Adjustable sit up benches are among those beneficial ab workout equipment that can help you a lot to strengthen your core muscle groups at home. While there are several exercises for abs you can do without tools, a bench can increase the efficiency of your workouts drastically.
The best sit up benches are adjustable, which means you can set the angle of the board. This way, you can increase or decrease the resistance to your needs. Beginners can adjust it to a lower level so the exercise will be more comfortable. Hardcore trainers can set the angle higher, so resistance will be far harder.
Within this guide, I’m going to show you different types of ab workout benches, and give info on buying and proper usage.
Ab Exercise Bench Reviews
1. Fitness Reality X-Class Bench – The best Workout Bench for Home Use
This bench will help you add both lower and upper body exercises to your workout regimen, allowing you to build muscles with back extensions, abdominal crunches, single dumbbell rows, knee raises, preacher curls and so much more!
You are also able to include flat and decline abdominal crunches. It allows you to target the upper, lower, and middle chest muscles with the multiple bench dumbbell exercises that can be done on it.
Fitness Reality Multi-Workout Bench has transportation wheels which make it easy to move around the house if need be. This makes it possible to use it in a certain spot in the house and store it in a different spot.
- Very sturdy, does not squeak or wobble.
- Very easy to set up.
- The adjustments, when required, are quick and easy to do.
- Versatile. It is suitable for a long list of weight lifting and core exercises.
- 650 pounds maximum limit.
- Easy to store
- It’s not possible to put the backrest to a fully upright position initially. However, this is a minor problem because after placing the seat in the lowest degree angle, it is easy to place the board in the 85-degree position and then place the seat in any intended angle.
2. XMark Fitness 12 Position Ergonomic Adjustable Decline Ab Bench – The Best Ab Up Bench / Suitable for Tall People
There is no question that this sit up board is one of the best items. This is an adjustable and comfortable home fitness equipment both for beginner and fitter users. Its size is enough for nearly anybody, which makes it safe and comfortable to use. It has been developed with special technology that protects your posterior from injuries or strains.
What I Like
- Because of its wide and long size, XM-4416 is extremely stable. People over 350 lbs can use it safely.
- Rather long, taller people can use it comfortably. Most of the other ab machines are too short, so when the user lay down, his head is on the ground. That is not only uncomfortable, but can cause neck strains.
- Because of its an extended construction, it’s the right solution for bigger, wide-shouldered men.
- 12 level adjustment is definitely the most powerful feature of this ab crunch bench. The higher we adjust it, the more gravity there is, and more effectively the training is. Beginners can lower the level and start there until they strengthen their abdominal region. Hardcore trainers can begin with high angled levels. This function gives a full range of motion, better extension, and stretching.
- It also comes with a support handlebar to get on or off the bench and to start the ab workout more easily.
- 14 gauge steel mainframe and tear-resistant, extra-thick cushion upholstery for durability.
- Because of its bigger size, some may find it difficult to store or use in smaller places. But that is the reason why XM-4416 abdominal bench is so stable and comfortable.
3. Universal Decline Bench – The Cheapest
This is a simple sit up equipment on a great price, which allows you to perform full sit-ups and also good for twisting. Though it only offers two levels of adjustment; Universal is still good gym equipment to train abs at home. It can be folded so it can be stored easily.
- You can fold it up for easy storage. Good choice for those who live in smaller flats.
- The foam padding rollers are comfortable and adjustable covered with foam. People say that the leg rollers fix their feet so they can use the crunch board securely and effectively.
- Easy to assemble and none of the buyers complain about missing parts.
- Most of the users say positive reviews about the thick padding on the bench. Universal has dense cushion.
- This abdominal board has limitations. Men over 6′ cannot use it conveniently as their head hang out.
- Also, the weight limit is just 200lb.
- It wobbles under heavier trainers.
In case you are bigger than the mentioned values, do not buy it. You will not be able to use it comfortably. Although it is maybe a good choice for women under average height. To sum up, it is a very basic product.
