Tutorial: Learning The Ab-Wheel Roll-Out

In all honesty I hate training equipment. I really do. I hate how the fitness industry comes up with a new gadget everyday just so they can thrust their hands into our pockets. However I am not blind and every time I see something interesting I make sure to try it. If it turns out […]

66 Flares Facebook 56 Google+ 4 Twitter 1 StumbleUpon 5 66 Flares ×

In all honesty I hate training equipment. I really do. I hate how the fitness industry comes up with a new gadget everyday just so they can thrust their hands into our pockets. However I am not blind and every time I see something interesting I make sure to try it. If it turns out to be providing me with good results I will make sure to add it to my other training accessories. The case with the ab-roller tool from this article was no different. Speaking of, today I am going to show you the Ab-Wheel and teach you how to properly use it.

It was around 8 years ago when I went to visit a friend who showed me the ab-wheel. I was quite surprised by its looks because I had no idea what it was for. He explained and I tried it, I managed to do 7 repetitions in a straddled stance. Right after I got off the ground my whole face was red and the next day I barely got out of bed. My abs were burning! I was so excited by the results from the ab-wheel that I made sure to buy one as soon as it was possible.

I still use my ab-wheel nowadays. Actually in the dragon flag tutorial on YouTube I mentioned that it was one of the 3 best ab exercises for me. Ever since I said that I keep receiving messages from people asking what the other two exercises were. Well one of the other two is the ab-wheel full body roll-out.

So before anything else, let me introduce this fitness gadget to you. :)

1. What Is The Ab-Wheel?

Tutorial: Learning The Ab Wheel Roll Out

The ab-wheel is one of the most simplified piece of fitness equipment that you can find. It uses your own body weight to stress your body. In addition it works most muscle groups in your body for you will need more than just your abs(hence the name of the tool) in order to balance and stabilize yourself. Still, most of the load from the exercise will go to your abs and your shoulders.

2. Which Model And Where To Buy It?

Tutorial: Learning The Ab Wheel Roll Out
Tutorial: Learning The Ab Wheel Roll Out

Well I have two different ab-wheels. The first one that I have is a cheap model that you can buy as low as $5(It’s the one that you can see on the photos below)! The second one is a bit fancier and manufactured better but costs 3 times more. I bought the second ab-wheel only because it allows me to move the handles to the sides so that I can move the wheels to the sides as well and make enough room for my hand in between them. That you will need for the one armed Ab-Wheel roll out. For now you don’t, so go with whichever one your budget allows you to.

Cheaper Option: Buy Here – Price: $5
Higher Quality Option: Buy Here – Price: $17

3. The Exercise

Tutorial: Learning The Ab Wheel Roll Out

Exercise Involved Muscle Groups Aditional Skills Needed Difficulty Level
The Ab-Wheel Roll-out Abdominals, Shoulders Abdominal and Shoulder Preparation A

Before we move on with the tutorial I would like to give you couple pointers. 1) Before you go down make sure to straighten your back and shoulders and keep them like that. 2) Control your speed on your way down. If you go too fast you will plant your face in the ground. 3) If at any point you feel that you are losing control of the exercise lean to the side. This way you can lean on one of your elbows and avoid a possible injury. 4) Maintain a steady body, let the ab-wheel roll, your only task is to control its speed and maintain your balance.

3.1. Warm-Up

Start with a warm-up to get your body ready for working out! Click here for a detailed warm up article.

3.2. The Ab-Wheel Progressions

These will be your direct exercises for this move. Your Ab-Wheel workout should be divided of direct and assisting exercises. You should start with one of the progressions below(being your direct exercise) and once you are done with it continue with several assisting exercises.

Try all progressions below and find out which is the farthest progression you can go with performing it for 6 to 8 repetitions. Once you figure this out stick to it as your direct exercise. You will start each workout with this progression.

Your goal is to begin somewhere with one of the Ab-Wheel roll-out progressions and continue from there. You will then start building strength and muscle mass and move on with the other progressions until you eventually reach a full Ab-Wheel roll-out.

3.2.1. Ab-Wheel Roll-Out Up The Wall

Tutorial: Learning The Ab Wheel Roll Out

Stand in front of a wall(or a door in my case) at around a 45 degrees angle. Begin having your arms straight in front of you(just like the push-up position) and roll the wheel upwards keeping your arms straight. Once you are at the highest point stop and go back to the beginning position. Your goal here is 10-15 repetitions.

3.2.2. Ab-Wheel Roll-Out On Your Knees-Straddled

Tutorial: Learning The Ab Wheel Roll Out

If the progression up the wall is too easy you can try this one. Stand on your knees keeping them straddled and roll forward. Go as forward as you can and then retract. Your goal is 10-15 repetitions. Once you pass 10 you can move to the next progression.

