T Nation

Experiences with Nautilus Abdominal 'Crunch' Machine?

For this post I am referring to the machine that has an ‘articulated’ action in which the user’s feet are hooked under roller pads and the user holds overhead curved bars with the hands – and pulls up with the feet/legs and down with the hands/arms. This really works the abs.

Would like to know about anyone’s experience with this machine. For me it seems to have the downside of causing lower-back pain.

Jesse Lee

I have the ab clam but I find it works the abs poorly. I get more feel lying on the floor doing crunches., I wanted one forever but after I got it I found it disappointing. I haven’t used it enough to feel any back problems?

My gym has a few nautilus machines in it. I might be an outlier but the nautilus ah crunch with the bottom half anchored is my favorite ab machine, bar none.

You have to be careful to let your trunk flexion move the weight, not your arms or lats. Keeping your head back and eyes up helps to prevent curling your body forward excessively and putting strain on the back.

After that, it’s all mind muscle connection - I usually do 10 rep sets jumping up every other weight stack with a minute rest in between until I fail to get 10, then reduce the weight by 50% and go to complete failure.

Good to ‘hear’ from you again, Scott; it’s been a while since I have been on this site. I see that it went to T Nation ---- or some such thing.

I was reading some of your posts about the machines that you have amassed over time; you must have quite a collection! :slight_smile:

Jesse Lee

I don’t know what you mean by ‘trunk flexion’. Are you saying focus on pulling up with the feet?

Please clarify. Thanks in advance.

Jesse Lee

This would be hip flexion. You want to keep your hips tucked pretty much throughout this exercise, and even when you stretch your torso upwards at the top of the exercise, you don’t need to be arching your back. If you want to simulate trunk flexion, try to touch your ribs to your hips - you won’t be able to, of course, but that’s the motion you’re going for. While trunk flexion seems like a natural byproduct of a crunch, its easy to use your arms and lats to pull the bar down and take the emphasis off the abs.

Thanks for that info; I will give it a try. I will have to train myself to not pull down with the ‘handlebars’, though; it seems to me that’s exactly what they are for – pulling down at the same time the user is pulling up with the legs/feet – as in a centrally-articulated movement.

However —

In your first post you wrote “…but the nautilus ab crunch with the bottom half anchored…”. From that it sounds like you are not pulling the ‘foot rollers’ up at all. How can there be any motion at all if you don’t pull down with the arms?

Thanks in advance for any info.

Jesse Lee

Arms stay in a static position. Abs are flexed by going into trunk flexion, and the arms don’t pull down, but maintain their angle, so the weight gets lifted as the torso crunches downwards.