The 10 Best Ab Belts
This wiki has been updated 23 times since it was first published in March of 2015. Feeling nervous about swimwear season? Don't be. We're not saying any of these ab belts will give you a six-pack without any effort, but they could potentially speed up the process when you add them to a healthy diet and a proper exercise regimen. We've included both electronic and body heat-utilizing waist trimmers at various prices, so there is something for everyone. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.
November 08, 2020:
Ab belts, no matter what kind you buy, are not a magic bullet for weight loss. That being said, when incorporated into a healthy lifestyle that already includes regular workouts and a smart diet, they can be useful tools in helping to meet your fitness goals.
If you are looking for something that will provide some extra support, and also help you sweat more and perhaps burn a few more calories either during a workout or simply as you go about your day, you should look to the Sports Research Sweet Sweat, ActiveGear Sweat Wrap, TNT Pro Series, McDavid Waist Trainer, Zohumi Trimmer, Bracoo SE20, and Ohuhu Waist Trainer. All of these wrap tightly around the mid section to increase heat in that area, which may offer a variety of benefits from reducing muscle recovery time to shedding excess water via sweating. Of these, the Zohumi Trimmer, with its wide coverage provides the highest level of support, but this also means it hinders your movement the most. It is a good choice for use during workouts or while walking or jogging, but wouldn't be something you want to leave on all day long. Conversely, the Ohuhu Waist Trainer probably provides the least amount of support, but is one of the most comfortable for all day wear. Models like the Sports Research Sweet Sweat, ActiveGear Sweat Wrap, and TNT Pro Series hit that sweet spot where they can provide a lot of support, yet won't make you feel as if your movement is restricted. They are also still discreet enough that most won't notice you are wearing them under your clothes. Though the options mentioned above can all provide some level of support to the core, if performing really heavy lifts, it is best to use actual lifting belts, which are designed for such a purpose.
Those looking to tone their abs should consider a model that uses small electric muscles to stimulate the muscles, such as the Slendertone Connect, Flex Belt, and MBody Toning. These make the muscle contract, just like they would when performing an exercise. It should be noted that they aren't really strong enough to produce much, if any, significant muscle growth, but rather they help keep the muscles tighter, which can make them appear firmer. The Slendertone Connect is our favorite because of the associated smartphone app that offers personal coaching and allows you to track your progress, however the Flex Belt does produce stronger pulses, and, as a result, harder contractions. The MBody Toning is the best value because not only is it the most affordable, it also comes with bands you can use on the arms and legs, though its pulses are weaker than the others.
November 19, 2019:
Ab belts can be a helpful fitness aid for people who have realistic expectations of what they can do and how to best use them. It is important to note that these are not miracle devices and there is no substitute for healthy eating and exercise. That being said, they are not completely ineffective, either.
On this list, you'll find two distinct kinds of ab belts, those that utilize heat and those that use small electric pulses, just like muscle stimulators. The models that rely on heat, like the Sports Research Sweet Sweat, ActiveGear Sweat Wrap, TNT Pro Series, Rhino Balance Ultra Soft, McDavid Waist Trainer, Maxboost Trimmer, and Bracoo SE20 are designed to help your body shed excess water weight. They also increase your core temperature, which may help you burn a few extra calories during your workout. Additionally, they provide some additional core support and may be able to reduce the chances of back injury when lifting. It is important to note though, that since this kind of ab belt will make you sweat more than usual when exercising, there is an increased chance of dehydration, so make sure to drink plenty of water to combat this and ensure you have a safe workout.
The models that utilizes small electric pulses, like the Antmona Stimulator, Slendertone Connect, and Flex Belt are designed to help tone the abs. They do this by forcing those muscles to contract again and again over a period of time. These will not noticeably build muscle mass, but instead, can make your abdominals feel firmer and produce a very slight strength increase. An appealing byproduct of this is that it may make you appear a bit slimmer, since your stomach will be a tighter.
A Six Pack Without The Heart Attack
There are precious few markers of human fitness as sought after as a set of well-honed abdominal muscles.
