The ab roller was invented at the beginning of the 20th century; it looks very simple and may seem unfashionable. But this device remains one of the most effective pieces of exercise equipment for strengthening the torso, working on the abs and improving posture. It's all about the complex load on the muscular corset which classical exercises for the abs and EMS equipment do not provide.
In this text, you will find out why the abdominal roller wheel is still one of the leaders in the sales of sporting goods, and why it pumps abs better than most of the competitors’ equipment. Together with experts from the world of sports, we will talk about the importance of the transverse abdominal muscle and the optimal amplitude of movements during training.
What You Will Learn from This Guide:
- Why is it important to have a strong torso? Scientists’ Opinion
- How does the ab roller work?
- How to do the exercises correctly. Tips for beginners and experienced athletes
- Top 6 best ab rollers
Usually, people want to strengthen their abs for aesthetic reasons. Cubes on the belly - it's very beautiful. But it turns out that the fight against a flabby torso is for purely medical reasons. From the size of the waist, like the line in the palm of your hand, you can predict the future of a person.
Men's Health magazine writes about a curious pattern discovered by scientists from the famous scientific center, the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minnesota). The study found that men with a waist of more than 43 inches had a high risk of premature death. This figure is as much as 52% higher than those whose waistline does not exceed 35 inches. Every extra two inches on the abdomen increases the risk by 7%.
A strong torso or lack of it tends to affect many aspects of your life that you may not even be aware of.
- The development of the muscular corset improves posture. With trained abs, keeping your back straight is much easier, and there is not so much pressure on the lower back that causes pain. The waist does not hurt, even after a full day of sitting at the computer.
- Strong abs protect against personal injuries. You will be able to carry weights and move furniture without the risk of tearing your back. In case of a fall, the developed muscle corset will help the body to properly recover.
- If you are already playing sports, the development of muscle stabilizers (abdominal muscles and trunk) will improve your results. The body will receive more oxygen during exercise, and the body will balance better. Professor of the University of Waterloo Stuart McGill recalls that a developed torso is the key to success in all sports. A strong trunk gives hands and feet much more energy than a weak center of the body.
To strengthen the abdominal muscles, people usually perform sit-ups (lifting the body to the knees). However, many people do this exercise incorrectly: peeling their back from the floor, making jerks to sit down, and then falling to the floor. As a result, the waist is strained, and not the rectus abdominis muscle. The transverse abdominal muscle, on which the waist is more dependent, is not worked at all.
The advantage of the roller is that it sets the right trajectory for you. When working with an ab roller, the trunk is moved so that the muscles of the abs are compressed, and the spine is stretched. The wheel comprehensively trains the large groups of muscles of the torso, shoulders, arms and even legs. In addition to the basic muscles, the ab roller also includes stabilizing muscles that are not involved in classical exercises. These are the small muscles responsible for coordination; they are difficult to train with the usual exercises.
People think that they need to somehow train the "core of the body" in a special way for a very long time. The model of the portable ab roller has been tested for decades. With each new era, engineers have modernized the construction, then simplified it and then enriched it (for example, the resistance system when rolling out).
As early as 1928 in the US, inventor Leon Novak applied for a patent for his "training apparatus" – the board with rollers and a handle designed to be rolled on the floor in order to strengthen the muscles. According to the description, this device, unlike other equipment of that time, was compact and suitable for home use.
In 1968, the American Ralph Burzenski patented his ab roller. He gave up on the rollers, replacing them with a large wheel in the center of the handle.
The real boom of equipment like ab rollers began with the advent of teleshopping. Half-naked handsome men with a grid of cubes and girls in a bikini showed TV viewers a terrific effect from the ab wheel. In the 1980s, the simulator was inexpensive, so people did not hesitate to order this miracle wheel. True, many only used it for a couple of sessions, and then the ab wheel went to the pantry or got put in the garage sale.
In fact, the reason for the disappointment was not in the ab roller itself, but in the absence of a quick result. To experience the change, you need to train 2-3 times a week for several months. Physical exercise (at least 150 minutes per week, as recommended by the WHO) should be combined with proper nutrition.
Even the best ab roller will not give you the coveted grid of cubes if you eat everything. Coach Don Brown, who spent many years developing various equipment for the abs, advises not to succumb to advertising tricks. “Eighty percent of what your abs look like is determined by what you put in your mouth,” - the expert warns.
