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Tax Rebate Gear: Build a Better Backpacker

This year, spend that extra dough on at-home workout gear that will make it easier to get out and log miles. Basically, you're investing in you.

Perfect Fitness Perfect Situp
An abdominal workout gizmo that works?

Let me make one thing clear: you’re not going to look like a model by doing situps or crunches alone. If you want to look like the people you see on TV advertising workout equipment you’re going to need an insane diet, colossal amounts of determination, tons of time, and a professional lighting and camera crew. I don’t have any of those things, but I do need a strong core for carrying a heavy backpack up and down mountains.

The Perfect Situp claims to use body positioning and resistance to give you a better abdominal workout than a regular crunch, so I gave it a shot. The device has a thickly padded back mat, head and neck support with handles, and foot stirrups attached with flexible steel blades. The mat and neck support are comfortable, and with your head, hands, and feel locked down, it definitely forces you into correct position. And instead of merely raising your torso off the ground, you combine that motion with raising your legs to work your lower abs.

Perfect Fitness claims that the motion is 180% more effective for your lower abs than a standard crunch. There’s a “clicker” which makes a sound when you’ve completed the full range of motion, and it’s nice to know you’re going up far enough but not too far. The included leg blades provide 10 pounds of resistance, and you can purchase additional resistance up for 30 pounds per leg.

As a military veteran I’m no stranger to situps, and I was a little skeptical of the Perfect Situp. But after trying it out for the first time I was amazed at how quickly my abs started to burn. Normally I can do a good 50 situps before it starts to hurt, but when I was strapped into the device after 20 reps I started to feel the familiar burn and after 40 my abs were on fire. The machine was particularly effective on the bicycle crunches which work the obliques; I must have been doing them wrong for years.

After using the Perfect Situp for a month I still don’t look like the model you see on TV, but I have been able to increase the number of reps I can crank out before my abs ignite. You likely know that a strong core will help your balance on the trail, especially when you’re loaded with a heavy pack, and is important to your overall health. I liked incorporating a new device into my workout, and was surprised at how sore I was the first few times I did some hard oblique workouts. However, using the device feels a little gimmicky, and I’m not sure that the “180% better" claim is really true.

I think that calling this device the Perfect Situp is maybe a bit of a stretch, but it is certainly a Pretty Good Situp. As with any piece of workout gear, the true secret to its usefulness is how much you use it. If you’re looking to get that beach body you saw in a magazine, keep dreaming, but if you’re looking to spice up your workout routine and get a decent ab workout, then the Perfect Situp might be for you.

The Specs:
7 lbs. 10 oz.

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