Sub30 Fitness

The Ab Wheel: It Rocks & Rolls

September 1, 2020

As a fitness trainer, I have always been a big fan of bodyweight training. In fact, my love for this style of training was how Sub30 Core™ was developed. But I must confess there is one piece of equipment that I personally use to strengthen my core and that is the Ab Wheel.

At first glance, the Ab Wheel looks like it could be a lot of fun. However, this small, inexpensive piece of equipment really packs a punch when it comes to strengthening every element of your core. The key benefit of the Ab Wheel is that every muscle in the core region is activated during the forward and reverse movement.

When used correctly the Ab Wheel has a large number of benefits including:

  1. Strengthens the lower back muscles.
  2. Improves mobility, coordination, and core stability.
  3. Muscle definition.
  4. Engages up to 20 different muscles.

Like all core-based exercises its important that you ensure proper form when performing an ab roll.

fitness workout using the Ab Wheel for core strengthening

Next, let's look at the technique needed to perform the ab roll to ensure proper form and reduce the chance of injury.

  1. Start with both knees placed on a towel or mat.
  2. Place the wheel below your shoulders and keep arms straight and grip the wheel.
  3. Slowly, roll forward ensuring you do not arch the back.
  4. Engage the abs and breathe slowly and deep.
  5. During the forward movement always keep your elbows and torso straight.
  6. Roll your arms and torso forward until they are in line with your ears or above and your upper body is parallel to the floor. (Or until just before you feel like you can no longer pull yourself back).
  7. When moving back to the starting position, use your abs, not your hips, to pull yourself back.

What makes the ab roll such an effective core building exercise is that it takes the range of motion to a whole new level compared to most core exercises. The Ab Wheel allows you to position your torso with arms stretched out in a way that will test and challenge your core.

If you find that the full range of motion is beyond your ability my advice is to perform this exercise on an incline or roll out gradually over time. Another good tip is to strengthen your core via other exercises such as inchworms, back extensions, plank, etc. and then return to the Ab Wheel. For those with serious lower back issues please seek the guidance of a qualified fitness professional prior to use.

Finally, if you fancy a challenge try an ab roll from a standing position. Only attempt this exercise if you have an extraordinarily strong core and have used ab rolls as part of your training history.

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