There are many misconceptions circling around regarding ab rollers. People tend to view them through a pair of late ’80s fitness craze glasses. Back then, ab rollers were all the rage. The problem is that this fairly simple device actually has a steep learning curve. Rolling out and then crunching back in may look straightforward, but doing it correctly such that your abdominal muscles are worked, while your lower back is preserved, is anything but. And, while you can pick up a cheap ab roller from Walmart for $10 or less, the quality of the device has as much of an impact on the quality of the movement as your control over technique.
This is where we come in.
We went ahead and found the best ab rollers (ab wheels) for building a stronger core.
The models we’ve reviewed have proven themselves over time as the best options for softening up that learning curve we just mentioned. After we go over our picks for this guide, we’ll also discuss how to properly use an ab roller, what to avoid and what to look for in one.
The objective of this guide is to arm you with all the necessary information regarding ab wheels. By the time you’re done reading, you should know which model best fits your needs and how to properly use it. Most importantly, you should come to the conclusion that ab rollers are far from being a gimmick. You’ll find out that this simple device has the potential to help you build a rock-solid core. With that said, let’s get started with an overview of our top picks.
Best Ab Roller At a Glance
Best Ab Roller Overall
In classic Rogue style, this ab wheel is built to last. The handles sit on a nickel plated steel shaft that runs through sealed bearings, making this the smoothest and best ab wheel you can spend your money on.
Best Value Ab Roller
This ab roller from LAFENI focuses more on control than anything else. The wide wheel requires less balance, and while this makes rollouts somewhat easier, it also allows you to focus on form. It comes with a few extras, making it not only good quality, but also great value
Best Budget Ab Roller
This low-cost, no frills ab wheel from Power Guidance isn’t going to set the world alight, but it will get your abs burning. You can easily break it down and tuck it into a suitcase or travel bag, making it a great option for people who frequently get their exercise done in hotel rooms.
The Best Ab Roller / Ab Wheel
|Rogue Fitness Ab Wheel||
|LAFENI Ab Roller||
|Power Guidance Ab Wheel||
|Perfect Fitness Ab Carver Pro Roller||
|Elite Sportz Equipment Ab Wheel Rollers||
|Rogue Fitness Ab Wheel|
|LAFENI Ab Roller|
|Power Guidance Ab Wheel|
|Perfect Fitness Ab Carver Pro Roller|
|Elite Sportz Equipment Ab Wheel Rollers|
Rogue Fitness’ Ab Wheel comes in at the top of our list for a number of reasons. We feel that Rogue did their homework regarding what makes a good ab roller. Since these devices are fairly simple, you’ll see plenty of brands out there chasing that competitive edge through flashy designs. Rogue didn’t take that bait. Instead, they made sure the quality of their product was hard to beat.
It all starts with a simple design. It’s slim, utilitarian and generally efficient. Rogue went with a nickel plated steel shaft paired with a set of sealed bearings as the foundation for the Ab Wheel. Then they slapped a high-quality wheel that is 8″ in diameter to it. The wheel houses a 3″ wide threaded tire with a ridge line in the center. That way it forces you to keep the wheel straight, hence activating your core even further. As far as build quality goes, Rogue did an impressive job.
- Nickel plated steel shaft running over sealed bearings ensures longevity
- Threaded wheel with a ridge line in the middle
- One of the most durable ab rollers out there
The Not So Good
- Definitely not the most affordable model out there
Next up is Lafeni’s Ab Roller. Even though it looks rather similar to our previous pick, this roller is based around a wholly different principle of use. Lafeni went wide with this one. The wheel is 3.7″ thick, which eliminates the need for you to focus on stability almost entirely.
Quality wise, it is a decent package. It may not look like much from the outside, with its PVC components and a flashy red exterior. However, it hides a steel shaft at its core that’s rated for 600 lbs. That’s a decent amount of weight for such a small roller.
What makes Lafeni’s Ab Wheel so attractive is the bang for the buck value it brings to the table. This is one of the most affordable models on the market, that’s also durable and reliable. On top of that, Lafeni ships these with a set of resistance bands and knee pads to sweeten the deal. Overall, it’s a strong contender.
- Best bang for your buck
- Features quality components and solid materials
- Comes with resistance bands and knee pads
The Not So Good
- Wide wheel design makes the exercise easier on your core
Power Guidance has created an ab roller for the masses. This thing is not on par without our top pick in terms of immortal components, or with our second pick when it comes to value. This is a different type of beast altogether.
