The ab roller is an equally complex yet basic exercise device. At first, it appears to be a mere wheel, equipped with a handle on both ends. Using it may also seem effortless.
Nonetheless, actually exercising with the ab roller is more complicated than it appears. Only athletes with excellent physical condition can engage in using ab rollers. However, when used accordingly, an ab roller contributes to building and empowering your abs and back, while making your core stronger.
Constructing a stable, strong core is helpful in all physical activities and diminishes the risks of injury. The exercise wheel is, first and foremost, useful in strengthening your core, since it doesn’t target your abs alone, but it also emphasizes on the lower back and other fundamental muscles.
Don’t have time to read? Here are our top 5 recommendations:
- Perfect Fitness Ab Carver Pro
- SKLZ Core Wheels Dynamic Strength & Ab Trainer
- Bio Core Ab Roller
- Lifeline Power Wheel
- Ab Wheel Roller Pro
Why use an ab roller?
It is implicit that the primary purpose of an ab roller is to work your core muscles, together with the rectus abdominis located in the stomach area. Distinct from other types of exercises, which target only a particular group of muscles, the ab roller involves a lot of muscles.
Apart from the abs, pressure is applied on your hips as well, which results in an extended workout session. Additionally, your obliques, pectorals, triceps, deltoids, and other muscles are involved. An essential exercise, namely, the rollout, includes working these muscles.
In the case in which you don’t possess much stability in your core, you’re going to sweat like crazy when you first begin using an ab roller. Even though the exercises may seem tough, they are highly recommended for individuals who wish to develop their core stability, balance, and improve their overall strength.
- Improved balance and confidence
Strength-training exercises, together with ab roller exercises, increase your overall health and fitness status, in multiple ways. If you are dedicated to engaging in various practices with the ab roller, your stamina will be improved. At the same time, this form of exercising prevents a variety of health conditions, while enabling you to manage your ideal weight and maintain it over time. Your balance and confidence are significantly boosted.
- Increased basal metabolic rate
While exercising with the ab roller, you may not burn as many calories as you would with cardio training, this kind of exercising still plays a significant role in burning calories. Boosting your muscle mass imminently elevates your basal metabolic rate, which is the rate at which your body burns calories when you’re not engaged in physical activity.
Strength-training on a regular basis may have a beneficial impact on your basal metabolic rate, increasing it up to 15 percent.
The 5 best ab rollers for core training
Yet, with so many pieces of equipment available for training that specific area, things can be confusing when they don’t have to be. If we had to recommend just one type of equipment, ab wheels are some of the best choices all-around: small, cheap, effective and easy to use; they are just as indicated for beginners as they are for enthusiasts.
When it comes to the Perfect Fitness Ab Carver Pro, we can say that the biggest difference maker is what the producer calls a “kinetic engine”. It’s actually a carbon steel spring that ensures resistance as you extend and assistance when rolling back.
Another positive is its increased wideness. This helps the users keep better balance, and it can also be used at an angle, which is an ideal way of developing the side abs (oblique muscles). Moreover, the hand grips on this wheel are designed not only for improved stability, but also to stimulate arm and back muscles during exercise. This wheel actually helps train most of your upper body.
The materials used are of a superior quality compared to most other wheels. Rubber is used on all the “contact” parts of the wheel. The wheel itself is gentle to any floor type, while the hand grips ensure great comfort and reduce slipping chances.
What’s more important is that the producer offers a well-made, downloadable 21-day plan that is aimed at users of all levels, from beginners to advanced.
The downsides of this equipment are its higher price as compared to the competition (although as of the time of this update the price has been reduced by over 30%) and lower worldwide availability. The official website allows orders only within the US and, while you can find the product on websites like Amazon, the availability, transport fees and shipment times vary with location.
In the end, we can safely say that this is clearly one of the best ab wheels on the market. If you are in a position where you can buy one for a reasonable price, this is potentially the best choice for your money.
However, it was sad to see just how little content and detail there was in the workout guide. We had to look online for more types of exercises suggested by regular users. Clearly, there were times in the past when there wasn’t much available besides the poor official information.
The grip these wheels provide is decent, for the most part. But we did have some issues with smooth surfaces at times. We can only say to have mixed feelings about the wheels.
