Best Ab Roller
Abs are tough to acquire, likely because few people enjoy cranking out hundreds of sit-ups, crunches, and planks.
However, there’s another way to get those washboard abs you’ve always dreamt of.
The ab roller is an underrated piece of exercise equipment that can turn the dread for your core workouts into excitement.
Looking forward to working out can be a huge motivation booster, and since using the ab roller can be fun, it’s surely worth giving it a try.
Here are our picks for best ab roller on the market!
👑 Our Pick for Best Overall
⭐ Our Other Top Ab Rollers
- Best of the Best: Lifeline Power Wheel
- Runner Up: Perfect Fitness Ab Carver Pro Roller
- Best on a Budget: Fitnessery Ab Roller
- Most Versatile: SKLZ Core Wheel
Best Ab Roller Reviews
Lifeline Power Wheel (⭐ Best of the Best)
The best ab roller for our money is the Lifeline Power Wheel.
This curious-looking ab wheel features pedals as well as handles, so you can use it to tone your legs as well as sculpt your core. It isn’t a piece of exercise equipment intended for the beginner, as it is as heavy-duty as they come. The weight and thickness of this Power Wheel make it a robust workout companion, and one which can make up the most intense core workouts even more testing.
What you’re dealing with here isn’t a run-of-the-mill lightweight ab wheel, but a full on tyre. As a result, you will be met with plenty of resistance as you roll this piece of kit out, which should be exactly what your abdominal muscles need to stretch out and strengthen. While the size and bulk of this ab roller make it a little awkward to move around and travel with, you can be sure that your core workouts at home will be sufficiently challenging.
If you’re up to the challenge of pushing your abdominal muscles hard, then there are few better ab rollers out there. Lifeline claims that its Power Wheel can simultaneously work as many as 20 muscles all over your body. That’s a lot of value coming from a single piece of kit, and it might be the only exercise equipment you ever need to build a strong core.
As well as carving out abs of steel, you can also work your balance, coordination, and stamina with this Power Wheel. Using the comfortable soft foam grips, you’ll have no trouble using this ab roller for a gruelling session. Once you’re done using your arms to power this ab roller forward, you can strap your feet into the adjustable stirrups and get a lower body workout in. Having the ability to switch between your arms and legs will reduce muscle fatigue in the muscle groups, and allow you to extend the duration of your core workouts.
- Features adjustable stirrups for feet
- Comfortable soft foam grips
- Work 20 muscles simultaneously
Perfect Fitness Ab Carver Pro Roller (🥈 Runner Up)
Our runner up pick is the Ab Carver Pro Roller from Perfect Fitness.
Another ab roller which is unorthodox in appearance, this piece of equipment is ultra wide as opposed to the standard slim wheel featured in most ab rollers. The handles are an unusual curved shape, which is an intentional design decision to enhance the ergonomics of the ab roller.
The first thing you might be wondering when you see this ab roller is why the wheel is so wide. It isn’t that Perfect Fitness just stretched out the wheel to make the ab roller more bulky, but rather the manufacturer made it big enough to house an interior kinetic engine. Yes, that’s right, there’s a kinetic engine inside this ab roller powered by carbon steel springs. The result is a more challenging core workout that provides more resistance than the standard ab roller.
The other benefit of having an extra wide wheel is that you are afforded much more stability as you do your ab exercises. If you want to target your obliques, you can roll out at a slight angle and not worry about the wheel falling over or wobbling like a slim one would.
The ergonomic handles of this ab roller can be removed, which makes it suitable for travel. This is great if you have to move around a lot for work, or just like to be able to work out your abs on a regular basis. It also comes with a high density foam knee pad, which you’ll be grateful for in the long run. Also included is a downloaded 21 day workout plan to get you started, and a 1 year warranty.
