Ready for the first fitness challenge of 2020? We’re going to get acquainted with the infamous ab wheel, better known as “Hey, what’s this? I bet I can—oof.” (And here you fall on your face.) We’ll start today with some beginner tips.
An ab wheel or ab roller is a deceptively simple-looking device: a small wheel with handles sticking out of both sides. You hold the handles and roll forward and back, while keeping your knees (or, if you’re advanced, just your feet) on the floor. It’s devilishly hard, but if you can master it, you’ll work all your core muscles and become the envy of, well, people like me who fall on their face every time they try.
Fortunately, there are some easy(ish) ways to start using this device. Trainer Nicolle Harwood-Nash recommends starting with a plank, hands on the ab wheel’s handles, feet and/or knees on the floor. This lets you get used to the instability of the wheel in a static position, without having to control how fast and how far it’s rolling. I asked her for a beginner-friendly breakdown. Here it is:
Start on your knees in a modified push up position with your hands on the ab wheel handles.
Your arms should be fully extended.
Once you have a good grip, lift your knees off the ground so that just the ab wheel and your toes are left on the ground.
There should be a straight line from your head and neck to your ankles.
Hold this position for 40 to 60 seconds.
If you can’t do a 40-second hold (I cannot), hold it for a length of time that feels challenging but not exhausting, then rest and try it again. We’ll be back next week with something a little more challenging, so give this a try and see how it goes!