So you're looking to get those six-pack abs in time for summer? What better way to use this time during quarantine at home to achieve your health and fitness goals? Perhaps the most simple, affordable, but useful piece of home gym equipment is the abdominal wheel, or ab roller.
What makes ab roller workouts harder—and more effective—is that using the wheel forces you to engage your entire core. Whereas many people often "cheat" crunches by lifting their neck or planks by raising their hips, the roller gives you no choice but to stabilize yourself, thus engaging all parts of your core.
This is especially important when you consider that your core isn't just the six pack abs—it's all those under-appreciated muscles underneath that help you not just at the gym but with basic daily tasks, from lifting a bag of groceries to hanging up curtains. Ab rollers can also target your triceps, shoulders, and lats.
Ready to get started? From the basic roll out to a planks and a bridge hold, here are the best at-home workouts to do with your ab roller or ab wheel.
1. Ab Roller Plank
It may seem counterintuitive, but perhaps the first exercise you should try with your ab roller is a simple plank. We recommend putting out an exercise or yoga mat. Start on your hands and knees in front of the roller, grab the handles, and then come straight up into a flat-back plank position with your knees off the ground.
Tips: Keep your back straight, tuck in your tailbone, and engage your core.
2. Kneeling Roll Out
Start with your knees on the ground in a kneeling plank position. Grip the handles of the ab roller. Slowly roll forward until your arms are as extended as far in front of you as your core will allow. Reverse it to bring it back in. For a more advanced version, lift your feet off the ground as you perform the exercise.
Tips: Try this exercise slow as well as fast (do a few reps of each). Always maintain engagement in the core, and avoid rounding or arching the back. Keep your gaze straight ahead in the direction you are pushing.
3. Kneeling Angled Roll Out
This exercise will function similarly to the standard roll out, but instead of going straight forward, you will roll to 45 degrees to the left and right. As before, keep your knees stationary and then extend your arms forward by pushing the wheel. This will target specifically your oblique muscles as you go from side to side.
4. Kneeling Single Arm Roll Out
This one is a challenge. Start on hands and knees with the ab roller in front of you, then, as the name suggests, grab one handle and start to extended forward in a slow and controlled motion as you would for a normal roll out.
5. Standing Roll Out
If you're able to do the kneeling rollouts above, now you can the OG roll out exercise. For this one, you'll want to start standing with your feet hips' width apart with the ab roller in front of you. First, grab the handles, bending down from them—not your back! Then, roll forward keeping arms straight (maybe with a micro-bend in the elbows) and your spine in a neutral position. Once you've reached your full extension, begin to roll back the way you came.
Tips: Youtube Adrian Bryant has a great video demonstration for this workout, where does the exercise close to a wall, which allows him to "bounce" back from the wall on the return move.
Need an ab roller? Get our recommended ab roller here.