The September 2010, issue of Men’s Health (page 40) had a quick article about various pieces of TV promoted exercise equipment all aimed at your abs.  The conclusion – just do sit ups.  But hidden in there was a more important observation.  Those Ab Slings, that you use to do hanging leg raises, are actually the most effective in activating lower and upper abdominal muscles.  They are not recommended because people don’t like to use them.  They found them uncomfortable.

WTF:  I don’t like to do any exercise – so what – if it works – then I should be doing it.

I have been cycling hanging leg raises into my workouts for years.  I do them as an alternative to crunches and other Ab oriented exercises.  What I have found is that with my increased ability to do chin-ups, I am able to support myself in the sling more effectively.  These two exercises are actually complimentary.  In fact, I have been able to do hanging leg raises integrated into the chin-up.  Instead of just letting your legs hang down, you do a hanging leg raise as you raise your body up to the bar.  I would not be able to do that without my having previously worked out on the Slings.

I just re-read the prior paragraph – always surprises the hell out of me when I write something like that.  Who is inhabiting my body?

Here is a bonus link to a series of Consumer Reports video reviews of the $400.00 Abs Coaster and  other exercise equipment “Seen on TV.” One of the guys from CR is a friend and an engineer who has been specializing in the testing of this type of equipment. 

I tried using a dip belt today.  I discovered that there is one for general use in the gym.  It is an open leather design with a long chain between the two sides of the leather.  It is awkward to use – kept slipping off.  I only put 10 pounds on it just to get the feel of the exercise with the belt.  At least now I have a reference point.

BTW – 10 pounds + the 1-2 pounds of the belt – no problem.