Swinging a tennis racket. Carrying your toddler. Lifting a bag of groceries up the stairs.
Pretty much any activity that you do in daily life requires one critical thing – a strong core.
And when it comes to building a strong core, there are very few tools that can come close to an ab roller. Here’s how we know.
- In a 2006 study published in the National Library of Medicine, the ab wheel rollout was listed as one of the most effective exercises in activating abdominal musculature.
- A study done in the BioMechanics Lab at San Diego State University (sponsored by the American Council on Exercise) showed that the ab roller was more effective than crunches for activating the abdominal muscles.
- In his book “Ab Wheel Workouts: 50 Exercises to Stretch and Strengthen Your Abs, Core, Arms, Back and Legs”, Dr. Karl Knopf says, “If you use the ab wheel, eat healthily, and get plenty of aerobic exercise, you’ll be pleased to notice your midsection getting firmer, your posture improving, and your appearance looking more slender and fit.”
Now if you’re pretty clueless about what an ab roller is, what are its benefits, how to use it, what exercises you can do with it, etc. don’t fret.
In this guide, we’re going to tell you abs-olutely everything you need to know about ab roller machines so that you can have an unshakeable core and abs to die for!
Let’s begin, shall we?
Chapter 1: What is an Ab roller?
Ab rollers are one of the most effective fitness equipment to work your abs and core.
A standard ab wheel usually consists of a single wheel with two handles on either side. The surface of the wheel is generally made of non-slip, durable rubber that helps the wheel glide along any surface, while the handles are made of steel and covered with foam to provide a better grip.
There are also other variations including ab rollers with:
- 2 wheels at the center with handles on either side
- 2 wheels on either side of a central handle
- 4 wheels with handles on either side
Few ab roller machines also have other features such as
- Foot stirrups on either side of the wheel
- Elbow pads on either side of the wheel and a handle in front of the wheel
- Attached resistance tubes (as seen in the image below)
Chapter 2: How To Use Ab Roller
While the ab roller machine might look far from intimidating, using it is not a cakewalk. That’s because you already need to have a good deal of core control and foundational strength to use this correctly.
So if you’re a core-training newbie, we highly recommend that you build your core strength before diving into the world of ab wheels. Core exercises such as planks, planks with arm and leg lifts, and progression exercises such as stability ball pikes and knee tucks, etc. are a great way to do so.
Once you’ve mastered the basic core exercises, you can try your hand at the ab wheel rollout. Here’s how you use the ab roller machine.
- Kneel down on a mat or a thin cushion with the ab wheel directly under your shoulders in front of you.
- Tightly grip the handles of the ab roller.
- Inhale deeply and tighten your midsection (as if you were about to take a punch in the stomach).
- Tuck your tailbone, relax your hip flexors, and round your spine towards the ceiling (like you would in the cat pose in Yoga). Your back should remain in this cat pose throughout the range of motion of this exercise.
- Now in a slow and controlled manner, roll the ab wheel out in front of you as far as you can go with proper form while keeping your core tight.
- At the bottom of the rep, get a little bit of extension, and then use your core to roll back to the starting position.
- Exhale and then again brace your core before you start the next rep.
Try to do 3 to 5 reps initially and then gradually increase the number of reps as you build your core strength.
Want to watch a video on how to use the ab roller correctly and also some pro tips on using the ab wheel? Click here for a detailed guide on How To Use Ab Roller Correctly In 7 Steps.
Chapter 3: Ab Roller price
A quick search online for “ab roller price” will show you tons of gym rollers for abs with prices varying from as little as INR 200 to around INR 1500.
But remember, you get what you pay for. When you see unbelievably low-priced ab wheels, you can be sure that the manufacturers have compromised on the quality.
Most premium-quality ab rollers (like Burnlab’s) would be in the price range of INR 1200-1500.
Chapter 4: Ab Roller Exercises
There’s a lot you can do with an ab wheel. Here are 12 of the best ab roller exercises that’ll have your core quaking!
- Ab wheel Plank
- Ab wheel knee rollout
- Kneeling ab wheel ‘V’ rollout
- Elevated ab wheel knee rollout
- Ab wheel march
- Ab wheel push-up
- Bird dog ab wheel rollout
- Ab wheel bear crawl
- Ab wheel bear crawl rollout
- Ab wheel kneeling elevated Leg
- Ab wheel rollout to push-up
- Ab wheel standing rollout
Want to learn how to do each exercise (with videos)? Click here for a detailed guide on the 12 Best Ab Roller Exercises To Tone Your Tummy & Strengthen Your Core.
Chapter 5: Ab Roller benefits
The benefits of ab rollers are plenty. An ab roller…
1. Helps you build a strong and stable core
When you use an ab roller machine correctly, you don’t just target your rectus abdominis or “6-pack muscle”, you flex all your core muscles including your transverse abdominis, your internal and external obliques, and your multifidus and erector spinae, that in turn leads to a strong core.
