How to Use an Ab Wheel

By Lisa M. Wolfe

You can spice up your ab workouts with an inexpensive exercise tool called the ab wheel. The ab wheel provides an intense workout to strengthen your abdominal muscles, but do the exercises properly to get the best results and to avoid injuries. Resembling a small wheelbarrow tire with a handle through the center, the ab wheel targets the rectus abdominis, the outermost muscle down the center of your abdominals and the obliques, the pair of muscles on the sides of your abdominal region.

Beginner Rollout

Step 1

Prepare your body for the ab wheel workout with a five-minute warm-up. March in place as you pump your arms, dance and swing your arms and hips, walk or do jumping jacks to increase your circulation to your core and upper-body.

Step 2

Start the wheel rollout by kneeling on the floor or on an exercise mat with your knees at a hips-distance apart. Position the wheel in the space between your knees, so the handles are slightly beyond your knees and grasp a handle with each hand. Face your palms down.

Step 3

Support your weight with straight arms and maintain an aligned spine throughout the wheel rollout.

Step 4

Remain on your knees. Inhale, lean forward and slowly roll the wheel away from you until your body touches the floor. Exhale and roll the wheel toward you to return to the starting position. Complete 10 to 12 wheel rollouts, or as many as possible while maintaining straight arms and an aligned spine. Rest between 30 and 60 seconds before performing another set.

Step 5

Do not lower your body all the way to the floor to reduce the intensity of the wheel rollout. Instead, roll partway out and then return to the starting position.

Step 6

Make the exercise easier by rolling up an incline. For example, prop an aerobic step against a weight bench or chair on a 45-degree incline. Kneel in front of the step and place the wheel close to the bottom. Roll the wheel up the incline as you lean forward. Roll the wheel down the incline and return to the starting position. Perform 10 to 12 repetitions and one to three sets.

Step 7

Include the ab wheel exercise into your daily, or every-other-day abdominal workout routine. Aim to execute the rollout at least three days a week to feel core strength improvements.

Intermediate to Advanced Rollout

Step 1

Increase the intensity of the wheel rollout, by supporting your weight on your toes, once you can easily complete three sets of 10 to 12 rollouts on your knees. Begin the rollout in a down-dog position with your hands on the wheel directly underneath your shoulders and your legs extended behind you with your toes pressed into the floor and your hips raised to the ceiling.

Step 2

Inhale and roll the wheel away from you as you lower your body toward the floor. Remain hovered just above the floor when your arms are fully extended and the wheel is farthest from you. Exhale, roll the wheel toward you and return to the plank position.

Step 3

Complete one to three sets of 10 to 12 rollouts.

Step 4

Raise one leg at a time once you master the plank rollout to increase the challenge. Start in a down-dog position with the wheel in your hands below your shoulders. Keep your right leg straight and raise your right foot off the floor. Roll the wheel out as your torso lowers and then roll the wheel to the starting position. Complete five rollouts with your right leg lifted and then five with your left leg raised.

Modification

Step 1

Change the direction of the ab wheel exercise and roll out to the sides to target your obliques. Kneel on the mat with the wheel positioned between your knees and a hand on each handle. Position your palms facing down.

Step 2

Roll out the wheel on a 45-degree angle to the right instead of in a straight line in front of you. Lower your torso and hips toward the floor, but do not touch the floor. Roll the wheel to the starting position and repeat the 45-degree angle roll to the left. Roll the wheel to the start position to finish one repetition. Imagine drawing an invisible "V" with the wheel as you alternate rollouts to each side.

Step 3

Complete one to three sets of 10 to 12 "V" rollouts to each side.

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