how to use an ab wheel

THE AB WHEEL ROLLOUT TUTORIAL

The bulk of your abdominal muscle training should come in the form of core stabilization exercises.

Contrary to popular belief, your core training should not come from repetitive spinal flexion, i.e sit-ups.

The ab wheel rollout is an extremely effective exercise in teaching you to activate your core stabilizers and in strengthening the abs the correct way.

Don’t underestimate this exercise, performing it correctly is a lot harder than it looks.

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Proper ab wheel form is extremely important

  • Keep your core engaged from the beginning of your roll until the very end.
  • Don’t arch your back! This can cause discomfort anIf are on your knees, do not let them sag. Keep everything in a straight line from the time you start until you roll back and finish the move.
  • Don’t arch your back! This can cause discomfort and possible injury to your back.
  • Keep your head down and facing forward so that everything is aligned and your neck is at a safe and comfortable position.
  • When rolling, use your arms to help here but don’t use your hips, this can cause injury.
  • Exhaling when you are rolling down and out, and inhaling as you are going back to the starting position, will help you maintain a good pace.

As you become more proficient you can start rolling out even further, which requires more effort and strength to maintain the proper form while extending over the floor.

Another option would be to roll in different directions, which helps with the obliques, the sides of your abdomen.

With this method, you would roll forward to the left, roll back, then roll out to the right, and repeat.

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How to Do Ab Wheel Rollouts Correctly

For the ab wheel exercise, begin by performing 2–3 sets of 8–12 repetitions.

  1. Grab the handles on the ab wheel and get down on all fours with your knees and toes flexed and in contact with the floor. Your hips should be over your knees. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart, and the ab wheel should be under your chest.
  2. Push your hips forward until you create a straight line from your knees to your ears. Your body should be at a 45 degree angle from the ground.
  3. Pre-tension your shoulders and hips while engaging your core and squeezing your glutes. Rotate your shoulders outward to engage your lats. Your chin should remain tucked throughout the movement, as if you were holding an egg under your chin. All repetitions should begin from this position.
  4. While maintaining your alignment, slowly roll the ab wheel forward. Your arms should remain long with a slight bend in your elbows. Roll only as far as you can maintain a neutral spine position. Your body should form a straight line through your knees, hips, shoulders, and ears.
  5. Pause for a second at the bottom of the exercise.
  6. To begin the upward movement, maintain your alignment and begin to roll back to the starting position.
  7. Roll the ab wheel until it is once again underneath your chest. Repeat for each repetition.

Ab Roller Vs Other Exercises

Ab Roller Vs Planks

Doing ab wheel rollouts is kind of similar to doing planks because you need to keep your spine stabilized. However, ab rollouts are harder than a plank, so if your goal is to build abdominal muscles and do a more advanced abs workout, then the rollout wheel for abs is what you should use.

Experts say that a beginner must always start with traditional planks before going towards ab wheel rollouts. They help you build core strength that you will eventually need to perform ab wheel roller workouts.  

Ab Roller Vs Crunches

Crunches are among the most popular ab workouts out there, but they are even easier to perform than planks. If you want to have a core workout that impacts your entire body and improves your physical performance in sports or daily activities, then an ab wheel rollout is what you should use because it all muscles.

Ab Roller Vs Sit Ups

Situps and crunches are probably the easiest ab workouts to perform at home without equipment. However, they have the disadvantage that most of the work is done by your hip flexors rather than your abs – meaning that you don’t really work your core muscles enough.

With an ab wheel rollout, you can ignite all muscles in your abdominal area. Ab wheel rollouts are also easier to perform than sit ups because you don’t need to lie flat on the floor.

Different types of Abs Roller 

ABS roller are primarily classified into two different types:-

  1. TWO WHEELER ABS ROLLER
  1. FOUR WHEELER ABS ROLLER

Benefits of Two Wheeler Abs Roller 

  1. Portable and lightweight design for Abs training in the gym or simply use at home.
  1. Build strength and definition to your abs
  1. The wider stance of the ab roller gives more stability and control, especially helpful for beginners. 

