The Captain’s Chair workout is rated as one of the most effective and best ab exercises by a study conducted at the Biomechanics Lab at the San Diego State University. Even though it is a relatively easy exercise to learn and do, not everyone has access to a Captain’s Chair or Power Tower device. However, there is an alternative to these exercise equipment.

With a grip-lock exercise bar and two ab straps, you can perform a similar abdominal exercise. This alternative equipment uses a door frame to allow you to perform exercises such as Knee Raises and Pull-Ups. Two brands that sell the combination of a grip-lock bar and ab straps are:

  • The Gold’s Gym Home Circuit
  • And the Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar.

The advantages of using the grip-lock bar and ab straps for this exercise are:

  • The equipment is less expensive
  • Allows you to do this workout at home
  • Can be easily stored in a closet
  • And it is easy to install on the appropriate door frame.

The disadvantages of this alternative are:

  • There is no back support. You must pay special attention to keeping your spine straight and aligned with your neck.
  • You may experience soreness in your shoulders, since your shoulder muscles will be holding up your body weight. This soreness usually disappears after your shoulder muscles become stronger.

With this type of exercise bar, you need a door frame that is 27.5 to 30 inches in width, and 4.5 to 6 inches in depth. The bar easily and quickly locks onto the door frame, and will support a body weight up to 250 lbs.

The grip-lock bar comes with an upper crossbar and a lower exercise bar. Use the following procedure to properly install the grip-lock bar onto an appropriate door frame:

  1. First put the ab straps on each side of the lower exercise bar.
  2. Pass the upper crossbar through an open doorway leaving the lower exercise bar on the opposite side of the door frame.
  3. Set the crossbar on the top edge of the door frame and push the crossbar as far as possible onto the edge of the door frame.
  4. Then brace the ends of the exercise bar against the opposite side of the door frame.
  5. If there is a door attached to the door frame, make sure that the crossbar and the door hinges are on the same side of the door frame.

After the exercise bar is properly installed on the appropriate door frame, use the following procedure for the Knee Raise exercise:

  1. Slide your arms through the ab straps as far as they will go.
  2. Grab onto the handles for support and to keep your body stable.
  3. Allow your body to hang while keeping your back straight and well aligned with your neck.
  4. Keep your legs together.
  5. Keep your abdominal muscles engaged, and concentrate on using your abdominal muscles to lift your knees toward your chest.
  6. As you breathe in, lift your knees toward your chest.
  7. As you breathe out, lower your legs back to the starting position.
  8. Do 10 reps at a time at first. Increase the number of reps as you become stronger.

This alternative to the Captain’s Chair ab workout will help you develop a muscular and flat stomach. And you can now do this exercise at home, and with little exercise equipment expense.

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