Updated: Oct 15, 2020
The ab wheel, or ab roller, is in my opinion the most effective tool to target your core. Using the ab roller engages all of the core muscle groups, including the abdominal muscles, obliques, and pectorals. It also works the shoulders, back, upper chest, and hip flexors. It is an easy, inexpensive, and super effective piece of exercise equipment.
There are many different ways you can use the ab wheel, and I've covered the 5 standard exercises you can do with the ab roller here. When first starting out with the ab wheel, it is important to learn proper form. Proper form is vital to avoid strain on the lower back. And if you don't use an ab roller regularly, it's important to not overdue it or you could strain your muscles, leaving you in mighty pain the next day. Do yourself a favor and start with a few reps, and build up over time.
When searching for an ab wheel, there are a few things to consider:
Wheel Size: The wider the wheel (some have 2 wheels), the more stability it provides. More stability is important to beginners.
Grips: Rubber or foam grips? Whichever your preference, just make sure they are slip resistant.
Quality: Some ab rollers have limits to how much weight they can support, due to being built with plastic parts. Stainless steel bars will support heavier people, and higher quality materials will last longer, but come with a higher price tag.
A lot of ab wheels on the market today are packaged with additional items, like knee pads, resistance bands, or training guides. Don't be fooled by fancy accessories; you're in the market for an ab wheel, not the additional items. You can find plenty of training guides online for free. Check out 5 basic exercises you can do with the ab roller here. While the added items are an attractive bonus and could assist with your training, choose an ab wheel based on the product itself.
Considering the varying specifications of all ab rollers on the market, here's my picks for the best by type of user.
Best Ab Wheel for Beginners
Vinsguir Ab Roller
Beginners can struggle with balance when first using an ab wheel, but Vinsguir's Ab Roller provides superior stability with a wide wheel, measuring at 3.14" wide. Injuries due to imbalance are not a worry. EVA rubber cotton handles provide a comfortable, yet slip-resistant grip so beginners won't be prone to blisters or pain. It's built with stainless steel shaft that can support up to 440 pounds, and a soft rubber wheel surface that operates quietly on any surface.
1. wide wheel 1. not ergonomic like some 2. soft, comfortable grip competitors
3. supports heavier weight
4. quiet operation
5. quick assembly and disassembly
6. comes with knee pad
Best Ab Wheel for Pros
Perfect Fitness Ab Carver Pro
Professionals or experienced ab roller users might want added resistance in an ab wheel. The Perfect Fitness Ab Carver Pro improves the effectiveness of the ab exercise by way of a carbon steel spring mechanism, which increases resistance on the way out and assistance on the roll back. The assistance on the roll back helps relieve lower back pressure. It's padded, ergonomic handles provide a stable support for helping to engage the arm and core muscles. The extra wide, but rounded wheel promotes rolling to the left and right.
1. wide, rounded wheel 1. expensive 2. padded, ergonomic handles 2. max weight of 300 lbs.
3. provides resistance and assistance
4. stable support
5. removable handles
6. comes with knee pads
Best All-Around Ab Wheel
Fitnessery Ab Roller
If you're just looking for a simple, basic ab wheel that is easy to use, the Fitnessery Ab Roller is your best choice. The Fitnessery Ab Roller doesn't add any fancy mechanics or special features; it just helps build abs of steel and strengthen your core. The equipment is built with a heavy-duty PVC wheel and non-slip rubber surface, and stainless steel handles with foam padded performance grips.
1. simple yet durable construction 1. narrow wheel 2. supports up to 485 pounds 2. some might have difficulty
3. budget friendly assembling
4. no gimmicks; you get what you see
5. comes with knee pad, nutrition e-book
and Ultimate Ab Workout e-book
6. lifetime guarantee
Best All-Around Ab Wheel
Whether you are a beginner who has never used an ab wheel before, a light trainer on the ab wheel, or a seasoned pro that exercises your core frequently, there is an ab wheel on the market to fit your needs. There are many buying options when it comes to ab rollers. Follow the buying guide above to help you choose the best product for your exercise goals. Consider the wheel size, grips, and quality.
Remember that the motion of using an ab wheel is not natural. When first using the equipment, you may find it very difficult and straining on your core. Start easy with a few reps and build up over time as you become more comfortable using the ab roller and have a stronger core as a result of it. Many people go too hard from the start, tear their muscles, and are in pain for days. Don't let that happen to you.
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