Do Hanging Ab Straps Work? How to Choose and Use Them

Hanging ab straps are an interesting piece of equipment that you rarely see used in gyms. They simply look too intimidating for beginners, and more advanced athletes rarely know their benefits and whether they work at all. I’ve decided to review this particular piece of equipment due to a common question athletes have – do hanging ab straps work? 

Yes, they are a valuable type of equipment when it comes to building core muscles. It mainly helps beginners with a weak grip perform a variety of hanging ab exercises correctly. Plus, it puts more strain on core muscles due to the required additional stabilization. Hanging ab straps offer a perfect balance of effectiveness and affordability. 

Now, let’s discuss how exactly hanging ab straps work, what exercises to do, and what models are the best on the market. 

Do Hanging Ab Straps Work?

ab strap benefits

Hanging ab straps are portable equipment pieces usually used to aid in the hanging core training. Unfortunately, beginners often overlook them as too complex pieces with no apparent use. However, hanging ab straps are among the most helpful equipment designed to promote core strength. They are effective and fun if you know how to use them correctly. They can also easily be incorporated into that quick 5 minute ab workout we’ve talked about recently. 

A fascinating 2006 study published in the journal Physical Therapy gives us a better look at the effectiveness of hanging ab straps. The research studied the effectiveness of nontraditional ab exercises for rehabilitation and training purposes. Among the few nontraditional types was hanging knee-ups with straps. Among the results, the external oblique muscle EMG activity showed the best results for this straps-aided exercise.  

In conclusion, the paper states that these nontraditional exercises (the strap raises included) 

“not only were the most effective exercises in activating abdominal musculature but also were the most effective in activating extraneous musculature.”

Note that professionals should strictly monitor any type of abdominal exercise conducted for rehabilitation purposes. 

How to Use Hanging Ab Straps? 

hanging ab straps benefits

Hanging straps are relatively straightforward if you know what purpose they serve. 

Here’s an easy instruction on how to use the straps (applicable to all brands in general) 

  1. Generally, hanging ab straps come in pairs, one for each respectively. They are equipped with clips or carabiners that can be attached to any kind of bar. Thus, the first step is attaching the clips shoulder-width apart to a bar of the appropriate height. 
  2. Aside from the clip, the straps have elastic loops – the actual support mechanism. Slide your arms through the loops so that your triceps are comfortably supported. 
  3. Grab the upper area of straps with your hands and proceed with the exercises. 

Note: most straps are two-sided; the smooth side of the band is the inner side that will touch your skin. 

What Are Hanging Ab Straps Benefits?

Dealing with Weak Grip

Hanging ab exercises are among the most effective in bringing you the sixpack of your dreams! However, beginners often struggle with a weak grip, making effective training impossible. This is the primary benefit of this equipment! Hanging ab straps are a must for beginners. Do not restrict your range of motions and available exercises if you haven’t trained your grip strength properly yet. You should be able to perform a variety of hanging routines for core strength with these straps. 

Powerful Ab Training 

Hanging abdominal exercises can be among the most effective core training if done correctly. Hanging ab straps allow for prolonged circuits of hanging exercises with more comfort. In addition, they reduce the distraction from the upper body and allow full focus on engaging the core. 

Cheap and Portable 

Most of the time, gym equipment is hardly budget-friendly and always bulky. That is why working out at home comes with many restrictions. 

However, hanging ab straps fall under the rare category of both affordable and highly-portable fitness equipment. The closest to this balance are fitness bands that can be used for everything! 

In general, you can find high-quality ab straps under $100. However, if you devote some time to research, you can find decent straps under $50. 

The straps weigh no more than 300 grams and can be packed in any gym bag. 

What Are the Best Hanging Ab Starp Exercises? 

are hanging ab straps effective

There are several hanging exercises that can drastically improve your core strength and tone your abs. All of them can be done with the use of straps. 

Among the favorite exercises for abdominals are 

Hanging Ab Crunches 

Hanging crunch is the basis. Crunchies overall are the most common exercises for abs. Done hanging with the use of ab straps? Even better. Crunches do involve abs contractions that will tone your six-pack. 

To get the most benefits from this exercise, follow the proper technique! 

How to do: 

  1. Start by positioning the straps on the bar and setting comfortable into them. Triceps should be almost parallel to the ground and shoulders lowered away from ears. 
  2. As you hang, squeeze your legs together, engage your core, and bring your knees up to your abdomen. Try to shorten the distance between your pelvis and chest as you would do in regular crunches. 
  3. Lower leg to hang freely. 

Hanging Knee Raise Twist 

This exercise targets oblique abdominal muscles as well as the rectus abdominal. The alternative knee twists allow for the better contraction of the entire core due to the increased range of motion. 

How to do: 

  1. Start from the regular hanging ab strap position. 
  2. Pull your legs together. Lift your knees upwards and to the left. Lift them as far as you can. Squeeze your abs. 
  3. Return legs down and repeat on the other side. Make sure your torso stays as straight as possible and do not swing your legs – controlled motions only. 

Knees to Elbows 

This is a somewhat advanced version of knee raises. It engages a more extensive range of motion, thus putting more strain on your core. Make sure your body is collected and engaged for this exercise – do not swing around using the wrong muscles. 

How to do: 

  1. Start from the regular hanging ab strap position. Triceps almost parallel to the ground.
  2. Start like the regular knee raises – squeeze your legs together, engage your core, and bring your knees up. Instead of stopping at your belly, separate the legs a bit from each other and bring your knees higher to touch (almost touch) your elbows. 
  3. Lower your legs back. 

During this exercise, your body will swing a bit more than during the previous exercises, but the motion should still be controlled. 

What Are the Best Hanging Ab Straps? 

When choosing hanging ab straps, you should pay attention to the following factors: 

  • materials
  • carabines and hooks 
  • supported weight maximum 
  • padding and strap width 

Overall, as the perfect combo of high quality and affordability, you should take a look at the following options: 

DMoose Hanging Ab Straps for Abdominal Muscle building 

These are one of the most well-recognized straps on the market; used bot in professional gyms and suggested for home training. 

Among the benefits that make them a popular choice: 

  • thick arm paddings for comfortable support 
  • sturdy steel carabines
  • stretchy yet reliable nylon material 
  • padding width of 6.5 inches. 
  • durable double stitching 

ROSRAN Ab Straps for Pullup Bar 

A great alternative that is less known are the Rosran straps. they also represent the necessary features: 

  • sturdy carabines
  • removable neoprene grips 
  • soft arm padding 
  • durable non-toxic material
  • up to 300 pounds supported weight 

Resources

  1. Rafael F Escamilla, Eric Babb, Ryan DeWitt, Patrick Jew, Peter Kelleher, Toni Burnham, Juliann Busch, Kristen D’Anna, Ryan Mowbray, Rodney T Imamura, Electromyographic Analysis of Traditional and Nontraditional Abdominal Exercises: Implications for Rehabilitation and Training, Physical Therapy, Volume 86, Issue 5, 1 May 2006, Pages 656–671, https://doi.org/10.1093/ptj/86.5.656
  2. Hanging Ab Workout (4 MINUTES OF PAIN!) (2015, ATHLEAN-X™, YouTube)

About

Irene’s fitness journey began in 2017 with attending classes to improve her health and researching the anatomy of working out. After years of investigating trendy and “up and coming” fitness regimes, she is ready to share the tips and advice she’s learned from athletes and expert trainers of the field.