When performance is your number one priority, there’s no question which “ab” exercise is King. L-sits? Nope. Toes-to-bar? Nope. Good guesses, but it is the almighty Ab Wheel. The ab wheel might seem like some cheesy infomercial gimmick, but this exercise is the single best ab exercise you can incorporate into your training.
There’s no question that trunk flexion (rounding your back) is not the role of your midline in functional movements. The role of your midline is stabilization. Period. This could be during hip flexion (bending over) and hip extension (standing tall) like in the deadlift or the squat. It could also be stabilization during pull-ups, push-ups, iron crosses, etc etc. The ab wheel, or barbell rollouts (same movement), does just that. Master the ab wheel and not only will all other ab exercises be a piece of cake, the functional movements you perform will improve tremendously.
Here’s how to execute a barbell rollout:
- Start on your knees, and grab a barbell (25’s on each side) thumb distance from the middle of the bar.
- Sit tall on your knees, squeeze your butt, and round your UPPER back (not lower, keep this flat).
- Roll the barbell forward, pushing your hips forward and keeping your upper back rounded (think about keeping your ribcage in one place).
- Initiate the return to start by sliding the barbell back toward you.
The biggest issue we tend to see when people do these is over-extension (arching) in the low back. Don’t do it! Only roll out as far as you can keeping your midline completely still.
For you more advanced athletes, here’s how you’d ramp up the movement:
[media width="800" height ="600" link="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4sb7v0_5N0"]
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