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Are Ab Benches Effective?

    ab bench effective

    Do you know what I’m tired of hearing?

    “Don’t do sit ups because they’re bad for you back. And, avoid the ab benches like the plague!”

    I have a question for these people:

    If decline bench sit ups are so harmful, ineffective, and old-school, then why the most advanced athletes in the world such as boxers, MMA fighters, sprinters, bodybuilders, etc. do this exercise?

    Because it works!

    It makes not only your abs but your entire core stable and rock-solid that is required for improved performance in any sport. And, if your primary purpose is looking good, yes, it can help a lot to get those six-pack abs.

    Then, why the so-called fitness experts don’t recommend the decline sit up bench. Why do they suggest alternatives?

    I think the reasons are the following.

    The technique that matters

    First of all, it’s a complex abdominal exercise that requires time and practice to learn the correct form. Also, existing core strength. Hence, it isn’t beginner-friendly.

    It seems to be an uncomplicated exercise. You just get on the ab workout bench, fix your feet between the leg rollers, and pull your upper body up with the power of your abs.

    But, the proper technique is what makes it one of the most effective core exercise, or the worst.

    The poor form is why people cannot see results or have back pain.

    I saw people trying to pull their upper body up with the power of their arms. Others curve their back too much or cheat by using the momentum. Of course, all these lead to no results and hurt.

    To sum up, the proper form is the key. But, it’s no secret if you want to build muscle. Quality is more important than quantity.

    Now, what is the correct decline sit up technique?

    The video below will show you, and we also have a detailed sit up exercise guide here.

    Can you see how straight his back is? How does he only use the power of his core?

    No cheating and no rushing!

    Just focusing!

    That is what you also have to do!

    What if you cannot perform the exercise in such a perfect way yet?

    Well, you have to step back and do less complicated floor practices to build abdominal strength. For example, crunch variations, leg lifts, and planks. Once you can do many repetitions (about 20), you can switch to the decline sit up bench with a low position.

    To sum up, what to beware of while doing decline sit ups.

    • Banding your back too much.
    • Focusing on the number of reps instead of the technique.
    • Using the momentum.
    • Choosing a too steep angle that you aren’t yet ready for.
    • Pulling your head forward with your hands behind your neck.
    • Doing decline crunches instead of sit ups. So, the range of motion is too short.
    • Force it, but your strength isn’t appropriate yet.

    Why I love the ab bench workout


    While it’s mainly for decline sit ups, there are many exercises we can use the bench to target different parts of the core. For instance, we can do decline Russian twists to target obliques, crunches for the upper abs, leg lifts for the lower abs, and hyperextension by facing towards the floor.

    What does that mean?

    We can have a complete core training with it.

    Compound exercise

    No matter which practice you do, each of them is a compound exercise meaning they activate more than one muscle. This means more natural training than isolated exercises. Moreover, the core strength develops more effectively since the muscles act together.

    Longer range of motion

    If you do the sit ups on the floor, the range of motion is limited. Because of the slant board, the length of the movement is much longer. That supports muscle mass and strength development better than exercises with a short range of motion.

    What does it mean?

    Your abs get not just stronger, but also more prominent, so they pop out more on your stomach. And that is how six-pack is “made.” (Of course, that requires a lean belly.)

    Progressive overload

    This is a logical technique, which means you frequently modify your workout routine so that the muscles should get used to the new impact. Hence, they grow.

    If you have an adjustable ab bench, from time to time, you can raise higher the level of the board to increase the resistance. Or, you can use weights as well. This way, the core muscles frequently get a new impact.

    For whom it is not recommended?

    Well, I wrote the tips before for healthy people. But, what if you have chronic problems with your back, spine, neck, etc.

    Frankly, I would not use it! I would not risk getting an even worse injury. Instead of I would do light cardio that helps to burn fat so that my abs get visible.

    It is always vital to consult your doctor before using it.

    In a nutshell:

    The ab bench is beneficial home gym equipment if you use it the right way. It builds a strong core. It also makes you ab workout more versatile and personalized.


    James Wright

    James (36) has been working out since he was 15 years old. He has a home gym where he pumps iron, does bodyweight workouts and boxing. He likes sharing his experiences with others who want to build a better physique.

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