What results can you expect from regularly using an ab wheel or ab roller?

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An ab wheel roller sitting on an exercise mat

What’s your go-to exercise?

There are plenty of great ways to stay fit, including:

  • Running
  • Playing sports
  • Lifting weights

But no matter how you like to stay in shape, there’s one device everyone can incorporate into their regimen: the ab wheel or ab roller.

It consists of a plastic wheel with a rod going through the middle. You place your hands on both ends of the rod, and you can move your body in an array of directions along the floor to exercise different muscle groups.

As the name suggests, it’s an excellent way to work out your abs, but it also hits a lot of other areas of your body.

The exact ab roller results you see will depend on a number of factors, including other workouts, your diet, and genetics. It won’t make you lose weight and get a six pack without the right diet, and it won’t give you a proper full body workout.

However, the ab roller is an extremely challenging core workout that’s far superior to run-of-the-mill sit ups in many ways.

Most people can expect to benefit from greater ab definition overall as well as improved core strength from regularly using the wheel. Your abdominals will be sore from the movement initially, but will strengthen over time. You’ll also notice a profound difference in your lower back and spinal erectors, and better overall core stability.

I’ve been using mine for the past few weeks to work on my core as I try to master the one-arm push up and pull up!

I also spoke with several people experienced with ab rollers to provide their input into why it’s such a useful device to have handy. It may take 30 days or it could take 100. You just need to be dedicated to your workouts and focus on other areas of your health to improve your body’s health.


Ab Definition

A lot of people want those sexy six-pack abs.

They may not be on the table for everyone, but over time through consistent use, you can start to see more definition in your core with an ab roller.

This is due to the fact that the roller moves in such a way to prevent your back from arching. It also flexes your spine to contract and stretch your abs through a wide range of motion.

Those six-pack muscles are being challenged the most, which over time leads to a more muscular core, according to Livestrong.

Coach Mark Hertz from Baseball Boom reported amazing results just one month into using his ab wheel, stating,

“I used the wheel 3-4 times a week for exactly one month, and I could see a noticeable difference. My obliques were starting to pop out through my stomach and abs began to form.”

But it should go without saying that in order to see those abs, you need to watch your diet.

Personal trainer Tim Liu from Tim Liu Fitness added:

“The ab wheel isn’t going to help you get that six pack because getting your diet in order is more important. It definitely helps develop anti-extension core strength and will carry over to many of the major lifts.”

Using an ab roller consistently is a great start.

However, to see those abs pop, you’ll likely need to lose some fat around your belly. Pay attention to your caloric input and output each day (how much you eat vs how active you are) to create an energy deficit, and you’ll start to see fat loss.

With this kind of multipronged approach, you should see results in some shape eventually.


Soreness

One thing you may notice when using your ab roller regularly is how little attention you gave your core previously.

Tim Liu, who worked out regularly before using an ab roller, mentioned that the first time he used an ab wheel, he could definitely feel it the first day.

“The first time I ever used the wheel my abs were quite sore for a few days.”

Luckily, Tim provides some advice on how to avoid early discomfort by saying,

“For a beginner, proper form is key. Which means you need to start off going out as far as you can while maintaining the right position and tension in your abs, not your lower back.”

Another good tip for avoiding early discomfort is to keep your hips and shoulders aligned.

They should be aligned in the same fashion as a standard plank. If you notice your hips dipping, then you’re likely placing unnecessary stress on your back.

A little discomfort is to be expected, and can even be a good thing. It’s often a sign that you’re challenging your body in new and necessary ways to address weak points.

Take things slow at first until you’re more comfortable with your ab wheel. If something hurts, then stop immediately.


Core Strength

Man using an ab wheel with proper form
U.S Air Force photo/Airman Larissa Greatwood

Getting stronger abs does more than get you ready for swimsuit season.

Better core strength can help relieve back pain in the long run.

Ab rollers, and similar workouts that focus on your core, help build up your abdominal wall, glutes, and obliques.

The Globe and Mail discusses this phenomenon in detail albeit about planking rather than ab wheels — which are kind of like a moving plank. But the same principle applies across exercises.

Plus, Mark Hertz has first-hand knowledge of just how much stronger your body can become after consistently using an ab roller.

Mark is a high school baseball coach, and he had his players regularly use an ab wheel, and the results spoke for themselves.

“After making the team use the ab wheel for a couple months, their core strength grew tremendously. The kids started launching the ball when they were at the plate. It is now a regular conditioning tool that we use at practices.”

Even if you don’t play baseball, you’ll notice greater strength and endurance over time thanks to your ab roller.

Your abs play a crucial role in stabilizing your spine. Back pain and spinal injuries can occur as a result, but you can reduce your likelihood of such injuries happening to you by working out those abs now.


Posture

With a stronger abdominal wall and spine, you’ll also notice over time your posture gradually improving.

A lot of people have the bad habit of slouching, especially if they have a job requiring them to be hunched over a desk for eight hours.

This can take a toll on your spine over time, so you want to make sure you’re exercising the right muscles to avoid problems later in life.

For Anthony over at The Rational Runner, he noticed how the ab roller was helping his posture after running a marathon.

He stated, “At the end of the TCS New York City marathon in 2019, I finished as upright as I started. The improvement to my posture over the course of 26.2 miles was distinct. It’s with that in mind that I continue to use my ab roller and suggest to anyone who will listen that they should start using one!”

When you use your ab wheel routinely and correctly, you fortify your spinal health and reduce the risk of lower back pain later.


Mind-Muscle Connection

A lot of people want to go into a new workout full force.

They want to hit the ground running and start exercising vigorously to get the best results as soon as possible.

The reality is that you want to be extremely mindful of any new exercises you incorporate into your routine. And that includes ab rollers.

An ab wheel forces you to slow down and really think about what you’re doing. Even if you watch instructional videos to guide you through the process, you want to take it slow and take in every step.

After even just using the ab roller for one month, you’ll become more cognizant of how all the different muscles in your core work together to complete the movement.

You’ll feel the way your abs, obliques, and lower back work in concert with each other.

This greater “mind-muscle connection” will serve you extremely well in other areas of your training and even help prevent injuries.


Wrapping Up

An ab roller is a great item to incorporate into your workouts.

You can typically find them at the gym, but they’re also pretty affordable if you want to keep one at home.

(Grab this ab wheel on Amazon right here.)

Just remember that an ab roller by itself isn’t the key to a six pack. For that, you’ll need a diet that helps you lose belly fat, and you’ll likely want to build up strength over your whole body — not just your core and abs.

Ab wheels also aren’t great cardio tools, plus they don’t particularly challenge your legs or arms past a certain point. You’ll want to include other forms of exercise in your regimen for a well-rounded physique and better overall physical fitness.

However, the ab wheel isn’t just an As Seen on TV gimmick. It’s an extremely tough workout for your abs and lower back, and can lead to a solid steel and well-defined core and midsection over time with regular use.

Is there anything I missed? What kind of results have you seen if you regularly use an ab wheel?

(Looking to get started working out but not sure where to begin? Check out the results you can expect after one month of yoga, weight lifting, or even pilates.)

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