Another thing that bothered us was the cheap feeling that the foam on the handle gave us, showing signs of wear after only a few days. On the bright side, we found the handle itself to be quite strong and reliable in our tests.
When it comes down to a verdict, the SKLZ Core Wheels remain an interesting product if you want something different when training your core. But a few issues regarding the materials used and instructions offered manage to bring it down a few notches. Still, I like the variation offered by dual rollers vs the single roller style.
Fortunately, the high quality can be felt all around. The build quality of this ab roller is excellent, inspiring confidence that it can last for years of consistent use. Apparently, the wheel frame is made using industrial strength polymers, and the axle is made of stainless steel. The manufacturers are so confident in the ability of this product to sustain great amounts of pressure that they are offering a lifetime replacement guarantee for any of its parts, in the event that something does break in the end.
Besides strength, this product offers one of the highest levels of comfort we’ve seen with its hand grips. The material feels good in hand even after extended use, and we found its anti-slip properties to be very satisfactory.
The rubber on the wheels is high quality as well, providing good performance on any typical surface, without causing damage or high noise levels.
The balance and stability provided by the two wheels were also strong points of this ab roller. We just felt confident in using this ab roller in various ways, as opposed to other pieces of equipment with cheaper build quality.
The resistance the wheel poses was proper to ensure the workout advertised: the entire upper body benefits from using it.
There are not many negatives, but they are worth mentioning. The package that you receive with this product is quite basic. Besides the wheel components and a decent mat, there is nothing to be found. At this price range, you would expect some instructions regarding proper usage, some workout plans, perhaps even some extra items like resistance bands or travel bags.
But that is nitpicking on our part. Overall, Bio Core Ab Roller is a high-quality product that is worth its price.
Its rubber wheel is excellent, providing a good feeling and sense of balance no matter what type of workout you choose to do. The online videos available from the product’s creator are of the highest quality we’ve seen lately.
Yet, there are some build issues that drag what should be an excellent equipment down. Because of the poor hand grip and foot support materials, you will not have the necessary comfort when exercising. This will prevent you from experiencing a lot of what the product can do in theory.
People may also be disappointed with having almost no information in the package, not even instructions as to how you should assemble it.
All in all, we can only dream that these issues will be fixed in a new version, in order for the product to reach its full potential.
Second of all, the materials used feel cheap. It’s not that we expected anything besides plastic at this price range, but we’ve seen better quality than here.
The handles were another problem we had with this product. They just weren’t comfortable at all after extended use and the grip was not satisfactory either. We felt that our hands would sweat more than usual when using this particular ab wheel. If you feel that you have the same issue, we recommend using a cloth over the handles. It should provide a softer feeling to your hand and help with the sweat.
The small wheels also made the product less comfortable than we would’ve liked. What we enjoyed in this area was the distance between the wheels, which helped ensure better stability overall.
There are other good things to be said about this product as well. The ab wheel does a good job of providing a proper workout for the upper body. Anyone who has used products of this kind knows perfectly well the feeling you get in your muscles afterwards – a sign that they work, which is something very noticeable in this case.
Back to a previous statement, when we said the materials feel cheap, our complaint was regarding comfort. The construction itself seemed decent based on the time we spent using the product. While we can’t guarantee how it behaves in the long run, it didn’t give signs of being about to break in our tests – and we tested larger body weights as well. And with the lifetime replacement guarantee, you do have good value for the money either way.
Overall, we feel that the Ab Wheeler Pro is a decent product for its price. That said, it is a bare-bones product with no knee pad and little to no instructions included so buy with caution.
Disadvantage of using an ab roller
Wherever there’s good, there’s also some bad, and the ab roller makes no exception to this all-time rule. The fundamental advantage related to using the ab roller is the fact that it applies enormous pressure on your lower back. In the case in which your back muscles aren’t the strongest or your hip flexors are increasingly tight, you may encounter difficulty in opposing the gravity effect on your abdomen while exercising. That will imminently result in an overarching of your back.
If you wish to prevent injury, experts recommend you to strengthen the back by doing exercises that target that section. For instance, you could opt for lovers or rows, before actually moving up to the ab wheel. Note that, in the case in which you have issues with your lower back, you should avoid the wheel unless your health provider doesn’t advise you to.