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I used to work for a company that had the sole rights to selling the Ab Circle Pro in both New Zealand and Australia.
Now in these countries (and as far as i'm aware, most countries that sell this product), the only way to purchase the ACP is to see an advert or informational on the TV, and then phone the hotline number.
The advertisements, along with most TV products, never display the price. Instead you have to listen to the salesman list the products' features and benefits, which from a consumers point of view, can be frustrating.
Once you receive your ACP, it is very easy to assemble, and easy step by step instructions are included.
Once assembled, the idea is to place your knees in to the knee pads, hold on to the bar, and use your mid sections to move side to side.
Anyway, the golden question.. does the product work?
Well, we used to advice customers that as long as they used the product for at least 3 minutes per day, then they would start to see physical results after 2 weeks. Too good to be true? Well having the benefit of a staff discount, me and a fellow colleague decided to split the costs and try the challenge.
We used the machine for around 4 weeks before we started to see results. Don't get me wrong, we were no Arnold Schwarzenegger, but we could see a formation in our mid range that was starting to shape nicely.
Also included with the ACP, which was very popular with the ladies, is an extension that allows the user to target their buns.
In terms of comfort, the ACP has soft knee pads, so this isn't a concern.
In terms of quality, this is where I must admit that the material used is of cheap quality. The products are all made in China so I could never understand why people paid AU$330(£215 approx) for a machine like this.
If you want quick results for minimum effort, then I would recommend this product for what it can deliver.
Try changing the resistance level as you go along for even better results.
I bought the Ab circle pro on a bit of a whim I have to say just after my 33rd birthday earlier this year. I think I was feeling a bit frumpy at the time, and after watching the little video clip on amazon I was convinced that I was on a winner as you do. The woman on the video looked lovely and made it look really easy. So I parted with £78.99 of my birthday pennies.
So how has my experience of this piece of kit measured up?
At first I was really pleased with this machine. It arrived from amazon very promptly, with my only disappointment being that the machine was far larger than I had pictured in my head, a common problem of mine where I just can't seem to picture sizes of things unless they are in front of me.
This did require a little bit of assembly as it was all in pieces. There was a handy allen key provided, and the instruction manual must have been ok as I had assembled it myself without waiting for the ever patient husband to come home and do it for me.
This was a bit scary making sure all the moving parts were on tight enough and it wasn't going to collapse underneath me the second I put any weight onto it.
The premise of the machine is quite simple. There is a large circular track going round the main circular part of the machine. This is raised off the ground by a frame with handlebars. There are different height settings, and the more of an incline you set this at, the harder you have to make your body work against gravity and the more toned you should get.
To operate the machine, you simply kneel on it, with your knees in the foam cups with padding, and your hands on the handlebars. What you can't see so well on the above photo is that there is a metal bar between the two knee pads. If this is in place, you can rotate your body from side to side up and down the track. This is to tone your abdominal muscles. You can also take this pin out and move your knees together and apart in a scissor motion, and this is to tone your legs and bum muscles. It is not really recommended to try and do the rotating movement with the pin out - I think in my case I would do myself a mischief.
So, quite simple then? Are you still with me?
So in theory, this is a good piece of kit as you are using the weight of your own body as a resistance weight to tone your flabby bits, the machine is quite fun to use compared to other apparatus, and you can work several muscle groups with one piece of kit.
In practice, it is not that comfortable to kneel on this even using the knee pads. I don't know if that is just me as I have slightly dodgy knees anyway, but I find it hard. I also find it really hard to perform the movements in a smooth non jerky manner, so I am very wary of it in case I get injured. It requires a lot of strength in your arms and shoulders to get your body moving in the first place in the rotating movement. Once you start, momentum does make it slightly easier, but this requires a fair amount of fitness to use. The scissor movement is a lot easier, but once your legs begin to tire, again, it is hard to make small controlled movements.
As a result (of me being so unfit probably) I find that I cannot really use this machine for more than 5-10 minutes at a time, and that is on the flattest level. Even if I were stronger, there is only so much going round and round you can tolerate, and it is a bit noisy as you move round the track so you wouldn't want to do it while watching the telly. It is also a bit heavy to move it to a part of the house where there is enough room to use it without worry of crashing into something, and it doesn't even fold flat enough to fit under a bed like I imagined it would, so it is leaning upright against the wall in the spare bedroom looking like an instrument of torture.
Would I recommend this? I would say unless you are super fit already, then I think not. And if you are superfit, you are likely to find it a bit boring, and already have much better methods than this machine for toning your body. It has become yet another of my expensive whims that is under used and utilised. #should have just joined the gym.
I have been a member of DW fitness gym now for about 6 months, and have often seen the Ab Circle Pro advertised on the large TV screens in the gym. I was instantly attracted to the piece of kit, and so the first time I saw it advertised, I decided to go into the sports store (which is attached to the gym) to see how much it was, because the TV advert failed to mention the price! I had it in my head that it would probably be about £70 - £80, but was a little shocked to see that it was actually £120!!
I was not prepared to pay that sort of money, and so I left it, and went home. A few days later I saw it on a shopping channel on TV at home, this time it was priced at £130, and so I realised that the price at DW sports was pretty competitive, but still too much to pay. Luckily for me, a few weeks later DW sports had an offer on for all gym members who made a purchase in the sports store, of 20% off, meaning I could pick up an Ab Circle Pro for £96 - so I quickly decided to get one!
What is an Ab Circle Pro?