- Ultra wide ab roller
- Uses interior kinetic engine powered by carbon steel springs
- Removable ergonomic hand grips
- Includes high density foam knee pad
- Comes with downloadable 21 day workout plan
- 1 year warranty
Fitnessery Ab Roller (💰 Best on a Budget)
If you’re on a budget but you still want to work on your abs outside of sit-ups and crunches, then the Fitnessery ab roller could be a good fit for you.
Available for the price of a few coffees, this ab roller is an absolute bargain for the value it offers. This is a great entry point if you haven’t used a piece of equipment like this before, and is perfect for the beginner and more advanced fitness enthusiast alike. This is the number one best seller in its category on Amazon, so you know you’re in good company if you invest in this ab wheel. It’s so popular because it’s the perfect ab roller for a fraction of the price of the more premium exercise equipment.
This ab roller is made with a non-slip rubber wheel to ensure smooth movement every time, and has comfortable hand grips to keep you coming back for more. The stainless steel design keeps this ab roller durable no matter how much you use it. The tread of the thick wheel is sufficient for most floor types and it should be fine for targeting the obliques without shaking as you roll out.
One of the best parts of this ab roller is the extras that it comes with. When you invest in this ab wheel, you also get a comfortable knee pad, a nutrition e-book on building six pack abs, and an Ultimate Ab workout ebook. Considering the ab roller is already very cheap, these extras make the small investment incredible value for money. There’s also the life-time money back guarantee, in case you find that it’s not up to your standards.
- Made with stainless steel and non-slip rubber
- Comes with 3 extras: knee pad, nutrition ebook, Ab Workout ebook
- Includes lifetime money-back guarantee
SKLZ Core Wheel (🦾 Most Versatile)
The SKLZ Core Wheel is the most versatile ab roller we found, as it can work a wide range of muscle groups on top of the abdominal muscles.
The SKLZ Core Wheel looks a lot more like a dumbbell than an ab roller, and is fit for building big shoulders as well as a strong core. To imagine what it’s like to use this ab roller, think of dumbbells with wheels attached at either end instead of weights. That means you can roll them out in every direction, and benefit from the unique hybrid design.
While the standard ab roller only features a single lightweight wheel with tread, this product from SKLZ has a wheel on either side and comes as a pack of two. That means the type of exercises you can do extend beyond just rolling out as you would with a typical ab wheel. With both SKLZ Core Wheels you can do all sorts of. moves from the plank position to hit the abdominal muscles as well as the shoulders. By destabilizing your movements with the wheels on either end, your shoulders, hips, and torso have to work harder in every move.
This challenging piece of equipment has ergonomic foam handles, to make it easier to keep going when things get tough. It also has a lightweight design making it possible to travel with, as well as a training guide which should help you get started out.
- Develop pillar strength (shoulders, torso, and hips)
- Features wheels on both ends
- Lightweight design
- Includes 2 Core Wheels
- Comes with a training guide
The Ultimate Guide to Ab Rollers
Selecting an ab roll is more complicated than you might initially think.
Sure, there’s the standard ab wheel like the one offered by Fitnessery which will do the job well, but it may be the case that you’re looking for something more.
Maybe you want a more challenging workout, or you want to be able to hit more muscle groups with every rep.
You might also appreciate stability in an ab roller to make it less risky, or extras such as a comfortable knee pad or exercise guide.
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If you’ve stumbled across this guide and are curious what exactly an ab roller is and how it can help you build 6 pack abs, here’s the deal.
What is an ab roller?
An ab roller is a piece of exercise equipment designed for training the core muscles.
It’s a less well-known piece of equipment, which is a shame given how effective it can be for building a strong core.
The ab roller looks like a wheel that has a rod going through it.
You would typically find it in the bodyweight mats at most gyms, but it’s more commonly used for home workouts.
How does it work?
The ab roller works by momentum, and requires you to hold the handles either side of the wheel and extend your body to engage and strengthen the abdominal muscles.
It works like a dynamic plank, and requires you to use more core muscles to get into the position than the standard plank.
Starting on your hands and knees, you push the handles forward until you can’t get any closer to the floor and hold this position for as long as possible before returning to the starting position.
