Pros: Inexpensive; works the entire ab area; folds
Cons: Not as sturdy as the Ab Lounger; small; too light weight.
After reviewing the Ab Lounge I have received at least an e-mail a day. Many ask what I think about the Ab Lounge 2 and which I would recommend. I have answered every e-mail. I decided to review the Ab Lounge 2 in an effort to help the consumer decide between these two products and to answer those who have similar questions. I am comparing the two products so some of the original review will be found here.
What is the Ab Lounge 2:
The Ab Lounge 2 is one model of loungers made by Fitness Quest. The Ab Lounge 2 can be purchased at many stores not just online or in As Seen on TV stores like the Ab Lounge is. At the time I wrote the review of the Ab Lounge I wrote “The Ab Lounge is a better choice than the Ab Lounge 2 which is less expensive but not as sophisticated as the Ab Lounge Ultimate for which you will pay $100 more“. (The term lounge and lounger are used interchangeably; however it is called the Ab Lounge 2 by Fitness Quest.)
The purpose of both machines is the same. Its intention is to tighten and tone your upper and lower abdominal muscles and oblique muscles, which are found on the sides of your abdominal muscles. The claim is that the “Ab Lounge 2 is the better way to get the stomach you have always wanted. Unlike crunches, it supports your body, especially your head, neck and back, throughout the exercise. It even works your muscles in the upper and lower abdominals and obliques. And because you're up off the floor, your muscles have a total range of motion for better results.“ (from http://www.sportsmansguide.com/cb/cb.asp?p=WX2&i=89806)
Although I am an advocate of abdominal work, weight training and cardiovascular work, once you leave me, (I am a Certified Personal Trainer.) and eat 2 cheeseburgers and super size everything I cannot undo the damage done. The bottom line is that in order to get rid of fat the most effective way is to do calorie burning exercises and watch what you eat. If you eat more calories than you expend you will gain weight. Period. Doing 1000 crunches on the Ab Lounge 2 will do nothing for the super-sized lunch you just ate.
I noted the oblique muscles above. There are two layers. They are internal and external. They help flex your spine and stabilize your torso. Remember that when you work your abdominal muscles you are strengthening your back as well so even if you hate doing crunches and do not care if you ever have a 6 pack or even a flat stomach your back will thank you for working your ab muscles.
The Ab Lounge 2 is a very lightweight, 32-pound machine. That is 5 pounds less than the Ab Lounge. Because of its style and size it looks and feels to me more like a lounge chair than an exercise machine. However I felt that way about the Ab Lounge as well in spite of it being larger.
The Ab Lounge 2 will hold a person who weighs up to 250 pounds. The Ab Lounge will hold someone 25 pounds heavier.
This presents even more of a problem than I had with the Ab Lounge. One reason I like machines for overweight people is because heavy people often have a hard time sitting down and getting up from the floor. Since the weight limit of the Ab Lounger 2 is less than that of the Ab Lounge you might think that since the person is lighter I would be happier with it. But most machines I have seen and used have seats that are too small for the large person. The Ab Lounge 2 is no different.
It measures 39 ? inches long by 30 inches wide by 44 ? inches high versus 54" long x 31-3/4 wide" x 45-1/2" high. So the Ab Lounge 2 is considerably shorter in length, a bit narrower than and not as high as the Ab Lounge.
I like the fact the Ab Lounge 2 (and Ab Lounge) are off the floor for those who will not get on the floor due to joint pain or obesity. However, again, because of the flexible material of the lounge it may not be that easy for someone in a lot of pain to get on and off the Ab Lounge 2. In fact because of its design which I will get to it is will be difficult for some to get on and off. You will be better off on a hard bench.
The Ab Lounge 2 has a frame made of rolled steel. Like the Ab Lounge I feel that the frame is durable. Much of the A frame design of the Loungers are the same. I am not as sure about the material of the Lounger 2. In fact since it is smaller my sense is that over time it may rip easier than that of the Ab Lounge. I have not seen an older one. These machines have not been around long enough for a long-term study to have been done. But any material after awhile, especially when a lot of weight is put on it, will start to rip or sag.
