Marketed in the late 1990s, the Nordic Track Ab Works machine promised sculpted abs like those found on fitness models with easy, doable workouts. If you pick up one of these devices at a garage sale or on an auction site, you may find the instructions missing and need a little guidance.
The Nordic Track Ab Works machine looks like a regular sit-up board, padded and with a hinge in the center. It features a foot rest and hook at one end and a set of long handle bars protrude from the top for you to grab as you crunch. The device is well-made, but does require a little coordination and some practice to get the moves just right.
The standard crunch performed on the Ab Works supports your head and back a little better than one done on the floor, found an informal study by Popular Mechanics.
Lie on your back on the Ab Works padded surface. Grasp the handles overhead and position your feet in the rollers.
Brace your abs to pull your head, neck and shoulders up along with the pad.
Slowly release down to complete one repetition.
- Instead of placing your feet in the rollers, put your feet on the floor, seal the soles together and open your thighs like butterfly wings as you crunch.
- Plant your feet on the floor, knees bent, and lift one leg straight up to the ceiling as you crunch; repeat with the other leg lifted.
- Raise both legs to the ceiling as you hold the handles and crunch.
The reverse crunch targets the front sheath of your abs known as the rectus abdominis just as the standard crunch does. However, it emphasizes the lower portion of this muscle more.
Lie on the Ab Works pad with your hands grasping the handles overhead and feet in the rollers.
Squeeze your abs in as you pull your knees in toward your chest. Keep your upper body stationary.
Slowly release to complete one repetition.
- Place just one foot in the rollers with the other knee bent, foot resting on the base of the machine's pad. Do all the reps with one leg down, then switch.
- Place just one foot in the rollers with the other knee bent, foot resting on the floor. Do all the reps with one leg down, then switch.
The oblique crunch targets the muscles that lie alongside the front abdominal muscle, known as the internal and external obliques.
Lie on your back on the Ab Works pad and grasp the handles overhead.
Bend your knees and drop them to the right side as far as they'll go. Point your left hip toward the ceiling.
Crunch up and down for the desired reps, and then switch sides.
The following moves are more challenging than the standard exercises detailed above. Master the standard moves before trying these options.
Reverse Crunch with a Twist: Lie on the Ab Works and place your hands behind your head rather than grasp the rollers. Put your feet in the rollers. As you draw your knees to your chest lift your right elbow to the left knee. Lower down and then twist the other way.
Combo Crunch Knee to Chest: Lie on the Ab Works and grasp the handles overhead. Plant your feet on the floor, instead of in the foot rollers. Crunch your upper body up as you pull just one knee in towards your chest. Lower down and repeat with the other side.
You could do the combo crunch knee to chest with one foot on the floor and one foot in the rollers as well. Pull the leg that's in the rollers toward your chest as you crunch up. Do all the repetitions on one side, then switch.
Combo Crunch: Lie on the Ab Works with your hands on the handles and your feet in the rollers. Use your entire rectus abdominis to draw your upper body into the crunch and your knees in toward your chest.
Develop a Fitness Program
The Nordic Track Ab Works recommends you create a workout lasting anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes on the machine. Start with two to three sets of the standard moves: 10 crunches, 10 reverse crunches and five oblique crunches in each direction. Do this basic workout just three times per week.
To gradually extend the length of your workout, pepper in the advanced variations until you move through 10 reps of each, five per side for right/left options, for two sets. When you've got all the standard and advanced moves down, work up to using the Ab Works six times per week.