What muscles does it target?
The main muscles targeted by any ab roller are the rectus abdominis, which is the scientific term for your abs.
The ab roller also brings your obliques and transverse abdominis into play too, so it really does provide a thorough core workout to rival the classic sit-ups or crunches.
While the ab roller is obviously geared towards growing a stronger core, there are some variations which target other muscle groups like the shoulders.
While there aren’t official types or categories of ab roller, you’ll find as you look into them that there are lots of different styles out there.
There is a standard design which is probably the first thing that’ll come to mind, but there are lots of unique deviations from this which can provide extra benefits for your core workout.
The standard or most common ab roller is a wheel with tread that has handles fitted on either side.
It looks as if somebody has taken a bike wheel or a tyre, shrunk it down, and stuck a big pole through the middle of it.
The idea behind this standard design is using your momentum and core strength to roll the wheel out ahead of you and pull it back.
The wheel won’t provide a lot of resistance itself, and so more emphasis is placed on the move itself and your ability to properly activate and engage your abdominal muscles.
The pros of using the standard ab roller are that it’s easy to use, and the best variation to start out with as a beginner.
If you haven’t used an ab roller before, this is a great type to start with since it’s intuitive and not too challenging.
The main things to look out for are comfortable, ergonomic handles and a sturdy wheel with good tread.
Best For: Fitness beginners, and first time ab roller users.
The wide wheel is an interesting concept, and a great example is the Ab Carver Pro Roller from Perfect Fitness.
The innovation of this ab roller design isn’t so much that the wheel is wide and resembles a small barrel rather than a tyre, but rather what it houses inside.
The Pro Roller features a kinetic engine inside its exterior shell which is powered by carbon steel springs.
What this does is add extra resistance to the movement, making your core workouts much more challenging.
The other benefit of the wide wheel is that you can expect stability, even when you go at an angle to target your obliques.
The pros of this design then are that you get a more challenging core workout and unrivalled stability.
Best For: Experienced fitness enthusiasts.
The double wheel design can be seen in products like the SKLZ Core Wheels.
Essentially this design is what would happen if you took a dumbell and replaced the weights on the end with lightweight wheels.
The advantage of doing this is you get an ab roller which is suitable for more than just the ab roll exercise.
You’ll have a whole array of core exercises at your disposal with this type of ab roller, and you can target your shoulders and hips just as well as your abdominal muscles.
With the SKLZ Core Wheels you can do all sorts of dynamic movements from the plank position.
The primary benefit of using the double wheel ab roller is that the destabilization will force your muscles to work hard to complete every repetition.
This makes it a challenging ab roller variation to use, and one which can diversify your core workouts greatly.
Best For: Core exercise variation
What we’re referring to as the multi use ab roller is one which can be operated with either the hands or the feet.
This variation is highly effective for hitting your core muscles in a variety of ways, as well as keeping your workouts fresh and interesting.
We highly recommend this type of ab roller, and that’s why the LifeLine Power Wheel is our top pick overall.
What’s great about the ab roller you can use with your hand and feet is the versatility it offers you.
If your upper body is tired you can still work your abs with the roller without reaching muscle fatigue, and vice versa.
You can also dedicate a whole workout session to using the ab roller since you’ll be able to target the core muscles in many ways.
The benefits of this type of ab roller are mainly how enjoyable it can be to use it with both hands and feet, and how thoroughly you can work your core muscles as a result.
Best For: Mixing up the workouts with hands and feet
What to Look For
Regardless of the type of ab roller you are most interested in, there are some factors that will be important to look out for.
You want to ensure that everything is up to scratch so that you can make the most out of your core workouts every time you hit the mat.
One of your main priorities with any piece of exercise equipment should be comfort.
If you aren’t comfortable as you do an exercise, you might tap out before you get to those last few crucial steps.
By comfort we don’t mean the equipment has to be easy, only that you shouldn’t actively feel discomfort just by using it.
