I LOVE ab wheel rollouts. I think they’re an amazing anterior core exercise that should be included in a majority of people’s training.
But they’re also pretty tough to do well. Most people butcher them with an ass out, awkward twerk type of motion that makes me want to smash my face into concrete.
But fear not fellow ab wheel enthusiasts, for I have come up with a sample progression for you to reference in order to find your ideal starting point.
With ALL rollout variations, it’s important to note:
- you NEED to keep your glutes and abs braced HARD. Those are the two muscles keeping your spine in a neutral position. If this doesn’t happen, there’s no point in doing a rollout.
- rollout variations are NOT about seeing how far you can roll out. They are about maintaining a neutral spine above all else (see previous point)
- the only coaching cue you’ll need to know for a rollout is ‘straight line from head to heel’ (or knee depending on your variation). If you can perform your reps without a huge arch appearing in your low back or shooting your butt in the air, congrats, you’re an ab wheel champion.
So without further ado, here are the progressions.
After a good ol’ fashioned plank, this is your first step towards doing a perfect ab wheel rollout. Grab the TRX handles, squeeze your glutes and abs, then slowly fall forward keeping your arms straight. DONE.
Start with your feet more far forward as this will decrease the difficulty.
PAUSED TRX FALLOUT
Fallouts getting easy, eh? In addition to walking your feet further backwards, you can now add a pause to the end of all your reps. This will add time under tension for your abs of steel, thus making them into abs of titanium.
Once you’ve walked your feet back pretty far on the TRX, you can progress to an actual ab wheel.
Ah, the ab wheel. When you set up for this one, tuck your butt as you initiate and finish the roll. DO NOT stick your ass in the air like this guy.
Fun fact, I found this picture by searching “make my eyes bleed google.” This was the first image… weird!
Tuck your butt, squeeze your abs and glutes, and maintain a neutral spine position throughout WITHOUT creating movement at the hips (shooting your butt back).
STANDING TO KNEELING AB WHEEL ROLLOUT
When the kneeling version gets too easy, you’re gonna wanna try the standing version.
And it’s going to serve you a huge piece of humble pie and call you names like mitten wearin’ nancy boy.
Start off by focusing on slow, controlled, eccentric versions of the standing rollout. When you feel like you’re going to fall or lose your form, just drop your knees to the floor and complete the rollout from a kneeling position. This is a nice way to slowly progress to a fully standing rollout.
STANDING AB WHEEL ROLLOUT
This is it. The big leagues. Bang out a couple quality reps of this variation and you can legally change your name to “El Jefe’.
The cues are still the same for the kneeling and standing versions… except the intensity is waaaay higher. Good luck.
Hire a voodoo witch doctor to bless you with the powers of levitation. He’ll likely only ask for your soul in return, which might damn you to an eternity in hell…but, like, it’s TOTALLY worth it.