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Ab Rollout — How to Do It, Muscles Worked, Variations & Common Mistakes

The ab rollout is a bodyweight exercise that engages your whole core. Find out about the ab rollout, its variations, and the muscles worked, and add it to your workout regimen.

Joe Wlison
Ab Rollout — How to Do It, Muscles Worked, Variations & Common Mistakes
Table Of Contents

Are you looking for a way to rock your core and strengthen your abdominal muscles? Look no further than the ab rollout! This simple exercise might look old-school and easy, but it can give you an intense workout that helps work every muscle in your midsection – not bad for an exercise popularized back in the Ancient Greek days.

In this blog post, we'll walk through why ab rollouts are so effective, how to do them correctly, variations of the exercise to switch up your routine, and common form mistakes to watch out for.

Keep reading if you're ready to sculpt like a Grecian statue – without all those stone chisels.

How to Do Ab Rollouts

Ab Rollouts are a highly effective exercise for shredding your core. They help you achieve a chiselled set of six-pack abs and improve stability and balance, making them an essential addition to any strength workout.

When performing rollouts, use proper form throughout the entire range of motion to get the most out of this great exercise.

To do it,

  • Start by putting the ab roller on the ground and hold it with both hands, palms facing away from you. Kneel down on the floor.
  • Slowly roll the ab roller out and stretch your body forward. Kneel as much as you can without touching the ground.
  • Make sure your core is tight, so your back doesn’t sway. Breathe in this part of the movement.
  • After a slight pause at the stretched position, engage your core and exhale as you pull yourself back to your original position. Squeeze your core here to avoid stress on your lower back.

Muscles Worked

This movement engages the rectus abdominis, obliques, and erector spinae (lower back) muscles and the latissimus dorsi (upper back) and shoulder muscles.

The ab rollout can build a strong foundation for all your other exercises by developing strength and balance with proper practice and form.


Ab rollout is an excellent exercise for your body. Here are the benefits that ab rollout provides.

Defined Core

One of the primary advantages of using an ab roller is that it can target many areas of your midsection. It works the widely-recognized ‘six-pack’ rectus abdominis muscles and your transverse abdominis, internal and external obliques, and lower back muscles.

A stronger core provides many benefits for everyday life, such as enhanced balance, better posture, and reduced risk of injury due to increased muscular endurance.

In addition, strengthening these muscle groups with an ab wheel rollout can help you achieve a defined midsection if this is the desired outcome.

Stronger Upper Body

The ab roller is an underrated piece of exercise equipment, but it has the power to work your entire upper body. From your lats, deltoids, chest, biceps, and triceps – the ab roller challenges all your muscle groups as you roll out and back in.

Using the device involves keeping your spine straight and strong as it requires recruitment from several muscle groups at once.

Stable Hips

Ab wheel rollouts strengthen and tone your core muscles as your abs, hip flexors, and glutes are engaged during the exercise.

Keeping your glutes tight when you do the rollout will ensure you reap the maximum benefits from this exercise. As a bonus, doing ab wheel rollouts properly requires total-body control, which also helps you get more muscular abs.

Functional Strength

Working with a roller works each muscle of your 'core complex' and their connections to the spine. It is like functional training: teaching the muscles to work using realistic everyday motions, giving those muscles balance and stability so you can practice whatever activities you desire without injury.

Not only that but exercise centers like these also burn more calories than isolating any one exercise or muscle group. This means that more muscles are worked in tandem, giving sharper results overall.

Improved Posture & Lower Back Health

To prevent this, core-strengthening exercises such as the wheel can effectively build a strong base. This exercise strengthens abdominal and back muscles while also improving core control by teaching your trunk muscles how to brace against an extension effectively.

Practicing the wheel regularly can help you maintain the ideal lower back curvature and ensure your movements are safe for your spine health.

Additionally, since your core is involved in pushing, pulling, twisting, and rotating movements - all beneficial for overall mobility, strengthening your core with this exercise can help reduce injuries from physical activity and improve performance with daily activities.

Safe Exercise

When it comes to protecting your back, anti-extension work is essential. This exercise helps you adopt a protective posture, especially when running and lifting weights.

Although overarching the spine can be beneficial in some stretches and exercises, it is essential to ensure your core musculature has the capacity to deal with loads in these positions. Mastering a "wheel" posture is an effective way to ensure that you are in the correct position for various activities, including overhead shoulder presses, squats, and deadlifts.

Fortunately, this body positioning can help you stay safe while achieving outstanding results.

Modifications and Variations

If you want to challenge yourself with different variations and modifications of the ab rollout, try these out.

Ab Wheel Planks

Ab wheel planks are an effective and straightforward way to strengthen your core muscles. This exercise will provide you with the agility and stability necessary for many daily activities and is particularly popular among athletes who must maintain perfect balance when performing jumps or high-intensity exercises.