Designed to be affordable and compact, Power Guidance Ab Wheel is a perfect choice for frequent travelers. Easy to assemble and break apart, this roller can be stashed away in your luggage without you ever feeling it.
They’ve used a simple stainless steel core and wrapped it in foam. The wheel itself is a hard plastic piece that features a rubber texture. It’s about 2″ wide and completely flat. Aside from being a decent travel wheel, Power Guidance Ab Wheel is also a good beginner model.
Low price low commitment, so you’ll be fine even if you end up disliking it for whatever reason. Although, that’s not very likely.
- Surprisingly affordable model
- Decent build quality all things considered
- Compact and easy to break down for travel
The Not So Good
- It’s as basic as they come
Speaking of odd or unique designs, Perfect Fitness Ab Carver Pro takes the cake in this department. They went above and beyond in making their Ab Carver Pro as goofy looking as possible. However, underneath all that wacky exterior hides a solid performer – a device that will help you build a stronger core.
As it turns out there’s meaning to this madness. Perfect Fitness Ab Carver features a patented carbon steel spring mechanism inside the wheel itself. This mechanism adds artificial resistance as you’re rolling out.
You could say that it helps prevent overextending, but it also hits your core harder. Build quality wise, everything is solid. There’s a lot of plastic on this thing, but it’s high quality and fairly durable. The only weak point is the spring itself. You’ll have to apply some care when using the roller. Otherwise, the spring won’t last too long. It’s a small price to pay for what this patented system does for you.
- Unique patented system that actually works
- The wide thread allows for easy use
- Reasonably priced
The Not So Good
- Patented spring is not as durable as we’d like it to be
The last pick on our list goes to Elite Sportz Equipment Ab Wheel. Compared to most of our other picks, this one is rather pragmatic in nature. There are no fancy patents, no sleek looking rollers. No, this ab roller features a design that was around decades ago. In most cases with most other equipment that would be a bad thing. Not with ab rollers, though. That simplicity of design has allowed Elite Sportz Equipment to go all out with materials. This thing is built like a tank.
Most vintage rollers had issues with wobble after a while. In order to prevent that from ever happening, they just added another wheel. You’re probably noticing a pattern here. This model is quite utilitarian. At this price, we can’t really ask for more. Both wheels feature thick, smooth rubberized thread. Handles offer a good grip and enough room for the biggest of hands. It’s a solid package for sure.
- Simple, utilitarian design bolstered by the sturdy build quality
- Comes assembled out of the box
- Reasonably priced for what it offers
The Not So Good
- While core materials are great, the finishing plastics feel somewhat cheap
Should You Get an Ab Roller?
Core training is one of those important things many people can procrastinate on, which is a terrible mistake.
Developing strength and stability in the core muscles has numerous benefits for your health, well-being, and physical performance.
Not only does a strong, well-developed core look great, it also helps to prevent injury. Research has consistently found that weakness in the core muscles is associated with increased risk of back injury.
Building a strong core can, therefore, reduce the likelihood of injuries caused by instability in the spine and trunk. And, it’s not just your spine and trunk that benefit from developing your core muscles – your lower body is also heavily influenced by the strength, or lack of strength, in the abdominal and other core muscles.
There is a wealth of research showing a link between poor core muscle activation (caused by deficiencies and weaknesses) and knee injuries. Patellofemoral pain, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, and other non-specific knee injuries are also more likely when you don’t have strong core muscles.
Moreover, a strong core is not only critical for overall health: It also provides functional support for many other common forms of exercise, including Weightlifting and Powerlifting
What most people fail to understand is that you can’t lift heavy without a strong core. In fact, you can’t function at your best in everyday life without strength in the muscles that stabilize your trunk. Those pelvis, lower back, and abdominal muscles are a source of stability. When you get into heavy squats, you’ll need all the help you can get to keep your lower back from becoming a casualty of your aggressive routine.
As you can see, building strong abdominal muscles, and therefore a strong and stable core, is extremely important. Ab rollers are a great way to build that core.
They were never truly popular among the masses due to how hard they are to use properly. That doesn’t mean that pros don’t use them, though. On the contrary, chances are that every athlete or fitness professional who works on their core uses an ab roller. So, should you get an ab roller? A better question would be, do you want to build your core into a rock solid foundation for the rest of your body? If the answer is yes, then go get yourself an ab roller.