The best ways to ensure comfort with the ab roller are to get one with ergonomic grip handles, and knee pads.
If you don’t have ergonomically-designed handles for your ab roller, you might find that your wrists or hands hurt as you perform the exercise.
Likewise, if you don’t have knee pads or something soft to have under your knees then you’ll struggle to complete the repetitions.
Of course, knee pads aren’t part of the actual ab roller, but many of them will come with knee pads included so this is worth looking out for.
There are a lot of varieties of ab wheel, and many features that can enhance the effect of the ab wheel for your core strength.
One feature which can improve the versatility of an ab roller is pedals.
While it may sound counterintuitive to have pedals on something you use with your hands, it can add another dimension as you’ll be able to operate the ab roller with either your hands or feet.
Other ab wheels might have thicker or thinner wheels, which will affect the stability of the equipment and how easy it will be to maneuver.
The size and width of the ab roller will affect everything from the stability of the wheel to the portability, and the maneuverability.
The stability of the wheel is important because you don’t want it to wobble around and shake a lot as you go through the motion.
While a little bit of destabilization can bring in extra muscle groups and increase the intensity of the workout, it can also lead to injury so ideally you want a wheel that looks robust.
With regards to portability, this can be an important factor if you travel around a lot for work and like to keep your core muscles strong.
The best way to ensure that an ab roller is portable is that it has detachable grip handles so you can pack the equipment away in a bag.
You might also consider the more standard design with a lightweight wheel as opposed to the wide wheel with an internal kinetic engine if you want to use it on the go.
The maneuverability is important for an ab roller because it will add more variation to your core muscle workouts.
While going straight forward is the conventional way to do the ab roll exercise, you can also move forward at an angle in order to bring other muscle groups into the move.
For example, if you were to take a more diagonal route with the exercise, you could better work the oblique muscles.
The ab roller can be a tough piece of exercise equipment to get to grips with.
As a result, there are some extra features which you’ll be grateful to have.
Here are the extras that can add the most value to your investment.
- Knee pad
The most important extra you could hope to be included with your ab roller is a knee pad.
Since you’ll need to be on your hands and knees to do the ab roll exercise, it’s imperative that you have something to put under your knees so they’re comfortable.
While you can certainly make do with a workout mat or a cushion, it’s always nice to have everything you need straight out of the box.
The very affordable Fitnessery ab roller is one example of an ab wheel that comes with a knee pad.
- Workout guide
Given that it can be a little tricky to nail the ab roll exercise first time, you can definitely benefit from having an exercise or workout guide.
These specific instructions given by the manufacturer will help you figure out exactly what you need to do.
This is important not only to make the most of the ab roller, but also to use it in a safe way.
If you perform the ab roll move with improper form, it can damage the connective tissue in your shoulders and lead to some serious discomfort or pain.
The SKLZ Core Wheels is a great example of an ab roller product that comes with a useful guide.
In fact, this set of two unique ab rollers includes a detailed guide which will give you plenty of exercises to try out as soon as you get your hands on it.
Some ab rollers come with some form of money-back guarantee, which can make the investment a lot easier to justify.
If you’re sceptical about the effectiveness of the ab roller, then you could find one which comes with a full money-back guarantee like the Fitnessery ab roller.
If you find that it isn’t how you expected or doesn’t work your core strength like you hoped it would, then you can get a full refund and you haven’t lost anything.
There are many reasons to consider investing in an ab roller, and adding it to your home workout equipment collection.
The ab roller brings something novel and exciting to your core workouts, and might just replace those endless sit-ups and crunches.
There’s also several reasons why you might consider using an ab roller over the more traditional bodyweight ab exercises, and we’ll get into that too.
Muscles it works
The ab roller is a piece of exercise equipment designed to help you build strong abdominal muscles.
The idea behind it is that you get into a low plank position and engage your abs the whole way through the movement.
This will work all of the core, from the obliques to the transverse abdominal muscles.