To do it:

  • Start in a push-up position with your hands on the ab wheel handles.
  • Keep your arms extended.
  • Take a good grip and raise your knees from the ground so that the ab wheel and your toes are on the ground.
  • Your body should be straight from your head and neck to your ankles.
  • Stay in this position for 40-60 seconds.

Ab Wheel Pikes

Ab wheel pikes are an effective and powerful exercise designed to build core strength and stability. This difficult move combines a standard pike with an ab wheel roll-out, simultaneously intensifying the abdominal muscles in two ways: through the rolling motion of the wheel and the vertical body lift of a classic pike.

To do it:

  • Put your feet in the straps.
  • Form into a tabletop plank position on straight and extended arms with your body straightening from head to heels.
  • Line up your wrists, elbows, and shoulders underneath each other.
  • With your legs straight, pull the ab roller towards you with your feet.
  • This will form in a shape where your hips are upwards, creating a V shape with your lower body and torso.
  • Pause for a second before slowly rolling the ab wheel back outwards to form a straight line with your body.
  • Do 10-12 reps.

Ab Wheel Knee Tucks

Ab wheel knee tucks are a great way to work on core strength, posture, and overall fitness. You can add resistance to your core workout by using bodyweight exercises like this one without over-taxing your muscles.

To do it:

  • After putting your feet in the straps, go into a tabletop plank position on straight arms with your body in a straight line that has no sagging through your lower back.
  • Put your shoulders so that your wrists, elbows, and shoulders are lined up.
  • Pull your knees to your chest by getting the ab wheel towards you with your feet.
  • Slowly return to the original position.
  • Do 12-15 reps.

Kneeling Ab Wheel Rollouts

Kneeling ab wheels are an incredibly effective tool for targeting your core muscles. The wheel's motion challenges your balance while focusing on the deep core muscles enables you to engage in a tremendously intense contraction.

Kneeling wheel rollouts can improve your posture and provide a tremendous abdominal burn that will have you feeling the results for days afterward.

To do it:

  • Kneel on an ab mat.
  • Place the ab wheel in front of you with your hands gripped on the handles with fully extended arms.
  • Keeping your back and arms straight, slowly push the ab wheel away from your body, extending your body from the hips into a plank position.
  • The complete version will have you fully extend your body so that your torso is near to the ground with your arms as far as they can go before getting back into the starting position.
  • Do 10-12 reps.

Common Mistakes

It is easy to perform an exercise incorrectly, which can cause multiple problems. Here are some common mistakes you need to know to avoid injuries.

Bending Your Back

Many begin with an anterior pelvic tilt, often leading to severely reduced focus and stability in your core. This makes it more challenging to progress through the movement, as you simply would not have enough strength to maintain proper alignment throughout.

In such cases, many struggle and even injure themselves in the process instead of gaining ground in their fitness journey. By taking this advice seriously, we can avoid this potentially dangerous mistake.

Letting Your Hip Flexors Taking Over

When performing an abdominal rollout, many people rely too heavily on their hip flexors instead of their abdominal muscles to drive the movement.

This can be spotted when someone sits back on their heels at the top of the exercise rather than engaging and contracting their core. Using primarily hip flexors to do the work quickly leads to form breakdown and puts undue strain on joints, leading to possible injury.

To get a full workout with correct form and less risk of overworking your joints, remember to maintain strong core control as you move through each rep and utilize your abdominals as a driving force.

Doing Plenty of Reps, Too Fast

It's easy to think that the more ab wheel reps you can do, the better. However, quality is much more important than quantity when it comes to getting the maximum benefits from using an ab wheel.

Instead of doing a lot of reps quickly, focus on slower and more intentional movements - incorporate your breath into it by breathing in deep while the ab wheel rolls out and breathing out as you work your way back.

This process helps build a greater mind-muscle connection, keeping motivation high and helping boost results over time. So don't worry about how many times you can roll the ab wheel out — focus on maximizing each rep to gain maximum benefit.

The Bottom Line

Ab rollout is an effective exercise to build a good core and perfect six-pack abs. It provides multiple benefits like good posture, stabled hips, functional strength, good upper body, and improved core, which can help your body shape in the best possible condition.

It also offers some variations to challenge yourself and get improved results. Ab rollout can be performed correctly by avoiding some mistakes that people are found to make very often.

Avoiding things like bending your back, doing too many reps, or letting your hip flexors take away. By performing the exercise correctly and beware incorrect aspects, you can gain all the benefits and help yourself towards a better shape and core.

Reading List

Article Sources

  • Hildenbrand, Kasee, and Larry Noble. ‘Abdominal Muscle Activity While Performing Trunk-Flexion Exercises Using the Ab Roller, ABslide, FitBall, and Conventionally Performed Trunk Curls’. Journal of Athletic Training, vol. 39, no. 1, 2004, pp. 37–43. PubMed Central,

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Joe Wilson

Mr. Wilson is a motivated fitness instructor accomplished in helping clients of all fitness levels get into shape and achieve their health and fitness goals. Strongly believes health is a conscious lifestyle choice necessary for longevity and happiness.

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