Benefits of Four Wheeler Abs Roller

Benefits of Four Wheeler Abs Roller

  1. It strengthens abdominals, shoulders, arms and back all at once, so you get an efficient all-in-one toning workout
  1. Dual wheels allow for greater stability than models with just one wheel, so you can focus more on safely strengthening your abs and less on trying to control the movement with your arms. 
  1. Dual wheels make your abs work hard to keep you straight and balanced, your arms and back muscles engage as they work to keep you stable and controlled
  1. It is fast and easy to put together, so you can get to exercise your core and abdominal muscles right away! 

Difference between Two Wheeler and Four Wheeler Abs Roller  

The only real difference you’ll find between a dual and single ab wheel is how stable it feels. The two wheels on the dual version make the roller run slightly more smoothly, while the single wheel version is more likely to veer off course. For beginners, this may mean that the dual wheel is a better option as you get to grips with the technique, allowing you to focus on building up the initial strength you’ll need to progress. The instability of the single wheel makes this version a little more difficult, thus making the move more taxing on your core and shoulder stabilizing muscles. It may be too much for beginners, and you might be unable to use the correct form.

Benefits of Ab Wheel Workout

Now, we have learned what an ab wheel is, how to use it and how it compares with other traditional ab exercises. Let’s jump into the amazing benefits that an ab wheel offers.

Ab Wheel Rollouts Are a Great Way to Build Core Strength, Improve Balance and Stability

Ab roller workouts improve core strength because you need to stabilize your spine in order to perform the exercise correctly. It also helps in improving your body’s ability to balance which comes in handy when doing sports.

For example, integrating ab wheel rollouts into your workout will make you better at sports such as football because body balance is a key element in that game.2

An Ab Wheel Is More Effective Than Crunches or Situps

An ab wheel can do what 100 sit-ups cannot because it engages your core muscles from head to toe and helps you build up a nice six-pack quickly.  

As a matter of fact, according to the result of a study conducted by San Diego State University, an ab wheel exercise produces a significant amount of more muscle activity in your abs and obliques than traditional crunches.

If you compare the work done by abs muscles when doing crunches, you will find that ab wheel rollouts require less effort but more use of your core muscles than sit up and crunch.

Works Out a Large Number of Muscle Groups

If you really want to work out all your muscle groups at once, ab wheel rollouts are the best way without a doubt. Ab roller exercises strengthen your abs, shoulders and arms while burning fat from all over your body.

An ab wheel can work up to 20 different muscles at once. In fact, it engages more than just your abs because you will need to tighten all the major muscle groups in your core, back, and arms to perform ab wheel rollouts properly.

It simplifies the process of targeting multiple muscle groups as opposed to using a machine that only works on one part of your body or isolating your abs with traditional crunches.

It’s a Full-body Cardio Workout

An ab wheel is really good for working out your lower body muscles, plus the integrated movement of rolling the wheels forward and back will get your heart rate up quickly. Performing ab wheel rollouts activates both upper and lower extremities as you rotate while doing them. This means ab roller exercises help in burning more calories than crunches, sit-ups, or even back extensions.

It’s also important to mention that doing ab wheel rollouts for an extended period of time can help you improve your endurance and add up to the number of calories burned.

Strengthens Joints and Ligaments

Ab wheel rollouts strengthen your lower back as much as it strengthens your abs. This is because when performing the exercise, you are required to maintain a rigid, strong posture and keep your body straight.

Ab roller workouts also strengthen the ligaments because they help in improving the integrity of your joints with regular use. Once muscles are strengthened, you will notice an increase in joint stability.

The more stable your joints are, the less prone to injury they will be.

It’s Highly Portable

Compared to the majority of abs exercises, ab wheel workouts are extremely portable because you can just take your ab wheel in a backpack or gym bag. You don’t need any extra space for performing it at home or in the gym. It saves time and money too

So, if you’re looking for a fun and effective ab workout at home or in the gym, an ab wheel may be the best solution for your concerns. It’s super portable which means it’s lightweight yet provides maximum function.

