How to Use an Ab Roller to Build a Strong, Sculpted Core

How to use an ab roller

First things first, some rules to abide by when using the ab roller.

When you roll out, try to avoid arching your lower back. If it means you don’t roll out as far, then so be it. I always get someone to watch me when I first try a move out, so I know if I am doing it correctly.

To avoid injury, keep your head down as you roll and tuck your chin in. 

As for the surface you’re rolling on, go for a smooth, non slip floor. Essentially, avoid tiles and absolutely swerve rugs; that’s a disaster waiting to happen!

When you’re confident with the moves listed below, do 10 reps of each followed by a 30-second rest. Aim to do three rounds.

Right then, let’s go!

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The Importance of Using a High-quality Ab Wheel

Every ab wheel is constructed with a different material. So, you have to be very careful in purchasing one. It’s highly recommended to get an ab wheel made of reinforced rubber which can handle repeated use and won’t break down or crack when used properly.

There are a couple of things you need to watch out for when purchasing best ab roller on the market today. Make sure that the center is made of steel or iron so it can hold your full weight and not break down

It has a foam covering on the handles. A good ab wheel won’t hurt your hands. It should have foam-covered handles so it won’t dig into your hands or cause any discomfort. Otherwise, you’ll just be wasting money by not getting maximum results out of your ab wheel workout.

One of the most important things in doing ab rollouts is to focus on your form and many people fail at that while doing ab rollouts. DMoose Ab Roller offers elbow support so you can rest your elbows while doing ab rollouts. It will help you focus entirely on your core without thinking too much about your form. Furthermore, it comes with two padded knee pads so you don’t need to find any soft surface or yoga mat to do your ab wheel workout. You can carry it as a set and do it anywhere you want and can make any hard surface your ab workout field.

Ab Roller for Abs Workout PATENTED ELBOW SUPPORT DESIGN: DMoose Ab Roller offers elbow support unlike any other ab rol… SHOP NOW

Best AB Roller Exercises for Beginners

So, let’s move on to the exercises themselves. We describe General principles without taking into account the specifics of individual models of equipment that can reduce the load.

1. Ab Wheel Plank


Great exercise for beginners. It allows you to strengthen the necessary muscle groups, learn to keep balance. You will understand how to hold the roller in the future when performing exercises. To perform, kneel, set the roller in front of you and grasp the handle, straighten your legs and keep your body fat for 30 to 60 seconds.

2. Knee Roll-Out at Half Amplitude

The easiest version of the exercise, which is recommended for beginners. Holding hands on the handle on his knees perform rolling forward in half the possible amplitude of the movement. The lighter part of the movement is performed to an angle between arms and body of about 90 degrees, after which the reverse movement is performed.

It is recommended to perform 10-15 repetitions.

3. Knee Roll-Out in Full Amplitude


The next step as training will be similar to the movement at full amplitude. A similar movement is performed, but the rollback is performed to the endpoint until the torso is almost parallel to the floor.

It is recommended to perform 8-12 repetitions.

4. Roll-Out from the Prone Position

To make it easier to perform the exercise in full amplitude on straight legs, you can perform this exercise. Lie on the floor on his stomach, taking the roller in his hands straighten them forward in front of him. With the force of starting the movement for a full recovery. After that, slowly return to the starting position. Lying on the floor muscles will get a break, which will simplify the task. 8-12 repetitions.

5. Roll-Out with Stop


Also, if you immediately perform a rollback with ab rolls, it is difficult to use the limiter. This can be a wall or other object that allows you to rest against the roller at the farthest point of the movement. This will eliminate the peak load when rolling back. Having rested you will be able to make a pause in 1-2 seconds without the need to stop employing the force of muscles.

Perform 8-12 repetitions

6. Roll-Out of Standing Position

To take up these variants of the exercise is when all the previous options are performed without significant effort. Standing on straight legs bend over, put a roller on the floor and start moving forward until the floor is touched by your chest. After a pause of 1-2 seconds back to the starting position. 8-15 reps

7. Aside Roll-Out


Having mastered the basic options of exercises, you can perform additional ones. In this embodiment, exercises you need to perform a forward movement with a turn to the side. So you are more involved in oblique abdominal muscles. You must perform an equal number of repetitions on each side.

