The ab roller seems to be such simple exercise equipment, but it’s the most beneficial tool if you want to strengthen your core muscles at home. Most people roll the wheel only to the front, but different types of ab wheel rollouts target different parts of the core and the upper body. Within this guide, I’m going to show you a wide range of exercises you can do with the ab roller with and without foot straps from beginners to advanced level trainers. The difficulty is signed. Find the best ab roller reviews here
Ab Wheel Exercises
#1 Plank Hold
The ab wheel plank exercise is great to progress the traditional plank and gain the stabilizer muscles for the ab wheel rollout.
- Kneel and grab the handles of the roller.
- Lift your hips until you get into the plank position. Your arms are straight.
- To get a better contraction and put less stress on your lower back, you can lift your hips slightly higher.
- Keep that position for at least 30 seconds, but aim to hold it for at least 1 minute.
- Do 3-5 rounds.
Tip: If you feel your core is burning but have no pain in your lower back, you correctly do this exercise.
#2 Glute Bridge Hold
People think the core means the abs (rectus abdominis) and obliques, so the front muscles of the abdomen. However, the core also includes your back, spine, and glutes. To perform the ab wheel exercises correctly and safely, we need to strengthen the posterior. The glute bridge hold is an excellent starter training to target those areas.
It's better to use an ab wheel with foot straps for this exercise since it fixes the feet.
- To get started, sit on the floor, and place your feet on the handles of the ab wheel.
- Lie on the floor and place your arms on your chest or next to your body.
- Raise your hips towards the ceiling until your body and thighs are straight.
- Keep that position for a moment, and squeeze your glutes and hams.
- Slowly lower your buttocks back to the starting point.
Why this exercise better than the traditional bridge hold on the floor? Since the ab wheel wants to roll away, the glutes, back, and ham muscles activated much better to perform the lower body movement.
#3 Glute Bridge & Hamstring Curl
If you are accustomed to the static bridge, the next step is this practice. But, for this exercise, you will need an ab wheel with foot straps.
- Lie on the floor and fix your feet in the pedals.
- Place your upper arms next to your body.
- Roll the wheel towards your buttocks until your shins are right-angled to the floor. At the same time, lift your upper body off the floor with the support of your arms.
- This is the starting position.
- Next, move the wheel away from you until your legs are fully extended. Don't drop your butt and keep your back straight.
- Press the wheel back to the starting position.
This exercise requires existing core strength and practice. So, don't give up if you can't do it correctly for the first time.
Variation: Move the roller to do sides. This way, your obliques (side abs) are activated more, and far more control is required from the core.
#4 Kneeling Ab Wheel Rollout
It seems simple to do this exercise. We just need to roll out and then in. But, it's not easy at all since we have to handle almost all our body weight, which requires sufficient core strength.
I see many people doing these ab exercises with an incorrect form that ruins the effectiveness of the move and may lead to injury. Some people complain about lower back pain as well. That happens because their core is yet weak or improper performance.
- For the starting position, place your knees almost next to each other. Catch the ab roller and roll it under your chest. Your wrists should be straight.
- Slightly hump your upper back, bring your shoulders backward and make your core tight. You can keep your arms slightly bent.
- Slowly drive the wheel away from you as far as you can without dropping your stomach on the floor. Make sure to keep your back a bit humped during the entire movement.
- Move the ab roller back to the starting position with keeping your core tight.
- Complete your reps.
Why do you need to hump your back? Because this way, less impact is put on the back and spine, but more on the abs.
If you can't do the full range of motion yet, don't worry. A beginner can start doing ab wheel rollouts in front of the wall. Firstly, you are close to the wall, so it stops the wheel. Gradually, you get further from the wall until you get a fully extended motion.
#5 Knee Tucks
Mountain climber is one of the best ab exercises, but we can make it even better with the ab wheel. Because of the unstable roller, the stabilizer muscles must work harder. Plus, since we use the lower body, it targets the lower abs even better. For this ab wheel exercise, you need a roller with straps.
- Fix your feet in the straps and get into the plank position.
