Ab Roller Workout – Roll your Way to Sculpted Abs

Are you tired of doing sit-ups and crunches?  Perhaps you need an ab roller or ab wheel in your life. 

There are many different exercises to get sculpted abs with the ab roller.  As always, here at The Fitness Tribe, we are at your service. 

We’ll give you all the details on how an ab wheel works to increase your strength and fitness, particularly in your core. 

Ready to rock and roll?

What is an Ab Roller or Ab Wheel?

It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like.  Picture a small wheel with a handle on each side to hold onto as you engage your core. 

Sounds like tons of fun, right? 

Now we know it’s called an ab wheel, but it’s not just your abdominal muscles that benefit from this piece of equipment. 

Your entire core gets a workout with this apparatus.  From your biceps, lats, and chest to your glutes and stabilizers, nothing is off-limits. 

The ab roller is versatile, which is one of the reasons we are such huge fans. 

If a sixpack has always been a dream of yours, the ab wheel is one way to get there. 

While nothing replaces good nutrition (abs are made in the kitchen), an ab roller can help you develop core strength which decreases the likelihood of back problems, among other things.

Now while an ab wheel is excellent for your workouts, it is recommended not for someone who is brand new to core exercises.  Even the beginner exercises that we will mention are intense and require a strong core. 

If you are just starting your fitness program, check with a personal trainer on when it is safe to introduce the ab roller to your workouts.

Sit-ups vs. Ab Wheel Rollout

If you are a sit-up master, that’s amazing, and we applaud you. 

When you do sit-ups, you have to be careful not to pull up with your back.  Powering your body up with your abs is essential. 

Sit-ups focus just on the abs.  While that is fantastic, it’s critical to work the entire core. 

The ab wheel gives you that versatility of working the abs, arms, back, glutes, and chest.  It’s vital to get the most out of your workout. 

Rather than doing fifty sit-ups, maybe try one of the ab wheel roll workouts we describe and feel the difference.  Compound exercises for the win!

Ab Roller Workouts

Since you are now intrigued with getting fit with an ab wheel, let’s discuss some popular workouts that you can perform with it. 

If you are a beginner, we recommend performing one or two exercises every three to four days at about six to ten reps. 

For the intermediate level, perform about two to four exercises every two days with about ten to fifteen reps. 

Our advanced fitness people can do several circuit exercises every two days with up to 30 reps each.  

Kneeling Ab Wheel Rollout

We like the kneeling ab workout because it’s great for a beginner to the ab roller.  The starting position is on your knees with one hand on either side of the ab wheel. 

Slowly roll the wheel away from you with your arms straight, tightening your abs the whole way.  Once you are in a plank position, contract your abs to roll the wheel back to the starting position. 

Don’t stress if this feels intense.  It absolutely should. 

Things to keep in mind are making sure you aren’t pressing your hips forward and arching your back as you come down into the plank position.

If you contract your abs as tight as you can, your lower back is protected.  Also, don’t bend your elbows. 

Keep your arms straight as you descend and ascend.  You will feel this in your triceps and lats for sure.

Standing Ab Wheel Rollout

In a more advanced version of the kneeling ab rollout, try the same movement in a standing position. 

The starting position of the feet is either a wide stance or narrow. 

A narrow stance is something to work up to if you are a beginner since it’s more difficult. 

In your wide stance with feet about hip-width apart, roll the ab wheel out contracting your entire core keeping your arms straight. 

Once you get to the plank position, contract the abs to bring yourself back to the starting position.

Knee Tucks

It’s time to engage those glutes a bit more as well as the rest of your core. 

For this exercise, you will need an attachment for the ab wheel that secures your feet to it.  Start in a plank position with your hands underneath your shoulders. 

Slowly roll the ab wheel by bending your knees up to your chest.  Try to keep your back in line and avoid arching. 

Press the wheel back out to the starting position and you have done knee tucks.  Keep going!

V Rollouts

Those obliques will feel this exercise for sure.  Start on your knees, but instead of rolling the wheel straight out in front of you, roll the ab wheel towards the right diagonal to engage the muscles on your side. 

Once you are fully extended, roll slowly back keeping your core tight.  Repeat all of this to the other diagonal.  Keep alternating sides creating a “V” shape.

Plank to Pike

Yes–it’s exactly what it sounds like.  Start in a pike position with your hips in the air and feet planted about hip-width apart. 

Slowly roll down to a plank position, keeping those core muscles engaged.  Roll yourself back up to the pike position and repeat for about 10 reps.

Single-arm Rollout

No, we haven’t gone mad.  This is an excellent exercise for those who are more advanced.  Perform the single-arm rollout from a kneeling position or standing. 

It’s the same idea of rolling the ab wheel away from your body, but this time with just one arm to support you.  Again, this one is exceptionally intense. 

It’s best to rock the kneeling or standing rollout for a long time before attempting rollouts with just one arm. 

If you aren’t ready for it, you could sacrifice your form and end up injuring your lower back.

Circuit workouts for Advanced Fitness Levels

We mentioned that you could utilize several of these exercises in a circuit format if you are more advanced. 

That would involve adding some cardio like jumping rope or running in place for thirty to forty seconds, then transitioning to some of the exercises we mentioned earlier. 

For instance, jump rope for thirty seconds, rest for 10 seconds, perform some kneeling rollouts, and then V rollouts resting between each exercise. 

Go back to your jump rope for thirty seconds, perform some plank to pike rollouts, rest for ten seconds, and then do some knee tucks. 

Repeat that entire set two to three times for a highly effective circuit training.

Begin Rolling Ab Fun Now!

Whether or not you already have a power tower in your home gym or all of the free weights in the world, adding an ab roller is vital for your core strength. 

Remember, the ab roller is not for the faint of heart. 

If you have taken Pilates before, you understand how much core work is involved in those exercises. 

The ab roller workout is similar and will promote a stronger core to support that lower back. 

Developing muscles in your shoulders, chest, back, and glutes are a nice bonus.  Roll away, people!

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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.

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