Perform 12-16 repetitions

8. Push-UPS from the Roller

You train your arm muscles (triceps), shoulders, chest. Holding the video in front of you becomes the bar. Slowly perform push-UPS, keeping balance. The work actively includes muscle stabilizers. The recommended number of repetitions 8-12

9. Bridge Hold

This exercise trains the hips and buttocks, as well as the lower back. To perform lie on your back, spread your hands slightly to the side and put your hands down.

Feet are set on the handle of the roller. Bending his legs in his lap roll up to him lifting the pelvis. Hold this position for a few seconds and return to the starting position.

Initially perform 8-12 reps.

It is most convenient to perform this exercise with the Lifeline Power Wheel.

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Your feet will be securely fixed and the exercise will be as comfortable as possible. If there is no such a roller, any other with a straight handle of sufficient width will do.

10. One-Leg Roll-Out

This is a more complex version of the standard rolling out on straight legs. Require good training of the muscles of the stabilizers. Standing on the floor roller put in front of you, start rolling out firmly holding the handle. Lift one leg, hold it straight. The reverse movement is performed standing on one leg. Returning to the original starting position and repeat the movement of raising the second leg and making a 6 – 10 repetitions.

11. Oblique Tuck with Roller

Also, this exercise can be performed to train oblique muscles. Its peculiarity lies in the fact that when performing reverse movement alternately rises leg bent at the knee to the elbow on each side. It is recommended to perform an equal number of repetitions on each side.

Exactly What Muscles Does It Target?

A bunch of muscles are responsible for helping your body fight gravity during the rolling phase. "The ab wheel allows you to train your entire core—your abdominals, glutes, back muscles, and obliques—to work as a unit," explains Bauer.

Whilst the rectus abdominis (the 'abs') is the primary mover, other muscles come into play. "The transverse abdominis, the inner abs and deepest muscle in our core, is also very important as it is primarily responsible for stabilizing the spine and the pelvis," outlines Kite. The internal and external obliques (located on the side of the stomach) also fire up, and are crucial for executing the movement with proper form.

"The ab roller is an excellent exercise for working the upper body musculature too, including the erector spinae, the stabilizing muscles running the length of your spine, the latissimus dorsi (or lats), the broadest muscles on each side of your back, and your deltoids (shoulders), chest, biceps and triceps," Bauer adds.

The lats and shoulders are stimulated primarily during the rolling out phase, while your core is worked during the secondary, rolling back stage. Remember, a stronger core benefits the body's daily function in many ways, such as torso rotation and flexing, as well as protecting your spine.

11 Awesome Ab Wheel Exercises

Let’s get started with some ab roller exercises that will tighten your core like no other. We’ll begin with the most basic moves, progressing to advanced variations.

1. Ab Wheel Plank

The ab wheel plank is one of the best ab wheel exercises for beginners because it strengthens those essential stability muscles we spoke of earlier. It will also give you a feel for how to grasp the roller while maintaining your balance.

Absolute beginners should start here before attempting more advanced roll-outs.

  1. Begin on all fours in front of your roller.
  2. Grasp the handles of the roller with both hands, one on each side of the wheel, palms facing down.
  3. Push your torso up into a plank position with your body in a single straight line from head to heels.
  4. Engage your core and hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
  5. Repeat 3 to 4 times.

2. Knee Roll-Out

The knee roll-out is the next progression from the ab wheel plank.

Try to roll out as far as possible here without arching your back, ideally lowering your torso to just above the ground. If you’re not able to do this, try lowering only halfway.

You may also want to use a pad under your knees.

  1. Begin kneeling on the floor.
  2. Grasp the handles of your wheel with your arms extended.
  3. Engage your abs and slowly roll forward until your belly is just above the floor, keeping your arms extended in front of you.
  4. Return to starting position by rolling back in to your knees.
  5. Repeat for 5 to 10 reps.

3. Wide-Stance Front Roll-Out

The wide stance roll-out is slightly easier than performing the full roll-out with your feet together. As you progress, narrow your stance until you can complete the front roll-out below.

  1. Begin standing with your feet wider than hip-width apart, wheel on the floor in front of you.
  2. Bend at your waist and grasp the handles.
  3. Keeping your back straight and arms extended, roll forward until your arms are over your head and your body is just above the ground in a straight line.
  4. Roll the wheel back toward your feet, bending again at the waist to return to your starting position.
  5. Repeat for 5 to 10 reps.

4. Narrow-Stance Front Roll-Out

Once you’re able to roll out fully on your knees and can also do the wide-stance front roll-out, you can progress to full roll-outs. You’ll notice that these engage your entire body, engaging your arms, back, and shoulders almost as much as your abs.