You can even target specific abdominal muscles like the obliques by altering how you perform the exercise if you want to.
Then there’s the ab roller variations like those we reviewed in this guide which can target more muscles in the body than just those in your core.
Reduced back pain
One of the biggest advantages of using an ab roller instead of cranking out numerous sets of crunches and situps is that it reduces the risk of experiencing back pain.
While it’s not uncommon to feel lower back pain while performing many bodyweight ab exercises, the ab roller eliminates this pain and targets your core muscles to strengthen the back too.
This can help you with maintaining correct posture, as well as defining your abs.
There’s an intensity about using the ab roller that you can’t get with a lot of bodyweight ab exercises.
Since you are using your whole body weight to move forward with the ab wheel, you really get the most out of your abs when you engage them.
There’s a feeling of real intensity and satisfaction as you fight gravity to pull yourself back up to your hands and knees.
This intensity not only contributes to more challenging core workouts, but will help you achieve your ab-related goals quicker than bodyweight movements.
Let’s face it, working out your core muscles can be a drag at the best of times.
While there are some masochists out there who’ll tell you they love nothing more than doing hundreds of sit ups, for most of us it isn’t the most enjoyable part of the body to train.
Using the ab roller is actually quite enjoyable though.
Partly because it reduces the risk of back pain, and partly because it’s hugely satisfying to roll the wheel out and bring it back with your core muscles alone.
You can also get away with doing less sets and reps with the ab roller than you would with sit ups alone, since it lends itself well to high intensity training.
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How to Use the Ab Roller
The ab roller is an incredible piece of home workout equipment that can target your core muscles and build six pack abs if you persevere.
However, as with any exercise, it’s incredibly important that you use the ab roller out with correct form.
If you take the ab roller out of the box and start using it without consulting the guide first, you might end up in a lot of pain and not wanting to use the equipment again.
So how do you perform an ab roll with the correct form?
The first thing you should consider is where to perform the exercise. You shouldn’t ever try to do it on carpet or hard floor since the friction can be very painful and lead to injury as you go through the movement.
If you don’t have a workout mat, then the next best thing is a knee pad. A lot of ab rollers include a knee pad which is handy, but if you don’t have one then a pillow should suffice.
Another factor to bear in mind on the practical side is you’re going to need to find a space that can accomodate the forward movement of the ab roll.
Now for the exercise itself.
The first thing you should do is get onto your hands and knees, making sure your knees are on some kind of padding.
Put your hands on the handles of the ab roller and position your shoulders just behind your wrists.
When you’re ready, engage your core and slowly roll the ab wheel forwards.
You will feel tightness in your core which is what you’re looking for, but if it becomes too intense to roll back to your starting position you should stop extending.
If possible, hold at the end of the movement with your arms extended out in front of you as this will really put the pressure on your core. This is the key to improving your abdominal muscles and maximising the intensity of the exercise.
Keep your butt from sagging to the floor, and don’t arch your back as you go through the movement.
Slowly pull the ab roller back to the starting position, so you’re on your hands and knees.
The key here is to use your abs as much as possible to do the contracting. Try not to rely on your arms, but rather think about bringing your belly button towards your back.
Remember not to go too quickly either, as you can tear connective tissue in your shoulders if you aren’t careful.
Since this is a difficult move to master, here are some extra tips to ensure you perform the exercise with perfect form.
Use a Wall
One of the best things you can do when you start using the ab roller is to use a wall.
Put around 3ft of distance between yourself and a wall, or just enough distance to roll out to without overextending yourself.
This way, you won’t run the risk of overextending and injuring yourself.
At the end of the movement, once your ab wheel makes contact with the wall, you should hold it for a moment or two before you bring it back.
The stronger you feel in your core, the further away from the wall you can perform the movement and the closer to the ground you should aim to end it.
Go slowly with the ab roll.
This is more of a health tip than anything else, since you make yourself vulnerable to injury if you go too quickly.
