Pilates Workouts

The Ab-Roller Workout That Will Seriously Challenge Every Muscle In Your Body

Photo: Getty/Westend61
What can I say? I love the feeling of strengthening my muscles on a Megaformer machine, working them in 50 minutes worth of planks and lunges until my core, legs, and butt are shaking. It's the only workout that I can do multiple times a week, for months on end, without getting bored or burned out. And also, it helps me get seriously strong. But given that many studios aren't currently open where I live, I wondered: Could I get the same full-body, core-quaking workout from a $17 ab roller made famous from "As Seen On TV" ads? Yup.

While Pilates and Megaformer machines offer more bells and whistles that help amp up your workout, there are some ways you can use an ab roller to get the same sort of moves in at home. "I love to utilize the stability aspect of the ab roller, so the movements become more functional," says FitHouse trainer Mark Osmundsen. "It helps clients focus on engaging the muscles of the upper back while working the abs and obliques."

In addition to getting your core and back quaking, you can also use the ab roller to work pretty much all of your other major muscles, too, including your glutes, obliques, hamstrings, shoulders, and quads. Le Sweat founder Charlee Atkins recently told us that it's the best "As Seen On TV" fitness tool around. “Ab rollouts are an advanced core exercise that prevents extension at the lumbar spine or lower back," she said. "Most people who complain of low back issues are prescribed ab exercises. ‘Anti-extension’ exercises, such as an ab rollout, will help stabilize the pelvis and spine." Keep scrolling for the ab-roller workout to try in your next workout.

Try this ab-roller workout today

1. Kneeling side plank saw (obliques/back)

Stack your knees and square your pelvis to one side. Then, grab and press down on your ab roller directly below your shoulders, and push it slowly out in front of you while breathing in. Then, exhale while pulling your wrists back in slowly to stack underneath your shoulders.

2. Ab roller pike (abs/shoulders)

Gripping onto the ab roller, stack your wrists under your shoulders and hold a plank. Using engaging forces downward, pull your abdominals in and pike your pelvis upward while rolling the ab roller toward your feet. Then, roll slowly back down into a plank position and repeat.

3. Ab roller leg curl (hamstrings/glutes)

Place your feet on each handle of the ab roller, and press your shoulder blades town into the floor. Lift your pelvis and bend your knees in, rolling the device slowly in toward your butt. Then, extend it slowly back out, keeping core and glute tight and hips lifted as much as possible.

4. Box lunge with roll out (glutes/quads)

Holding the roller in your hands, step one leg in behind the other, keeping your knee over your ankle. Lower the roller to the ground and press it in and out, stabilizing with your core. Press into your heels, lift and repeat.

Buy these ab rollers to up your routine

1. Vergo Ab Roller, $16

This no-frills ab wheel comes with a mat for your knees so that you can modify if you need to, in order to get the full benefits of a move.

Shop now: Vergo Ab Roller, $16

2. Amazon Basics Exercise Fitness Ab Rollers, $32

If you want slightly more stability, these ab rollers, which you place in each hand help you to have more stability on the ground, while still seriously testing the strength of your core muscles.

Shop now: Amazon Basics Exercise Fitness Ab Rollers, $32 

3. Perfect Fitness Ab Carver Pro Roller for Core Workouts, $40

This ab wheel has a slightly wider base than basic models as well as ergonomic handles to support your wrists as you move through muscle-quaking movements.

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