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Ab toning belts are often marketed as “must-have accessories” for home gyms. Some people, however, are very cynical of them. This article will separate the facts from the fiction. It will give you everything you need to know to decide whether or not ab belts are right for you.
Do AB belts work?
The quick answer is that ab toning belts can be very helpful for toning muscle. They can assist with weight loss. If, however, weight loss is your main goal, then you will probably need to put in some extra effort to get the best results.
Does slendertone work?
Well, Slendertone is a specific brand of ab belt. If an ab belt is a good choice for you then a Slendertone belt may be a good option as it is the leading selling brand and certified industry leader offering the best belts in our opinion.
The science behind AB belts
Ab belts use electrical muscle stimulation also known as electrical muscle stimulation (EMS). Essentially, they send electrical impulses to your muscles, causing them to contract and relax in much the same way as they would if you were actively exercising.
EMS technology was actually developed for medical purposes and is still widely used by physiotherapists for rehabilitation after injury. Science backs up its use as a way to increase muscle function, particularly if it is used at higher levels of intensity.
AB belts and safety
If you buy an ab belt from a reputable manufacturer and use it according to the instructions, then ab belts are completely safe. If, however, you do not, then you run the risk of irritation, even pain, and in worst case burns and electric shocks. Furthermore, low-quality ab belts may fail to meet proper electrical safety standards.
AB belts and comfort
Wearing an ab belt feels a bit like having a mild bout of “pins and needles”. It’s not exactly super-comfortable, but it’s perfectly bearable.
AB belts and weight loss
The FDA approves ab belts for use in rehabilitation. It explicitly does not approve them for use in weight loss, nor does it support any claims about “rock hard abs” and so forth. This makes sense because you cannot determine exactly where fat will be lost.
Exercise programs which target specific areas of the body (such as “legs, bums and tums” classes) succeed for one or both of two reasons.
They tone muscle, which gives a more svelte appearance and hence gives the impression of weight loss.
They lead to fat burn and this leads to fat loss in the targeted areas when the body decides that it should.
Ab belts definitely fall into the former category. They tone muscle to give you a slimmer physique and a stronger core. As a Harvard study shows, a strong core makes just about every physical activity easier and safer (in the sense that you are less likely to be injured). This can remove one of the barriers to increase physical activity and hence open the door to meaningful weight loss and those “rock hard abs” of your dreams.
Who is likely to get the best use of an ab belt
If you’re already at least moderately fit then you’re probably not going to get much use out of an ab belt. If, however, you are definitely unfit, perhaps recovering from injury or from giving birth then an ab belt could be a great way to get you to a point where you can start proper exercise (again). Likewise, if you are older, an ab belt could help you keep in shape either on its own or in combination with other, age-appropriate, exercises.
How to use an ab belt effectively
Before you start using an ab belt, do everything you can to sort out your general lifestyle. In particular, take a good look at your diet, your hydration and the quality of your sleep. If you have any bad habits, like smoking, deal with them. In short, you want to establish a health baseline from which you can progress.
Once you’ve established this, work out where you are in terms of fitness. Think in terms of what you can do, rather than what you can’t. Be as precise as possible. Then decide whether or not you think you can manage more intense forms of exercise.
Quite bluntly, the more capable you are, the more you should lean towards at least attempting more intense exercise. You will see the results more quickly and get all the overall benefits of becoming more active.
By contrast, the less capable you are, the more you should lean towards using an ab belt. This will get you started on your journey (back) to fitness. The key to getting the most out of an ab belt is to see it as a way to strengthen your core. This will be reflected in better abs, but that should be seen as a bonus.
Measure your core strength (again in terms of what you can do rather than what you can’t) and as it improves, see what you can do to incorporate a broader range of exercises into your standard routine.
If you’re buying an ab belt, then the chances are that you’re more interested in improving your all-round fitness, than in getting into competitive sport. That being so, you should probably aim for a mixture of cardio, strength training and work on your flexibility.
The key point is to do all of these gently, pushing yourself as far as you safely can and no further. For example, swimming is great for cardio as the water supports your joints and minimizes the risk of injury. Strength training can be done with very light weights. Flexibility work can be as simple as basic stretches.
Depending on your age and overall health, you may find that gentle, low-impact exercises are the way of the future. If so, you may get long-term use out of your ab belt. Alternatively, these may be stepping stones towards more activity in which case, you may keep your ab belt or pass it on to someone else who could benefit from it more.
Ab belts do work and can be a great solution for people who need a gentle route into fitness or to compliment a routine as an extra. So that’s it….. Will you be buying a toning belt for your workout?
Let us know in the comments below how you’re going to purchase a belt and your thoughts on how good they are