Pros: Quick and Easy; Tones muscles without effort; Gentle on back
Cons: A little expensive; Somewhat bulky
I remember the day well. It was a rainy November day just a year ago when we were Christmas shopping and right there in Kohl's Department Store was a whole shelf full of AbSlides on sale for just $40 (retail $50). I had seen this product on a Sunday infomercials and thought that it looked like something I could use. Unfortunately I bought plenty of "as seen on TV" in previous years and it was banned from our home because they NEVER worked, at least not for me. Since this was right there on the shelf it really shouldn't count as forbidden merchandise....in the store and "as seen on TV" should equal themselves out, right? Well my husband was with me and I somehow got it into the basket without him questioning it.
Their Sales Pitch
This company (Sylmark) claims that this strengths and tones your lower and upper abdominal muscles, waistline, obliques, back, shoulders, chest and arms by using just 3 minutes a day. They claim that it is easy to use, portable, and lightweight.
This body of the machine is covered in blue plastic. The wheels are enclosed on the underside. The wheels are plastic (not rubber). There are 2 metal bars with blue padding that snap easily into place. You can take the handlebars on and off as needed without breaking it.
How To Use
This comes in 3 pieces -- the body and two handles. It takes about 20 seconds to put the machine together. There was a small pad in the box to rest your knees on. You simply put the knee pad on the carpeted floor, put your knees on the pad, put the Abslide in front of you with your hands on the bar and push out and then pull yourself back up to where you started. The patented technology that distinguishes this machine from other wheels is the positive and negative resistance by the band inside the machine. This takes about the same amount of time as a traditional sit-up. It is recommended by the company that you use for 3 minutes a day. (work your way up to 3 minutes if you have not been targeting your stomach muscles).
You will need about as much room as you would for sit-ups, or about the length of your body. If you have a hallway you'll have no excuses. All you need to do is push the machine forward and back for the standard exercise. If you push it to an angle, you'll work the sides (love handles).
My Story But Don't Laugh!
I bought this because I didn't want to buy bigger pants and I usually do more than my share eating the holiday goodies. I would just do sit-ups but that is boring and kind of hurts my back. (Note - I did not do any exercising in weeks prior to this purchase)
I get my shinny blue Abslide out of the box and immediately start using. It glides you down and slides you back to starting position without effort. I thought I should be getting a work-out with this so I just kept on going relying on my body as a cue for me to stop. Well I did hundreds of slides (for about 30 minutes) and got up disgusted because this piece of junk obviously didn't work. I wasn't tired, my heart speed didn't increase, and I didn't feel like I had done anything for my stomach, let alone my arms or back like the box claimed. My husband jumped to the occasion and tried it himself. He did about 300 slides and said that he didn't think it was doing anything either. I boxed it up ready to go back to the store.
The next morning we both woke up very sore! I have NEVER been as sore in ALL of my life! I couldn't do anything. You use your stomach muscles to bend over, lift, reach, cough, laugh, sneeze, sit, breathe, and much more. Trust me. (I would recommend starting out with 20 slides....and you still may be sore)
In an effort to defy pain, I kept doing the abslide in a much lower volume daily. Within 7 days, I noticed a great difference. The professionals say you can not spot reduce the weight, but you can tone the muscles which helps a lot. I saw a noticeable difference after using it with just 50 slides a day.
Unfortunately my children were very interested in the Abslide as well. Every time I turned my back they were pushing it around. There is only two stickers on the machine. One says Abslide and the other says "Slide forward first / Warning: Rolling backwards first against the direction of arrow will damage the resistance mechanism (translated for me as *keep away from children*). Since I didn't want my $40 toy broken, I packed it back in the box and thought I would store it in my closet. Unfortunately out of sight is out of mind so I don't use it every day like I should. I saw another display of these last week at a drugstore still selling for $40. (Either CVS or Eckerd I don't remember)
I realize that they sell a wheel with handle bars for $10 that does basically the same thing. (Is it called the Ab wheel?) I had one when I was a teenager and I never liked it because it was wobbly and didn't have the support or resistance that the Abslide does but it's better than sit-ups. If you are in shape and have a good back the Ab Wheel may be a better purchase. If you are out of shape and have back concerns upgrading to the Abslide may be a better idea.
I'm also aware that you can just do sit-ups for free. Unfortunately sit ups are boring, put stress on my back, and if you don't do them correctly they're not going to exercise the muscles. Also, you need to do several different types of sit-ups to exercise your upper stomach, lower stomach and sides. Not only does this take a lot of time, it takes a lot of energy and dedication.
The abslide really does reduce the risk of injuring your back and allows you to target your muscles much more effectively than sit ups or the basic wheel. I'm sure you could still hurt yourself with the Abslide but it is much safer than the other 2 methods. The further out the machine goes, the more resistance it puts giving the user more control when they are at their weakest position
This is advertised as being portable as in take it to the gym or in your luggage. This machine weighs about 5 pounds and is very bulky. It is not likely that you're going to want to carry this to the gym or even lug it on a plane. Not only would you have to keep track of the main body which is plastic and could break, but you'd have to know where you put the handles which would be rattling in the bottom of your bag. It would be much easier to just do sit-ups the old fashion way if you're on vacation.
They claim that this is lightweight. Yes, it's lighter than an exercise bench or weight training equipment. The machine is about 5 pounds so it does weigh more than the Ab Wheel and this is just one step up from that. I wouldn't want to drop it on my foot!
The box and advertisements also claim to work your arms and chest and other areas. This machine may exercise these other areas but I don't feel that you can depend on this exclusively as a method of working the other areas.
Is it worth it?
Because this is so easy to use, it's worth it for me. I'm not a big workout person so I'm very impressed with how little effort and time I need to spend. I think it would have been a better value for less money (maybe $25) but fitting into your Christmas dress....priceless.
Where to Buy
This is fairly heavy so will cost around $10 for shipping. Some places that sell this offer a 30-day money back guarantee. I would recommend purchasing from a local store since they still sell it there. There are also online locations:
Buy new direct from company at http://www.abslide.com/index.html $30+shipping (4-6 weeks)
New or used on www.ebay.com for $20 or less + shipping