There are precious few markers of human fitness as sought after as a set of well-honed abdominal muscles. The six pack, the washboard, the rippling tummy of a thousand suns; whatever you call them, they are one of the clearest indicators of serious personal fitness on the human body.
The problem with getting ripped up abs is twofold. First of all, they require an extremely low percentage of body fat, the kind of percentage that's tough to achieve without a steady diet of skinless chicken breast and steamed broccoli. Secondly, a firm six pack is the result of hours and hours of rather painful ab exercises that can be as murderous on the back and neck as they are on the abdominals and obliques themselves.
For the sake of one's overall wellness, as well as one's time management, the ab belt provides a thorough amount of muscle stimulation to the abdominal area without requiring a personal trainer and a costly gym membership.
An ab belt will essentially do a similar thing to your muscle fibers as a handful of ab workouts will. The whole purpose of wearing the belt is to get a rapid and consistent contraction of the muscles around your stomach. Muscle contraction tears muscle fiber, and the rebuilding of that fiber results in increased bulk or increased toning, depending on the degree of the tear.
Lifting heavier weights will tear muscle fibers more severely, giving you a bulkier muscle rebuild if bolstered by enough protein. It's common knowledge in the fitness community that more reps with a lower weight will give you a nice tone, but it won't bulk you up. That's the kind of muscle work you would want on your abs, that they might appear toned without bulging forward.
An ab belt hooks little electrodes to the muscles you want to work and pulses low voltage electricity through them, causing them to contract as though they were under the kind of physical stress you might get doing light crunches.
The effect is a very gentle tearing of the muscle tissue, which is why the belts recommend you wear them for up to an hour. That way, you essentially give yourself a tremendous quantity of very tiny reps all while sitting around enjoying your favorite shows.
Don't Get Too Ab-Stract
I promise that is the one and only ab-related pun I will allow myself. Ab-solutely. Okay, now I'm done.
Picking the right ab belt is going to have a lot to do with what you're looking to tone, and how you want to interact with the belt itself.
I promise that is the one and only ab-related pun I will allow myself.
Some of the belts on our list can be reconfigured to work on a number of different muscle groups, so you can transition from working on your six pack to refining your biceps in no time at all. Others offer interactions with your smart phone, so you can make adjustments to your routine between tweets, without ever having to put down your mobile device.
One important point before you get yourself so psyched up about your ab belt that you run the risk of being let down: No matter how much you work your ab muscles, they will be invisible if they're hidden behind layers of adipose tissue. That's fat.
If you want to get the most out of your ab belt purchase, you'll want to get yourself on a diet and exercise plan that will compliment its toning capabilities. If you're already well on your way to fitness, an ab belt will only increase the firmness and delectability of your burgeoning washboard. And remember, for a quality six pack, it's a good idea to ab-stain from refined sugar. Last one, I promise.
Electrical Stimulation Before Electricity Was A Thing
While human beings have had contact with electricity long before we had any understanding of it, it was the interaction between a scalpel and a frog that tipped Italian biologist Luigi Galvani off to the notion that muscles respond to electrical currents. By the early 1800s Galvani performed incredible feats of electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) on the bodies of deceased prisoners.
After injury or surgery, electrical currents can help bound up muscle tissue to relax, even as they lead to increased toning and subtle increases in strength.
Even with all the knowledge and experimentation around electricity that occurred in the intervening years, it wasn't until the 1960s-at the height of the cold war–that Soviet scientists and doctors began experimenting with the effects of EMS on their athletes (read: soldiers). They presented their findings over the following decade, and the experiments spread quickly throughout the world.
One of the most common uses for EMS is in recuperative and rehabilitative therapy. After injury or surgery, electrical currents can help bound up muscle tissue to relax, even as they lead to increased toning and subtle increases in strength.
That knowledge was not lost on manufacturers, who saw a great opportunity to offer pinpoint muscle contractions to consumers interested in refining their physique even in the slightest. Go check out a classic scene from Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story to see a man–whose body was a lethal weapon–casually sitting at his typewriter with EMS electrodes on his pecs and biceps. I'm sure he worked out in other ways, as well, but those belts had to have given him some advantage.
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