Ab rollers are a very simple, effective piece of exercise equipment that do wonders for core strength and ab muscle definition. In this guide to ab roller exercises for beginners, we will teach you some great exercises and tricks to help you get started. We will also introduce the different kinds of ab rollers available, help you choose the right one for you, and show you how to perform and progress your exercises from beginner to expert.
Different Types of Ab Wheel Target Different Muscles
A lot of people don’t realize, but rather than being a single piece of equipment, ab roller wheels are actually a category of ab machine. There are lot of different types. Some have one wheel, some have two. Some have a wide wheel. Some are spring assisted. Some ab wheels target more and different muscles than others. As a beginner you need to know which is best for you.
There are too many kinds to go into detail here, so if you want to know more you can check out our complete ab roller wheel comparison review. It’s important to do your research. If you buy the wrong one, you are going to find it tough to do even beginner exercises properly.
Ab Roller Exercises Instructions for Best Results
Now you have the right roller, it’s time to get rollin’. Ab rollers are incredibly effective when used correctly, but your gains will be slow if you use one wrong. To get the best results, you need to know 3 little tips first.
1 . Keep your thumb on top of the handle, next to your fingers. Visualize your hands as hooks that you are using for stability. This will be more stable as you roll.
2. Keep your back straight and abs tight. If you sag towards the floor as you roll, you risk injury and lessen the effect of the workout.
3. Use the right surface. Not all ab rollers are suitable for all floors. Some won’t work on carpet and some will scratch up your wood flooring. If you are unsure, you can always recheck our full ab roller wheel comparison again here.
Ab Wheel Exercises - How Many Reps?
How many reps to do on your ab roller depends on your core fitness level. As a beginner, concentrate on correct form first, and building reps later. At first, be happy with 3 sets of 2 - 3 really solid roll-outs. Once you have built up some core strength and can do full roll-outs properly, you should aim for 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps.
Ab Wheel Workout Routine for Beginners
Now you know the basics, you are ready to move on to your personalized ab roller workout plan. Next we will briefly explain how you can progress from beginner to expert ab roller workouts. If you want more information, we also have a great article on doing ab roller exercises correctly. Follow the link to find out more.
Quarter Roll Out
This is the basic beginner exercise for ab wheels. You should stick to it for a week or two, until your core strength is at a “basic” level. A lot of people skip this stage due to impatience. This is counterproductive, as it builds the base layer of muscle you need for more difficult rolls. Do not skip it.
Kneel down with your knees together. With the ab wheel on the floor in front of you, hold the handles and bend at the waist. The ab wheel should be directly below your chest. With a slow, controlled motion, roll out until your body is at a 45 degree angle. Use a wall to stop you if this helps. Keep your back straight, stomach sucked in, and arms rigid throughout the motion. Hold for 2 - 3 seconds then slowly roll back to your starting position.
When you can comfortably do 3 sets of 8 - 12 reps, you are ready to move on to the next step.
Half Roll Out
The half roll out functions almost the same as the quarter roll out, except you go a little further and lower. Roll out until you body is about 10 inches from the floor. The roller should stop about 6 inches in front of your head. Again, use a wall to stop you rolling out too far, until you can control it yourself. Hold for 2 - 3 seconds, and roll back to your starting position.
Try it for one to two weeks, or until you can do 3 sets of 8 - 12 reps, with perfect form.
Next Level Ab Roller Wheel Exercises
Once you have mastered the quarter and half roll-outs, you can try these more advanced techniques.
Full Roll Out
The full roll out is the one you see in all the videos on youtube, and the one most people try, and fail, to do when they first get an ab roller wheel. You should only try this when your core strength is moderate, and you can already feel the beginning of some nice muscle in the abdominal region.
Repeat all the same steps as with the quarter and half roll outs, except you aim to go right down to the floor. Your chest should be an inch off the ground, and your arms should be straight out in front of you. Your back, head, and arms should make one straight line. Remember to keep your abs tucked in! Don’t sag!
You may only be able to do one or two at first. That’s fine. Build up slowly over the weeks until you can do 3 sets of 8 - 12 reps, with perfect form.
Plank Roll Out
The ultimate ab roller exercise is the plank roll out. DO NOT attempt this until you have excellent core strength. It will take your six pack from “lookin’ good!” to “holy cow!”
The good news is, you only need to perform one roll out. The bad news is you need to hold that roll out for 30 to 60 seconds. If you have tried regular planks, you know how hard they are. Add an unstable wheel trying to drag you forward into the mix, and you can see why we say this exercise is reserved for expert level rollers! Good luck!
Ab Wheel Results - What to Expect
Ab rollers are one of the most effective ab machines you can use to tone your tummy. If you have the right expectations, ab roller, diet and workout plan, you will see results very quickly.
You need to know your limits, and do exercises that suit your fitness level. You also need to make sure you have the right ab roller. You can find out more about that in our review of the best ab rollers here. Finally, you need a consistent workout plan. Try to use your ab roller 3 times a week, doing 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps, for at least 2 months to start seeing results.