Best Ab Rollers
Whether called the “ab wheel” or the “ab roller,” you can call it a workout. Found in gyms across the world, these core tools make great additions to any garage or home as well. With a variety of designs on the market, each one just a bit different, the concept behind the movement remains the same. Essentially a moving plank, the ab wheel’s roll requires multiple core muscles working in conjunct. If done properly, the main driver will be the rectus abdominum, commonly referred to as “abs.” But the transverse abdominis muscles which wrap around the sides and spine, as well as the internal and external obliques, are also involved. When placing the hands upon the bars of the wheel, and rolling forward across the floor from a kneeling position into a plank, raising and lowering like a “V,” the movement requires the erector spinae along your spine and latissiumus dorsi to stabilize, as well as the chest, and arm muscles. Yet, like most bodyweight movements, the ab roller requires sufficient strength to perform the exercise before improving on it. Without sufficient strength to achieve proper form, the exercise will be a latissiuus dorsi activity at best. Consider the variety of different ab rollers on the market, as each offers a slightly different design to accommodate these differences.
Best Ab Rollers
Ready to Roll
Interested in an ab roller yet? The wide variety and styles available make for quite the selection process, and users big and small can find something for them. One of the key challenges for users is the balancing act that is placing their entire upper body’s weight onto the narrow wheel while managing the handles. Like dips, pull-ups, or push-ups, the ab roller requires sufficient strength to do it before improvement can be achieved. Wider models make this easier, but don’t discount the workout involved. By maintaining a tight core throughout the rolling process, the entire body tenses and becomes a moving plank. The good news with this exercise is that, unlike barbell exercises, it can be performed multiple times per week. Although users will find themselves pretty well spent after just one round.
If achieving the six-pack look is the actual goal, keep in mind that abdominal visibility is more a function of body fat than actual muscle size. The value of the ab roller is that it will indeed strengthen not just the abdominal muscles, but all of the muscles associated with the V-tapered look. But if the body fat percentage is too high then they won’t be visible. If, on the other hand, one is looking to strengthen the core while reducing fat, then this is indeed a good-to-go. All things are possible in the world of fitness, and to get started, one must start things rolling.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Oileus AB Roller Wheel
Looking like a black-and-blue bulldozer, this two-wheel built-in spring design is sure to get the attention of fellow exercisers at the gym. The two-wheel design is significantly sturdier than just one, and comes with a super-wide rolling belt, which resembles a bulldozer. This product does require some assembly and does come with a knee pad. The unit itself is 2.2 pounds and sports an impressive 1,100-pound weight capacity. If maintaining balance on a more traditional, single-wheel unit has been difficult in the past, then this model might be the other end of the spectrum, as you flatten out those abs dozer-style.
2. Lifeline Power Wheel
Designed with optional foot stirrups, the Lifeline Power wheel can be used for either hands or feet on the pedals. Whereas most units are hands-only, this model affords the user the opportunity to perform hip-related roll-outs, leg lifts, and crawls, as well as front-driven abdominal work. The unit weighs 6.45 pounds and in addition to the optional foot stirrups, the handle bars also offer foam pads for palms. A uni-wheel model, the Lifeline Power Wheel is 3.75 inches long, 16.5 inches wide, and 17 inches high. No assembly is required with this model, which comes with a lifetime warranty.
3. Odoland 3-in-1 AB Wheel Roller
This unique 3-in-1 wheel system brings three separate wheels on the same rolling unit, making for increased stability when moving left and right. The extra-wide base and motion of the three wheels also helps newer users develop the muscles needed to perform the exercise. This purchase also comes complete with a resistance band and knee pad. The resistance band can be incorporated into the abdominal workouts or used with the ab roller as a pulley or other upper, or lower, body movements. With a unit weight of 3.09 pounds, the tool is 8.25 inches long, 5.5 inches wide, and 9.83 inches high.
4. Harbinger AB Carver Pro Ab Wheel
Built with an ultra-wide roller, the Harbinger AB Carver Pro Ab Wheel has built-in resistance and ergonomic handles. At just 4.5 pounds itself, the tool has a maximum user weight of 300 pounds, and comes with a 1-year manufacturer warranty. Designed specifically for bigger athletes, the ultra-wide roller offers stability on a wide base when moving left, right, or center. The interior kinetic engine uses a carbon steel spring for resistance to amplify the workout. With a length of 15.25 inches, the unit is 7.75 inches deep, and 7.75 inches height. Purchase of this unit also includes a high-density foam kneepad for superior comfort.
5. Rogue Ab Wheel
The first thing you’ll notice about this Ab Wheel is the 3-inch wide wheel, which provides a greater base for the roll, and therefore a more support. Built with a nickel-plated steel shaft, stretch tire and durable rubber tread, the unit has slightly rounded edges and sealed bearings for smooth rotation. Complete with NBP Rubber Easy-Grip Handles measuring 1.25 inches in diameter, the all-black model is 16 inches long, with a 5.25-inch handle. Wheel diameter is a full 8 inches. Built specifically for bigger users, the model is heavy-duty enough for hard sessions.