We’ve all been inundated with television ads selling this or that gadget as the next big thing. Yes, these items look good on television, but we know they’re usually too good to be true. In the years past, they were limited to the back of magazines or annoying low-budget commercials. These days, they soak up our news feeds and other social media paths. Most of the time, we don’t even blink as we pass them up. However, as with all things, sometimes, we can find a diamond in the rough.
The “Ab Wheel” is one such diamond. Even though it may have become known to us in the late night TV infomercials, it was quickly picked up by trainers in gyms all over the world not because of its price, its features, or its clever commercials. No, the ab wheel became immensely popular because it worked!
The abs wheel builds your abs. Yes, the commercial was right about that one. But it does more than that. It doesn’t chop, blend, or make smoothies. Rather, it works nearly the whole body. Everything from your abs to glutes, legs, chest, back, shoulders and arms are stimulated when you train with the ab wheel. The price is negligible, often less than $20, and they last forever. Most people lose them, than break them. The exercises possible with the ab wheel allow you to hit just about the entire body, quickly and at a very good price.
There are primarily two kinds of lifters. Those who train with weights enjoy crushing 315 pounds on the bench press then perhaps consuming an entire cow in steak form as a reward. On the other hand, those crossfitters who enjoy body weight training tend to enjoy an hour of #WOD #BOX training which would crush the bodybuilder, and they usually celebrate with a wheat grass shot and a designer protein shake. Whatever floats your boat, the ab wheel can contribute to your training in a major way.
Let’s look at the two main ways you can use the ab wheel to improve your abs, and hit the rest of the body as well. There are two main functions of the abdominal muscles. Any movement such as crunches, knee tucks, or standard sit ups involve ‘trunk flexion’. The others, such as front levers and planking, work the body in a stability means. They’re both essential. The first builds up the abs you see, and the second builds up the core of the body and hold it all together. They’re both important – and training with the ab wheel lets you hit both of them as well!
Using the ab wheel is simple. Start in the ever famous kneeling planking position, with the ab wheel held underneath your chest. Slowly roll the wheel in a direction away from your body, keeping the body straight and knees on the ground. Extend your arms overhead slowly, pivoting from down at your knees. At the conclusion of the movement, you should have your arms nearly completely over your head, and your elbows only a few inches from the ground, locked. You should pause momentarily, then slowly roll backwards to the starting position.
This movement is a painful one, and not one which can be used every day. However, it is remarkably effective. Start by using 1 set of ten ab wheel rolls, and use it any day you’re not sore from the previous workout. After a week, bump it up to TWO sets of 10 using the ab wheel, again, training only when you’re not sore. Continue moving it up, letting the sets growing longer and more numerous. Soon you’ll be at the spot where you’re training with the ab wheel for 10 to 15 minutes without stopping. Your core will be powerful and your abs will look great too!
Remember that training with an ab wheel alone won’t give you the abs of steel which you so readily desire. You also need to shed body fat. The best lifters know that achieving very low body fat require a combination of factors, applied over a series of 6 to 10 weeks. First, you have to drop you overall caloric intake. Dropping about 500 calories each day will cause you to lose 1 pound of body fat each week. Dropping 250 calories from your daily diet will have you losing about ½ of a pound each week. Attempting to lose more than 1 pound per week will cost you hard earned muscle, and isn’t recommended.
In addition to diet, you’ll also want to add some cardiovascular training to your weekly routine. Most people are able to lose .5 to 1 pound of fat per week by simply adding 20 to 30 minutes of moderate paced cardiovascular training to their routine. Walking briskly around the block is fine, although the results you see will be faster and greater if you use a tougher machine such as the elliptical trainer. Get plenty of rest, take your supplements, and train cardio 4 to 5 days each week, and you will see your body fat gradually and consistently drop.
Attaining killer abs isn’t something that will happen overnight. Yes, you can build up the abdominal muscles, but until you drop body body fat to the 8% and below mark, they won’t be visible. Using the ab wheel and other abdominal training means will build up the muscle. You can diet down, get shredded, and present a new and improved you to the world. Good luck!