ab wheel exercises
Fitness

13 Ab Wheel Exercises That Will Give You A Six Pack

In the never-ending quest for six-pack abs, there has been all manner of fitness gadgets appear on the market. Most of them soon disappear. One that has proven to be a stayer is the ab wheel.

This simple, inexpensive device provides you with an awesome challenge to your midsection that hits your abdominal muscles, obliques, intercostals, and spinal erectors.

In this article, you’re about to discover how to get maximum use from your ab wheel with the 13 most effective ab wheel exercises to shape up your core muscles fast.

1. Ab Wheel Roll Out

Muscles worked

Rectus abdominis, serratus anterior, transverse abdominis, obliques, forearms, deltoids, latissimus dorsi

Equipment used 

Ab wheel, exercise mat

Step-by-step how-to

  1. Kneel on the floor on your exercise mat with the ab wheel in your hands.
  2. Place the ab wheel on the floor in front of you. Have your wrists under shoulders in the start position.
  3. Maintaining a tight core, roll the wheel out directly in front of your body to full arm extension.
  4. Reverse the action to return to the start position.
  5. Perform 10 repetitions.

Tips 

Perform the rollout slowly under strict control. Keep your upper body tight.

2. Stand Roll Out

Muscles worked

Rectus abdominis, serratus anterior, transverse abdominis, obliques, forearms, deltoids, latissimus dorsi

Equipment used 

Ab wheel

Step-by-step how-to

  1. Assume a standing position with your feet shoulder width apart and the ab wheel in your hands.
  2. Bend down and place the ab wheel on the floor in front of you and place your weight on it. Have your wrists under shoulders in the start position.
  3. Maintaining a tight core, roll the wheel out directly in front of your body to full arm extension.
  4. Reverse the action to return to the start position.
  5. Perform 10 repetitions.

Tips 

Maintain a natural arch in your spine; do not round your back! Do not bend your knees.

3. Ab Wheel Push Ups

Muscles worked

Pectorals, Rectus abdominis, serratus anterior, transverse abdominis, obliques, forearms, deltoids, latissimus dorsi

Equipment used 

Ab Wheel

Step-by-step how-to

  1. Lie on the floor with the ab wheel held directly under your chest.
  2. Raise up to the top position of a push up with your feet together.
  3. Lower down to bring your torso to the ab wheel.
  4. Push back to the start position.
  5. Perform 10 repetitions.

Tips 

This is a challenging variation of the push up. Perform the exercise slowly to maintain balance. Keep your core tight.

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4. Ab Wheel Plank

Muscles worked

Rectus abdominis, serratus anterior, transverse abdominis, obliques, forearms, deltoids, latissimus dorsi

Equipment used 

Ab wheel, exercise mat.

Step-by-step how-to

  1. Lie on your exercise mat with your legs out straight and the ab wheel held under your body. Have your wrists under shoulders in the start position.
  2. Lift up to the top of the standard plank position.
  3. Hold this position for 30 seconds.

Tips 

Keep your entire body rigid; do not round your back.

5. Wide Leg Standing Rollout

Muscles worked

Rectus abdominis, serratus anterior, transverse abdominis, obliques, forearms, deltoids, latissimus dorsi

Equipment used 

Ab wheel

Step-by-step how-to

  1. Get down on the floor on your exercise mat with the ab wheel in your hands and your legs out straight with feet wide apart.
  2. Place the ab wheel on the floor in front of you. The points of contact with the floor are the toes and ab wheel. Have your wrists under shoulders in the start position.
  3. Maintaining a tight core, roll the wheel out directly in front of your body to full arm extension.
  4. Reverse the action to return to the start position.
  5. Perform 10 repetitions.

Tips 

Look directly ahead as you do this exercise; maintain a natural curvature in your spine.

6. Ab Wheel Knee Tucks

Muscles worked

Rectus abdominis, serratus anterior, transverse abdominis, obliques, forearms, deltoids, latissimus dorsi

Equipment used 

Ab wheel

Step-by-step how-to

  1. Get down on the floor and put your feet on the ab wheel handles.
  2. Place your palms on the floor in front of you. Have your wrists under shoulders in the start position.
  3. In the start position your knees should be up at chest level. From here kick your legs back to full extension. 
  4. Pull your legs back in to return to the start position.
  5. Perform 10 repetitions of this exercise. 

Tips 

Use straps to secure your feet on the ab wheel if your ab wheel has them.

7. V Roll Outs

Muscles worked

Rectus abdominis, serratus anterior, transverse abdominis, obliques, forearms, deltoids, latissimus dorsi

Equipment used 

Ab wheel

Step-by-step how-to

  1. Kneel on the floor on your exercise mat with the ab wheel in your hands.
  2. Place the ab wheel on the floor in front of you. Have your wrists under shoulders in the start position.
  3. Maintaining a tight core, roll the wheel out on a 45 degree angle to the left side of your body to full arm extension.
  4. Reverse the action to return to the start position.
  5. Perform 10 repetitions on each side.

Tips 

Forcefully contract the oblique muscles throughout the movement. Fully stretch out through the upper body and maintain a tight core. 