Both Lounges have a 3-month warranty. I would not count on the Ab Lounger 2 being in good condition in a couple of years especially if you are heavier, use it frequently and/or have more than one person using it. Both Loungers are slightly padded; however the padding is not enough to make the Ab Lounge 2 in my opinion comfortable. I do not find it uncomfortable though. It could not be heavily padded or it would not move the way it does.
It has adjustable foot rests which are adequate. Your feet will be on these metal pieces. For much of the time you will have your knees bent to do what the Ab Lounge 2 calls the Jack Knife.
They both come with a workout video which I recommend watching. Although the Ab Lounge 2 does not require much figuring out, you will want to do the exercises properly. This video will help you. If you have never done a “jackknife crunch“, a term I have only heard (except in a jackknife dive) in relation to the Ab Lounge machines, it is different than a regular crunch. I do what they are calling jackknife crunches on the floor and on machines in the gym I go to and I find them effective.
Both machines fold for storage. This folding mechanism has presented a problem including recalls.
Jo, Your Personal Trainer, Tells You How This Works:
We are told that the Ab Lounge 2 works our abdominal muscles “with a fuller range of motion than crunches or sit ups.“ Those of you old enough may remember the days when we did sit ups. We would have someone hold our legs or tuck them under a couch and sit up. For a long time now, crunches, which are a small movement, are seen as the best way to tone the abdominal muscle (Remember I am saying tone, you cannot spot reduce any part of your body.) We are also told that the Ab Lounge strengthens the core muscles as in Pilates. See my review Spri Foam Rollers.
The Ab Lounge 2 is a simple piece of equipment. It is designed to cradle your body while supporting your head, neck, and back throughout the entire exercise. It does do that. One advantage to machines is that they force you to do a better crunch, i.e. one that is in good form in an easier manner than doing them on your own.
There are handles on the sides. Other than the size of the machines the handles are the biggest difference between the two machines. Rather than a full handlebar in the shape of a loop that the Ab Lounge has, the Ab Lounge 2 has a handle that is in the shape of a half loop. Essentially there is less handle to hold onto. I do not find this to be a huge problem for me but I do see it as an issue for those who are larger, who may have balance problems and those new to machines. However they are there so please use them until you get used to getting on and off the Ab Lounge 2. After you are on you will then place your hands over your head and grab onto the strap. I can almost guarantee that the first time you do this you will not be able to figure out how to move the top part of you and the bottom at the same time but you can. You will do it once and realize the technique.
As you pull yourself up by the strap the bottom of the Ab Lounge comes up as well. Essentially this is what I call a double crunch. Without the machine you can do a crunch using just your upper ab muscles (lift yourself slightly off the floor with your hands loosely behind your head) or you can lift your lower half off the floor with your legs up. Your bottom comes up in a slight curl working your lower abs. Turning to the sides will work your obliques. What I do on the floor is bring my bottom and top up at the side time essentially simulating the Ab Lounge 2 or the Ab Lounge 2 is simulating me. Whichever way you want to think about it. That is all there is to doing a crunch with the Ab Lounge 2.
There is a feature of the Ab Lounge 2 that I do not like. I mean I really do not like it. Although they advertise the machine’s ability for you to use a full range of motion in a positive way, I disagree. Full range of motions are excellent in weight training. I do not think the Ab Lounge 2“s full range of motion is a positive feature. I think stretching your muscles to work your core is essential. However hyper-extending either forward or backward (going back to the point where your chest is lower than your waist) is never something I would suggest a client do. Yet the Ab Lounge 2 allows for that. As you get used to this machine you will find out that it goes back.
Since we now know that crunches are most effect using a small range of motion hyper-extension makes no sense to me. In fact some will say that the range of motion should not be more than 30 degrees or so and I would agree with them. The Ab Lounge 2 gives you a greater range of motion which in my opinion not only is not necessary but I will say it one more time, hyper-extending can be dangerous. I received 2 e-mails about this issue. Essentially I said the same to both people. I have posted them below.