- Slowly roll the wheel towards your chest until your knees almost touch your chest.
- Pause for a moment and squeeze your abs.
- Push the ab roller backward until you get back to the plank position.
- Do your reps.
Tip: To target your obliques, push the wheel to the sides.
#6 Ab Wheel Pikes
This ab wheel exercise is the advanced version of the knee tucks and requires impressive core strength. However, it works the entire body. You will need a roller with foot straps.
- Fix your feet in the straps and get into the plank position.
- By keeping your back, legs, and arms as straight as possible, move the wheel towards your chest. Try to roll until your legs are almost vertical to the ground.
- Slowly roll the ab wheel back.
- Do your reps.
#7 Ab Wheel Rollouts to Sides
This move is very similar to the kneeling rollout, but we turn the upper body to the sides. This way, the oblique muscles are engaged more. Developed side abs give a V-cut look for the stomach. Learn how to use the ab wheel for obliques.
#8 Bird Dog Rollout
To improve the stabilizer muscles even better with ab wheel rollouts, we can lift one of our legs. Compared to the starting position, when we use both of our knees, this makes a much more unstable state.
- Kneel and grab the handles with straight wrists.
- Make sure to hump your back a little bit.
- Lift one of your legs.
- By keeping your back aligned and your core tight, move the ab wheel away as far as you can. Don't drop your tummy.
- Roll the wheel back.
- Do the required reps.
- Switch leg
#9 Single Arm Ab Rollouts
Unilateral ab wheel exercises are challenging, but they boost the core strength and strengthen the entire body. The starting poison is the same as for the kneeling version. For this exercise, you need a double ab wheel.
#10 Standing Ab Wheel Rollouts
On this list, maybe this is the most challenging move that builds a powerful core and shoulders.
- Get into a standing position with the wheel in your hands.
- Lean forward and put the wheel at your feet.
- Push the wheel away from you and go as far as possible to get the maximum range of motion.
- Roll the wheel back until you get back to the starting position.
Do you want to learn more exercises? Check out this book!
Ab Wheel Workout Tips
The first thing I have to mention that beginners need to buy ab rollers that have wide wheels. These rollers are more stable and, with that, more comfortable to use. Hence, a beginner can perform the ab wheel exercises more correctly at the beginning.
What if you can’t do ab wheel rollouts yet? Then, it would help if you did beginner ab wheel progressions without the tool. These are exercises that strengthen the muscles (core, shoulders) required for the correct form. For these exercises, we mainly use a fitness ball that substitutes the wheel.
For Pro Athletes
Ab wheel rollouts with a narrower wheel are much harder to use and require strong core muscles. Also, to strengthen the core from different angles, an ab wheel with straps is a better buy for pros. Using the ower body instead of upper requires more power.
Another way to have more challenging training is by doing unilateral ab roller exercises. That means you lift one of your legs or use a double wheel to rollout with one arm.
Finally, you can use a weighted vest to add additional resistance to moves.
Here is a 10-minute example plan.
How many reps should I do with an ab wheel?
I think 10 reps are the minimum, but try to go up to 20. If you can do 20-25 clean reps for the given ab wheel rollout, you can switch to a more advanced version. This way, your body strength is enough to perform the next exercise with the correct form.
Is the ab roller wheel useful?
Sure! It works multiple muscles. These the core, shoulders, chest, back, arms, and many other stabilizer muscles. You can do the best exercises to get six-pack abs and a healthy body. But, read more about the ab wheel effectiveness here.
Can I get six pack abs with these exercises?
These are strength training exercises, which means they improve the power and the size of the muscles. But, they don’t burn many calories, which is required for fat loss. To get rid of belly fat, you should do other fitness activities such as running, jogging, or other cardio.
I hope you liked this ab wheel rollout list and find some exercises that are suit your fitness level. Pick 2-3 exercises from the list above do 3-4 sets with 10 reps 2-3 times a week. After a few months, you will see excellent results. Your core will be much stronger, which leads to better performance in sports. And, if you combine it with good fat loss training, you’ll have great looking abs as well.