The calendar is now showing February 2012, which means all your new years’ resolutions should be in full swing! This also means that you’ve not touched a drop of alcohol, ordered takeaway or scoffed a chocolate bar. No?! OK, well at least your new fitness regime is in full swing and you are hopefully noticing the results.

Whether the above paints the perfect picture of you or not, it does highlight a current trend within today’s society; everyone seems to want something for nothing. In a world where surgery and implants are now considered an acceptable way of changing your body shape, individuals are looking for an instant fix. Whatever happened to the blood, sweat and tears philosophy?

Ab Belts/Stimulators

One piece is fitness equipment which isn’t nearly as extreme as going under the knife but at the same time steps away from conventional exercise is the abdominal stimulator. These once again seem to be the latest craze and partly the reason for this could be that individuals are looking to shift that winter weight in exchange for a summer’s six pack. But how good are these abdominal stimulators and can they produce results?

In order to understand this piece of equipment it’s important to understand its origin and original point of invention. Abdominal stimulators were initially created for medical situations. They helped to reduce muscle wastage during time periods where the target limb was immobilised; for example, the quadriceps region during a broken leg. Electrodes would be placed on this target muscle and a small electrical current passed, causing a contraction and keeping the muscle active.

The equipment was initially designed to reduce muscle wastage not assist muscular growth. With this is mind, how effective are the abdominal stimulators at producing their desired effects, i.e. creating a six pack? With a question like this it’s always good to turn to research, but unfortunately for this area of study this is extremely limited. Furthermore, the research that is available points towards insignificant and inconclusive results, which is hard to believe when companies selling these products make unfounded claims!

The truth is, the level of electrical stimulation necessary to build abdominal muscles is not supplied by the abdominal stimulators. The simple reason for this is that the required level is extremely high and therefore would be extremely painful! You will also notice that on purchasing this piece of equipment, the fine print will always make reference to combining the abdominal stimulator with a balanced exercise and dietary plan. A balanced exercise and dietary plan in itself is enough to invoke abdominal results which further takes away from this piece of equipment.

The Verdict

In summary, do abdominal stimulators work? The answer would have to be no! As stated above, the equipment was initially designed to reduce muscle wastage not assist muscular growth, so the stimulation levels are not enough to invoke any major changes. If you are willing to grit you teeth and wire yourself up to the local power station then results may be more rewarding, however FitnessBeans neither advises nor promotes this! Joking aside, there’s no escaping the real thing, so if you want to develop your abdominal region, include an abdominal workout into your current training. You would opt for bench press over electrodes to develop your chest, so why should your abdominals be any different?

For those of you that are wowed by gadgets and want an abdominal stimulator in your life regardless of the information provided above, what justifications can you provide for still going ahead and purchasing one? The best I can think of is that the abdominal stimulator won’t do you any harm. The equipment will provide a small level of stimulation. So if you’ve never ever activated your abdominals, which I find hard to believe, the abdominal stimulator has the potential to produce minimal results.

Have experience utilising one of these devices or an alternative view to us? Then why not check out the best ones currently available to buy and let us know your honest thoughts:

  • Bodi-Tek Elite 2
  • Slendertone System Abs For Men
  • Slendertone For Arms