PURPOSE:Many commercially available pieces of abdominal exercise equipment have been introduced to facilitate endurance training of the abdominal musculature. One of the latest devices is the Abshaper. The aim of this study was to investigate whether there is any difference between abdominal exercises performed while using the Abshaper compared with those performed conventionally. METHODS:Using surface electromyography (EMG), the upper and lower regions of rectus abdominis (RA), the external oblique (EO), and sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscles of 22 first-year physical therapy students were assessed. Each participant performed five straight trunk curls and five side trunk curls both with the Abshaper and conventionally. To test for differences in relative peak and mean EMG activity between the two modes of exercise execution, paired t-tests (alpha = 0.05) were performed. Differences in the average time percentile at which peak EMG activity occurred were assessed by repeated measures ANOVA (alpha = 0.05). RESULTS:Exercises performed while using the Abshaper resulted in significantly greater relative peak and mean EMG activity within the upper portion of RA. For both the lower portion of RA and the EO muscles, no differences were found between the two modes of exercise execution. For SCM, Abshaper exercises resulted in significantly lower relative peak and mean EMG activity. In respect to the timing of peak EMG activity, no difference was found between the two modes of exercise execution for either the upper portion of RA, the EO, or SCM muscles. For lower RA, peak EMG activity occurred significantly earlier during conventional abdominal exercises in comparison with those performed while using the Abshaper. CONCLUSIONS:The Abshaper has a role in exercising the abdominal musculature.