Ab Wheel Exercises for Obliques

How to build side abs with rolling

Typically, when we use the ab roller, we perform a move forward and backward. Because of the linear movement, mostly the rectus abdominis is engaged, also known as six-pack muscles.

Does the ab wheel work the obliques?

ab wheel muscles worked

Each part of the core is activated to stabilize the body during the rolling motion. And, among them are the obliques that stop your torso from swinging to sides. So, yes, the ab roller works the obliques, but with a bit of change, we can target them much better.

Within this list, we collect some ab wheel exercises for obliques that help build strong and shaped side abs.

Note: It’s possible to perform the following moves with a traditional roller, but a wheel with an ankle strap is much better and versatile.

Related: The ultimate ab roller workout guide

#1 Ab Wheel Oblique Knee Tuck

For doing knee tuck with an ab wheel, you need equipment with ankle straps since instead of the upper body, we use the lower body as resistance. Also, instead of pulling and pushing your knees linearly, do the movement to the sides.


  1. Place your feet in the straps and get into a plank position. Keep your back straight during the exercise.
  2. Pull your legs towards your left elbow as much as you can.
  3. Push your legs back to the starting position.
  4. Now, pull your knees towards your right elbow.
  5. Repeat for the required repetitions.

#2 Hip Abducted Ab Rollout

By placing one of your legs away from your body, you put more load on the other side of the body. This way, those oblique muscles have to work much harder.

#3 V-Roll Outs

This exercise is almost the same as usual, but instead of rolling forward in a straight line, you roll out to the sides in about 40-50 degrees. This way, more pressure is added to the obliques. The more you turn to the sides, the harder it is.

#4 Single-Leg Roll Out

A technique to make an ab exercise harder is to decrease the stability of your body. This way, the stabilizer muscles and with that, the obliques are activated even more. In this case, just lift one of your legs.

#5 Single Arm Ab Rollout

For this exercise, you need a roller with double wheels. It's a tough exercise that requires strong core, shoulders, and arms. Since we do the practice with a single-arm, the core, and particularly the obliques, have to work hard to keep the stability of the body. The execution is the same as if you were doing the regular ab wheel exercise, but it requires more focus and control.

ab wheel obliques infographic

Written by Imre

Imre has been working out for over 20 years. He likes all sorts of strength training and boxing. Since he's a busy father he works out only at home.