Another difference is the price. The Ab Lounger 2 is only $100. The Ab Lounge is $175. Remember that the Ab Lounger 2 is smaller and has less material which accounts, I assume, for the difference in price since they work the same way and work the same body parts.
My Final Thoughts:
I recommended the Ab Lounge to my friend and will recommend the Ab Lounge 2 to you if this is the only way to get you to do crunches and work your abdominal muscles. I will recommend the Ab Lounge 2 if you weigh less than 250 pounds and cannot afford the Ab Lounge. I think for the extra $75 I would buy the Ab Lounge because it is heavier thus sturdier. The handles are safer on the Ab Lounge than the Ab Lounge 2 making it overall a safer piece of equipment.
Do two sets of 25 crunches on the Ab Lounge or Ab Lounge 2. The Loungers will ensure better form than those done on the floor if you are new to crunches. Twenty five crunches in good form are better than 200 half hearted ones. Hold in your tummy the entire time you are using the machine.
Please get advice from your doctor before starting any exercise program. And please this machine will be very enticing for children. Young children should not be on this machine and certainly not unsupervised since they can get hurt. I have no problem with pre-teens using the Ab Lounge or Ab Lounge 2 as long as they are careful, have been taught properly how to use it and know not to hyper-extend.
I am recommending it. Personally I would rather spend that money on equipment that I could not simulate exercises with as easily such as resistance tubes or dumbbells. If you will not do ab work on the floor and you do not think this will become just another place to put your clothes rather than hanging them up, give it a try. You can return it after 30 days if not satisfied. Just read the fine print before you buy it if you think you most likely will be returning it.
Letters from readers. You may have the same questions. The letters have not been edited for correct spelling or grammar.
1. “I have a bulging disc and bone spur in my lower back, right above the sacrum. Laying on the floor to do any exercise is impossible as the bone spur is right over the sciatic nerve. Would this chair not put pressure on the lower back like the floor does? There doesn’t seem to be an exercise program that can compensate for this problem that I can find so I was hopeing this machine might be the answer. My weight has done nothing but climb since I have had to start limiting my activities.
Any information would be greatly appreciated.“
My response was to seek medical advice.
2. “My friend has an Ab Lounge 2 and told us how much better her back fells. We are thinking about getting one not only for our backs but also our abs. How do you think we should use this ab lounge to what degree. Which one do you recommend. I know that diet is a big part of the picture but when I get stressed out I eat more and I am very stressed right now. Thanks xxxx“ (Names are not being used.)
My response: “Hi xxxx thanks for writing. Truthfully they are so alike that the differences are in sizes
54" x 31-3/4" - 45-1/2 Ab Lounger
39-1/2" x 30" x 44-1/2 Ab Lounger 2
Weight of person - i.e. maximum weight is 275 on the first and 250 on #2.
For some reason 2 is cheaper and shipping is free online.
#2 you have to pay in full online. The original you can pay in payments.
The handles on the Ab Lounger are much nicer. They are full handles rather than the partial ones on #2. I like the Ab Lounger - I think it is a bit sturdier - well it has to be- it is larger and will hold more weight. But if you are both on the smaller size, I would save the money. If money isn't a big issue then I'd go with the Ab Lounger and have a bigger piece of equipment. Hope this helps but feel free to let me know if you have additional questions. Jo“.
3. “I read a review that you wrote on epinion about the ab lounge. You mentioned that you would respond to questions so Id like to ask one.
I know you can’t give medical advice but how hard is the ab lounger on the back? I have a herniated disc and dont want to aggravate the situation.
A couple of years ago, I tried using the ab roller and it really hurt my back. Any information you can provide would be helpful.“.
I e-mailed this person back and forth several time to determine if this disc was currently herniated. When I found out it was I wonder how she was even moving since I too herniated my disc 10 years ago and could not walk. In any case I told this person that medical advise was essential but once she/he had the go ahead from the doctor it was not hard on the back.