Increases Blood Flow to Your Brain

When performing ab wheel rollouts for a long time, you are required to keep your head and back straight. This keeps the blood flowing through these areas in your body which nourishes the brain cells with oxygen-rich blood. Ab roller workouts can also help improve mental alertness as it removes toxins from your body.

It Can Help With Your Posture Problems

Ab wheel rollouts are very effective for those who suffer from neck pain, shoulder injuries, or back stiffness. It also helps strengthen the muscles in your back and improves stability throughout your body which is really important for these issues. Ab roller workouts are recommended by many doctors to relieve pain stemming from a weaker back.

Burns Belly Fat

Are you looking for a simple way to get rid of that stubborn belly fat? Ab wheel rollouts help increase the metabolic activity in your body which helps burn calories. It also strengthens your core muscles so they can do their job better in aiding you to lose abdominal fat. This is why ab roller exercises are recommended by anyone who wants to lose belly fat.

How abs roller can be used for lower abs or upper abs

A study looked at the most common ab exercises in the gym.

In the EMG analysis of various ab exercises, it was found that the Power wheel workout is one of the most effective exercises for upper and lower abs

Also, the power wheel rollout showed the least stress on lower back muscles.

Here’s how you can use abs roller wheel to do Power wheel rollout:

Set up on your knees with your hands holding the handles of the abs wheel. Pull the abs wheel under your shoulders so you are in a modified pushup position on your knees.

Keep your arms straight and roll the power wheel out with your abs braced. When you roll out, make sure your hips do not sag.

After you have rolled it out enough that your body lengthens and lowers towards the ground, keeping your arms straight, roll in the power wheel back using your back and triceps.

In the whole process, your abs and legs should keep your body in a straight line. Your butt should not go back first when you return to the plank position.

When you have returned in the starting position, you’ve completed one rep of power wheel rollout.

Now repeat the same process a few times. Lesser in the beginning and gradually increase once you have some practice.

During this exercise, keep your abs and glutes engaged all the time.

So, that’s how you can use the abs roller wheel for your lower and upper abs.

Of course, there are other exercises as well, but this particular exercise is the most common and most effective.

As we have understood by now that ABS roller is a super exercise tool, now let’ s discuss different types of abs roller…

Ab Wheel Progressions for Beginners

As mentioned, ab wheel exercises are not for beginners.

Below is a list of a few beginner-friendly exercises that provide you with similar movement patterns to the ab wheel and roller exercises. They are a great starting place for developing the core and overall strength required to be able to perform the exercises as listed above.

We all start somewhere, right?

1. Inchworms

Beginners alternative to:  kneeling and standing ab wheel rollouts

This exercise is a great way to develop your core strength in a ‘dynamic plank’ style. It requires you to extend and contract your body as you move through the exercise and demands more and more from your core as you reach the furthest point, as in the ab wheel rollout.

How to:

  • Begin standing with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Place your hands on the floor in front of your feet (bend at the hips and knees as required).
  • Keeping your arms fully extended and your spine in a neutral position, walk your hands out, step by step.
  • Walk them out as far as you can, ideally so that they are in front of/above your head with your body in as much of a straight line as possible.
  • Hold here for a second whilst your core is working at its hardest, then walk your hands back towards your feet, where you started.
  • Complete 8 to 10 repetitions (each walk out and back in is 1 rep).

2. Plank with Alternating Arm/Leg Extension

Beginners alternative to:  double and single arm kneeling and standing ab wheel rollouts

This version of the plank reduces your points of stability as you raise your alternating arm and leg whilst holding the plank position. This creates a more demanding scenario than in the standard plank and allows you to develop your stabilizing muscles significantly.

It also equally targets the left and right sides of your core, as in the single-arm rollouts and bird dog rollout.

How to:

  • Go into a tabletop plank position (on extended arms instead of your forearms) with your body in a strong, straight line.
  • Keeping them straight, simultaneously lift your left arm and right leg off the ground and hold for a second before going back onto both hands and feet.
  • Your next repetition should see you lift your right arm and left leg off the ground, and so on and so forth.
  • Complete 15 to 20 repetitions, alternating arms, and legs each time.

