Workouts with a roller, also called an ab wheel, can be some of the most fun, competitive, and challenging exercises you’ll ever do.

Starting from a standing position, rolling out to a full plank, and rolling back up is the dreamworld level of fitness reserved for instagram models; however, with a little practice, you can learn how to start on that path!

What Is It?

Rollers are exactly what they sound like: rollers. Typically, these contraptions take the form of small wheels with handles on each side for grip. Exercises that use the roller can be some of the most effective, but also some of the most challenging, ways to burn fat while strengthening your core.


Nobody knows for certain when the ab wheel first came into use as a workout implement, but we do know that they’ve been popular for decades. Where they started, we don’t know, but they are definitely here to stay.

Nowadays, a full standing rollout is all the craze, popularized by Instagram and other social media fitness models. While they might make it look as easy as a situp, it is far and away one of the most difficult exercises there are. Many long-time lifters can’t even do one!


There are some incredible benefits to using an ab wheel that you simply can’t get to the same extent elsewhere. These benefits include improved core tone, enhanced core control, and of course rock-hard six-pack abs, but it is certainly no one-and-done endeavor.

How to Do It

The most common ab wheel exercise is the roll-out. It’s suggested that you start on your knees for this, meaning you’ll want to have some soft padding to prevent any discomfort. Consider kneeling on a rolled-up yoga mat or wearing rollerblade-style knee pads.

The first step of the exercise to grip one handle in each hand and set the wheel on the ground just in front of your knees. It is absolutely critical that you keep your back perfectly straight or else you risk severe injury. An arched back can lead to muscle cramps or even tears.

Next, slowly wheel yourself away from your body without lifting your knees off the ground. You’ll quickly notice that it’s impossible for you to get even halfway; but, like learning to do that first pull-up, just go as far as you can and come back. With enough practice and dedication, you’ll get there!

Common Variations

Most people vary this exercise by starting and ending in a standing position. This is much, much harder and under no circumstances is it recommended for beginners. The difficulty and risks are simply too high.

Aside from starting and ending at a standing position, the athlete otherwise does all of the same steps as if she were starting from a kneeling position.


If you’re looking for a simple, yet incredibly challenging workout to help you set goals for yourself, look no further than the roller, a.k.a. the ab wheel. Not only will this exercise tool strengthen your core, it’ll also improve core control and flexibility.

Oh, and perhaps most importantly, it will be one incredible party trick!