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The Ab Wheel For Beginners

Rose Erickson Chron 2017-06-10 11:13:01

  The ab wheel is a piece of exercise equipment that looks like a wheel with two handles projecting from the center of it. It helps target the abdominal muscles as well as the hip flexors, which are the inner hip muscles that run from the hip to the top of the thigh. Besides toning muscle, the ab wheel can help increase core strength, improve posture, decrease back pain and enhance stability. Check with your doctor before starting a new fitness routine. The ab wheel exercise is intense and may not be appropriate for those with chronic medical conditions or prior injuries.

Just Roll with It

  For best results, always practice proper form when using the ab wheel. Kneel on the floor in front of the wheel. Grab the handles on each side of the wheel using an overhand grip where your palms face downward. Place the wheel in front of your knees and extend your arms. Lean forward and support your body on the wheel. Keeping your arms straight, roll the wheel out as far as you can, lowering your body toward the floor. Reverse the movement and roll back up into the starting position. Repeat for a total of 12 to 15 repetitions. The work should come from you abdominals and hip flexors. To be sure, keep the muscles in your abdominals and hips tight as you roll up and down.

Form is Key

  Keep your elbows as straight as possible throughout the entire exercise. Maintain a flat back at all times -- never arch or curve your spine which can lead to back pain and injury. Keep your core muscles in your lower back, abdominals and hips tight to help keep you stabilized and protect your back. For optimal results, roll out until your shoulders are completely extended through their full range of motion.

Easy Does it

  If you find the ab wheel exercise too difficult, roll only half way down to lessen the intensity. You can also make the exercise easier by rolling up an incline, such as up a hill or incline board. Or attach the ab wheel to a low pulley facing away from you to help decrease effort and keep your movements slow and controlled. If you experience any knee soreness, do the ab wheel exercise on a mat folded in half.

Up the Ante

  To boost the intensity of the exercise add oblique turns by alternating rolling to the right and left. You can also make the exercise harder by wearing a weighted vest, rolling on a decline or lifting one leg at a time while rolling. For an even tougher workout start from a standing position and roll all of the way down to a plank. Return to the starting position by reversing the roll and flexing your hips upward.