Choosing the best ab bench requires finding the right balance between personal intended use, range of functionality, available space to use the equipment and price. The best ab bench will have a range of features that meet current exercising needs and the flexibility to meet future needs as the owner progresses to higher levels of intensity or difficulty in working out. A bench must be within the user's price range, but the cheapest bench is not always the best option.
Personal intended use is the first criteria in selecting an ab bench. Ab benches range from simple padded boards to sophisticated exercise machines with multiple positions and settings. Some ab benches support a limited variety of ab exercises, others a wide variety. How the machine will be used based on the owner’s planned exercise routine will narrow the wide range of ab bench choices.
In concert with the personal use decision, the best ab bench will have the functionality required to meet the exerciser’s needs. Choices of functionality include the range of incline the ab bench can provide and the variety of exercising positions possible. Some bench owners will also want it to support non-ab exercises. The best bench will have the functions to meet the owner’s needs.
An often-overlooked component of choosing the best ab bench is space available to use the equipment. Ab benches often are up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) long and typically are at least 2 feet (61 cm) wide. Unless it is a collapsible bench, which is more expensive, an ab bench can take up a significant portion of a room. The best ab bench will fit in the exercise space available in the purchaser’s home.
Ab benches can range vary widely in price. A simple, inexpensive bench will included a metal frame, padded bench and padded ankle rolls. As features are added the price will increase. Additional features can include adjustable ankle rolls, adjustable incline level, arm supports and the equipment to do non-ab exercises, among others. Prices can range drastically from low- to high-end ab benches.
If price is a primary consideration, the best approach might be to build one at home using a kit or basic hardware. Exercise machine kits are available with materials included, however a rudimentary ab bench can be constructed from material available at any home supply store. Typically, a board about the size of an ab bench, steel pipe and vinyl covering are sufficient to create a simple, inexpensive ab bench.