Ab wheel, ab roller, or simply abdominal wheel was extremely popular in the 1960s and was first advertised as a tool strictly for abdominal exercise. It lost some of its appeal because people were not using it properly and thought all you needed to melt away your belly fat was five minutes of ab wheel exercises. Of course, they were wrong.
It has risen from the dead again in the 1980s, again as the miracle tool for strengthening abdominal muscles. It looks like something from a toy box, and this piece of kit is pure retro. However, during that time Swiss balls have become very popular. The wheel can only move back and forth, whereas a Swiss ball challenges your stability more as it can move laterally. Although fun, this old-school fad has become outdated again. And that is simply unacceptable. As you will be able to see in this post, ab wheel has a lot of things to offer.
What is an ab wheel or ab roller?
The ab wheel is a device that is composed of a circular disk with two short cylindrical bars on both sides (padded holders), allowing you to place your hands on either side of the wheel. When placed on a flat floor, the disk of the abdominal wheel rolls without slip in such a way that the center of the disk travels on a horizontal circle at constant velocity.
What are the different types of ab wheels?
Although all abdominal wheels serve the same purpose, they do come with different designs – packing their own benefits.
Dual-Wheels Exercise Wheel. Two wheels rollers offer added stability and control which is very useful for beginners who find ab wheel exercise extremely challenging and difficult to master.
Single-Wheel Exercise Wheel. This type of ab wheel is the most common one, It offers a full range of motion and a challenging workout in which you’ll be forced to use more stabilizing muscles.
Folding Exercise Wheels. Unlike the previous two types, folding ab wheels are easy to store in small spaces, making them a great choice for people who live in apartments or have limited storage space. They’re also easy to travel with and can be easily packed in a suitcase for trips.
Some ab wheels feature a foot strap, which adds versatility but is not necessary; in most cases, an exercise band wrapped around the foot and handle provides the same support. The elaborate versions, which have a spring recoil device that makes returning to the starting position much easier, are bigger and more costly. These are recommended for folks who have a hard time maintaining a neutral spine position. The more expensive version will not give you any better results. In fact, no piece of equipment can do it for you – it takes effort.
What muscles does an ab wheel engage?
The ab wheel is a great way to work your core muscles. The core consists of the abdominal muscles in the front (rectus abdominis, external and internal oblique, transverse abdominis), the muscles of the back that run up and down the spine (erector spinae group of muscles), and sometimes the gluteal region.
What are the main benefits of regular use of an ab wheel?
- The ab rollout motion is a compound movement, meaning it activates multiple muscle groups at once.
- It offers a fun and effective way to challenge your core stability as well as tone your upper and lower bodies.
- The ab wheel focuses both on your upper abs and lower abs as well as the “love handle” area.
- It helps in achieving better posture, a stronger core, and a fitter body.
- Both the basic single- or dual-wheel ab wheel with handles are affordable pieces of exercise equipment.
- Portability. It can be disassembled to fit in a small box or briefcase.
- Aid in big lifts. Those big lifts (squat, deadlift, bench press, etc.) require core support.
- Easy to use. Using this device doesn’t require special skills or training. It is a simple, straightforward exercise tool that anyone can benefit from.
- Offers total upper body workout. The ab wheel is actually not what it says – a wheel that works your abs. It works your arms, shoulders, chest, and core – making you stronger overall. With regular use, you’ll see a noticeable difference in your upper body strength.
- Reduces back pain. By increasing core strength, you rely less on your back for total support which limits your risk of back pain or injury.
Ab wheel training tips
- Using the ab wheel requires total mind-body interaction. Focus on engaging the proper muscles for the exercise.
- Every movement needs to be performed with a neutral spine.
- The ab wheel can and should be used daily. If you’re pressed for time, work the front side of your body one day and then the posterior side of your body the next.
- Avoid doing core exercises in the morning because it’s believed that intervertebral fluid pressure in the spinal region is higher first thing in the morning.
- Focus on the endurance of the core muscles rather than aiming to make the muscles overly strong.
- Avoid holding your breath while performing the exercises.
- Practice quality of movement over quantity. More is not better. Only perfect practice makes perfect!
- Slowly progress to more challenging movements.
If you’re tired of doing sit-ups, crunches, and reverse sit-ups, and are familiar with other floor-based core exercises, you may welcome the ab wheel. The ab roller wheel may seem like a simple piece of equipment, but the benefits of this small rollout device can be quite effective for our work and progress in the gym. However, note that you should not perform ab wheel training if you have lower back issues, poor spinal stability, upper body weakness, or even high blood pressure.
If you’re looking to get a defined six-pack stomach, however, know that you’ll need to get down to very lean body weight in addition to working your core. Unfortunately, doing just sit-ups, crunches, and even the ab wheel won’t get you there. On the other hand, if you use the ab wheel, eat healthily, and get plenty of cardiovascular exercises, you’ll be pleased to notice your midsection getting firmer, your posture improving and your appearance looking more slender and fit.