Ab rollers (aka exercise wheels) are a great addition to any workout routine. They can help strengthen and tone the core at home or in the gym.
Ab rollers are a great addition to any core workout. These exercises don’t just help tone and sculpt your core, back, and arms — they can also increase your overall strength, build balance, and enhance stability.
Ready to get rolling? Here are nine of the ab-solute best ab roller workouts you can do at home, at the gym, or on the go.
1. Ab wheel knee tuck
This is a great intro to the ab wheel. It’s a knee tuck variation that blitzes your lower abs and the very center of your core. However, it’s still on the easier end of today’s difficulty spectrum since you can use your arm for stability.
You’ll need an ab wheel with foot straps for this exercise.
- Strap your feet to the ab wheel.
- Get into a plank pose. Keep your arms extended and your body aligned. Your arms should be in one vertical line from your wrists to your shoulders.
- Bring your knees in toward your chest until they’re as tucked as you can get them without straining.
- Hold for a moment, then steadily return to the neutral position.
- Aim for 2–3 sets of 12–15 reps.
2. Ab wheel plank
This challenging exercise is a souped-up plank that works the top, bottom, and sides of your core. It’s also great for enhancing control, stability, and weight balance.
- Start on your hands and knees, gripping the ab wheel handles so the wheel is aligned beneath your shoulders.
- Fully extend your arms.
- Step your feet back and straighten your legs so that just your toes and the wheel are supporting your weight.
- Hold this position for 30–60 seconds. Make sure your body is aligned from the crown of your head to your ankles.
- Lower your knees back to the floor.
Repeat 2–3 times.
3. Ab wheel pike
Stepping things up a bit, ab wheel pikes are even more beneficial for your lower abs and deep core. As with the ab roller knee tucks, you’ll need an ab roller with foot straps for this move.
- Strap your feet to the ab wheel and get into a plank position.
- Align your wrists under your elbows and your body from head to heels.
- Keeping your legs straight, bring the roller in toward you. Your legs and torso should form a V shape.
- Hold for a moment once you reach peak V. Then steadily return to the starting position.
- Aim for 2–3 sets of 10–15 reps.
1. Kneeling ab wheel rollout
If you’re ready to move on from the intro moves, kneeling ab wheel rollouts are an ideal transition to activate your entire core.
- Kneel on a mat or cushion with the ab wheel directly in front of you.
- Grip the handles and support yourself with arms fully extended.
- Keep your back and arms straight as you move the wheel forward and away from you.
- Extend your body as far into a plank position as you can go. Try to retain the ability to roll back into a neutral position.
- Hold for a moment before steadily returning to the starting position.
- Aim for 2–3 sets of 10–15 reps.
PSA: Be careful when you’re starting out with this one. It’s possible to roll out too far and hurt yourself trying to get back to the neutral position. So, take it slow and gauge what you’re capable of as you go.
2. Kneeling ab wheel V-rollout (hard)
In this variant, you’ll roll the wheel to your sides instead of straight in front of you. This targets the muscles on either side of your core (aka your obliques).
- Kneel on a cushion or mat with the ab wheel in front of you. Grip the handles and keep your arms straight.
- Roll the wheel away from you to the left. Keep your body straight at all times.
- Hold for a few seconds.
- Gently return to the starting position.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Aim for 2–3 sets of 10–12 reps on each side.
3. Bird dog ab wheel rollout
Lifting one knee off the floor during ab wheel rollouts forces you to focus extra hard on stability. This gets muscles on both sides of your core working equally by activating each in isolation.
- Kneel on a cushion or mat and grab the ab wheel in front of you. Fully extend your arms.
- Lift your left knee and extend your leg behind you.
- Push the ab wheel forward.
- Lower yourself until your body is aligned horizontally near the floor.
- Hold for a few seconds, then roll back to the starting position.
- Repeat, extending your right leg this time.
- Aim for 2–3 sets of 10–15 reps.
4. Kneeling ab wheel single-arm rollout
Here’s another tough isolation exercise that focuses on one side of your body at a time. You’ll need a modified ab roller with two wheels and space between them to grip.
- Start on your knees with your torso straight up.
- Grab your ab roller with one hand.
- Push the roller away from you until your body is parallel to the floor.
- Steadily return to the starting position.
- Repeat 10–12 times on each side.
- Aim for 2–3 sets.
1. Standing ab wheel rollout
This one is seriously difficult, so be sure to keep things slow and controlled.
- Stand with your feet at your preferred width.
- Bending at your hips, lean forward and place the wheel in front of you. Keep your arms straight.
- Roll forward on the wheel until your arms are above your head and your body is parallel to the floor.
- Hold for a moment once you reach full extension.
- Roll the wheel back toward you, bending at the hips so you return to your starting standing position.
- Aim for 10 reps … if you can.
Pro tip: The standing ab wheel rollout is easier if your feet are farther apart when you begin. You might want to start with them at shoulder width and work toward performing the move with your feet together.
2. Standing single-arm ab rollout
This is it. Ab roller workouts don’t get harder than the standing single-arm ab rollout. If you can comfortably rattle these off, you’re an official ab deity. To get started, you’ll need that specially adapted roller with the grip in the center.
- Stand with your feet at your preferred width. The closer together they are, the harder the exercise will be.
- Bend forward from your hips, keeping arms straight, and place the roller in front of you. Grip it with one hand.
- Roll forward until you’re parallel to the floor with your arm above your head.
- Hold this full extension for a few seconds.
- Steadily roll the wheel back toward you until you can return to the starting standing position.
- Repeat 6–10 times on each side.
Why put yourself through the pain of these ab roller wheel workouts? Well, because having a strong core is pretty handy for your day-to-day health. Your core is made up of muscles such as your:
When all these muscles are well developed and properly maintained, they bring you a whole bushel of science-backed health benefits, including:
The ab roller is a 10/10 piece of equipment. It opens up a world of intermediate to advanced exercises for peeps who want to strengthen, tone, and sculpt their core.
Just keep in mind that ab roller workouts aren’t always beginner-friendly. They require stability, core strength, and stamina. But don’t be discouraged if you can’t master hella-hard workouts overnight! Take things slow, one roll at a time.