LFS Product Review - Ab Carver Pro
If you have watched TV in the past decade or so you are more than likely familiar with the Perfect Push Up, the rotating handles that allow you to add variation to your push up routine and workouts. Perfect Fitness, co-founded by former US Navy SEAL Alden Mills, has grown since then and added a number of other workout and fitness products to their company. Recently while on the elliptical I was searching for inspiration on my next blog post and thought "I should do another product review", then lo and behold an infomercial for the Ab Carver Pro struck inspiration.
First, a quick disclaimer - I have never used the Ab Carver Pro myself, but the purpose of these reviews is to see 1) Is what the company claims reasonable? and 2) Is it worth the money? With my level of fitness knowledge and background I don't need to try a product to come to a certain conclusion about those two points.
The Ab Carver Pro claims it can give you ripped abs and sculpted arms all from one-little wheel and using it a few times a week. Stop and let that sink in for a moment, say it aloud a few times if you have to. Does that sound possible to you? I hate to be cliche, but if something sounds too good to be true, well you know how it goes, but I decided to continue anyway with the review to see if this is a piece of equipment worth having.
When I got to the Ab Carver Pro website, I clicked on the video in which Mr. Mills describes the features of the product and how they affect the function and effectiveness of the item. I was pleasantly surprised that all the things he said were for the most part accurate, but more importantly they made sense. He said the point of the "kinetic engine" was to assist with the return portion of the roll out which is as he says could be very difficult for someone who has never used an ab wheel before. Same goes for the width of the wheel which again he says is the assist the beginner in that it offers more surface area to roll on vs. your basic ab wheel. In the video he also alludes to the handle shapes and the impact they have on triceps activation. He references a university study, but I have not been able to find it anywhere. I have an email in to the company, but at the time I published this post it has still gone unanswered. While I have my doubts about these claims, at least until I see the study, I will say that the handles certainly do look more comfortable and ergonomic than those on your standard ab wheels. Mostly however I do agree with the feature claims Mr. Mills makes in his video.
Will the Ab-Carver Pro give you a ripped six-pack and sculpted arms? Not likely, but it's possible. If you used it as a piece of equipment in your complete total-body workout regimen and followed a proper cardio and diet plan I'm sure you could see some results, but use of it by itself without a calorie restricted diet will most likely yield no results other than a stronger midsection.
My main issue with the Ab Carver Pro is the price. $39.99 is pricey for a piece of equipment that can only be used for one thing. Also, in my experience most people who buy these infomercial TV items get excited to use them initially and ultimately they just end up collecting dust in the corner next to the treadmill they now use as a clothes rack. If you are dead set on getting an Ab Carver Pro however, I do know that Perfect Fitness has a reputation for making high-quality products and I expect that this piece would last for a long time even with the most rigorous of use.
If you are a newbie to the ab wheel, or if you are looking for a good analog exercise without the expense, you CAN modify a regular ab wheel exercise to get the same benefit. Most gyms will have an ab wheel for customer use, or you can purchase one relatively cheap, and use some resistance bands to get the same effect. In this video you will see how to set up and perform a band-assisted ab-wheel roll out. The bands serve the same purpose as the Ab Carver Pro's "kinetic engine" in assisting the user with the return roll portion. This is a good way to start building strength until you are ready to try the roll out unassisted. I would say the one way I would modify this exercise for my clients is by having them perform it in front of a wall to act as a block in case they start to get too far away from themselves.
Overall I think IF you are going to use it, the Ab Carver Pro would be a quality piece of equipment to add to your collection, but if the price isn't right for you, you can still get the same benefits for half the cost with my recommended analog exercise. So give it a try and see what you think.
Until next time, best of health! -Aaron