This will be a relatively short post, but a pretty important one that coincides with The Definitive Guide To Strength Training At Home. As your training progresses you naturally start to experiment with new/different exercises. You continue to get stronger, logging your workouts and then you hit a plateau. What happened? In my case I usually ended up dropping a movement that I didn’t really think was too important and low and behold, training and strength suffers. It happened most recently when I dropped out my adjustable dumbbell work for some heavier barbell movements. Strength off the chest decreased and so did my bench. Another thing that usually sends my squat/pull into the hole is a lack of core strength. I do a lot of squatting and pulling variations without a belt as assistance work, when I get lazy I usually drop the direct ab stuff and after a month of that I find myself folding over in the hole. One of the biggest bang for your buck ab exercises that I do/have done is something so simple that you tend to even forget it’s there….the ab roller.
Should I buy an ab roller?
For less than $20 this is a no brainer, YES you should have some sort of ab roller or ab wheel ( we are talking about a wheel with two handles not that weight thing that holds your head up). Think of this exercise as a plank on steroids. Nothing gets my core stronger faster than adding this exercise in twice a week for multiple sets and reps.
Is it SAFE?
The good old fashioned ab wheel roller does come with some safety issues. It tends to be rough on your back if you go into hyperextension. The best way to avoid this is to keep your stomach braced and roll out and stop before you feel any discomfort. The range of motion doesn’t need to be crazy as you should be bracing the entire time. I like to do more sets and few reps because of this, fatigue sets in slower and keeps me in a good position.
The other issue that I suffer from is wrist pain. I need to wrap up my wrists when I do anything that involves me supporting my own bodyweight with my hands. There are two other options to dealing with wrist pain and they deal with the design of the ab device itself.
Using an old gym scooter (the kind you used to ride on during PE class) has helped my wrists because I can keep my hands further apart. The alternative to this is finding an ab wheel with ergonomic grips such as the Perfect Fitness Ab Carver
Regardless of how you choose to perform this exercise, it’s definitely made a difference in my strength training and my lifts.
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