What Does the Ab Roller Wheel Work?

What Does the Ab Roller Wheel Work?
What Does the Ab Roller Wheel Work? (Image: SolisImages/iStock/Getty Images)

The ab roller is a simple device: two handles connecting a wheel. But, don't let its simplicity fool you. The ab wheel is an advanced training tool that, when used correctly, builds strong triceps, lats and core.

Your Abs: The Primer Movers

When using the ab roller, your core moves to prevent your back from arching, while flexing the spine to both stretch and contract your abs through a full range of motion. This movement provides a huge challenge to your rectus abdominus, the six pack muscle, as well as deep spinal stabilizers, such as the transerve abdominus. This makes the ab wheel roller a great tool for both a stronger, and more muscular core.

Accessory Muscles

The ab wheel rollout is more than an ab exercise; it’s a challenge to your hips, shoulders, triceps, and latissimus dorsi. These muscles stabilize your body from shoulder to tailbone while the wheel rolls in front of your body.

Stability Ball Rollout

The ab wheel rollout is an advanced exercise. Most people need to start with a modified version known as the stability ball rollout.

Step 1

Kneel with your legs about hip-width apart and your elbows on a stability ball. Keep your core tight, not allowing your back to sag.

Step 2

Slowly extend your arms as you roll forward. The ball rolls from being directly underneath you to being in front of you.

Step 3

Roll the ball back and continue for one to two sets of 12 to 15 reps. Once you're able to complete a full set of 15 reps without excess fatigue, add another set up and go up to three sets.

A stability ball builds your stamina for the ab wheel.
A stability ball builds your stamina for the ab wheel. (Image: OSTILL/iStock/Getty Images)

Kneeling Ab-Wheel Rollout

Place your knees on the floor at hip width and hands on the wheel. Keep your abs tight to prevent arching your lower back. Roll the wheel forward as far as possible — ideally with your arms fully extended and chest to the ground — before rolling the wheel underneath your body and returning to an upright position.


This move will make your abs scream. It's best to start with shorter ranges of motion, gradually working the wheel out farther as you get stronger. Perform two to three sets of six to eight reps, increasing your reps by two each week until you reach ten.

Full Rollout

The full rollout takes the kneeling rollout and abs to another level of difficulty. Instead of kneeling, you'll be in a full push-up position on your toes with the ab wheel held underneath your shoulders. From here, roll the wheel in front of your body slowly before bringing your hands back underneath your chest. This can take months to work up to, so start slowly with two to three sets of three to five reps.

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