number of exercises. As the name suggests this exercise is a lot like a normal crunch except that you use the ball. You want to lie face up with the ball supporting your mid to lower back. Your arms can either be put behind your head or crossed over your chest. Contract your abs to lift your torso off of the ball. It is most effective if you visualize pulling the bottom of your ribcage towards your hips. What makes this exercise slightly difficult is that you must make sure to keep the ball stable and not let it roll. Lower back down into the starting position. Repeat this exercise for 12 to 16 reps.
The third most effective exercise for working the abdominal muscles using equipment is using a piece of equipment called the torso track. It is unlikely that this will be found in gyms. It is seen on TV sometimes in infomercials. It can be found in the “as seen on TV” section at Sears and maybe even at Walmart. It costs about 200 dollars if ordered from the website. While doing this exercise it is important to be careful and do it correctly. Doing this exercise incorrectly can lead to back injury. Grip the handles of the torso track and pull your abs in. Do not hold your breath. Exhale and glide forward. Only go as far as you comfortably can. Your middle should not collapse and you should not feel this exercise in your back. Contract your abs and pull your body back. You can add more tension to make this abs exercise more effective by using more tension cords that come with this equipment.