4. XMark Mini Ab Decline Bench XM-4415 – The Most Compact
If you are searching for a cheap, not adjustable sit up bench for your home gym, Xmark Mini ab bench is for you. Unfortunately, it is not the best solution for bigger men as XM-4415 not long and wide enough. It has a compact design so it does not require so much space to use and store. Suitable for a person having limited space.
- This is a really simple bench, but users like it as it is comfortable to use
- Compared to other benches XM-4415 is cheaper.
- Can be stored in a small place and light.
- Not adjustable and maybe uncomfortable for some users. This is a really simple unit with no extras.
- It is not foldable.
5. Body-Solid Pro-Style Commercial AB Board – Gym Level
Body-Solid GAB60 ab board is another proven product to strengthen all your abdomen. It helps to enhance the exercises by setting different degree angles. It can be adjusted in 12 positions, so it is suitable for anybody. Moreover, since it is made of quality materials, this bench is incredibly durable, making it a good choice even for gyms.
- This bench comes with an extra wide board which is comfortable and helps to do different sorts of abdominal exercises safely as the motion is more controlled.
- Though it is made of durable steel, it is not heavy at all. It also comes with 2 small rollers to relocate it even more comfortable.
- It supports 12 levels to increase or decrease the difficulty. The hardest level is so steep as if you were hanging upside down, so this crunch board is fitting to professional athletes, as well. This ab board offers the highest angle for sit-ups.
- The thick padding and the leg rollers are covered with dense Durafirm material making the training comfortable.
- The rollers help to keep yourself stable while you do the workout, and as they have soft upholstery, they are comfortable. Most of the users say that the foam rollers are well-positioned.
- The whole structure of this sit up machine is exceptionally stable, which is essential to prevent injuries during ab workout.
- Some users complain about that the sponge on rollers are a bit firm, and that is uncomfortable for knees.
- It is not easy to assemble.
- High price
6. Stamina Ab/Hyper Bench Pro – Good Choice for Women
This ab hyperextension bench is definitely the best buy considering that Stamina is the combination of a decline sit up bench and a back extension. This way we can perform core strengthening exercises with it. So, it’s an all in one solution for core training meaning you can develop your back and abdominal muscles.
- The angle of the board can be increased up to 30 degree with a pin. Hence, you can easily increase or decrease the difficulty
- The split tight support for hyperextension makes it safe and comfortable.
- The unique feature is that you can do standing hyperextension exercises to strengthen and slim your hips.
- Fully adjustable to alter it to the optimal decline position for your height.
- Thickly padded foam slant board and foam rollers for comfort.
- Taller users find it not long enough.
- A few customers complained about the pin.
- A few problems with assembly.
- Low weight limit.
7. Fabfit Curved Extra Long Adjustable Sit Up Bench – Unique Design
This slant board allows you to define and heat your core very effectively and ergonomically by providing the perfect platform for a lot of ab exercises. It allows you to do your bench sit up, twists, and reverse crunches. Fabfit is good for novices looking to get into shape and for pros who intend to remain at the top. This supports targeting the different parts of your abdominal section.
The decline bench comes with roller pads which have chrome end caps making the product extremely light and durable, while at the same time providing comfort during a workout.
- Very simple to assemble
- The bench is very comfortable
- Lightweight and extremely durable
- Durable heavy-duty steel tubing
- It does not have a folding design, but the assembled footprint is 57 x 16 inches and will therefore not occupy much space. You could also lower it and lean it against a wall or in the closet if you do not have a lot of space in your room.
- The ankle rollers are a bit uncomfortable.
8. XMark Commercial Sit Up Bench XM-7608
This commercial ab bench is an enhanced alternative of the mentioned 12 positions one. This means it has an even more sturdy structure so that it can be used in gyms as well. It also comes with an amazing exclusive lifetime warranty!
- Handle bar for safety. It can be used as a reverse crunch handle as well.
- Robust, heavy-duty steel frame construction for long-lasting usage. Because of it, XM-7608 suitable for those who want to use weights such as dumbbells on it.
- Ultra-dense cushion to protect your back.
- Thickly padded foam leg rollers for even more comfortable and comfy workout.
- 12 level adjustment to tweak the optimal resistance. Good for both beginners and pro users.
- A few users found it hard to assemble.
