While everyone and their mom has an ab wheel lying around, rollouts are actually an advanced exercise.
But if you have the shoulder mobility for it and you've mastered plank variations already, then ab wheel rollouts might be the most comprehensive exercise you can do to strengthen your midsection.
When done correctly, they'll strengthen your entire anterior core musculature as well as your lower back, lats, and even your shoulder complex. This is crucial if you want a big squat and deadlift since your core is designed to create stiffness to efficiently transfer force from your lower body to your upper body, and vice versa, as well as resist movement at the spine.
But the key word is "correctly." Rollouts often get butchered. The usual mistakes? Either initiating the concentric portion of the exercise by pulling the hips back or hyperextending at the bottom. Both take tension off the intended musculature.
This variation removes those potential issues to keep continuous tension on the abdominals.
Ab Wheel Rollout with Hamstring Activation
If standard rollouts don't place the tension on the abs, try these instead:
- Place a medicine ball between your lower legs and glutes.
- Start with your hands on the ab wheel, directly under your shoulders.
- Keep a straight line between your ears, hips, and knees. This is your start and end position for each rep.
- Squeeze your heels toward your glutes – crush the ball – and brace your abs. By flexing the knee, your hamstrings will pull your pelvis into a posterior tilt as the ab-brace pulls your ribs down.
- Keeping your pelvis and ribs in this stacked alignment, think about "reaching" over your head as you roll out.
- Once you get out as far as you can without losing your stacked position, reverse the motion by pushing your hands straight down into the floor, as if you were doing a straight-arm pulldown.
- Only return to the starting position outlined above. Repeat for 2-4 sets of 5-10 reps.