Ab-Dolly Exercises

If you've seen those scooters that look more like they belong in a preschool class than the gym, don't assume they've been misplaced. These four-wheeled contraptions are key to a strong core.

An ab dolly takes your abdominal workouts to the next level. Its unique, multi-directional wheels create instability while challenging each of the four abdominal muscle groups. A wide variety of exercises can be performed using this versatile device.

1. Roll Outs

Roll outs with the ab dolly isolate the rectus abdominis, or six-pack, muscle to help develop a defined stomach.

HOW TO DO IT: While on your knees, place your forearms on the ab dolly and hold onto the handles. Slowly roll the device straight forward until your butt is in line with your body and your spine is straight. Hold this position for 1 to 2 seconds. Slowly return to the starting position.


This exercise can be modified by curving to your right and your left as you roll forward. This will challenge the oblique muscles.

2. Plank

Planks are a great way to activate the transversus abdominis muscle, a deep ab muscle that helps protect the spine.

HOW TO DO IT: Place your forearms on the surface of the ab dolly as you hold onto the handles. Lift your body up onto your toes. Do not allow the device to move and keep your spine straight.

Your hips and pelvis should not tilt to the side. Hold this position for 5 to 10 seconds while continuing to breathe. Then, relax by bending your knees to the floor.

3. Pike

Pikes with the ab dolly create instability and challenge the rectus abdominis muscle to maintain postural control.

HOW TO DO IT: Begin this exercise in the plank position with your forearms on the ab dolly and your body lifted onto your toes. Slowly roll backwards as you lift your buttocks in the air and engage your stomach muscles.

When the ab roller is close to your feet, hold the inverted ā€œVā€ position for 1 to 2 seconds and then slowly roll back to the starting position.

4. Dolly Circles

The dolly circle is an all-encompassing exercise that challenges each of the four abdominal groups.

HOW TO DO IT: While kneeling, place your forearms on the ab dolly and hold the handles. Slowly roll forward until your buttocks are in line with your body and your spine is straight.

Then, use your forearms to trace a small circle on the floor with the device. Do not allow your spine to move as you perform. After a set of 10 circles has been completed in the clockwise direction, repeat and make counterclockwise circles.


To make this exercise more challenging, perform it with your body lifted onto your toes instead of on your knees.

5. Bridging

Bridging with the ab dolly helps strengthen the transversus abdominis muscle while giving the butt a serious workout.

HOW TO DO IT: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet resting on the ab dolly. Engage your stomach muscles and lift your buttocks off the ground. Do not allow the ab dolly to move as you perform.

Hold your buttocks in the air for 5 to 10 seconds and then slowly lower back down to the ground.

Exercise Parameters

To build abdominal strength, perform two to three sets of 10 repetitions of each exercise. This should be completed two to three times per week. While the exercises should be challenging, they should not be painful. Consult your doctor with any questions or concerns prior to beginning a new workout routine.

About the Author

Tim Petrie is a sports medicine physical therapist and a certified orthopedic specialist practicing in Milwaukee, WI. In addition to treating patients of all ages, he is passionate about writing about health and wellness topics. In his free time, Tim loves to run and travel with his wife and two kids.