How to Use an Ab Shaper
It may look like a torture device, but it's meant to work your abs.
Although you could lie down and do a simple crunch to work your abs, sometimes you want to use an extra apparatus to see if it makes a difference. Enter the Weider Ab Shaper, a U-shaped device that claims to not only boost your ab workout but reduce neck strain at the same time.
The Ab Shaper can help you sculpt your abs, but it should be part of a comprehensive fitness routine that includes cardio exercise, as well as strength-training for other parts of the body.
Setting Up the Ab Shaper
The first step in using the Ab Shaper is getting it into the right position. Lay the exercise mat flat on the floor, then grasp the handles and raise them one at a time until you hear the locking pin snap into the pin groove.
When using the Ab Shaper, ensure that you use proper form. As you perform each rep, resist the urge to press or pull the handles together. Use your ab muscles to pull yourself up, letting the device roll with you.
Beginners, get started on your workout with some simple exercises before you try advanced moves.
1. Basic Crunch
Position yourself with your head on the headrest, and grasp the upper ends of the handles. Using your ab muscles as leverage, curl up to a 45-degree angle, and then lower yourself back to the starting position. Complete 10 to 15 reps. Kick it up a notch by lifting your feet 1 inch off the floor.
2. Oblique Crunch
Get into the same starting position as you did for the basic crunch. Twist your lower half so your knees are resting on the floor. Keep both shoulders on the ground.
Lift your head and shoulders off the floor to a 45-degree angle. You should feel the move in your oblique muscles. Complete five to seven reps, and then twist your knees to the other side to do five to seven reps.
Intermediate and Advanced Exercises
When you feel comfortable using the Ab Shaper, move onto harder exercises to strengthen your core even further.
1. Raised-knee Crunch with Knees Held to Chest
Lie down on the mat, and bring your knees toward your chest. If you need to, rest your feet on a chair. Grasp the handles.
Crunch up to a 45-degree angle, and then lower yourself to the starting position. Keep your knees raised during the entire move. Complete 10 to 15 reps.
Lie on the floor and grasp the handles. Straighten your legs, and lift them so they're 2 to 3 inches off the floor. Curl up to a 45-degree angle, and then lower to the starting position. Complete 10 to 15 repetitions.
Keep your head on the headrest and the small of your back on the mat as you crunch. If necessary, raise your hips slightly.
Lie on the mat and grasp the handles of the Ab Shaper. Position your legs so they're straight in front of you, and widen them to a V-shape. They should be about 1 foot apart.
Crunch up to a 45-degree angle. Pause at the top and cross your ankles. Return to the starting position, where you uncross your ankles and move back into a V-position.
Complete 10 to 15 reps. Alternate crossing the right ankle above the left, and then the left ankle above the right.
Kelsey Casselbury is a freelance writer and editor based in central Maryland. Her clients have included Livestrong, School Nutrition magazine, What's Up? Media, American Academy of Clinical Chemistry, SmartBrief and more. She has a formal education in personal training/nutrition and a bachelor's degree in journalism from The Pennsylvania State University.