Does The Electric Abs Machine Work?

Updated February 21, 2017

Companies that produce electric abdominal exercise machines often promise toned abs with minimal effort. However, these claims don't necessarily hold true and you are more likely to get toned abs through proper diet and nutrition than by using an abdominal exercise machine.

How It Functions

Electronic ab machines stimulate the abdominal muscles with a small electric impulses or shocks. This causes the muscles to contract. Since exercising muscles is essentially a process of contracting and extending them, the theory is that this exercises and tones the muscles.

Does It Work?

According to Dr. Gabe Mirkin, abdominal machines do not work. These machines don't exercise the muscles enough to make a difference in tone. They are similar to what a physiotherapist would use to exercise the muscles in a broken limb, which is just enough to prevent the muscle from atrophying. A shock big enough to work the muscles would be very painful.


In order to exercise your abdominal muscles enough to notice a difference, you have to do abdominal exercises such as crunches. And if you want a "six-pack," you also have to do cardiovascular exercise and eat a healthy, balanced diet.

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About the Author

Karen Sheviak has more than 10 years of experience as a writer, researcher and copy editor for "Canadian Living" magazine. She has worked as a freelance editor for other magazines including "Toronto Life." Sheviak has a Bachelor of Arts in English and history from the University of Toronto and a diploma in journalism from Centennial College in Toronto.