If you read our best ab roller article, you know that an ab roller or ab wheel is an effective and intense workout for your core.
Maybe you bought one and are thinking, now what to do I do?
Here at The Fitness Tribe, we want you to be successful no matter what type of exercise you choose. That’s why we put together a list of the best ab roller exercises.
Performing these core exercises will help to build your overall strength and stability in no time.
Ab Wheel Explained
An ab wheel or ab roller is the same. It’s a small piece of equipment that features a small wheel with two handles on either side.
The idea behind an ab roller is to perform an ab wheel rollout to build your core muscles.
There are many other exercises, but that ab wheel rollouts are the most popular.
Not only do ab rollers work your core, but they also engage your stabilizer muscles.
Our stabilizers are the most important as they work to keep us upright and stable as we move throughout the day. By providing better stability, we prevent injuries and falls.
The ab wheel works the stabilizers’ back muscles, triceps, biceps, chest, and shoulders.
It’s a compound exercise with a focus on the core but advantages for all muscle groups.
Because it takes coordination, it promotes proper form that results in better muscle training and posture.
Those who have used an ab roller notice decreased back pain due to better support through the core.
If you are wondering, yes, the ab wheel helps you burn calories. Think of it as a different way to do crunches, but working up to 20 muscles groups at once.
Calories are running for the hills with this apparatus.
Because it’s small and compact, it’s easy to store. If you lack space in your home gym, an ab wheel might be just the investment you need to make.
When you’re done with it, put it under the bed or in the closet.
Why is Core Strength Crucial?
Your core works to support the rest of your body.
Whether to keep you upright with proper posture or improve your balance and stability, your core is always working hard to keep you safe.
Without a strong core, falls, injuries and spinal curvature occur.
Back pain is one of the most common ailments as we get older. Many times it’s the result of improper core strength to support the back.
By developing your core muscles, back pain subsides without the use of heavy medication or surgeries.
In general, strengthening your core improves your overall quality of life.
You walk with better posture, feel support for your back, and are confident in your balance. Winning!
Using an Ab Roller
When using an ab roller, you must progress as it’s an intense piece of equipment.
We recommend that beginners work on core strengthening exercises before attempting the ab wheel.
The reason is that it’s easy to injure yourself if you don’t have proper form when using an ab roller.
Proper form means your abs are engaged, so your back isn’t arching either way. You must keep a neutral spine the entire time.
Every time you move with the ab roller, the core should carry the movement. While other muscles work in tandem, the core is the primary muscle group to keep you in place.
If you feel stress or strain, stop and reassess your form. Are you keeping a neutral spine by engaging the abdominal muscles? Are you keeping your head down and in line with your body?
If the answer is no, you might need to develop your core more before attempting the ab roller exercises.
Best Ab Roller Exercises
We’ve discussed the benefits of ab rollers, and now it’s time to find some ab wheel exercises that will increase your strength.
Ab Wheel Plank
Planks are always fun, and doing them with an ab wheel is no different.
Beginners will love this exercise as it is an excellent start to progressing to more challenging exercises.
The starting position is on your hands and knees. Put the ab roller on the floor right below your head.
Place one hand on either side of the wheel and push your knees off the ground into a plank position.
Generally, you want to hold for 60 seconds. As you get more confident, try for longer. Remember to keep your core tight and keep a neutral spine.
Kneeling Ab Wheel Rollout
Once you’ve gotten the ab wheel plank perfected, move on to the kneeling ab wheel rollout.
Begin on your hands and knees, with the ab roller beneath your head on the floor.
Grab either side of the ab roller and, with arms straight, slowly roll the ab wheel in front of you, away from your body.
Once your torso is near the floor, begin to move the ab wheel back to the starting position slowly. It’s intense, but you got this.
Start with five reps and work your way up to 10.
Standing Ab Wheel Rollouts
Things are heating up. Can you feel the intensity? The standing ab wheel rollout is your next endeavour.
The idea is the same as the kneeling ab wheel rollout, except the starting position is on your feet.
You can have your feet together or about hip-width apart. Tipping over from your hips, grab the handles of your ab roller.
With your back neutral and your arms straight, slowly roll the ab wheel in front of you until you are parallel to the floor, with your arms extended in front.
Hold that position and then slowly roll your way back to the starting position. Notice we say slowly many times.
The slower you go, the harder your core will work to stabilize you and the less likely you will get injured by moving too quickly.
One Leg Rollout
Don’t laugh at us!
Once you have mastered the standing wheel rollouts, you are absolutely ready for the one-leg rollout. That core is kicking, folks.
The guidance is the same as the standing ab wheel rollout except as you roll away from your body, slowly lift one leg off the ground.
It’s intense, but now that your core is strengthening, you can do it.
It’s exactly like it sounds.
Starting on your hands and knees, grab the handles of the ab roller and move to one diagonal and then the other.
This promotes those side abdominal muscles or obliques. Go from 5-10 reps.
Ab Wheel Knee Tucks
Before attempting this exercise, your ab roller must have foot attachments to keep your feet in place.
To start, get in a plank position with your feet attached to the roller. Pulling your core in tight, roll your feet in and bring your knees to your chest.
Hold for a second and slowly push your feet back to the starting position.
Keep going for another 5-10 reps.
Ab Wheel Bird Dogs
Similar to the knee rollouts, the ab wheel bird dog exercise involves you lifting on leg straight behind you and then performing your wheel rollout.
You are once again on your hands and knees for this one, but with one leg extended behind you as you roll the wheel out in front of you.
Place that knee back on the floor as you roll back into the starting position. Continue for 5-10 reps and then switch to lifting the other leg.
We need to keep it even, right?
Ab Wheel Push-ups
Get ready because this is the ultimate exercise and you can do it.
Get in a plank position and perform push-ups while holding onto the ab roller. This will take a lot of coordination and strength through your core as well as your upper body.
Remember to keep your body in a straight line from head to toe to protect your back. Start with 5-10 reps and move your way up as you get stronger.
When you use the ab wheel correctly, the results will come in tighter ab muscles and overall muscle strength for your entire body.
Ab wheels are more efficient than crunches since they engage more of your core no matter what exercise you do.
The ab wheel is legit with added benefits like improved posture, increased balance by working stabilizer muscles, and decreased back pain.
Try one out and remember that progression is essential. Don’t jump right to a one-leg rollout.
Try out the kneeling options first and work your way to the standing position. Here’s to a rocking core in your future.
Kristen holds a bachelors in English from Louisianna university. With a longstanding passion for fitness, she owns and operate her own gym and is a certified jazzercise instructor.