In my younger, skinnier days, I took great pride in my six pack achieved with very little work. Today in my 30’s when my metabolism came to a screeching halt, maintaining toned abs takes a lot more effort. It involves cardiovascular exercise and a healthy diet to fight off belly fat. And it takes concentrated work on the core – the group of muscles around your midsection that provide support and stability for your whole body.
A strong core protects you from injury. It helps you maintain your balance and good posture. It also helps minimize lower back pain coming from poor posture and/or weak muscles.
The ab roller was born in 1968 when American inventor Ralph Burzenski filed a patent for an exerciser that looked very similar to the same device we have today. It took a few years and a few tweaks before the ab roller really caught on in the 1980’s, thanks to late night infomercials. Today there are many fans of the ab roller in the sporting and fitness world that use it as a regular part of their workout routine. The ab rollers of 2017 come in a variety of designs with some offering the added bonus of resistance training.
An ab roller is not for the faint of heart or the out of shape. It is very easy to get hurt using an ab roller if you don’t already have some level of physical fitness and maintain proper posture throughout. If you aren’t physically fit, you would be better off doing other core and strengthening exercises first to build up to using an ab wheel.
In this article, we will discuss how to use an ab roller, what to look for when buying and then some of the best rollers on the market today.
How to Use
An ab roller works more than just your abdominal muscles. It also tones your back, legs, shoulders, arms and wrists. By varying the exercises you do, you can achieve a full body work-out.
The important thing to remember is start out slow to avoid strain or injury. Just do a few repetitions of the exercise and build up your exercise program slowly over time.
Pay careful attention to your posture. If you allow your back to arch or sag when doing the exercises, you can injure it. Here are some more tips (https://yurielkaim.com/ab-wheel-exercises/):
- Keep your abs engaged. As you roll in and out, your abdominal muscles should be doing most of the work.
- Keep your chin slightly tucked. Don’t be looking up or craning your neck. This will help protect your back and neck from injury.
- Move slowly. If you don’t maintain control of your wheel, you could end up with a hurt shoulder or worse. When you first start out, you could give yourself some extra help by positioning yourself close to a wall to prevent from losing control of the wheel as you roll it away from you.
Things to Consider
Sounds pretty simple – a wheel and a stick – yet there are tons of options out there on the market. How do you know which ab roller to buy? There’s a few things you want to pay attention to when shopping or if a friend has an old one they aren’t using and gives it to you. Remember I said it’s easy to get hurt using an ab roller if your body isn’t ready for it. There are also defects in the roller that could increase your chances.
You want to make sure the wheels move smoothly. You don’t want them to stick or slide as you try to roll them on whatever type of surface you are going to be exercising on. You will want to consider that as well. Will you be using your roller on carpet, laminate floors or outside? Most ab roller wheels are made of rubber which should operate smoothly on a variety of surfaces.
Whether you weigh 115 pounds or 250 pounds, you are expecting your roller to be able to support your weight as you move. You are going to want a stable ab roller, made of sturdy and durable materials. Heaven forbid it should break on you and break your face in the process. Or what if the material bends slightly under your weight or the wheel wobbles? This could throw off your posture and balance.
You hear a lot about ergonomics today. Chances are your work desk and chair are ergonomically-designed. Ergonomics is a relatively new science. It means engineering or designing a product in such a way to optimize them for people to use. We know that if we use a product for an extended period of time that isn’t designed well to fit our bodies we can experience muscle fatigue or strain. We can also suffer from repetitive motion injuries.
In regards to ab rollers, you want to find a product that fits your hands and wrists well and helps you engage your abdominal muscles without putting undue stress on other parts of your body. Not only will an ergonomic design help protect you from injury, but it will also help you perform the exercise effectively and comfortably.
Although an ab roller isn’t a particularly expensive fitness investment, ranging between about $10 – $35, you still want to select a product that’s durable and is going to last. You don’t want something that will snap after a couple months of use.
Our Top Picks for Ab Rollers and Wheels
Now that you have a few things to think about or pay attention to when looking at ab rollers, we have done a lot of research to bring you our recommendations of some of the best ab rollers on the market today.
The Perfect Fitness Ab Carver Pro is an ab roller that tops pretty much every list you can find in regards to performance, safety and effectiveness.
Perfect Fitness was founded in the early 2000’s by former US Navy Seal Aiden Mills. After discharge, Mills went on to get his master’s degree in business administration from Carnegie Mellon University. He began creating fitness products based on exercise principles he learned in the military.