People who demonstrate the ab roller in commercials make the rollout easy and rhythmic. Their movements are so precise that it seems that the wheel itself is moving forward and returning exactly to the same place without any Herculean effort. In fact, even the best ab roller is a tough machine that consumes a lot of energy.
Exercises with an ab roller can be performed, both for beginners and professionals, but it all depends on how far you roll the wheel.
So your workout does not turn into hard labor, start small. At first, you need to limit the amplitude of the movements - to set the border for rolling the wheel. A wall, a door, a curbstone or a heavy box can serve as a barrier. Gradually, the amplitude is increased, and the barrier is removed. All manufacturers of ab rollers apply instructions on the volume of training. For beginners, there are kits with elastic bands that help you to do the exercises.
Pros can immediately roll the ab roller at maximum amplitude. To complicate the task, emphasise with your feet, not your knees, in which case the amplitude will be even greater. Some pros with a good stretch can even roll the ab roller from a standing position.
In addition, advanced users can pick up more sophisticated equipment. For example, now there are wheels with a resistance system for extra load, as well as models that allow you to roll the wheel with your feet (these models will be discussed in the Top 6).
The effect of variance is another plus for the ab roller. Instead of the linear movements that you perform on stationary simulators in the gym, there is room for maneuver and, accordingly, the possibility of involving new muscle groups.
The Ab roller can be called a universal simulator. But even here there are complications that you need to know about. It is unlikely that it will suit people with sore knees. All exercises on an ab roller are performed from the "on all fours" position, and pain in the knees is unlikely to make the training effective. In addition, although this simulator is useful for strengthening the back muscles and can even help in the fight against lower back pain, people with chronic spinal problems should consult with the doctor about the possibility of using an ab roller.
It is important to remember the common truth of any training: every exercise is contraindicated to someone, and at the same time is ideal for someone else. Therefore, approach training with care, watch the load and biomechanics of the body, and then the ab roller will give you the maximum effect.
In this collection, we have six models of ab rollers with different functions. Here you will find simple and inexpensive trainers for beginners, a wheel with built-in resistance for advanced users, a simulator with elastic bands and a model with footrests. Our Top ab roller list concludes with the famous American brand SKLZ, which supplies sports equipment to football players of national teams.
Simple and reliable | Ab Wheel Fitness Equipment: Ab Machine for Ab Workout
This trainer is one of those "eternal" things that does not break down and lasts for years due to its simple, even crude system. Yes, training with this Ab Wheel Roller does not promise a lot of variety, but it makes it easy to organize workouts: just unpack the device and get started. You can move back and forth or diagonally to train the oblique abdominal muscles. A good option for those who like brutal stuff without frills.
A ribbed wheel made of PVC with a stainless-steel frame will withstand an athlete weighing up to 485 lb. (220 kg). It does not slip due to its incisions, although it may create static electricity due to friction with a synthetic carpet. On the wooden floor, the trainer does not leave a trail.
Users praise the steel handles and rubberized grips (EVA foam). The only drawbacks to design are that the rubber foam moves a little from the steel rod. However, 85% of buyers still rated this product with the highest rating.
The height of the wheel is 7 inches, the weight of the trainer is 1.52 pounds. In the set is a pillow for the knees and two guides for how to get the coveted cubes on your stomach - tips on diet and exercise. These eBooks with recommendations will be emailed to you after the purchase is made.
Price: Check current price
Ab roller with built-in resistance | Perfect Fitness for Core Workouts
A model with a built-in resistance system for intensive fitness (ab roller with built-in resistance). Inside the simulator is a spring made of carbon steel, which creates an additional load when the wheel rotates forward and facilitates backward movement. The wheel here is also special - its spherical shape and large width ensure the stability of the design. You can confidently move not only in a straight line, but also to the sides.
Fee for stability - the weight and size of the unit. This is the heaviest trainer in our Top 6 (5.2 pounds), and although this "barrel’s" handles screw off, against the background of competitors it cannot be called portable. The device from Perfect Fitness will be the best ab roller for those who plan to train regularly at home and train extensive muscle groups (this trainer works the entire torso and even the heart muscle). It can also appeal to fitness fans who simply "outgrew" the traditional ab rollers.
