The ab wheel is a simple piece of ab exercise equipment that definitely confirms the clichéd saying looks can be deceiving. Although it appears innocent enough and is normally used for fairly easy stomach exercises, with a bit of adaptation the ab wheel can also be used for some of the most advanced stomach exercises on the planet. In fact this inexpensive little wheel is so good for building the six pack muscles of the rectus abdominis and outer obliques it beats any other piece of equipment that you will see in the gym.
If you want reasonable stomach muscles a ripped abs diet and fat burning cardio will burn the belly fat that hides your muscles and therefore give you acceptable abdominal definition. However, diet and aerobic exercise alone can't give your abdominal muscles the size and strength that all impressive six packs have. To build such size and strength the abdominal muscles have to be trained in exactly the same as the other muscle groups of the body and that means doing intense stomach exercises that are so demanding that you can only do around 10 repetitions per set.
The reason low repetition ab exercises are needed is because 100 years of body-building have shown that around 10 repetitions per set gives the best results for muscle growth. Any more repetitions than 10 tends to build stamina rather than size so unless you want to have great abdominal stamina for sporting reasons you will get far better results with 10 repetitions per set. It is also true that to keep building size and strength all muscles must follow the four principles of muscle growth. The four principles, overload, progression, specificity and adaptation mean that once you can do 10 repetitions per set you will only make further progress by either making that exercise more difficult or changing to a completely new and more intense one.
The problem with the standard ab exercises such as the crunch, reverse crunch, sit up and leg raise is that doing 10 repetitions per set soon becomes far to easy and as a result you are unable to stick to the four rules of muscle growth and that means your progress stagnates. However, the ab wheel overcomes the problems outlined because although the basic exercises with this piece of equipment are not much more difficult than the crunch or sit up the advanced exercises such as the full ab rollout are as difficult as any stomach exercise that exist and therefore always allows you to follow the low repetition body building principles.
The Kneeling ab rollout
This is the standard ab wheel exercise that most people do when they use this piece of equipment. Although it is very basic it is still a great beginners exercise that really works the frontal abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis) and begins to build the strength and size needed for real hardcore abs. Once you can do 3 to 4 sets of 10 repetitions comfortably you should begin the transition to the full ab rollout.
How to do the Kneeling ab rollout
Begin in a kneeling position with your hands outstretched grasping the wheel. From there pull in your abs and breathe in as you push to roll the wheel forward until your chin is just a couple of inches of the floor. Pause for a second and then breathe out as you pull the wheel back to the starting position ensuring you keep your arms straight throughout the movement.
Comments - This is one of the best basic ab exercises that you can do and also provides a great foundation for the more advanced wheel exercises.
hardcoreabexercises rating - 7 out of 10
The standing ab rollout
Although this exercise looks easy to most people who try it for the first time, looks can be deceiving and the person doing the exercise usually end up collapsing half way through the rep because of the immense core strength needed to execute this great exercise.As 99 people out of 100 can not do the standing ab rollout without slowly building up the core strength needed the way to mastering it is to first practice the kneeling version until you can do 3 to 4 sets of 10 repetitions with ease and then use a system of progression that leads up to the full movement.
How to do the full ab rollout
Begin from a standing position and bend at the waist to grab onto the ab wheel. Form there pull in your abs as you breathe in and begin to push the wheel forward until your chin is a couple of inches of the floor. Pause and then breathe out as you pull the wheel back to the starting position ensuring you keep your arms and legs straight at all times.Note, the full ab rollout is so demanding that it is almost impossible for most people to do it without using a system of progression.
To do this there are two options, one, you can stand a distance from a wall that you think you can safely rollout to, lets say for example one metre or so.The idea is to then increase the distance you stand from the wall over time until you build up enough strength and coordination to do the complete rollout
Option two; Perhaps the quickest and easiest way to master the full ab rollot is to tie one end of a resistance band to the ab wheel and the other end to a wall or other immovable object and from there just rollout. The benefit if using this method over the previous one is that the resistance band provides enough assistance for you to execute a complete rollout without the need to build up to it and as a result your body gets to learn the coordination needed for this exercise from day one.
Muscles worked – The frontal six pack muscles (rectus abdominis)
Comments – one of the 3 best advanced ab exercises that exist and although it takes time to build up to it anyone who can manage 10 full reps of this exercise will have incredibly strong core muscles.Caution, this exercise does put a huge strain on the lower back so anyone who has problems in that area should avoid it.
hardcoreabexercises rating 10 out of 10
The ab wheel plank
The wheel plank is done in exactly the same way as the traditional plank except for the use of the wheel. The purpose of using it is that it acts in the same way as a Swiss ball would do and creates an unstable platform which in turn forces both the upper body and core muscles to work harder to keep your body stabilised.
How to do the wheel plank
Begin in a press up position with an ab wheel in each hand. Pull your ab muscles in towards your naval and breathe normally while you hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds keeping your whole body in alignment.
Muscles worked – rectus abdominis (six pack muscles)
Comments – This is not as tough as some of the exercises such as the dragon flag but nonetheless it is the still one of the best advanced ab exercises and I recommend that you include it in your training program.
hardcoreabexercises rating 10 out of 10
The wheel side plank
Again the only difference between this exercise and the standard side plank is the use of the wheel which forces the outer obliques (love handles) to contract harder to maintain stabilisation.How to do the wheel side plank
Lie on you side with your feet shoulder width apart. Have one hand on the wheel and the other hand placed on your side. Pull your abs in and breathe normally while you hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds.
Comments – it does take some practice to keep your balance in this position. However, once you have mastered this, it is one the best advanced ab exercises for the oblique’s (Side stomach muscles) and I highly recommend it.
hardcoreabexercises rating 10 out 10