An exercise wheel is nearly the perfect home fitness product, it’s small, portable, affordable, and can be used to effectively train in the gym or the comfort of your home.
The exercise wheel, or ab wheel, is generally used to work the abs, however there are other exercises that you can do.
Start With the Basics
To use your wheel to train your abs, grab both handles of the wheel, get down on your knees, place the wheel on the floor in front of you while maintaining your grip on the handles and roll the wheel away from you.
You will be forced to tilt forward in the direction of the wheel with your knees as axis while placing strain on your abs.
The farther you roll the wheel, the tougher it will be on your abs.
Rolling it back toward you to the starting position will be even harder.
This completes one repetition of the exercise and is an excellent way to train your abs at home.
- Avoid arching your lower back as you roll out. You can tell if this is happening if you begin to feel a slight pinching in your lower back. This can be avoided by shortening your roll and/or doing the roll on your knees while pulling in your lower abs.
- Keep your head down in neutral position with your chin slightly tucked during the roll. This will help protect your lower back and neck.
- To work your obliques, roll the ab wheel diagonally from your body. Ensure that you work both sides of your body evenly for the best and balanced results.
Beginner and Advanced Variations
Many ab wheel roll-out exercises are challenging for beginners, it takes time to build a solid core foundation capable of supporting our full bodyweight when we do a roll-out.
Beginners will want to start by doing simple ab wheel planks until they feel ready to advance to the knee roll-out, and then finally full roll-outs and other advanced variations.
If you feel your form slipping at any time during roll-outs, like arching your back, lower the intensity by dropping to your knees.
6 Ab Wheel Exercises
Ab wheel exercises will tighten your core like no other exercises. Here are several basic moves, progressing to advanced variations.
1. Ab Wheel Planks
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. Beginners should start here before attempting more advanced roll-outs.
Start on all fours in front of your roller. Grasp the handles of the roller with both hands, one on each side of the wheel, palms facing down.
Push your torso up into a plank position with your body in a single straight line from head to heels.
Engage your core and hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat 2 to 3 times.
2. Knee Roll-Outs – Knee roll-outs are the next progression from the ab wheel plank. Roll out as far as possible without arching your back, ideally lowering your torso to just above the ground. If you’re not able to do this, try lowering halfway.
Use a pad under your knees and kneel on the floor. Grasp the handles of your wheel with your arms extended.
Engage your abs and slowly roll forward until your belly is just above the floor, keeping your arms extended in front of you. Return to starting position by rolling back onto your knees.
Repeat for 8 to 10 reps.
3. Wide-Stance Front Roll-Outs – Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart, wheel on the floor in front of you.
Bend at your waist and grasp the handles, keep your back straight and arms extended, and roll forward until your arms are over your head and your body is just above the ground in a straight line.
Roll the wheel back toward your feet, bending again at the waist to return to your starting position. Repeat for 8 to 10 reps.
4. Narrow-Stance Front Roll-Outs – Front roll-outs engage your entire body, your arms, back, and shoulders plus all of your abs.
Begin by standing with your feet together, wheel on the floor in front of you. Bend at your waist and grasp the handles. 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.
Roll the wheel back toward your feet, bending again at the waist to return to your starting position.
Repeat for 8 to 10 reps.
5. V Roll-Outs – Similar to knee roll-outs, but with a greater emphasis on the obliques.
Begin kneeling, grasping the handles of your roller. Keeping your arms extended, roll out slowly to your right at about a 45 degree angle.
Return to your starting position, then roll slowly at a 45 degree angle to your left.
Repeat, alternating sides, for 8 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.
You will need an ab roller with a foot strap attachment for this exercise.
Secure your feet in the foot attachments, set yourself up in a plank position. Keep your hands directly under your shoulders and back straight.
Now roll in the wheel by bringing both knees toward your chest, keeping your upper body and back in place. Extend your knees until you’ve returned to a plank position.
Repeat for 8 to 12 reps.
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