Side Shaper Review – Does This 5 Minute Ab Exercise Machine Work?

Side Shaper

The quest for strong, toned abs goes beyond just aesthetic appeal… they also play a vital role in functional movement, posture and pretty much any compound or strength exercise.

Strong abs undoubtedly play a “core” role in our overall health and fitness.

So, anything that can help strengthen and tone our abs is worth giving some attention to… cue the Side Shaper.

The original reverse crunch machine and the innovator in what has now become a popular and crowded market, we thought it was about time we provided a detailed review of the Side Shaper and everything it claims to achieve.

Is the Side Shaper worth buying? You’ll find out in this handy guide.

In a hurry? Check out the product page below (which also entitles you to a 25% discount). 👇

What is an Ab Machine?

The Side Shaper (both Basic and Pro) fall under the category of “ab machines”. Ab machines have been around for a long time and are types of fitness equipment designed primarily to target the core.

Ab machines vary quite considerably, from large bulky equipment in gyms (that might use cables to create resistance), to more lightweight options, such as the Side Shaper, that are better for home use (and that use bodyweight and gravity for resistance).

The Side Shaper describes itself as a “reverse crunch machine”, based on the movement you do on the machine.

Like all exercise equipment, ensuring you follow correct form will go a long way in allowing you to get the most out of it.

How to use the 5 Minute Side Shaper

The Side Shaper is super simple to use, a big selling point when it comes to home exercise equipment.

It comes with 3 adjustable levels, which basically describes the incline of the bench. Level 1 is the “flattest” and thus the easiest to use. Level 2 sees the incline increase, making it more challenging, and Level 3 has the largest degree of incline and will undoubtedly leave those abs feeling the burn!

To use the Side Shaper, simply grip the handle at the top of the machine, with your elbows resting on the foam, and your knees bent.

Squeeze your midsection to pull your knees towards your elbows. This movement is, in essence, a reverse crunch. This will require your abs and obliques to be engaged during the movement, helping to strengthen and tone them.

For extra burn, you can hold the position at the top for a few seconds, before slowly lowering your knees to the starting position.

You can then repeat this for repetitions and sets.

What Muscles Does the Side Shaper Work?

The Side Shaper works the core muscles, primarily targeting the abdominals (abs), but also involving the obliques as well.

The reverse crunch will work the abs and help strengthen and tone them. Any twisting motion will engage the obliques as well. The obliques are the muscles on the side of your stomach, often referred to as “love handles.”

Gripping the handles will also require some degree of arm and shoulder strength, primarily the biceps and forearms. These muscles help create stability during the movement but aren’t the main focus of the exercise.

What We Like About the Side Shaper


Unlike some of the cheaper ab machines, the Side Shaper has the ability to twist. This twisting motion is vital for engaging the obliques and helping to tone up the whole of your midsection.

The twisting movement feels very smooth and is something you can decide how much you want to incorporate into your workout. If you’re just getting started, you can focus more on just going up and down, but with some experience, adding in some twists will really progress your workouts.


Having 3 levels of difficulty is definitely useful as it means you can keep progressing and testing yourself.

It also means you can incorporate different types of workouts into the machine. For example, higher repetitions on a lower level, or fewer repetitions on a higher level.

This is a really useful feature for creating new and exciting home workouts using the equipment.

Bodyweight Movement

The simplicity of the Side Shaper is another reason we like it so much. The machine actually just supports you to do a bodyweight movement. This means your own body’s weight is providing the resistance and weight to cause your muscles to work hard.

Especially for core workouts, this feels better for beginners and easier to use safely.

You don’t have to worry about pulling or pushing heavy weights and potentially putting pressure on other parts of your body if your technique is wrong.

Instead, the Side Shaper uses gravity to create difficulty.


The movement of pulling your knees to your chest is undoubtedly an effective way of strengthening and toning your abs and core.

It’s similar to holding a pull-up bar and raising your legs upwards. This however, is quite a difficult movement and also requires a very sturdy pull-up bar (something which is harder to install at home). As a result, something like the Side Shaper allows anyone the ability to perform a movement that is very effective for core strength.


The machine can fold away which is a useful feature for any home equipment. This means you can store it away when not in use.

Solid Frame

Some at-home ab machines gained a bad reputation due to using cheap, flimsy frames. The Side Shaper, on the other hand, uses a solid steel frame which definitely feels sturdier than what you might be expecting.

There are a lot of similar models on Amazon, often for a cheaper price, but the reviews suggest the frames aren’t very sturdy, which is likely to impact your workouts and overall experience using the product.

Money Back Guarantee

With a 30 day money back guarantee, it helps make the buying process that little bit easier. If you’re on the fence, you can simply give it a try and see how you get on.


With over 5 million Side Shaper machines sold worldwide, the popularity speaks for itself. This doesn’t feel like another fitness fad or hyped-up machine that disappears within a few months.

There’s a very established user base of customers that clearly respect and value the machine.

Side Shaper: Basic Vs Pro

There are actually two packages to choose from, the Basic and the Pro. The Pro includes extra features like the heart rate tracking and isn’t much more expensive so is probably the better choice.

Things to Consider

Diet and Weight Loss

There really aren’t any problems with the Side Shaper as an ab machine. It it really does the job very well. And for that, we can’t really find any faults.

However, it’s important to stress that flat, toned abs don’t just appear overnight, or from using an ab machine. They require low body fat which is created in the kitchen and through a healthy lifestyle as well.

If you want washboard abs, your diet, lifestyle and body fat are huge factors, not just including ab exercises into your workouts.

Side Shaper Discount Code

If you’re interested in giving this ab machine a go, you’re in luck. We’ve spoken to the manufacturer and managed to get our readers a 25% discount. Simply follow the link below and enjoy this big saving. 👇

Bottom Line

If you’re on the hunt for an ab machine, the Side Shaper is a great option. Its sturdy frame, additional features and raving reviews suggest this ab machine is ideal for anyone looking to enhance their at-home ab workouts.

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