3. Exercise Ball Knee Tucks

Beginners alternative to:  Ab wheel knee tucks

This exercise follows the exact same motion as the ab wheel knee tucks and, therefore, makes for the perfect beginner’s alternative. If you can do this exercise without much issue, I’d say you’re safe to give the ab wheel version a go!

Exercise ball knee tucks are a good introduction to testing your stabilizer muscles abilities and working on your lower and deep core muscles.

How to:

  • Support your upper body on extended arms with your hands on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
  • Have your feet and bottom of your shins on top of an exercise ball.
  • To begin with, your body should be in a straight line and you should have an engaged core and neutral spine, i.e. no sagging at the hips.
  • From here, roll the exercise ball towards your arms with your feet/lower legs, tucking your knees underneath you.
  • Hold for a second and then slowly extend back outwards by rolling the ball back to your starting position, whereby your body is back in a straight line.
  • Keeping your core constantly ‘on’ will help stabilize the ball whilst you’re doing your knee tucks.
  • Complete 15 to 20 repetitions.

4. Exercise Ball Pikes

Beginners alternative to:  Ab wheel pikes

Like the exercise ball knee tucks replicate the ab wheel knee tucks, this exercise provides a perfectly matched plane of movement to the ab wheel pike. You should be able to confidently do this version before attempting the one on the ab wheel.  

Exercise ball pikes also target your lower and deeper core muscles, though can be considered a significant level up from the knee tucks.

How to:

  • Support your upper body on extended arms with your hands on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
  • Have your feet and the lower half of your legs on top of an exercise ball.
  • Start with your body in a straight line. Your spine should be held in a neutral position to avoid any sagging through your hips.
  • From here, keeping your legs straight and using your feet, pull the exercise ball towards your arms.
  • This will result in your hips going upwards and you forming a ‘V’ shape with your arms and legs. Only the top of your toes should be left on the ball at the end.
  • Once you reach your end/top point (with your torso as vertical as you can get it), roll the exercise ball back to starting position.
  • Complete 10 to 12 repetitions.

5. Kneeling Exercise Ball Roll-Outs

Beginners alternative to:  Kneeling and standing ab wheel rollouts

This is the most challenging of the beginner’s progression exercises listed here. It has the closest resemblance to the ab wheel rollout and will give you a good idea of the control and core strength required.

The motion is almost identical to the kneeling ab wheel rollout, except for your body is more elevated on the exercise ball than on the ab wheel and you’re stabilizing yourself on your elbows rather than your hands.

How to:

  • Begin kneeling on a mat with an exercise ball placed directly in front of you.
  • Link your hands, have your arms together and then place your elbows on the top of the ball.
  • From here, roll the exercise ball away from your knees, using your arms. Your body will extend as you do.
  • Once you reach your furthest point, whilst maintaining a straight/neutral spine, hold for a second under tension and then pull the ball back towards your knees with your elbows.
  • Finish where you started before rolling out into your next repetition.
  • Like with the ab wheel rollouts, experiment safely with range before you go flying into full range and are unable to pull yourself back inwards to your starting position without hurting yourself.
  • Complete 10 to 12 repetitions.

COMMON MISTAKES WHEN PERFORMING THIS EXERCISE

NOT MAINTAINING A NEUTRAL SPINE

A key mistake people make when using the exercise wheel is letting the lower back change arch or change its alignment.

Letting your lumbar spinal alignment change can lead to lumbar strain and increase your risk of injury. You must keep your core tight and engaged the entire time.

If your lower back arches during the rollout, stop the exercise. Only roll out as far as you can keep it in a straight line. Over time you will be strong enough to reach full extension.

LETTING YOUR SHOULDERS FLAIL OUT OF THEIR SOCKETS

This can lead to shoulder and chest tendon strain.

Lock your shoulder blades into position by retracting your scapula.

The only movement from your shoulder should come from flexion as your body is extending down. At no point should your shoulders move in any other direction.

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