  1. Begin standing with your feet together, wheel on the floor in front of you.
  2. Bend at your waist and grasp the handles.
  3. Keeping your back straight and arms extended, roll forward until your arms are over your head and your body is just above the ground in a straight line.
  4. Roll the wheel back toward your feet, bending again at the waist to return to your starting position.
  5. Repeat for 5 to 10 reps.

5. V Roll-Outs

V roll-outs are similar to knee roll-outs, yet put a greater emphasis on the obliques.

  1. Begin kneeling, grasping the handles of your roller.
  2. Keeping your arms extended, roll out slowly to your right at about a 45 degree angle.
  3. Return to your starting position, then roll slowly at an angle to your left.
  4. Repeat, alternating sides, for 5 to 10 reps.

6. Knee Tucks

Knee tucks involve rolling out with your feet, rather than your hands. This is excellent for engaging the lower abdominals and stabilizer muscles in the obliques, arms, and shoulders.

Note that you will need an ab roller with a foot strap attachment for this exercise.

  1. Once your feet are secure in the foot attachments, set yourself up in a plank position. Keep your hands directly under your shoulders and back straight.
  2. Now roll in the wheel by bringing both knees toward your chest, keeping your upper body and back in place.
  3. Extend your knees until you’ve returned to a plank position.
  4. Repeat for 8 to 12 reps.

7. Plank to Pike

The plank to pike is similar to the knee tuck, but instead requires you to keep your legs straight throughout the roll.

  1. Once your feet are secure in the foot attachments, set yourself up in a plank position. Keep your hands directly under your shoulders and back straight.
  2. Engage your core and slowly roll the wheel in toward your upper body.
  3. Bend from your hips, piking your glutes toward the sky.
  4. Extend your body back to your starting position.
  5. Repeat for 8 to 12 reps.

8. Oblique Tuck

This version of the knee tuck deeply engages the oblique and stabilizer muscles.

  1. Once your feet are secure in the foot attachments, set yourself up in a plank position. Keep your hands directly under your shoulders and back straight.
  2. Now roll in the wheel by bringing both knees toward your right elbow.
  3. Extend back into a plank, then roll in toward you left elbow.
  4. Keep your upper body and back in a straight line at all times.
  5. Repeat for 8 to 12 reps.

9. Single-Arm Roll-Out

The single-arm roll-out is an extremely challenging version of the full front roll-out. Here your rolling arm is challenged with supporting your full body weight, while your stabilizer muscles work overtime to keep you upright.

You can work up to the full version of this roll-out by practicing it on your knees first.

  1. Begin standing (or kneeling, if you’re practicing on your knees) with your roller on the ground in front of you.
  2. Bend at your waist and grasp the roller with one hand.
  3. Begin to roll out slowly, really focusing on engaging your core so you don’t tip over to one side.
  4. Congratulate yourself on truly having abs of steel!

10. Bridge Hold

Note: in this video demonstration he is NOT holding the bridge position.  The bridge hold works the stabilizer muscles throughout the core and lower body, as well as the glutes.

  1. Begin on your back, feet strapped in to the foot attachments.
  2. Push your hips toward the sky, bringing your roller in toward your glutes. Make sure it’s in close enough so you can push down with your feet and it doesn’t roll away.
  3. Squeeze your glutes and raise them as high as you can, keeping your abs braced the entire time.
  4. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds.

Beginners should start by practicing the bridge on the floor if holding the roller in place is too difficult.

11. One-Leg Roll-Out

The one-leg roll-out is another challenging variation of the front roll-out, requiring significant stabilizer muscle strength.

Try this exercise once you’ve mastered the full front roll-out and oblique roll-out.

  1. Begin standing with your feet together, wheel on the floor in front of you.
  2. Bend at your waist and grasp the handles.
  3. Keeping your back straight and arms extended, begin to roll forward.
  4. Lift one leg, extended straight, as you roll forward fully.
  5. Roll the wheel back toward your feet (remaining on one leg), bending again at the waist to return to your starting position.
  6. Repeat for 5 to 10 reps.

Reader Success Stories

  • Linda Carter

Feb 16, 2019

    Linda Carter Feb 16, 2019

    “This is a great at-home workout product. You can really feel it working your arms, back, and abs. I’ve only just started using it so I haven’t seen any difference yet, but I’m confident with consistent use, it will make a difference.” …” more

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