AB Wheel Exercise Routine

man using an ab wheel
The ab wheel provides a huge abdominal challenge. (Image: Adobe Stock/SolisImages)

The ab wheel is one of the best bang-for-your-buck pieces of exercise equipment you can find. It’s inexpensive, but wildly effective for strengthening your core and tightening your midsection.

A lot of ab exercises fall short when it comes to total core activation. Your core involves a lot more than your abs. Several muscles through your hips and glutes surround and stabilize your torso. This is your core. And the ab wheel is a simple tool that allows you to use the entire core to maximize your results.

This quick and simple plan is all you need to use the ab wheel to level up your ab game.

Find space on the ground to set up. You’ll want an ab wheel and a mat for your knees. When you set up, make sure you set up so that the wheel rolls on the floor, not the mat.

man doing an ab wheel rollout
(Image: Cherina Jones/LIVESTRONG.COM)

1. The Ab Wheel Rollout

Proper form is critical for both safety and maximum core development. The goal is to activate the core. But when done incorrectly, the ab wheel can put stress and strain on your back and hip flexors.

Setting up for using the ab wheel should look a lot like a push up from your knees.

HOW TO DO IT: Grab the wheel with a double overhand grip, holding it underneath your shoulders. Keep a straight line from your shoulders down to your knees, meaning your abs are tight, not sagging.

Squeeze your glutes and roll the wheel in front of your body, keeping your hips extended during the exercise. This ensures the focus stays on your core instead of the hip flexors.

Keep your arms straight and your core tight as you roll forward until your nose is barely off the floor. Reverse the movement to return to the starting position. Complete three sets of eight to 12 reps.

man doing an oblique rollout
Rolling to the side works your obliques. (Image: Cherina Jones/LIVESTRONG.COM)

2. The Oblique Rollout

HOW TO DO IT: Setting up is the same — knees on the ground, hips extended and elbows locked out with the roller beneath you. Keep your abs tight and extend your arms, rolling out diagonally until your nose nearly touches the ground.

Roll back to the original starting position before rolling out in the opposite direction. Complete three sets of four to six reps on each side.

man doing a pike rollout
Take the rollout to the next level. (Image: Cherina Jones/LIVESTRONG.COM)

3. The Pike Rollout

HOW TO DO IT: Set up by standing with both feet on the floor and placing the wheel on the floor about a foot in front of you. Bend forward as if you were doing a toe touch to grip the wheel.

Roll forward into a push-up position and reverse the movement. Complete two sets of five to eight reps.

Tip

Take this move to the next level by rolling forward until your nose is barely off the ground. Buckle up, going deep on a pike roll out is no joke.

Stretching

Finish off your ab exercise routine with stretching your abs, obliques and back. Here’s a stretch for each.

man doing a high cobra stretch
Stretching is part of a good recovery plan. (Image: Cherina Jones/LIVESTRONG.COM)

Tips

  • Ab wheels can be difficult. Only roll as deeply as you can with perfect form.
  • When it comes to form, your hips don’t lie. Keep the hips extended to optimize core activation.
  • As you get stronger, increase the number of reps or sets.
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