9. Valor Fitness DF-1 Decline/Flat Bench
This adjustable decline sit up bench can be altered in 12 positions. The structure has been designed specially to support the back and the knees. Because of its high limit and flat position, it can be used as a weight bench as well.
- The crunch board has thick foam which allows comfortable workout.
- Since Valor Df-1 is really sturdy, it is not only suitable for ab training but other decline workouts as well.
- Because of the contoured angle behind the knees (which is a unique feature among the ab benches). It allows for lower back safe exercise.
- Wide and long slant board. Hence, DF-1 is fitting to tall guys.
- The wide steel tubing basement provides stability for any decline exercises.
- It does not come with wheels which can help to move it and it is rather pricey.
Buying Guide & Tips
When do you want one?
- You have no time going to the gym but want to shape your abs with various exercises at home.
- If the typical abs exercises such as crunches do not develop your midsection anymore.
- You want to boost your core strength by using a fierce resistance by setting the slant board level to the maximum.
- You would like to improve your performance in any sports since a strong core is required for that.
- You need a piece of equipment for your home gym to have more types of exercises with free weights such as dumbbell chest press. (This way it functions as an adjustable workout bench).
Types of Sit Up Benches
Adjustable decline sit up bench
XMark Fitness 12 Position Ergonomic Adjustable Decline Ab Bench
It is the most popular unit as it allows us to change the angle of the slant board. This way, we can set a resistance level that suits to our workout demands.
The higher you put the board, the more difficult the exercise is. Hence, people with strong abs can develop their midsection even better. But beginners can also choose a level that helps them to start.
Also, because of the adjustability, we can improve our abdominal strength training. For example, you do fewer reps at a high level, and do more repetitions at a lower one. Therefore, your workouts will be versatile stimulating your abs.
Each product comes with different adjustments. Some support only 4-6 levels, while others up to 12. Apparently, the items with more positions cost more.
If you want to buy this type of bench, think forward. As you develop, you want to add extra load to your training. Hence, it is better to get one that supports more adjustable positions where the last one is pretty high.
Non-Adjustable Ab Bench
These are the old-school benches that provide only one position for working out. The problem is that sooner or later your abs get used to the same resistance. Although, you can always increase the number of reps and sets to keep them growing.
On the other, hand in most of the cases, these are small sit up benches having a compact size. So, you can store and use them in a little place.
I recommend it for someone who is not so serious about working out, just want to do some decline sit ups sometimes.
There some models which are foldable, so after the workout, you can store them under your bed, if it is high enough. Cheap folding workout benches are not so stable and have less weight capacity. The better machine works fine without any problems.
Curved ab benches
To tell the truth, I have not used this type before, the opinion of the trainers is different if it is good or bad.
Some say they give better results since the range of motion is longer. As it is curved, your glutes and lower back are in a higher position. This way the ab muscles stretch more at the starting position so the movement will be longer.
On the other hand, that state is not healthiest for the spine, especially if the supporting muscle groups are weak.
Hence, I only recommend a curved ab bench for people who are at an advanced fitness level having strong core muscles.
Hyperextension/Sit Up Combo
In my opinion, this is the most beneficial one since it is multifunction machine. (An alternative to a Roman chair)
Most of the beginners neglect to strengthen their lower back and spine muscles, but they are as important part of the core as the abdominal muscles. The weak backbone is one of the main reasons for back pain and injuries.
Without this type, you can strengthen these areas with the help of the hyperextension exercise, and your abs with decline sit up bench exercises.
Commercial sit up bench
Commercial ab benches can be used in gyms. Hence, they are more robust, durable, and maybe provide more functions to exercise.
If you want to use the bench for weight training for example to perform incline dumbbell presses, it is better to get commercial equipment. These benches come with much higher maximum weight capacity so that you can lift weight in safety. The pro units can handle up to 500 lbs or more. So, you can use it with a power rack as well.
Apparently, they cost more than typical machine for home.
What to check out when buying
The higher the max load the bench can stand, the better. I never recommend buying an item that has lower than 150 lbs capacity. The minimum is 200-250 lbs since for that the frame of the apparatus must be solid. That max load is enough for an average user.
