I remember the first time I ever laid eyes on an abdominal roller. I remember how shocked I felt when I couldn’t even do ONE rep. It was a huge surprise. I thought to myself how could such an innocent looking device make my abs feel like they were on fire after just one? If you’ve ever tried an ab roller before, you know what I’m talking about.
In a hurry? Check out our recommendation for the best ab roller: Iron Gym Speed Abs Roller
But years later, and nothing feels better than to come back and bust out a set of 20 reps on an ab roller like nothing. Ah, the sweet taste of victory.
An abs wheel roller is a staple in the gym and a favorite among fitness enthusiast. With new models coming out all the time, you may be looking for one that fits your preferences and budget.
In this exercise wheel review, we’ll discuss the benefits of an ab roller and go through the specifics of some products we think may be just what you’re looking for.
Here’s the top 5 best ab rollers on the market in no particular order:
- Perfect Fitness Ab Carver Pro Roller
- AmazonBasics Abdominal and Core Exercise Roller Wheel
- Elite Sportz Equipment Ab Wheel Rollers
- Iron Gym Speed Abs Roller
- SKLZ Core Wheels
Do Ab Wheels Work?
I’ve always been a fan of the ab roller wheel. But the question still lingers. Can even the best ab roller wheels really bring about that coveted 6 pack? Are ab rollers good? They’re small and easy to carry. After a few rounds, you really feel the burn. But does “feeling the burn” mean it’s effective?
The American Council on Exercise wanted to test how effective certain abdominal exercises were. They did a study comparing 13 exercises. The list included an ab roller.
Using electromyography equipment, they tracked how stimulated the abdominal muscles were from each workout. Then, they ranked each exercise.
Out of 13, the ab roller ranked #9.
Here’s the top 3:
2. Captain’s Chair (hanging leg raises)
3. Crunches on an exercise ball
Yeah, ranking 9 out of 13 is not spectacular.
But let’s put this into perspective. What’s really the most effective ab workout?
If you’ve read our other articles, you’ll already know the answer:
The most effective ab workout is the one you’ll actually do.
If you hate doing bicycles, you’ll never do them. But if you pick up an ab roller and love doing them, which do you think will be more effective in the long term?
Different strokes for different folks. An ab roller may not be as effective as the others on the list, but if it gets you active then what difference does it make?
How Do I Use It?
Roll back and forth. DUH!
Ok, straightforward. But there is one caveat I’d like to draw your attention to.
For every single abdominal roller review, there were a handful of complaints about back pain. This could be from underlying health issues or improper form.
If it’s improper form, its fixable with some minor tweaks. To see how to use an ab roller with proper form, check out this video below.
In a nutshell, brace your core and keep your back from arching during the entire movement. Only go as far as you can without arching your back.
How Do I Get Abs?
This is the cold truth: you won’t get a six pack with an ab roller alone.
You won’t get a six pack with an ab roller alone.
The fact is, most people won’t see a visible 6 pack until they get down to 6-9% body fat range for men, 16-19% for women.
It doesn’t matter how many days in the week you work your abs. As long as your body fat is above these numbers, you won’t see your abs.
So how do you decrease body fat? A clean diet and a proper strength and cardio program.
What Should I Look For In An Ab Roller?
You might be tempted to settle for a cheap ab roller from your local discount store. Don’t do it! You want to treat this purchase like an investment. If you pick up just any old thing, you’re likely to leave it somewhere gathering dust. There are several things you should look for in an ab roller which we will cover below.
It has a design for beginners. Ab rollers are not designed for every level of fitness. If you’re a beginner with minimal core strength, you might not be able to do even a single rep.
This can be completely and utterly discouraging.
Total beginners and others new on their fitness journey (6 months-1 year), should consider getting an ab roller with a spring coil like the Perfect Fitness Ab Carver Pro Roller or the Iron Gym Speed Abs Roller. The spring coil gives a little help during the roll back movement which is the hardest part of the exercise.
If you have an intermediate-advanced level of core and ab strength (1+ years), this might be limiting. Find an ab roller that doesn’t have any resistance like the Elite Ab Wheel. Or if you’re way advanced and want a real challenge, try the SKLZ Core Wheels.
Stability. While a little instability will be beneficial, too much will turn this ab workout into an arm workout. An unstable wheel drains your energy from having to stabilize your arms and wrist. The best ab wheel zeroes in on your core, getting you maximum results.
Durability. The material and design of the ab roller should be durable enough to withstand years of use. Areas to inspect are the hand grips, the rubber on the wheel, and in certain models, the internal spring.
Comfort. The hand grips should be comfortable enough to not discourage exercising. Some brands use an ergonomic design that caters to the width of the palm for added comfort. Others use a simple straight bar design with rubber padding. If you can, test them out before you buy them.
What’s A Good Routine To Follow?
- Use your ab roller 3-4 times per week with a rest day between.
- Do 4-5 sets of 15-25 reps. Start with 15 and increase reps over time.
