Is Ab Roller Enough For Abs?

ab roller
August 28, 2022 0 Comments

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In this article I will be answering the question “is ab roller enough for abs?”. Is using the ab roller regularly enough to develop great abs?

I will be exploring the ab roller or ab wheel as it is sometimes called. This article will show you how best to use this tool and delve deep into this topic as a whole. 

Is Ab Roller Enough For Abs?

For the majority of people, using the ab roller regularly and with the right technique is more than enough for them to develop strong abs.

They also need to pay attention to their diet and get their body fat levels down to the sub 15% area to see the visible results of their hard work best. Ab definition becomes most visible in lower body fat ranges.

In addition, the question depends on the goals of the person. Someone who competes in bodybuilding or is a strongman or powerlifter, will need to do more overall work for their abs to keep them strong. For these people the ab wheel will just be a tool in their arsenal.

Very often in life, simple is best. This is true when it comes to the ab roller. It is a very simple but highly effective piece of equipment to strengthen and define your abs over time. 

Big Benefits Of The Ab Roller

The ab roller or ab wheel is known as an anti extension core stabilisation exercise. It is challenging as you already need to have good upper body and core strength to execute the movement properly.

The good thing about this exercise is that it uses lots of muscles in the body and requires your body to work as one to perform the exercise. When you are rolling forward you are using your arms. You are also using your hip flexors to control the movement forward.

As you roll back towards the starting position you are using your core heavily. There will also be some involvement of the lats. 

You can work up to higher reps on the ab wheel over time, when performed regularly you will be defining the muscles of the core really well. This is in conjunction with a healthy and clean diet. 

Where the ab wheel shines is that it can be an incredibly effective exercise in reducing and preventing lower back pain. As your core becomes stronger you will experience far less lower back pain. 

As your core becomes stronger you can transition to advanced standing ab rollouts. This is an even more demanding exercise that will force your core to work harder.

The most important thing when it comes to using the ab roller is using it correctly. Too many people do this exercise with their lower backs in extension or hyper extension. This is completely wrong, you should purposely set your lower back into flexion at the start of the movement. 

This will make your abs work properly and deliver you the best results for your efforts. The video below is the proper technique of ab rollouts. You should perform the rollout exactly as is outlined in this video. 

Power Of Heavy Compound Movements For Core Strength

Whilst the ab wheel is very effective as you are moving your body through space and able to train your abs to resist extension, heavy compound movements beltless are even more effective for building a very powerful core.

If you squat and deadlift beltless your core will be doing a lot of work to stabilise very heavy weights. Since the loading potential of both of these power exercises is astronomical, your core can get very strong when applying progressive overload.

In addition, beltless farmers walks are also incredibly effective in building up core strength. The muscles of the obliques are heavily loaded and this exercise is very functional in real life.

To make farmers walks even more challenging for the core you can do them by loading just one arm. Just carry one dumbbell instead of two and walk very slowly. This will force your core to engage and work very hard to stabilise the unbalanced weight. 

This is a great way of building your core strength and it will help you in everyday life. A stronger core can reduce the chances of suffering from lower back pain. It also prevents dysfunction which can occur in many exercises due to weak abs. 

beltless squat

Getting Visible Ab Definition

All the ab work in the world won’t help you see visible definition in your abdominals if your body fat is over 20% for example. The results of the hard work starts to show in the sub 15% body fat range.

This is why it’s important to eat relatively clean and consume lots of protein. Ideally you should be in a very small caloric surplus and just maintain this long term. This will ensure that you are in a good place to maintain your visible abs. 

To learn about a great diet that will help you in your bodybuilding journey, please read my review of the vertical diet by bodybuilder Stan Efferding – you can read it here

Other Effective Ab Exercises

In another article on my website I have written in detail about how to get a strong core. In addition to heavy beltless compound exercises, I am going to mention two other exercises that I believe to be very effective in building up the core muscles.

These are the hanging leg raise and the abdominal crunch. The hanging leg raise is an exercise that is very useful for working the abs through a full range of motion. You can do them in a Roman chair setup with your arms resting on the pad. You can also do the more advanced version where you hang from a pull up bar and perform the leg raises.

This means there is good scope for progression with this exercise and you can develop stronger and better defined abs from doing this movement regularly. I personally prefer doing this exercise in the Roman chair. For more information about the hanging leg raise read this article from coach mag

Abdominal crunches are also a good exercise for working the abs and you can make the exercise harder with resistance. I prefer doing cable crunches but utilising a medium weight and manipulating reps. I wouldn’t recommend going super heavy with this exercise. 

Final Thoughts

Is ab roller enough for abs? Just to re-iterate, yes it is enough when performed regularly with good technique and combined with a quality diet.

However is it optimal to get the best possible ab development and core strength? No, in my view to get optimal ab development you should use a mix of exercises. Heavy beltless compound exercises like squat, deadlift and farmers walks.

You should also rotate in exercises like the hanging leg raise and an abdominal crunch variation. Just like you wouldn’t only perform one exercise for the best possible bicep development, you wouldn’t just do one core exercise to get optimal results.

However, it should be said that just doing ab rollouts regularly will put you ahead of the majority of people when it comes to core strength and stability! 

If you have any questions on this topic please leave me a comment below. As always, stay safe and enjoy your training! 


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