The Perfect Fitness Ab Carver Pro has a pretty unique design. It has an ultra wide wheel that provides much more stability than the average roller. You will find it feels sturdier under your weight with no wheel wobble. This makes it easier to maintain your balance too, taking off some of the strain on your lower back. The wheel is also slightly angled, making it easier to roll right or left in V Roll-Outs to work your oblique muscles.
What’s inside the wheel is also special – an internal carbon steel spring. It provides added resistance as you roll the wheel forward. It also has a special safety feature that will lock to prevent the wheel from rolling out too far and losing control of it. The spring also assists you to roll the wheel back.
This ab roller boasts ergonomic handles that angle downward. This works to engage your tricep muscles to do the work to prevent too much demand on the shoulders.
Aside from a banging design, the Perfect Fitness Ab Carver Pro also comes with some added perks. You’ll get a high density foam knee pad to cushion your knees and protect them from bruising, as well as a 21 day workout plan that is good for every skill level from advanced to newbie.
This ab roller also comes with a 1 year manufacturer’s warranty, and its handles are removable for easy stowing. It is one of the more costly ab rollers out there, but for the durability, stability and design, the Ab Carver Pro is well worth it.
Another ab roller that stands out above the crowd is the Elite Ab Wheel Roller by Elite Sportz Equipment. This company also sells core sliders, muscle sticks, hand strengtheners and other fitness products. They are often praised by customers for their stellar customer service, and they offer a lifetime money-back guarantee.
Instead of an ultra wide track like the Perfect Fitness Ab Carver Pro comes with, the Elite Ab Wheel Roller has dual wheels spaced closely together. This also provides the added stability to ensure it won’t wobble or shake under you. Users also like that the dual wheels make it easier to lean to one side or the other to work your obliques.
The Elite will arrive fully-assembled, so no tools or mechanical ability needed. Hooray! Just take it out of the box, and you are ready to roll. Ha see what I did there?
The handles are ergonomically-designed and are non-slip so if you sweat during work-outs, you will still be able to maintain your grip.
Remember all my warnings about how easily you can get hurt using an ab roller? The Elite comes with a step by step video showing you how to use it properly. So take a look at that before you start working on that bikini bod.
#3: Valeo Ab Wheel
In a world of dark ab rollers, the Valeo Ab Wheel is the sun. Literally the inside of the wheel is bright orange. But more than just being pretty to look at, the Valeo’s got game for not much cost. It’s one of the cheaper wheels on our list. It also features dual wheels with a non-skid track, meaning you will have the stability and balance that’s so important.
Although some assembly is required, you will get the Valeo together in no time at all. And for being a less expensive roller, it is surprisingly durable and fits together securely.
The company got started in 1988, creating products for Olympic weightlifting. Today Valeo offers a whole line of both fitness products and workplace safety accessories. You won’t go wrong with a Valeo product to tone your physique.
The SKLZ Core Wheels is a totally different beast than the other ab rollers on our list. You will have one for each hand. So instead of a wheel with two handles sticking out the sides, you get two wheels with the handle in between them.
This set-up gives you infinitely more options for exercises because you can move your arms independently and in different directions. You can tone your middle, shoulders, arms and hips from several more angles than you can with a conventional ab roller. Not only are you getting a great ab and oblique work-out but a great upper body overall.
They are very lightweight and easy to transport. Another reason to buy is these beauties are born and raised in America.
SKLZ is a hot brand in the sports world today that got its start in 2002 when baseball enthusiast Tim Minniear invented the Hit-A-Way. The Hit-A-Way is a solo batting trainer to simulate real baseball pitches. Today SKLZ provides oodles of high end equipment in the professional and amateur sports and fitness world. Their Core Wheels are a great example of their quality products.
Wrapping It Up
Using a high quality ab roller will allow you to target and tone your core muscles, helping you be stronger, steadier and more confident. It will also give you the added bonus of strengthening your back, shoulders, arms, legs and hips. Instead of spending a $1,000 or more like you would on most cross-training machines, you can get all this with a little piece of equipment costing between $10 – $35!
Buyer beware though – when it comes to safety, you are going to want to use an ab roller carefully, being sure you hold the correct posture and your body is fit enough to handle the exercise. Most likely if you have fibromyalgia or other musculoskeletal issues, this is not the exercise equipment for you.
We gave you our four favorite rollers today and can confidently say you won’t go wrong trying any of these. They are highly-rated among users and can all be purchased through Amazon, the company’s website or many sporting good stores. You might even find them at your local big box store. Good luck, and see you at the beach!