Choosing the Right Ab Roller
Finding the right ab roller can be tricky. Yes, ab rollers are super simple on paper, but there are so many little things you need to look after. Here are some of the basics.
Quality core shaft: The shaft is everything on a roller. If this component is weak, the roller isn’t safe for use. You’ll want to find something with a steel shaft, preferably riding on sealed bearings. Avoid plastic cores no matter how good they look.
Good grip size and comfort: Those handles sticking out of each side of the wheel are very important. Not only do they need to be durable enough to sustain frequent use, but they need to be comfortable and large enough to fit your hands properly.
Wheel design: Here’s a good rule of thumb when it comes to the wheel design itself. If you’re a beginner, stick to wide wheels or flat threaded wheels. These require little additional effort to maintain balance. If you’re an advanced user, you could benefit from the challenge offered by rollers that have a ridge running through the middle of the thread.
Frequently Asked Questions About Ab Rollers
Now that we have the basics down, let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions regarding ab rollers. You might find a few answers you’ve been looking for in this section of our guide.
Do ab rollers actually work?
Yes. Ab rollers actually work. Despite their somewhat tarnished image in the ’80s and ’90s, ab rollers are coming back with a bang. Not only do they work, but they work extremely well as long as you’re using them properly. The key is to engage nothing else but your abdomen as you’re rolling out and rolling back in. That way you’re building muscle, burning calories and preventing potential injuries to your back.
Do ab rollers burn belly fat?
They do but not in a way you’d think. The way our bodies store and use fat is complicated. You can’t just attack a specific area of fat tissue. Our bodies simply don’t work that way. Instead, you will start burning fat all over the place at a constant rate.
Figuring out which portion of your body is going to lose fat first depends on your genetics. We’re all different in that regard. With all that said, ab rollers will help you burn fat but only in a sense that its exercise, and exercise burns fat. One of the postulates of personal fitness is being a realist. You might as well become one early.
Do ab rollers work all parts of your abs?
Yes, ab rollers hit the entirety of your main abdominal muscles as well as your obliques (side abdominal muscles). This applies to the standard ab rollout exercise. There are, however, numerous variations out there. You can use these to target your obliques or accentuate different portions of your abs.
We strongly suggest that you dig deep into the dynamics of ab rollout exercise in order to fully understand what it does for your body. With a better understanding of different variations, you will b able to work your entire abdominal muscles more efficiently.
How many reps should I do with an ab roller?
If you like to work in rep ranges, then you should go for as many as you can pull off without compromising your form. There is no definitive amount of reps you need to do to gain killer abs because that will depend on your level of ability. Your first and only goal, in the beginning, should be your form. We have already talked about how ab rollouts require a lot of skill. It’s hard to emphasize this enough. Improper form can easily lead to lower back injuries and that is not something you want to deal with.
Most beginners start with limited rollouts. In other words, you’re not going for the full extension but half at most. Using nothing but your abdominal muscles, test out how far you are comfortable rolling out. The moment you reach a point where your lower back is kicking in to help you roll back, you’re overextending. Dial it back a little and try again.
Ab rollout exercise is not something you can rush. It’s another exercise that doesn’t tolerate bad form. Also, you will greatly improve your chances of building a good set of abs if you combine the ab rollout exercise with other exercises that target the abs. For one your muscles will react positively to different stimuli, and you’ll also get a break from that ab roller. It is pretty much the only way to get the best results in the shortest amount of time.
We’ve included a handy video below that quickly shows how to do good rollouts. Once you’ve got this mastered, as the video shows, you may be better off aiming for timed sets, rather than sets consisting of a certain number of reps. For example, you might start off doing 30 second sets with good form, then building up to 1 minute sets, and then increasing from there.
Well, there you have it: The Best Ab Roller (Ab Wheel) for Building a Stronger Core! We’ve put together an assortment of great models that we feel meet all the necessary criteria. Some of these are cheap, some are expensive, but they are all on this list for a reason.
Our goal was to include something for everyone, no matter how big or small your budget is. As far as we’re concerned, all of these will help you build your abs and strengthen your core as long as you put in the work. All you have to do is pick the right one for you!
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As always, best of luck with your home workouts. Remember: When it comes to our health and fitness, we can make the effort or make excuses, but we can’t make both.
THFF (The Home Fit Freak)