The Ab Circle Pro is a piece of fitness equipment designed to work out the abdominal muscles in the stomach, along with the thighs, hips and bottom. The idea of this piece of equipment is that you kneel onto 2 pads, and push your knees around a circular track, whist gripping the bars at the front with your hands, thus working your stomach, without putting the usual stress on the back which is associated with the traditional sit-ups.
Assembly of the kit was very straight forward indeed, and took me about 5 minutes at most. There are a few different options available when setting it up, such as the height of the front legs have 3 different positions, the highest position being the most challenging, and also the hand grips can be altered to suit your body size. Included in the box was an Allen key, which is the only tool needed during the simple set-up process. I followed the instructions in the owner's manual (included), and it was really quick and simple to do.
Does it work?
This is a tricky one! I personally do think that it works quite well in terms of strengthening and toning the sides of the stomach. I did ache in the sides of my stomach after using the Ab Circle Pro the first few times, and although the aching disappeared after I became used to working out on it, I can easily tell that the sides of my stomach are a lot firmer than they were before I started using it. Also to a lesser degree, I think it works pretty well on the thighs, and again I have often found my thighs aching a few times after using the kit.
In terms of the abs though, I have not noticed any aching, or any toning or firming in the few months that I have been using it.
~~~ My overall opinion ~~~
During the 2 - 3 months that I have owned my Ab Circle Pro, I have been pleased with the quality of the piece of equipment. It still looks in good condition, although it did get scratched after only a few uses around the track where the rollers under the knee pads roll around, but this was mainly because I had failed to take heed of the advice to wipe down the track after each use with a damp cloth. After noticing the scratching I did start to wipe it down after each use, and this seems to work very well, and has stopped the scratching. There is a little bit of noise made by the rollers on the track as you rotate your knees from side to side, but this is to be expected when you are rolling your lower body from side to side on a metal track, and it is not an irritating noise, and is often drowned out completely if you have music on while you work out.
One of the biggest surprises I have had whilst using the Ab Circle Pro is the fact that it really works out the upper arms, the shoulders, and the upper chest. This was something that I had heard mentioned in the advertising, but I doubted it would work my upper body much, until I started using it, and realised that it was my upper body that started to feel the pressure first!
A big downside though to me is the knee areas. The knees fit into a plastic moulded area, and there are 2 very thin rubber inserts that the knees sit on to comfort them whilst working out, but they are that thin, that they don't really offer much protection! Each time I used the ab circle I was finding that I had to stop using it after 10-15 minutes, not because my abs, thighs, hips etc were throbbing with pain, but because my knees were getting really hot and sore from the discomfort of the kneeling pads. I have since got round this by wearing thick jogging bottoms, which has helped a lot, and I have also got some foam pads from work which take the pressure off the knees completely, and in my opinion something like this should be supplied with the equipment, as it surely harms the knees otherwise!
The weight of the equipment is another downside, as it is very heavy to lift, and as I store this upstairs, and use it downstairs, I find it is a workout in itself just carrying it up and downstairs each time!! It does fold almost flat for storage reasons, which is a good thing though.
I do think that the Ab Circle Pro is over priced at £120, and possibly even for the £96 that I paid. It does work to a certain degree on the thighs, hips, and sides of the stomach, and it definitely protects the back from the usual pain and discomfort associated with ab workouts. At the same time though it does hurt the knees, which is something that can be solved with thicker clothing, or protection.
I suppose what I am getting at is that this does an ok job for an 'over-inflated' price, and has a few little design faults. I personally would probably not recommend buying one of these taking the price into consideration even though it does produce a few minor results to the thighs and sides of the stomach.
Thanks for reading.
Copyright © L500589 2011
The Ab-circle Pro was a great buy. More than I normally spend at £125 for one piece of equipment, I saw one of those 10 minute American adverts and decided I wanted abs like that!
The assembly was straight forward and comes with instructions and knee pads, though its more common sense than through the instructions that you put it together.. You kneel on the pads and use your core to swivel from side to side to strengthen your upper and lower abs. Lower abs are notoriously hard to tone and this machine really helps - I would not say that this machine works wonders, you need to do normal sit ups to aid the muscle tone.
There are only two real draw backs from my experience: one is that its not gentle on the knees, really recommend wearing trousers as opposed to shorts, its not that soft. I made the mistake of adding a tea towel for softness, then I slipped off as it did not have the appropriate grip I landed on my knee and limped for a week! - Note to self, add thick trousers to yourself, not padding to the machine. The other disadvantage of this machine (only when you are a beginner) is that you naturally use your body weight to swing from side to side, not only does this un-anchor the machine and make you feel like you are going to fall off, but you do not use your core.
A great advantage, however is that it really tones your arms and shoulders, as you swing you hold the handlebars, which are adjustable for your height, and you tend to use them to hold and steady yourself; the result is lovely toned biceps and shoulders. For me, it took about two weeks to see the results, and that's from a 5 mins work out each day after work. If you do this exercise properly your abs will really ache the second day of use, it hurts when you sneeze but it's a satisfying ache, knowing that you have used the correct muscles - if it doesn't hurt you are not doing it right!
It also comes with an instructional DVD, its good for a laugh and does show you how to use the machine, but I think you get in your own rhythm and chose your own work out. The DVD is typically American and shows you several different ways to tone, they all work as long as you stick at it. If you stop using it for a few days you lose the muscle tone so I top up my abs with sit ups on the side. All in all a good purchase that I'm glad I made. Golden rule, position your core directly abve the middle of the machine, if you swing your tummy it wont work. I award this ab-circle pro 4 out 5 dooyoo points!
As seen on TV.