Going slowly is also the best way to nail perfect form, since the wheel will move fast if you push it and that can make it hard to complete the repetition properly.
Remember that the ab roll is more about time spent holding the exercise than it is about cranking out endless repetitions.
With that in mind, if you want to improve and strengthen your abdominal muscles as much as possible, aim for a slow movement with each rep.
Hold Each Rep
While some exercises are more about the amount of repetitions you get in than the duration you hold the move, the ab roll doesn’t conform to this rule.
In fact, you’re doing a disservice to yourself if you try to rush through the ab roll exercise.
Yes, it’s far more difficult if you hold each repetition, but if you want to see results with your abdominal muscles then it’s 100% necessary to do so.
Ideally you want to hold the position you’re in at the end of the rep for anywhere between 2-4 seconds.
This is the sweet spot for this move, but the longer you can hold it the better.
The most important thing to bear in mind with this though is that you shouldn’t hold it for longer than you’re able to.
By that we mean if you push yourself too hard, you might find that you’re unable to use your core strength to bring yourself back to the starting position of the exercise.
If that’s the case, then you’re missing out on one of the most important movements for building core strength.
As a result, you need to find out how long you can hold each rep while still being able to roll the wheel back.
Establish a Routine
Once you’ve mastered the correct form for the ab roll, it’s time to think about establishing a routine.
The worst thing you can do with a piece of exercise equipment like this is get it out once in a while for the novelty factor rather than regularly including it in your workouts.
While it can be something fun to mix up your workouts from time to time, the ab roller can also form part of your exercise regime as much as a dumbell or barbell.
Just like bicep curls, shoulder press, or any other dumbell exercise, with the ab roller you’ll want to aim for a certain number of sets and reps.
If you start out only able to do 3-5 reps, then you can set yourself the goal of doing 3 sets of this amount of reps each week.
To increase the difficulty, you can either incorporate more sets, more reps, or hold the move longer at the end.
You probably shouldn’t exceed 10 reps though, so if you get to the point where 8 or 9 is easy, then focus on holding each rep for an extended period of time.
While it is a fantastic exercise for building core strength, we would recommend including other ab exercises into your core workouts too.
Ab rolls can be very effective, but as with any muscle group you need to make sure you keep it active in as many ways as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions About Ab Rollers
Does the ab roller really work?
The ab roller is an interesting alternative to endless sit ups and crunches, and the evidence suggests that it can be effective for building a strong core.
The key to getting the best results with the ab roller is using it with the proper technique, if you rely on your arms instead of engaging your core as you roll out then you’ll be better off sticking to the crunches.
However, use it with an activated core and the ab roller can be an amazing tool in your core-building arsenal, which can make working out your abs a lot of fun.
What is the best ab roller to buy?
The best ab roller, at least in our view, is the Lifeline Power Wheel.
We rate this ab roller above the others because it provides a real challenge for your core workouts, as well as a unique twist on the standard ab wheel.
You can use this ab roller with both your hands and feet, which can keep things interesting and work out as many as 20 muscles throughout the body.
How often should you use an ab roller?
Like with any new piece of exercise equipment, it’s important that you slowly introduce it into your current workout regime.
If you aren’t currently working out your abs, then you don’t want to use the ab roller too often, as laughing will become something you actively try to avoid.
As a general rule, you could start out with three days a week. Though you can give or take a day depending on your current workout regime.
Is the ab wheel better than sit ups?
There is some evidence to suggest that the ab wheel is better than sit ups.
The main reason for this is that unlike sit ups, the ab roller doesn’t place as much stress on your lower back, which can dissuade you from doing core work as part of your workouts.
A lot of people find that the ab wheel is more enjoyable than doing huge amounts of sit ups too, so motivation is easier to muster.
A Final Word From Energetic Lifestyle
Selecting the right ab wheel will depend largely on your current workout regime, and what muscles you want to target.
There are more types of ab wheel than you might think, so take the time to consider which would be the best fit for you in the long term.