Price: Check current price
AB Wheel Roller with Resistant Band | Odoland 3-In-1
It is more difficult for advanced users to choose the best ab roller than for beginners because they impose higher requirements for training. Therefore, sports lovers with a low budget should pay attention to this kit: this ab roller is equipped with two elastic ropes and removable handles. Securing the expander with the aid of a latch (Door Anchor is included in the kit), it is possible to train the muscles of the shoulders, arms and legs. In addition, the set comes with elastic bands, making it easy to perform exercises on the abs with the ab roller, so it can also be useful to beginners.
If the first simulator, which is similar in price, has one massive wheel "for centuries," then this product has three detachable plastic wheels. The Odoland simulator is almost twice as heavy as the competitor (2.9 pounds), but, according to the manufacturer, it is more stable than the classic models.
The kit offers great opportunities for training - of course, provided that you know how to properly work with the equipment. Judging by the reviews, the instructions for the simulator are not very helpful; many did not understand how to hitch an expander to the door.
Price: Check current price
High-tech Abdominal Roller Wheel |Vanshi
The high-tech design of this trainer is designed for those who are not nostalgic for sporting equipment from the drawings of the last century. Here, everything speaks of modernity: compact folding design, restrained color scheme, a system with two small rollers instead of one large wheel.
The title of this 21st century gadget also confirms the quality of the material from which the trainer is made. This is a combination of thermoplastic rubber (TPR) and ABS plastic. The first component makes the product flexible, soft and environmentally friendly, the second - provides super strength. As a result, this ab roller is capable of withstanding a load of 600 lb.
Otherwise, it's still a classic ab roller without expanders, footstraps, resistance system and other pleasant additions. However, if we take into account the quality of the materials, its price seems reasonable.
Price: Check current price
The most powerful simulator for intensive training of all muscle groups | Lifeline Power Wheel
This is the most expensive and most powerful simulator in our Top 6. It has the largest wheel - a diameter of 13 inches - and an impressive design with a footrest. The Power Wheel is a challenge to oneself and circumstances. Such an ab roller can easily be imagined in a movie, in an episode where exciting music sounds, and the main character is laying out in the gym before a decisive battle.
The Lifeline Power Wheel simultaneously targets different muscle groups. Thanks to the adjustable foot straps installed on both sides of the wheel, you can give the load to both the upper and lower half of the body. Just put your feet on the pedals, insert the feet into the elastic bands and fasten your heels. When the legs are fixed, the wheel serves as a support when lifting the pelvis and push-ups from the floor. When the legs are free, the simulator is used for the abs like any other ab roller wheel.
Users praise the comfortable width of the handle (22 inches), which does not load the wrist, but note that not all models of sneakers fit into the mounts. It is better to choose narrow shoes.
The main competitor of this model is the Perfect Fitness carver pro, a trainer with a built-in resistance system, about which we spoke above. Both are designed for intensive training. You decide which one to choose. Obviously, the wide wheel is more stable, so it is more convenient to roll it in a variety of trajectories. On the other hand, the Power Wheel allows you to train more complexly. It's not so much a trainer for the abdominal muscles, as equipment for the whole body.
Price: Check current price
Professional | SKLZ Core Wheels Dynamic Strength & Ab Trainer
An unusual ab roller in the form of dumbbells from the most famous brand in our Top 6. The SKLZ company from San Diego, California is known for producing equipment for professional athletes. Vertical and speed barriers, SKLZ Agility Poles and SKLZ Speed Hurdles are used by football players of national teams - for example, the teams of Brazil, Mexico and Germany.
Still, SKLZ likes to experiment, connecting the different functional simulators into one. So, a few years ago, the company introduced a hybrid of a coordination track and a vertical barrier on the market. The ab roller from this brand - in fact, is also a hybrid, a combination of all famous sports dumbbells with a roller. The wheels of these dumbbells spin, so you can use them as an ab roller. The dumbbells are small (3 pounds) and allow a person to weigh up to 225 lb. Users note that it is difficult to roll two dumbbells at the same time, so it's worth starting with one thing and moving on your knees. Later, you can increase the amplitude and add the second one then.
Price: Check current price
Conclusion. So, if you are determined to do it, it's not just a dream, it's a conscious decision, and you are not afraid of difficulties and are ready to practice several times a week - our pick is a powerful, professional ab roller for intensive training, which works on different muscle groups.