3.2.3. Ab-Wheel Roll-Out On Your Knees

Tutorial: Learning The Ab Wheel Roll Out

Similar position to the previous one, only difference is that your legs are not straddled. Again your goal is 10-15 repetitions.

3.2.4. Straddled Ab-Wheel Roll-Out

Tutorial: Learning The Ab Wheel Roll Out

This progression is fairly easy to the full roll-out and this means it’s very hard. If you can perform this it only means that you are one step away from mastering this move. Aim for 10 repetitions with this one. After that try the full roll-out.

3.2.5. Full Ab-Wheel Roll-Out

Tutorial: Learning The Ab Wheel Roll Out

And there you are, at the full body ab-wheel roll-out. It wasn’t that hard, took  you like a minute of reading right? hahaha Anyway whenever you get here – congratulations, this is quite a challenging abdominal exercise. Be happy about your achievement but at the same time don’t forget about your form. Take a camera and record your execution, make sure everything is in one line and your elbows are straight. Both in order to avoid injury and to get the most out of the exercise!

4. Assisting Exercises

This move really involves your whole body(more or less) and if you have went through the other tutorials you should have a very stable foundation for it by now. That’s why the assisting exercises that I will provide you with will be body weight exercises related to the abs and shoulders.

4.1. The Push-Up

Tutorial: Learning The Ab Wheel Roll Out

Since the Ab-Wheel Roll-Out involves so much shoulder and chest strength when extending, I don’t see a better exercise than the push-up. At the current fitness level of course. That’s why this should be one of your assisting exercises.

4.2. Sit-Ups

Tutorial: Learning The Ab Wheel Roll Out

Another muscle area that heavily assists for the move is the abdominal area. Well actually as the name of the wheel suggests, it’s the main muscle group in the exercise. That’s why you should make sure to strengthen those abs of yours. Not over doing them though, otherwise it will provide you with counter-results. Thus I don’t suggest you doing too many of these.

5. Additional Tips

Here are couple suggestions in case you find yourself stuck in between two different progressions. What I mean is let’s say you have been doing the ab-wheel on your knees for a while and you just can’t go to the straddled legs ab-wheel roll-out no matter what.

5.1. Ab-Wheel Roll-Out Against A Wall

Tutorial: Learning The Ab Wheel Roll Out

Let’s say you have been doing the ab-wheel on your knees for a while and you seem to be stuck there unable to progress to the straddled legs roll-out. In such a situation you may try going in a straddled position facing the wall. Roll the wheel in front of you making sure it’s going to hit the wall(or door) before you have extended your body all the way. So you are basically using the wall to stop you so you can go back up. Slowly over time stand further and further from the wall until you can extend completely on your own without using it to stop you. When I suggest this progression in the chart below I mean for you to try the progression above your current one facing the wall!

5.2. Ab-Wheel Roll-Out Isometric Hold

This suggestion is related to the previous one. Let’s say you can roll all the way and fully extend your body but lack the strength to go back up. In this case just hold the extended position for as long as you can. Once you are able to hold it for something like 15-25 seconds you should be able to go back up.


Ab-Wheel Roll-Out Training Chart

Exercises Repetitions Days
1. a) Ab-Wheel Roll-Out Progression 3 x 10-15 Monday, Wednesday, Thursday
1. b) Ab-Wheel Roll-Out Against A Wall 3 x 10-15 Sunday
2. a) Push-Ups 3 x 30 Monday, Wednesday
2. b) Divebomber Push-Ups 3 x 20 Thursday, Sunday
3. a) Sit-Ups 3 x 40 Monday, Thursday
3. b) Crunches 3 x 20 Wednesday, Sunday

Notice the presence of a) and b) for certain number of the exercises. It means that you have to choose between a) or b) for your workout and never do both in the same workout. Refer to the “Days” row of the table, it indicates on which days you have to perform a) and on which days you have to perform b). NB! The rest intervals between each set and each exercise should be kept in the 1-3 minute interval. 


6. Rest days

Tutorial: Learning The Ab Wheel Roll Out

Your rest days are going to be Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. This means that you will be having 4 workout days and 3 rest days. However I want you active on the days that you are not working out. On your rest days you should at least go for a couple hours walk outside, go swimming, biking or something similar. The body must always go through physical activity even on the days that you rest. You can read more regarding the rest days here.

7. Nutrition

Tutorial: Learning The Ab Wheel Roll Out

I will give you just several quick tips here. Keep the animal protein products high – meat, eggs, milk, cheese, fish are just several to mention. Add fruits and vegetables to your eating plan. Avoid the mass consumption of bread, instead consume rice and potatoes. Boil or roast your food, no frying allowed. Forget about all junk food such as sweets and chips from the stores. Instead replace them with raw nuts! For more information you can read more about the nutrition gymnasts need here.



A video to the article: