We’ve all seen that funky unicycle looking roller in the gym and thought it looked, dare we say, fun?
Here’s why you should give it a try.
Though it may look like a playground toy, working out with one is a serious business. A small tool that’s capable of an intense, expert-level core challenge, the Ab Roller will most certainly give you a run for your money.
The Ab Roller features a simple design consisting of two handles connected by a wheel to utilize bodyweight resistance as you roll it. While the ab roller mimics the movements of a crunch, targeting the rectus abdominis and working the entire core as well as the triceps and lats, it eliminates the stress a traditional crunch puts on the back, neck, and shoulders.
When you push an Ab Roller across the floor, your core is forced to move, preventing your back from arching while it flexes your spine to contract and stretch your abs, taking your midsection safely through a full range of motion.
More than just an ab exercise, the Ab roller challenges your hips, triceps, shoulders, and lats to stabilize you as you roll.
History of the Ab Roller
The Ab Roller comes to us from the Abs Company, which was founded by Don Brown and Sean Gagnon is 2006. Prior to that, Brown had established several health clubs in the New Jersey area with Gagnon as his partner and lead trainer.
Brown and Gagnon felt the ab equipment available was lacking in variety and quality, most of which fell into the gadget department. They began focusing on providing quality innovations in core training products within the existing fitness market.
Something of an inventor, Brown rolled out the Ab Roller in 1994, changing the way millions of people around the world approach ab work. Since sit-ups and crunches can be notoriously hard on the back and neck, he wanted to help people utilize the proper form to eliminate the stress to those areas.
How to Workout with the Ab Roller
There are many workout routines that can be performed with the ab roller. Here is a basic beginner exercise:
*Basic knee pads are recommended if you have bad knees, but not required.
*If you have lower back problems or hernias, this exercise is not advised.
*Always consult your physician before starting a new exercise regimen.
Step 1: Kneel on the floor, holding the ab roller with both hands.
Step 2: Placing the roller on the floor in front of you, move onto your hands-and-knees, engaging your abs. This is your start position.
Step 3: Slowly push the ab roller straight forward, maintaining control as you inhale, stretching your body out in a straight line as far as you can without your body touching the floor.
Step 4: Pause at your lowest point and hold for a count.
Step 5: Exhale as you slowly pull the roller back toward your knees in a controlled motion.
Step 6: Repeat this process until your desired number of reps has been achieved.
* For an added challenge, you can perform this exercise moving the ab roller to either side in a diagonal line, which puts more focus on the obliques.
- Stabilizes the spine and core
- Strengthens the abdominal muscles
- Provides a safe way to perform crunches
- Improves overall fitness
- Increases flexibility
- Improves coordination and balance
Though the Ab Roller was the first product created by the Abs Company and its most successful to date, it is far from the only product. Other products in their lineup include:
- Ab Coaster
- Abs Bench
- Ab Solo
- Target Abs
- Ab Coaster FT
- Vertical Crunch
The Abs Company: Rolling in the Dough
Today, the ab roller remains one of the most successful workout products of all time, with global sales at more than $1 billion.
The Ab Roller wasn’t Brown’s only popular invention, however. He also created the Ab Coaster, revolutionizing the hanging leg raise. Currently, more than 10,000 fitness establishments carry the Abs Company products in their gyms worldwide.
They also provide floor-plan design consultation for gyms that want to have a designated core training area.