Updated May 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for Best ab straps

The ideal home workout is one that helps you meet your goals without taking up a lot of space. For those who want to tone and strengthen their core, ab straps are an effective and efficient option.

Ab straps work in conjunction with a pull-up bar that’s sturdy enough to support your entire body. The two straps hang down and feature comfortable, supportive padding for your arms. Gripping the bar for stability, you can perform leg raises and crunches from a hanging position. As there is a lack of stability and control to the movement, your core is engaged as your muscles work together to complete the exercises.

While their use is fairly straightforward, you’ll need to put some thought into choosing the right ab straps. Where will you use them? How will you incorporate them into your workout? 

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If you don’t have room at home, chances are you can take your ab straps to a playground, park, or even your gym and use them there.

Key considerations

Goals

Ab straps focus on toning and strengthening your abs and core. While the bars on which ab straps are affixed can work to improve your upper body strength, ab straps let your core do all the work while your arms and shoulders rest. Similarly, ab straps do not provide much in the way of lower body training. However, they can help improve flexibility, and in addition to your abs, you may tone and strengthen back muscles and glutes.

Weight rating

Before making a purchase, check the weight rating of the ab straps so you know whether they can support your weight. Some options support only up to 300 pounds; other options support closer to 1,000 pounds. Note that ab straps don’t just support your own weight but also the force you apply to them as you exercise. What’s more, in some cases, you may be adding weight to your ankles or core to enhance the exercise. Don’t forget to note that additional weight.

Components

Ab straps include foam padding for your arms and, in most cases, carabiners to help secure the strap to a bar. The carabiners may sometimes be used to connect two ends of the strap after it has been looped over the bar. Most straps are double-stitched for added support; the size of the carabiner determines its strength.

Comfort

Finding a comfortable ab strap is important since you’ll be hanging for some time. Avoid straps that may chafe or irritate your skin as you perform your exercises. The straps should be wide enough that they don’t pinch your skin, either. Of course, comfort is subjective, and it may be hard to tell right away if a strap works for you. You’re likely to start noticing discomfort after a bit of time as opposed to immediately. Some shirts with longer sleeves or arm bands may help you avoid potential discomfort.

Durability

Typically, you can expect durability to track with price, as stronger ab straps tend to cost more. Durability is tied to weight limit, though; make sure you use the correct ab straps for your weight to prevent breakdown over time.

Hanging distance

Ab straps hang a certain distance from the bar, and that distance can vary from model to model. They should be long enough that your hands can easily grip the bar or straps but not so long that your feet hit the ground. Some ab straps are adjustable for added convenience.

expert Tip

Hold the straps tightly with both hands and focus on pulling your shoulders down to avoid having them shrug towards your ears. Shrugged shoulders while using ab straps can lead to a variety of cervical spine and shoulder injuries.

BestReviews Fitness Expert

Features

Workout variations

While the hanging leg raise is the primary exercise that ab straps allow, once you’ve mastered that, you can try some variations.

Knee raise: Instead of lifting your extended leg up and out, bend your knees and bring them to your chest. Like all exercises, it’s important to do this slowly and with control.

Trunk rotations: This exercise involves moving your extended legs around in a large circle, rotating them up in front of you, then to the left, back down, up to the right, and in front of you again.

Oblique knee raises: Slowly raise your knees to each of your shoulders in order to engage your obliques.

Holds, reps, and sets: The length of time you hold each movement, the number of reps you perform, and the number of sets you perform can all bring variations of intensity to your workout.

Color

For the most part, ab straps come in black, likely with the company’s logo branded on the product. However, some models come in more colorful options, like red or blue. Color has no impact on the quality of the product, but it may fade over time with repeated use and washing.

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Expert TIp
Swinging while performing an exercise with ab straps is very common but it promotes bad form and doesn’t engage the ab muscles as effectively as keeping a static and rigid position.
BestReviews Fitness Expert

Accessories

Pull-up bar: Stud Bar Ceiling or Wall-Mountable Pull-Up Bar
Ab straps are easiest to use when hooked to a pull-up bar. We recommend this heavy-duty option form Stud Bar that can be mounted on a wall or ceiling.

Resistance bands: Tribe Resistance Band Set
For more core and body weight exercises that take up little space, grab a set of resistance bands. We appreciate this inexpensive and durable set by Tribe.

Ab belt: Reformer Athletics Waist Trimmer
Supplementing workouts, an ab belt can add intensity and heat. We recommend this quality option from Reformer Athletics that can be used with your ab straps.

Ab mat: ProSource Fit Abdominal Mat
An ab mat can help protect your lower back when performing crunches while also enhancing your workout. We recommend this option from ProSource that comes at a low price and your option of color.

Ab strap prices

Inexpensive

You can find a decent pair of ab straps for under $25. These may have a lower weight limit and smaller supportive area than some other choices.

Mid-range

Most ab straps range from $25 to $50 with various weight limits, levels of comfort, and durability. A product like this should last for a few years.

Expensive

For over $50, you’ll find heavy-duty ab straps with high weight limits and a long life expectancy.

Expert TIp
While performing an ab exercise using ab straps, be aware of pulling your bottom rib cage down and squeezing your glutes to properly engage your core muscles.
BestReviews Fitness Expert

Tips

  • Find help getting up. Don’t climb or jump up to your ab straps. You’re best served by using a platform to properly get into position and ready yourself for the exercise.
  • Avoid momentum. Exercises become easier if you use gravity and momentum to propel yourself, but this won’t help you tone and strengthen your body. You’ll see more positive results if you stay in control of every deliberate movement.
  • Create a plan. Ab straps do not offer a comprehensive workout routine. Create a balanced fitness program that works your upper and lower body as well.
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Ab straps don’t offer much in the way of cardiovascular fitness. Consider pairing your core workout with running, rowing, cycling, or walking.

FAQ

Q. Are ab straps safe?

A. As with any exercise, there are safety concerns with ab straps. It’s important that you understand how to perform the exercise properly; poor form can lead to strains and soreness, particularly in the back. Because the movements performed with ab straps aren't controlled like they are on an exercise machine, there is a risk of hurting your muscles if you lose control. When your form starts to slip, it’s time to take a break.

Q. How should I wash my ab straps?

A. After repeated use, ab straps will likely need to be washed. Most ab straps should be washed gently by hand. Apply warm water and soap to the material and dry the straps in the open air. Some ab straps can be washed in a machine on the gentle cycle; they should also be air-dried.

Q. Where can I use my ab straps?

A. Ab straps will work on any pull-up bar, but that bar could be in any number of locations. You might have a pull-up bar mounted between a door frame or a heavy-duty bar installed on a wall or ceiling. You may also find a sturdy and supportive bar for your ab straps on a dip station, weight bench, or squat rack, depending on its design. For creative individuals, ab straps may even be used on trusted outdoor gym equipment at a park or playground or attached to a tree. With a stable connection and enough weight support, your ab straps can be used in more than one spot.

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