8. Ab Wheel Pikes

Muscles worked

Rectus abdominis, serratus anterior, transverse abdominis, obliques, forearms, deltoids, latissimus dorsi

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Equipment used 

Ab wheel, foot strap attachment

Step-by-step how-to

  1. Get down on the floor and put your feet on the ab wheel handles.
  2. Place your palms on the floor at shoulder level.
  3. Lift your butt into the air, keeping your legs straight so that your body forms an upside down ‘V’ shape.
  4. Extend your legs back to full extension.
  5. Return to the inverted V position.

Tips 

Secure ab wheel foot straps to your feet if they are available. Keep the entire core tight.

9. One Arm Standing Rollout

Muscles worked

Rectus abdominis, serratus anterior, transverse abdominis, obliques, forearms, deltoids, latissimus dorsi

Equipment used 

Ab wheel

Step-by-step how-to

  1. Stand on the floor on your exercise mat with your feet shoulder width apart and the ab wheel in your right hand.
  2. Place the ab wheel on the floor in front of your torso.
  3. Maintaining a tight core, roll the wheel out directly in front of your body to full arm extension.
  4. Reverse the action to return to the start position.
  5. Perform 6-8 repetitions.

Tips 

This is an advanced exercise that requires a lot of balance. Perform the exercise slowly and deliberately and concentrate on quality rather than quantity. Maintain a natural arched back position.

10. One Arm One Leg Wheel

Muscles worked

Rectus abdominis, serratus anterior, transverse abdominis, obliques, forearms, deltoids, latissimus dorsi

Equipment used 

Ab wheel

Step-by-step how-to

  1. Stand on the floor on your exercise mat with the ab wheel in your right hand.
  2. Place the ab wheel on the floor in front of your torso. 
  3. Maintaining a tight core, roll the wheel out directly in front of your body to full arm extension.
  4. Reverse the action to return to the start position.
  5. Perform 6-8 repetitions.

Tips 

This is an even more advanced exercise than the previous one, being an expert-level variation. I suggest mastering the one-arm standing rollout before tackling this one. Again do the exercise slowly and deliberately. 

11. Bird Dog Rollout

Muscles worked

Rectus abdominis, serratus anterior, transverse abdominis, obliques, forearms, deltoids, latissimus dorsi

Equipment used 

Ab wheel

Step-by-step how-to

  1. Get down on the floor with the ab wheel in your hands. Place your left knee on the floor with your right leg extended directly out behind you. Have your wrists under shoulders in the start position.
  2. From this starting position, extend the ab wheel out to full extension. 
  3. Pull the wheel back in to return to the starting position.
  4. Perform 10 repetitions.

Tips 

Keep your lifted leg parallel to the floor the entire time. Maintain a neutral position through the spine. 

12. Band Resisted Ab Wheel Rollout

Muscles worked

Rectus abdominis, serratus anterior, transverse abdominis, obliques, forearms, deltoids, latissimus dorsi

Equipment used 

Ab wheel, resistance band.

Step-by-step how-to

  1. Attach a resistance band to the bottom of a secure upright and loop the other end around the handle of the ab wheel. 
  2. Kneel on the floor on your exercise mat  about six feet in front of the upright and facing it.
  3. Place the ab wheel on the floor in front of you and position yourself so that the resistance band is taut. Have your wrists under shoulders in the start position.
  4. Maintaining a tight core, roll the wheel out directly in front of your body to full arm extension.
  5. Reverse the action to return to the start position.
  6. Perform 10 repetitions.
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Tips 

Make sure that you are far enough away from the upright so that the resistance band is taut all the time. Keep your spine in a neutral position.

13. Glute Bridge

Muscles worked

Rectus abdominis, serratus anterior, transverse abdominis, obliques, forearms, deltoids, latissimus dorsi

Equipment used 

Ab wheel, exercise mat, foot attachments

Step-by-step how-to

  1. Lie on the exercise mat on your back with your feet on the handles of an ab wheel and attach the foot straps. Place your arms on the floor at your sides.
  2. From a starting position with your legs fully extended, thrust your hip flexors into the air as you pull your legs up to your torso.
  3. Hold the top position for a 2 second count and then return to the start position.

Tips 

Contract the glute muscles intensely as you push your hips into the air.

Conclusion

The ab wheel is an amazingly versatile piece of core training equipment that provides a fantastic workout. You’ve now got 13 awesome ab wheel variations that will hit your core from every angle.

Choose two of them and combine them into an 8 set workout every 4-5 days. Balance this with a smart nutrition plan and you will be rewarded with a stronger, tighter, more defined midsection. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Ab Wheel work the obliques?

Yes, the ab wheel does work the oblique muscles. These muscles are engaged to stabilize and balance the body as you roll out to full extension. The V Roll Out in which you roll out to the side is the best version of the exercise to maximally stimulate the oblique muscles. 

How many times a week should I use the ab roller?

The abdominals are just like any muscle group. They need time to rest and recover so you should not work them every day. It is best to use the ab roller to work your core once every 4-5 days.

What is the most effective ab exercise?

The most effective ab exercise for muscle growth and core strength is the seated cable crunch. This exercise allows you to overload your ab muscles with progressive resistance through a full range of motion and with constant tension. 

Steve Theunissen

Steve Theunissen is a former gym owner and personal trainer based in Tauranga, New Zealand. He is the author of six hardcopy books and more than a hundred ebooks on the topics of bodybuilding, fitness, and fat loss.

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