- Rest 30-60s. Start with 60 seconds and decrease the rest over time.
- Do them before or after your regular workout routine.
- 10-15 minutes is all you need.
I prefer to do them after my workouts, but I’ve seen athletes do them at the beginning as a way to warm up their core.
For more ideas, here’s a sample 10 minute workout.
Top 5 Best Ab Rollers
It seems like every year a new ab roller model comes that is better than the last. This piece of equipment has come a long way since its inception, and luckily for us there are now many different types of ab rollers to choose from. The following abs roller review is for 5 unique products we think deserve special attention.
Unlike traditional ab rollers, the Perfect Fitness Ab Carver rolls out in different directions.This is a huge distinction from older models. Rolling in different directions lets you target the obliques and other abdominal muscles that may not be targeted with an older model. The kinetic assist engine also helps smoothen the roll out, putting less strain on the back.
Beginner Friendly? Yes
- Includes foam knee pads to protect the knees during workout
- Includes a 21 day program to learn new exercises
- Handles come off to comfortably fit into your bag for easy transport
- Kinetic assist engine technology puts less strain on the lower back
- Carbon steel spring is robust and durable to withstand continued use over the years
- Contour hand grip more comfortable so you can focus on the abs
- Rolls straight out, left, and right at varying angles to target more muscle groups
- Grip length keeps arm-to-shoulders angle in a position not healthy for the shoulders
- The spring assist gives too much help for intermediate and experienced users
What really stood out with the AmazonBasics roller wheel for abs was their hand grip.It’s ergonomic grip is so comfortable that it won’t put any strain on your wrist. Meaning that pain from your wrist won’t make you quit- the pain from sore abs will! We also like this exercise roller wheel by Amazon because of its minimal look and design. Plus, being as big a store as Amazon has the benefit of knowing what customer like the most in an ab wheel.
Beginner Friendly? Yes
- Made of durably constructed polypropylene plastic and thermoplastic rubber
- Reinforced with steel tubes to make it more stable
- Easy to assemble
- Ergonomic shape and angle of the handles put less pressure on your arms and wrists
- Wider wheel makes it easier to balance on
- Doesn’t come with many instructional workouts
- Reinforced with steel but looks “plasticy”
- Wheel may leave marks on hardwood floor
The Elite Sports Ab Roller has a unique design.It’s the product in this review that’s a dual ab wheel! This two wheel roller easier to balance, putting less strain on the wrists for a more focused workout on the abs. And for the price, this product offers great value.
Beginner Friendly? No
- Double wheel design makes it easier to balance on than a single one
- Very smooth roll out
- No assembly required: 1 piece design
- Easy to carry on the go
- Max weight capacity 300 lbs
- Easier balance means less workout on your abs
- Plastic design may look low quality to some
- Wheel might squeak on some surfaces
Are you looking for a heavy duty ab wheel? You just found it. The material of the Iron Gym Speed Abs Roller is definitely durable.The design of the wheel lets you move in multiple directions. It also looks quite stylish. The spring inside of this wheel makes it easy to use for beginners. It gives some help on the return movement, the part of the exercise where most novices stop short.
Beginner Friendly? Yes
- Steel coil inside provides resistance on the way out and a controlled return coming back
- Curved, rubber grip handles decrease hand fatigue, keeping your focus on the abs
- The wheel is designed like a small tire so you can move left and right at different angles
- Wider wheel design makes the roll more natural and smooth
- Safe to use on any surface, carpet to hardwood
- Very strong and durable wheel
- Handles have metal latches to prevent it from wobbling during exercise
- Rubber on handle may wear out over time
- Bulky compared to other products
Did you think you would ever find a 4 wheel ab roller? You just did.The SKLZ core wheels is a set of ab wheels instead of an ab roller. These are my favorite because you can use them for more than just your abs. It lets you do the ab roll out per usual. But with both hands free to move in different directions, you could use this for push up variations and increasing the range of motion when stretching! If you’re a bit more advanced and looking for a challenge, get these.
Beginner Friendly? No
- Besides abs, can use to workout upper body like the chest and arms
- Capable of more exercise movements
- Good for enhancing static stretching
- Lightweight and small for easy travel
- Allows for greater range of motion
- 2 set allows user to ab roll at a comfortable shoulder-arm distance for healthy shoulder joint
- May be too challenging for beginners
- Plastic on plastic friction may cause squeaking
- Doesn’t roll out at an angle
- Wheels must roll in the same direction and cannot roll independently
The clear winner is the Iron Gym Speed Abs Roller.
It hits all the criteria that make a great ab roller. It’s beginner friendly but can be adjusted to challenge more advanced users. It has the modern wide wheel design like the Perfect Fitness Ab Carver Pro, but it’s smaller and easier to travel with.
Check Price: Iron Gym Speed Abs Roller
The ergonomic design handle makes it very comfortable to workout with. This puts more focus on your abs and less strain on your wrists. It’s also made of durable material so it will last longer.
While it may not compare in price to the Elite Sportz model, the high quality material used justifies it.