With a strong core comes a goldmine of benefits including good posture, enhanced stability and flexibility, injury prevention, and improved athletic efficiency (be it swimming, running, etc.) just to name a few.
2. Works your entire body
An ab wheel works most of the major muscle groups in your body including your
- latissimus dorsi
- biceps and triceps
- hip flexors
3. Is a fantastic cardio workout too
Since gym roller for abs target both your upper and lower body, your heart rate will remain elevated throughout the exercise. So not only will you be burning more calories, but you also be putting your endurance to the test.
4. Improves posture and prevents back pain
When you do an ab roller workout, your core has to go into overdrive to keep your spine in a neutral position and prevent overarching. This type of anti-core training or “anti-extension” training helps improve your posture and decreases the chances of back pain.
5. Enhances athletic performance
Ab roller exercises help athletes stabilize their hips and spine thereby resulting in more powerful movements during sprinting, throwing, etc. Such exercises also train athletes to lock their spine into place while lifting heavy weights and thus prevent them from hurting themselves.
Want to know more about the amazing benefits of ab rollers? Click here for a detailed post on Ab Roller Benefits For Your Core, Upper Body & Glutes.
Chapter 6: Ab Roller Disadvantages
Amazing as it may be, there are a few disadvantages of using the ab roller machine.
1. Incorrect form can cause injuries
Form is EVERYTHING when it comes to using an ab wheel. When you use it incorrectly (pulling with your arms or hip flexors instead of your core, adopting an anterior pelvic tilt) you could badly injure your lower back, wrist, and shoulders, or even pull your hip flexor.
Plus using bad form means you can’t reap any of the benefits of this gym roller for abs (What’s the point of all that rolling back and forth, if you can’t have those awesome abs, eh?)
2. Not suitable for people with weak back muscles
The ab wheel exerts pressure on several areas including your lower back, spine, hip flexors, and wrists.
So if your back muscles or hip flexors are weak, they might not be able to withstand the gravitational pull on your abdomen as you perform ab wheel exercises. This could lead to overarching in your back leading to back pain.
If you already suffer from back pain, we highly recommend avoiding this gym roller for abs.
3. Requires core strength and upper body stability
You need to have a good deal of core strength and control to execute ab wheel exercises perfectly. Not only that, you must have strong arms and good stabilization in your upper body. If you aren’t able to stabilize yourself with your arms, you would end up rolling out too much and falling flat on the floor.
4. Challenging for novices
Say you can only perform a few push-ups without your back drooping or you can only hold a plank for less than 15 seconds, then there’s NO WAY you can handle an ab wheel!
So practice all your core basics and progression exercises including sit-ups, planks, and exercise ball rollouts before you attempt the ab roller.
Chapter 7: Common Ab roller mistakes
Here are a few common mistakes that people commit while using the ab roller.
- Bending your elbows while rolling in. This takes the workload away from your core and transfers it to your triceps.
- Rolling in with your arms instead of your core. Here your arms are doing all the work instead of your core.
- Using your hips instead of your core to roll in. This engages your hip flexors rather than your core.
- Tilting your pelvis anteriorly. This puts excess stress on your lumbar spine causing lower back pain.
All these mistakes render the ab wheel completely ineffective and should be avoided at all costs.
Want to take a deeper look at the common ab roller mistakes and how to fix them? Check out our detailed blog post here- How To Use Ab Roller Correctly In 7 Steps.
Chapter 8: Importance of using a good quality ab roller
When it comes to ab rollers (or any other fitness equipment for that matter), quality is of prime importance.
Because the last thing you want is for your ab roller to fall apart while you’re using it and injure yourself seriously. We’re talking about just one wheel and 2 handles that have to support your body weight!
So please ensure that you choose an ab roller that is made of premium-quality durable materials.
Chapter 8a: Factors to consider while choosing an ab roller
The main factors that you should consider while choosing an ab roller are a) the overall construction of the ab wheel in terms of the shaft, wheel, and handles, and b) other features.Shaft
Choose a gym roller for abs whose shaft is made of sturdy metal with high tensile strength such as stainless steel. This will ensure that it can withstand stress and not break or bend while using it.
The wheels of an ab roller can either be narrow or wide.
If you’re a beginner, it’s always a good idea to choose an ab roller with a large wide wheel as this will give you better stability (unlike narrow wheels that could topple unless you have good balance). A narrow wheel is great for advanced athletes who want to challenge their core stability.
Large wheels are also better for uneven surfaces and hence you can even train outdoors on surfaces such as short grass.
We recommend choosing ab rollers whose wheels are made of non-slip rubber for better grip and gliding capability on any surface.
Opt for ab rollers whose handles are padded with foam. This helps you get a better and more comfortable grip minus the achy palms.
If you have large hands, go for ab rollers with longer and wider handles.
If you’d like some support for your knees, choose a gym roller for abs that come with foam knee mats.
