The Ab Wheel
I recently wrote an article for My Mad Methods on the Ab Wheel, and since then, many people have contacted about it. It seems that many of you have thought the Ab Wheel was a bogus device that was just a scam or fad, but in reality, it is a very good piece of equipment that comes with a very cheap price tag – I got mine for less than $9.
For the record, I always thought the Ab Wheel was joke too. But that was before I ever used it. The first time I tried it, I could not do one good rep on my knees.
History of the Ab Wheel
What gave it even more credibility for me was when my friend, Niko Hulslander, told me that Bob Backlund, legendary Champion of the WWWF back in the late 70’s and early 80’s, based his workouts primarily around the Ab Wheel.
Now, Bob Backlund wasn’t as big as Superstar Billy Graham, who held the title before Backland, and he wasn’t anywhere near the size of a more recent Bobby Lashley, Dave Batista, or John Cena by any means, but he was always in top shape, and perhaps second only to Ric Flair in their hay-days.
Plus, Backlund is still in phenomenal shape to this day, and the Ab Wheel continues to be one of his primary forms of resistance training.
While I am sure Backlund used other types of training to attain his level of muscularity and leanness, there is no denying that the Ab Wheel is able to make the entire body work, because it is essentially a Plank on Steroids.
Bob Backlund Training on the Ab Roller
I’m coming after you, Backlund!!
How to Implement the Ab Wheel
I am sure there are hundreds of ways to add Ab Wheel work into your training program, but I can tell you that I like to use it on my Back and Triceps day. If you haven’t tried training these two together, you should – the feeling is unbelievable.
Generally, one of my first movements on this day is either Pull-ups or Chin-ups, and I superset them with Ab Wheel for 6 to 8 reps. Surely, I could do much more of this, but I train this day with a partner and if we went for more than 8 reps, it would take up way too much time and mess up the rotation, so we stick with 6 to 8.
In addition, if you do your Ab Wheel reps the right way, it becomes the perfect bridge between the Lats and Triceps. The reason is because you can use your Lats and Triceps together to explosively pull your extended body back to the starting position. This explosiveness wakes the Triceps up so they can start getting worked, and it further excites the Lats, allowing you to get deeper pulls on your Pull-ups or Chin-ups.
Of course, as I stated, you have to be doing the Ab Wheel exercise correctly in order to get this benefit out of the movement. That leads me to the next section.
Ab Wheel Technique
One of my best friends from college, Chris Christian, recently began implementing Ab Wheel into his routines. I used to train like an all-out Savage Beast with this guy back in college. I was happy to hear he was getting an Ab Wheel, but I also was concerned because he did a stretch of service for our country in Afghanistan, I believe, several years ago and ended up hurting his back. So I asked him to shoot a video of him doing them, just to make sure he was doing them properly and not putting too much stress on his back.
Turns out, his technique was just a little off, so I shot a quick video for him last night and uploaded it to YouTube. It turns out there were others doing the exercise incorrectly, and putting too much strain on their backs as well, so I am sharing the video here for all of you, too.
Demonstration of How to Use the Ab Wheel Correctly
Sorry for the weird abrupt ending. The battery died right at the end…
Look, this piece of equipment is bad-ass, even if you just stick with the basic technique, on your knees. My goals is to work up to performing the reps on my toes. It may take some time, but I will get there.
If you want to get an Ab Wheel, they are readily available at most fitness stores, I saw one this past weekend at Play-it-Again Sports, and you can find them on Amazon: Valeo Ab Wheel<= That link will take you to them.
Grab one up, give them a try and let me know what you think of the Ab Wheel.
All the best in your training.