Best Ab Equipment and Gear for a Strong, Fit Core

Everyone wants washboard abs, but how do you get them?

Losing body fat is key, but working your ab and back muscles to make them strong is important too. While you don't need special equipment to work your abs, there are some gadgets out there to help you add a little variety to the same old crunches.

These are my favorite pieces of equipment to work your core and, the best part is, all of these can be used for multiple activities.

1

An exercise ball is one of the most versatile pieces of equipment you can own, particularly for working your abs. In fact, the ball crunch is one of the most effective exercises for the abs and, don't forget, you can also work on improving strength, flexibility, balance and coordination. You can use it during your workouts or sit on it while you watch TV or work on the computer for better posture. Make sure you choose the right size for your height.

2

This doesn't look like a traditional ab gadget and it's not. The BOSU (short for 'Both Sides Up) has a flexible dome on top and a flat platform underneath that allows you to stand, jump, squat, twist and bounce to challenge your stability. Your abs and back are greatly involved in balance and stabilization, so the BOSU is a great tool for working your core without so much as doing one boring crunch. A great way to work your abs with a variety of exercises.

3

The BOSU Ballast Ball adds a dynamic element to core workouts with the added weight of the ballast inside as well as the stability. The ballast keeps the ball from rolling but it also shifts and moves as you roll, toss and lift the ball during different exercises. With the BOSU Ballast Ball, you can do a variety of exercises that will challenge your core, balance and stability.

4

The medicine ball has made a strong comeback from traumatic P.E. classes from years ago. They come in a variety of weights and sizes and can add an element of fun to your workouts while engaging the abs and back. Bounce it, toss it, throw it or rotate it while doing ab exercises or other moves for a challenging core workout.  You'll also get a strong cardio element, so that's a great way to burn more calories.

5

Yes, these look like little frisbees, but they're much more than that.  Put these under your feet for some mountain climbers, squat thrusts or crunches and you'll know exactly what these little buggers can do.  For about $20, you can get a workout that targets your entire body with a strong emphasis on the core.  You can also work your lower body, upper body and even get some cardio in.  Not a bad deal for such a low price.

6

Resistance bands are inexpensive, perfect for travel and great for working the core in a different way than other pieces of equipment.  In fact, some exercises engage the core while you're working other muscles, like rotating chest flies.  You can also use them for things like woodchops and side bends.  Get a variety of bands so you can work at different levels of intensity.

7

Want to strengthen your abs and back in a dynamic way while burning tons of calories and building overall strength and endurance?  One little kettlebell can do just that.  Use it for swings, windmills and Russian TwistsKettlebell training is great for the entire body, but you'll really get a lot of great core work as well.

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