Moreover, if you are a big guy or someone who wants to use weights for the ab exercises, or maybe you want to use the decline ab bench as a weight bench as well, then you want something even stronger. If that is the case get a heavy-duty sit up bench with a weight capacity over 350 lbs such as Fitness Reality X-Class Light Commercial Multi-Workout Bench.
An important factor is the length of the back pad. If you are taller than average, get an adjustable ab bench that has a long board. It is annoying if because of the shortness of the board you hit your head on the ground.
Also, will you have enough space to use and store your new ab bench?
Check the length of the unit and if it is foldable or not.
Well, I do not recommend purchasing an ab bench which is not adjustable since after a time your muscles get used to the same resistance. Get one that provides at least four levels so that you can have versatile workouts.
However, if you are someone who already has a strong midsection, it is better to get an item that supports even more levels, 8 or more. This way you can set it to a high angle that gives a killer resistance. So you can keep growing.
The upholstery of the slant board and rollers
If the cushioning is too thin, it is uncomfortable for the back to perform the moves. The backrest should be covered with a minimum of 2 inches upholstery. 2.5-3 inches thickness is the most comfortable.
The same is true for the leg holders. It is very uncomfortable for the ankles if the rollers are not covered with a thick and appropriate material.
Well, you can get one for 40 bucks, but you get what you pay for. Better ab benches start at about $100, and gym-quality ones are about $150. If you can afford, it is worth spending a little bit more since the training experience is much better. But, mid-level gear is suitable for an average user for home workouts.
What are the benefits?
- Strengthen your core. Your core means your abs, oblique, hip, and back muscles. To build an attractive midsection, you should train each of these muscles. Furthermore, a strong core is vital if you do other sports and proper posture. With the help of a bench, you will be able to target all those muscles.
- Tone and tighten your abs. But, follow a healthy diet and control your calorie intake, you can burn belly fat faster with it. If you already have a lean stomach, then you will see results quickly. It is powerful equipment to get those six-pack abs.
- It supports your back (do the ab exercises correctly.) The models mentioned coming with ergonomically positioned leg rollers that help to reduce back strain. Moreover, since they are covered with thick foam, you will be able to do the activities more comfortably then doing them on the floor.
- You will be able to do a wide range of core strengthening exercises, not just abdominal ones. For example, I use it for performing decline dumbbell bench presses. It can be a useful fitness bench for other purposes.
- The adjustable models are beneficial for both beginners and advanced users since the resistance can be adjusted to make the variety of decline ab bench exercises more effective. Some models even come with reverse crunch handle for secure mount and dismount.
How effective are ab bench?
No matter which one you will use, none of them will be sufficient if you do not use them correctly. It is essential to learn how to use it to get the best results. Also, you want to follow a routine. Do not think that you will have six-pack abs just because you do some exercises.
If you are a beginner, you need to start with the basic sit up bench exercises such as incline leg lifts. You can learn more here: how to use a sit up bench correctly.
Is it worth buying sit up bench?
It isn’t necessary to buy an abdominal bench, but if you can afford this gym equipment is worth buying. There are many great workouts you can do to train your abs without using any machines, but an adjustable decline bench can help a lot to make your routine even more efficient.
Alternative ab machine?
If for some reason you cannot have an ab workout bench, there are few exercise equipment that substitutes it.
You can get a sit up bar that you can attach to the bottom of the door. It is similar to a leg holder. Hence, it is not adjustable, but the bar is covered with thick foam for the comfort of your feet.
The other option is the ab wheel which strengthens core muscles differently. You need to roll in and out by keeping your balance. It is very effective device, but the exercise itself is challenging, so it is suitable for beginners.
Why does my back hurt after I use the ab bench?
It is crucial to make the motion correctly. You must not let too much strain on your spine; you can do this by bending your knees. Besides, you do not have to go down so far and keep your ab muscles flexed. Finally, you may need to train your lower back.
If you follow the advice above I’m sure you will find a sit up bench that will suit your needs. If you buy online, read the customer reviews and ask the manufacturer if you have any questions as well.
Last update on 2020-05-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API