Toned abs are probably on everyone’s wish list as they aim to get into shape. It takes a lot of work and core training to tighten the muscles and get that six-pack. However, there are electronic ab belts on the market that claim to help tone your abs simply by wearing them. According to the countless infomercials, the claims are that these belts can strengthen your abdominal muscles without one sit-up or any other type of exercise. For this reason, they’re obviously popular among people looking to get toned without a lot of effort, but there is always a question about how they work and what they really can do for you. Technically, they do work the way they claim to. In fact, there are benefits of ab belts that are hard to ignore. Consider how an ab belt works and the benefits of using one before you decide to pick one up for yourself.

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Electronic Ab Belts: The Basics

A typical electronic ab belt is a device that you strap around your waist in hopes to stimulate your muscles in the same fashion abdominal exercises do. The belts use electrical muscle stimulation that shoots an electrical current to your muscles that cause them to contract. This is done through electrodes that are placed inside the belt and lie against your skin. This muscles stimulation is essentially your workout.

Think of it as a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation device (TENS unit). The only difference here is that your muscles are being stimulated instead of your nerves. In the same fashion, the best ab belts have settings so you can change the strength of the electrical current to fit your needs. You want to keep the belt set to a level where you don’t feel pain but that you do feel your muscles contracting. In general, you should feel a prickling sensation from the electrical current.

Based on this information, the ab belt does work to tone muscles since the contractions will work the muscles in the same way crunches would. However, if you’re looking to lose belly fat, an ab belt isn’t going to really help you. In studies done on the belts, they’ve proven to work on people with low body mass indexes. The research didn’t show any change in peoples’ body composition in terms of fat loss or a decrease in their measurements.

In fact, those same studies infer that too much belly fat can hinder the effects of an ab belt. This is because the belly fat can block the electrical currents from the belt and prevent them from reaching the muscles.

While every electronic ab belt is different, the general rule is that you should wear it for as little as 10 minutes and no longer than an hour a day. Of course, like any kind of muscle stimulation, the more you do, the more you’ll get out of it. It’s important to note that ab belts might interfere with things like pacemakers or defibrillators so if you have anything like this, talk to your doctor before using an ab belt.

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Effortless Muscle Toning

The most significant benefit of an electronic ab belt is obviously toning your muscles with minimal effort. Your muscles will be contracting due to electric currents so you can stimulate them while simply sitting at your desk at work or watching television at home. You won’t have to get down on the floor and do crunches or go to the gym and use the ab machines.

There are also claims that the belts help you burn calories. This is a little misleading as they don’t burn calories as much as abdominal exercises do. However, the body heat that the muscle contractions produce can speed up your metabolism and help you better burn calories throughout your day. Similarly, the current going through your body can help your circulation and lymphatic drainage which will also help your body and metabolism function optimally.

The quick results from minimal work is also a huge benefit of ab belts. When you use the belt with proper diet and exercise, you can see results faster than you would without the belt. Remember, it might not show a dramatic shift in belly fat if you’re overweight but over time, as you lose weight, you’ll notice a difference. You should also notice an internal difference as your core feels tighter. This can lead to better posture and more core stability.

Promotes Relaxation

An electrical current running through your body might not sound like a relaxing experience, however, if you put the belt at the proper setting for you it can act as a type of massage. The relaxing sensation here can help ease stress and release tension after a long day. More so, the stimulation releases serotonin in your body which can help improve your energy, your mood, and even your sleep habits.

Similarly, you’re able to sit down and do nothing while wearing the belt so you can actually relax while still toning your muscles. You won’t feel guilty about sitting around your house because you’re actively stimulating your ab muscles.

They’re Comfortable and Easy to Use

Most ab belts are made of lightweight, breathable material to keep you comfortable as you use it. For that reason, the belts can also be worn under your clothes while you’re out of the home. The pads adhere to your skin securely, too, so you can move around freely without worrying about the belt falling off or moving out of position. The belts are also battery operated so you won’t be tethered to an electrical cord.

The simplicity of the belt speaks for itself and is an obvious benefit. Wrap the belt around your abdominal area, set the device to the strength best for you, and let the electrodes do all the work. There is nothing more you have to do for the belt to properly work.

The belts are so comfortable and easy to use that they’re even used by medical professionals to help stop muscle atrophy in patients who are bedridden. They are also used by physical therapists for muscle retraining in patients.

Ab belts clearly have a lot of benefits that attract people to them. They’re easy to use and produce noticeable results when paired with a healthy lifestyle. Like anything on the market, there are exceptions to the rules and you may even experience some negative effects like irritation, burns, or bruising if you don’t use the belt properly. Remember to talk to a doctor before using these if you have an internal electrical medical device and follow all of the belt’s instructions including setting suggestions. If you use the device properly and follow a healthy diet and exercise routine, you can experience all of the benefits of ab belts on your own.