Resembling a lounge chair in appearance, this abdominal machine made of blue canvas -- the Ab Lounge -- helps to train the top-lying abdominal muscle, the rectus abdominis, and the side obliques. Abdominal exercises will not spot-reduce fat from your stomach area. Still, using the Ab Lounge, in conjunction with a comprehensive exercise and diet program, can help to strengthen and improve the appearance of your abs.
Setting the Ab Lounge up correctly and properly positioning your body in the machine can help to maximize muscle and strength development. Use the Ab Lounge on a flat and sturdy surface, preferably carpeted to prevent the machine from moving. Leave 3 feet of clearance in all directions around the machine. Check for any damage to the bands or fabric before your workout each time that you use the Ab Lounge; restore any broken parts before using the machine.
Sit in the seat and place both feet on the footrest, with your knees bent to 90 degrees. The footrest can be easily adjusted if necessary by pulling the pin out of the adjustment knob and moving the bar to the desired position.
The jackknife is the basic exercise performed with the Ab Lounge. The basic crunch-like move targets the rectus abdominis, which is the top lying muscle on the abdomen that serves to flex the torso.
Sit in the Ab Lounge with your feet on the footrest and reach overhead to grasp the handles. Contract your abdominal muscles as you pull forward into a crunch position. Hold the contraction for one count and then slowly return to starting position. Increase the challenge of the exercise by performing variations, such as pulling one knee into the chest as you curl forward. Likewise, straighten either your arms or legs to increase the intensity of the crunch.
For an advanced move, extend both the arms and the legs to form a V position as you crunch. Aim for three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions. The Ab Lounge manual recommends performing 10-minute sessions; beginning practitioners should advance gradually to avoid overtraining the rectus abdominis. Add a set or a certain amount of time, such as 30 or 60 seconds, to each workout.
Rotating your hips to either side allows the obliques to be targeted and strengthened. The oblique muscles lie on the sides of the torso, and help to stabilize the spine and lower back when you bend sideways. Keep the upper body squared and facing forward with your hands on the handlebars. Rotate your hips and legs to the right by 45 degrees. Pull the torso forward as you perform a curl with the Ab Lounge. Hold the contraction for one count and then return to starting position. Aim for three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions on both sides.
The Ab Lounge can help you to stretch your abdominal muscles at the end of your workout. Stretching helps to elongate and repair the rectus abdominis, the obliques and the hip flexors, which are located on the front of the hips and often engaged during abdominal exercises. Sit in the Ab Lounge and extend your arms overhead and your legs out straight. Lean your upper body back until both the arms and legs are parallel to the floor. Hold the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds and release. Continue for a total of three repetitions.