08 July, 2011
The Correct Way to Use the Ab Roller
The Ab Roller is an affordable piece of fitness equipment that makes performing various abdominal exercises easy, safe and highly effective. Its simple design consists of a comfy headrest, which is connected to only a few pieces of curved and straight metal bars and helps to prevent neck strain while you do certain exercises. Although you probably see it in your local gym, the Ab Roller is usually purchased for home use, and it is definitely something you might want to consider having around for those days you can't make it to the gym for a good abdominal workout.
Place an exercise mat on the floor and position the Ab Roller at the end of it so that when you lie down, your body is on the mat.
Lie face up on the mat and position your body so that your neck is resting comfortably on the Ab Roller's headrest. Bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor. If you're have a good amount of abdominal strength, place both hands on the top bar of the Ab Roller with your hands spread shoulder-width apart. If you're a beginner, hold onto the side bars.
Inhale as you contract your abdominal muscles, flatting your lower back into the floor. Exhale as you simultaneously use your abdominals to lift your shoulders off the floor toward your knees. Avoid using your arms for the movement. Pause for one count.
Inhale as you slowly return to the starting position and repeat until you feel a nice burn in your upper abdominals. Aim for 12 to 15 repetitions.
Get into the same position as you did for the basic abdominal crunch. Regardless of abdominal strength, place both hands on the top bar and space them shoulder-width apart.
Contract your abdominal muscles, flattening your lower back into the floor. Draw your knees toward your chest and slowly extend your legs above your hips, creating a 90-degree angle at your torso and thighs. If you have tight hamstrings, keep a slight bend in your knees to release some of the tension.
Inhale to re-engage your abdominals. Exhale as you perform a crunch, using your abdominals to lift your upper body while keeping your legs above your hips. Avoid using your arms. Pause for one count.
Inhale as you slowly return to the starting position and repeat until you feel a burn in both your upper and lower abdominals. Aim for 12 to 15 repetitions.
Warm up for five to 10 minutes before your workouts and then cool down afterward with stretches for each muscle group you worked.
Treat the abdominals just like every other muscle group and allow at least 24 to 48 hours of rest in between workouts.
Consult your physician before starting any new workout routines.
- Ab Roller Evolution: Owner's Manual
- Stronger Abs and Back; Dean Brittenham, et al.
- 101 Workouts for Women; Muscle & Fitness Hers
- OSTILL/iStock/Getty Images