Ab wheels are superior to all those infomercial ab devices and cost less than $10. An ab wheel plus my rotisserie core workout makes a winning combo!
Turn your TV on at any hour and if you are on satellite or cable, you will find channel after channel of infomercials hawking “revolutionary” exercises devices that will trim your waistline and give you washboard abs – complete waste of money! For 95% of you, abs are made in the kitchen and not the gym! Nutrition is the key to losing fat and losing fat exposes the sixpack abs you already have.
Thats not to say that core workouts are not important, they are! Incredibly important! A strong core helps you in virtually every sport in existence and you would be surprised how much power comes from the core in every sport from golf to boxing. The other, and more important reason, to do core workouts is to prevent lower back injury! A strong core is like a corset of steel that protects you 24/7. The best place to start is with my rotisserie core workout!
Having said that, there are a few, inexpensive, small items that can really help take your abs to the next level and the ab wheel is one of these. Fancy isn’t better, cheap and sturdy is better! They make really expensive ones with springs in them but all these do is decrease the effectiveness of the exercise! Things to look for in an ab wheel?
- Metal shaft! This is the most important because you are putting a lot of pressure on that handle and anything other than metal will snap eventually.
- A wide wheel. Anything narrow will damage floors and put creases in carpets.
- A large diameter wheel, at least 4″ in diameter, the bigger the better. The ones that have roller skate looking wheels are useless. You need a big wheel to smoothly roll over carpet and flooring without damaging it.
I have an Everlast Ab Wheel, they are $9-$13 on Amazon including delivery. Here are some cheaper ab wheels, as you see most of them are very similar in design to the Everlast ab wheel that I have. Avoid anything over $15, anything with fancy, curvy handles, and anything that looks space age.
How to use the Ab-Wheel
When you are starting out with the ab wheel, do it from your knees. Doing the ab wheel from your toes is incredibly difficult and something that might take you months or years to work up to so take your time and start on your knees. Put your knees on a really firm, thick pillow to protect your knees. A soft down bed pillow will not work, a really firm seat cushion is a much better choice to protect the knees.
Slowly roll the wheel out as you keep your core really, really tight. Dont feel you have to go until your nose touches the floor, just go as far down as you comfortably can then roll back up. Remember when you are doing this that your hips should not pivot. Its really tempting to make this a hip exercise rather than an ab exercise but dont. Choose a hip angle and hold it there. The easiest thing to do is to hold the upper legs straight in line with the torso. The only joint that is rotating is your shoulders, nothing else. Dont let your elbows or hips rotate at all.
Looks really easy, right? Ok, now try it! Not quite as easy as it looks!
How to incorporate the Ab-Wheel into your workouts
Some people do abs every time they do a workout and some only do them once a week and hit them hard as an individual bodypart, either is fine, just add this exercise. Depending on your level, here are some sample ab workouts:
- Beginner (cant do 2 solid pullups): rotisserie core workout – ab wheel not recommended
- Intermediate (can do 2-8 pullups): rotisserie core workout and ab wheel, 3x per week
- Advanced (can do more than 8 pullups): single arm incline press, windshield wipers, pike pushups, TRX stairclimbers, ab wheel, “point to stars” pushups
Better yet, dont buy anything! Make your own DIY ab-wheel using your dumbbell set. If you have spinlock dumbbells, just use two collars back to back like this to keep a 7.5 pound or 10 pound plate in place. Leave about a popcicle stick’s worth of space between the plate and the spinlock so that the plate rolls freely. Because there is only about 3 fingers of grip space on the outside, use garden gloves to grab the ends of the dumbbell and roll away!