4. “I bought an Ab Lounge a couple days ago and I have a question about it. Yesterday I did 150 jackknife crunches on the AB Lounge. I thought my abs would be sore the day after, but the only place I felt it was in my upper thighs, not my abs. My upper thighs also ached as I did the crunches on the lounge. Why is this? Am I doing the exercise wrong?“.
My response: “I feel it in my thighs also. Even if I do a crunch on an incline bench I feel it in my thighs. Make sure your abs are pulled in really tightly. If they are not you actually may be pulling up with your thighs and you do not even know it! 150 are a lot. If you are doing them correctly (and I would have to see) then 25 is really enough! So you may just be doing too many considering that this is a new machine for you. Hope this helps. Let me know if your thighs hurt less as time goes on. Jo“
Her response to mine. “I went home and tried the Ab Lounge again last night, and figured out what was going on... I WAS pulling up with my thighs. I didn't have sneakers on the first time, thus my feet were slipping off the pedals. Apparently, I was unconsciously worrying about my feet slipping off that I was using the wrong part of my body to get me into the crunch position. I did 2 sets of 25 last night, and felt it more this morning!
Thanks for your help!“.
5. “I just read your review on epoinions about the ab lounger. I work out
faithfully and am doing the old-fashioned floor crunches. I recently
had my 2nd back surgery (spinal fusion L4 - L5 & L5 - S1) and was
thinking (hoping) the ab lounger will put less strain on my back. What
do you think?
thank you for your help“.
My response “YIKES, that hurts. I love to give my opinions, obviously but when someone
has surgery I will not. I really think you need to check with the doctor. If
he/she says it is ok to do crunches and abs work or exercise, then I’ll be
glad to try to help you but I am leery of giving advice with your surgery!
6. “Hi Jo,
Enjoyed reading your epinions review on the Ab-Lounge.
I am thinking of purchasing the Ab-Lounge or whatever alternative exercise machine device that you recommend for my situation.
I am a 45 year old male and spend every day working on computers and computer systems throughout the city of Austin.
I am 5'10" tall and currently weigh 210 pounds. Before requiring knee surgery 18 months ago for a torn medial miniscus, I weighed 190 pounds and felt great.
It took about 6 months of physical therapy, after surgery, for my knee to return to 100%.
I have not been regularly exercising for a year now and my left leg started going numb. Got an MRI and found that I have a bulging disc at location L 5 - S 1.
Doctor gave me a six-day pack of steroids and that eliminated the leg numbness. However, now my left buttocks causes me considerable sciatic pain every morning, evening and night. During the work day, I have little sciatic problems.
I get relief when I stretch my legs, therefore I now stretch every morning and evening. I also take 600mg of ibuprofin about two or three times per day for pain.
The doctor recommended that I perform back and abdominal exercises every day and believes these exercises will heal my current sciatic condition.
So finally, which home exercise device do you think would most benefit me each morning and evening?
I appreciate your help and look forward to your advice.
My response: “Hi xxx, Thanks for writing. I truthfully have to say that this is one for the doctor or a physical therapist. For first reaction was no but I am not a dr. Second was why not do them on the floor - an example. I herniated my disc 12 years ago. Seriously I was a minute away from surgery (well 1/2 day) when a 2nd opinion told me to wait. He told me to walk (which I wasn’t doing; it was too hard) and a few months later gave me exercises to do. This was before I became a personal trainer (about 10 yrs. ago). My back has been fine all this time after about a 6 month process. My husband hurt his back and was seeing a chiropractor who gave him back and ab exercises to do -on the floor. He has been doing them faithfully every single day.
So I can’t say the Ab Lounger is for you. Getting on and off it may not be good - though getting on and off the floor may not be either- I just can’t advise surgery patients though I do get asked a lot and am flattered. Good luck. If there is anything else I can help you with or once you get the docs ok for what to do, feel free to e-mail me. Jo“.
His response to mine: “Thanks Jo. I'm going to ask my doctor to write me a script for going to a local physical therapist.
7. “ Hi Jo,
> thank you for review of Ab lounger (Want to crunch together). Reason I am
> thinking to buy this gizmo besides crunches is the posibility to stretch
> (bend) my body backward. It should make my aging (67) body more flexible.
> But you are sharply against it. Can you please explain what is the danger
> of doing full backward motion? Ladies on QVC were doing that without
> noticable problem.
> Thank you for your time and thank you again for giving us ordinary folks
> the oportunity to read your opinions.
> Sincerely xxxx“
My response: “Hi Thanks for writing: I had a similar question recently. I tried to find
the e-mail I sent her but can’t. That’s ok I have other information I can
give you. In classes like Pilates and Yoga some of the postures involve
hyper extending. We are very careful and often modify. Those classes are
different than the constant hyper-extension of the spinal column during the
back phase of the ab lounger. I am going to give you some quotes from a
person whom I consider an expert - in weight lifting anyway - Arnold
“When you do full range of motion exercises (meaning you complete the entire
exercise - you don’t go part of the way - in a bicep curl for example full
range of motion would be starting with your arms by your side and lifting
them all the way to your shoulders. That is a full range of motion. Partial
reps can be done as well - a different type of training and that would not
be a full range of motion) like hyper-extensions (hyper- extensions are an
exercise in and of themselves but the point is you are hyper extending- my words) you
put so much strain on the lower back that it can take up to a week to fully
recuperate.“. Hyper-extending will strengthen the lower back because it is an
isolating movement. However it can be very dangerous - not just my opinion.
In fact even on the Hyper-extension machine, Arnold writes, “Come back up
until your torso is just above parallel (this is from a bent over a machine
position- my words). To prevent hyper-extension of your spine don't lift up any higher
The ab lounger does the opposite. Rather than raising the back in a hyper-extension you are lowering it - same concept.
This is from a site that is talking about stability balls:
“Roll over the ball on your stomach until the ball supports your hips and
torso; both your hands and feet should be able to touch the floor. Slowly
lift your right leg and left arm and hold for 10-20 seconds. Slowly return
to the starting position and repeat with left leg and right arm. Be careful
not to hyper-extend your lower spine or your neck.
Neck Relaxer - Turn and look over your right shoulder and hold. Repeat on
the left side. Don't hyper-extend the neck or tilt it backward. Next, gently
drop the head so that the ear goes toward the right shoulder and hold.
Return to upright position. Repeat forward and on the left side. Keep the
spine in an upright position and do not hyper-extend the neck, or tilt the
Ok so the bottom line is that I feel hyper-extensions can be dangerous. A 25
year old is much more flexible and there is little chance he or she will get
hurt however there is research to suggest that stress on joints (such as
running for years and years starting at a young age) can do more damage to
the joints than you will find in a non runner.
Anyway this is a long winded answer. As a personal trainer, I was taught not
to hyper-extend and not to allow clients to. I realize that it feels good to
bend backward and stretch. I have no problem with that. I went to Pilates
and we did a bit of hyper-extending - really very little but slightly to
stretch. I just would not add it to my workout routine and that is what the
Ab Lounger does. Hope this helps but just holler with any other questions.
His response: “Thank you for fast response. I appreciate your knowledge and satisfactory answer.“
A new comment
I just received this from a reader who wanted me to know the following information. I had said that the Ab Lounge not the Ab Lounge 2 is recommended for taller people. However I never mentioned the opposite. He writes, "I purchased the device for use by both myself and my wife. When my wife tried to use it, her feet would not quite reach the foot rest. Well, this model HAS NO ADJUSTMENT! Furthermore, as an average consumer who first saw the equipment on various infomercials, I had no clue of "various models", -much less would I have ever suspected that a product like this would be distributed without a foot rest adjustment! Essentially, anyone below 5'4" is likely to be unable to place their feet correctly on the foot of this model. There is NO written indication on the package and the sales associate that I dealt with had no mention of the issue at hand. Unfortunate, extremely poor marketing oversight in my opinion. What's worse, someone may try to use it in spite of the incorrect foot placement and end up getting hurt!"
Thank you for the comment. jo
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