If you’re an advanced fitness buff, you could opt for ab rollers with resistance tubes. The added resistance means you have to work harder to keep your body stable. Talk about kicking your core training into high gear, eh?
Chapter 8b: Burnlab’s Ab Roller
Burnlab offers you a superior-quality, highly-durable ab roller that is perfect for fitness freaks of all levels.
Here’s what makes Burnlab’s ab rollers worth investing in:
- Our ab rollers are made of stainless steel, durable PVC, and non-slip rubber that can support a maximum weight of up to 200 kg!
- The handles are made of stainless steel and covered with high-density foam that offers a comfortable, tight, and non-slip grip.
- The wheel is made of premium-quality PVC, while the surface of the wheel is made of non-slip rubber for noiseless movement. This ensures that the wheel glides effortlessly along any surface without scratching your floor.
- Extra-wide wheel sized at 3.74” that provides you with high stability as you roll out.
- Comes with a comfortable knee mat.
- Highly portable as it can be easily disassembled and fixed in a matter of minutes.
Ready to take the first step toward those carved abs? Check out Burnlab’s ab roller right here!
Chapter 8c: About Burnlab
Burnlab is a company by fitness lovers for fitness lovers and enthusiasts.
Burnlab provides premium, reliable, best-in-category, quality workout gear that is curated for performance, the right function, and body support at affordable prices.
We carry a wide range of products across various categories. A few of these include Yoga mats and accessories, resistance bands and tubes, jump ropes, gym gloves, adjustable dumbbells, and many more.
Browse through our collection of fitness equipment today!
Chapter 9: FAQs
1. Will an ab roller give me abs?
Yes, an ab roller is one of the best tools to help give your abs more definition, provided you are using it the right way. But please understand that neither an ab roller nor any other fitness equipment is a magic solution to getting 6-pack muscles.
Everyone has ‘abs’. But not everyone’s abs are visible as they are ‘hiding’ beneath a layer of subcutaneous belly fat. So, the key to making your 6 pack muscles visible is to lower your body fat percentage. According to the American Council on Exercise, women need to lower their body fat to about 14 to 20 percent and men to around 6 to 13 percent.
Now if your body fat percentage is already close to these levels, then you would probably have visible abs within a few weeks of using the ab roller. But for those who have higher levels, here are a few ways to reduce your body fat percentage:
- Staying in a calorie deficit
- Doing a combination of cardio and resistance training
- Eating a diet rich in lean proteins, vegetables, and fruits
- Getting at least 7 hours of sleep
2. Can I use the ab roller every day?
No, we do not recommend using the ab roller every day.
If you use the ab roller every day, the primary muscles recruited while working out can get overworked. This can have various consequences.
- Your primary muscles (in this case your abs) could become stronger than the other muscles leading to muscular imbalances.
- If your abs become stronger than, say, your back and shoulder muscles, it can lead to postural problems.
- Overtraining can have several detrimental effects including injuries, fatigue, poor performance, etc.
So how often can you use the ab roller?
Since your muscles need enough rest to repair and recover between consecutive ab roller sessions, we recommend using the ab roller only between 2-4 times per week by incorporating it into your regular strength-training session.
3. Are Ab Rollers good for belly fat?
Yes, ab rollers are an effective tool that can help reduce belly fat.
Since ab wheels actively engage your ab muscles and other core muscles simultaneously, you’re going to have higher muscle growth. As your muscle mass increases, so does your metabolism and thus you burn more calories. All this leads to a reduction in overall body fat percentage, some of which could include your belly fat.
But bear in mind, that no amount of ab wheeling can reduce belly fat if you don’t have a regular exercise routine and maintain a healthy balanced diet.
4. Does the ab roller actually work?
Yes, ab rollers work provided you use them the right way.
While doing ab wheel rollouts, a lot of people tend to pull the ab wheel back towards them using either their arms or their hips, instead of driving the motion using their core. This defeats the purpose of this exercise as your core isn’t doing any of the work.
Another common mistake is when people try to keep their backs straight or arched (like in the cow pose), instead of adopting a cat pose. This is a recipe for disaster as you’re putting excessive stress on your lower back.
Another mistake that can make ab- rolling ineffective is when you don’t roll out as far as you can go. In the beginner stage, it is necessary to keep the length of your rolls short to avoid potential injuries. But as you get stronger, ensure that you increase your range of motion to properly challenge your core stability and amp up your core strength.
When you use a high-quality ab roller correctly around 3-4 times a week, you will start to see a noticeable difference in your core after 4-6 weeks. Your core strength, stability, and balance will also start to improve within that time frame.
Chapter 10: Final words
If getting a strong core and defined abs is high on your fitness goals list, then look no further than the ab roller.
This mighty wheel can open up a whole world of exercises from beginner to advanced stage that’ll always keep your body guessing!
So what are you waiting for? Grab Burnlab’s ab roller today and set your core on fire!!