There are many ways you can work your core muscles. Find out what the benefits of ab wheels are to figure out whether they are for you.
These benefits are not always completely unique to ab wheels but even the more general ones make it a tool that is worth considering.
1. Ab wheels can work different muscles
Ab wheels are a piece of fitness equipment that, as the name implies, mainly focuses on your core muscles.
The regular rollout mainly works your abs, hip flexors (front hips), and latissimus dorsi (middle/upper back).
However, there are also ab wheel exercises like the V-roll that focus more on your obliques.
How many ab wheel roll-outs are optimal for certain training goals is somewhat hard to predict since they are a combination of isometric (static) and small isotonic (dynamic) movements.
If you really contract your ab muscles in each roll-out, you could do something like 3 to 6 sets of 6 to 25 (or even 50- roll-outs to grow these muscles.
On the other hand, if you treat ab wheel roll-outs as an isometric exercise, you would focus on the duration instead.
In that case, you would want to do ab wheel roll-outs of 3 to 30 seconds per set and more than 80 to 150 seconds per workout at 70-75% of maximum voluntary contraction (1).
Since maximum voluntary contraction is not really something most people can measure at home, you can use something like a compact weighted vest with a resistance where the durations above are challenging.
2. Ab wheels may reduce and prevent back pain
Aches and pains are somewhat common in modern life. Partly because of the lack of physical activity.
Luckily, there are also still ways to prevent and reduce these aches and pains.
More specifically, growing and strengthening your core muscles with ab wheels can be effective for reducing low back pain (2).
One study observed that a core stabilization exercise program was more effective than routine physical therapy exercises for reducing pain in 120 people with lower back pain (3).
Even if you end up not going for ab wheels, this benefit could be enough to give your core workouts more attention.
3. Ab wheels could make your six-pack stand out
The health benefits of working out are great but it is also fair to say that many people find fitter bodies more visually appealing.
One of the areas where this applies even more is the six-pack.
By growing your ab muscles with ab wheels, they also stand out more.
Keep in mind that your body fat percentage still has to be low enough to see the benefits of ab wheels in this area. If you don’t take care of this, your bigger abs will stay hidden.
4. Ab wheels are budget-friendly
More expensive workout tools like a barbell can still be worth the investment but it is fair to say these require a considerable budget.
At least compared to something like an ab wheel.
Brands can vary but you will likely be able to find a good ab wheel for around 20 to 30 dollars.
One thing to note is that bodyweight core exercises are also often effective. You could work your abs in even more budget-friendly ways than an ab wheel.
5. Ab wheels are compact
Another potential downside of certain exercise equipment options is that they require a lot of room to use and store. This can be a downside for people with smaller living spaces.
On the flip side, one of the advantages of ab wheels is that they are relatively compact.
You could even take an ab wheel with you in the car to take care of any sudden core workout urges.
6. Ab wheels can be more comfortable than alternatives
A somewhat common issue with popular core exercises like crunches is that people find them uncomfortable. There are a few reasons why ab wheels can be a better option in this area.
First of all, some people don’t like the spine bending involved in dynamic core exercises.
In that case, doing ab wheel roll-outs in a way where you keep your spine straight can be a solution.
Another potential issue of many ab wheel alternatives is the contact between the spine and the floor.
Again, ab wheel workouts help you avoid this since you are hovering above the ground with only your knees really touching the floor.