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The ab rollout wheel is an incredibly useful tool to help build strong abdominal muscles, IF you perform the exercise correctly! In this video, I am going to show you the 5 biggest mistakes that people perform when doing ab rollouts and what you can do to fix them. By making these small tweaks, you’ll be fixing those mistakes that you might not have even known you were making.
The first mistake that we need to address when using an ab roller is the positioning of the arms; more specifically, the elbows. Without even realizing it, we often bend our elbows when performing the ab rollout – a compensation that our body is making without us even realizing that it’s happening. By not having straight arms, we take a good portion of the load (all of which is supposed to be directed to the abdominal muscles) and offload that tension to the triceps. This compensation makes the exercise a heck of a lot easier to perform than if you were to keep your arms locked out through each repetition. Keep your arms straight to make sure that you are getting the full benefits of this exercise.
Speaking of arms, the second ab rollout mistake is using your arms to pull the ab roller back in instead of using the abs. It is not uncommon to see someone pull the ab rollout wheel at least half way using their arms before engaging their core to finish the rep. Remember, it’s called an ab rollout, not an arm rollout! Make sure that each repetition has the abs engaged throughout the movement and leave the arms out of it. They are simply there to hold on to the wheel.
The third ab rollout mistake that you commonly see being performed has to do with the hips. This might be one of the biggest issues I’ve seen with this exercise being performed and it is flexing them after they’ve been set. Typically, this mistake rears its ugly head in the form of the butt breaking past the imaginary line that is formed at the knees. Imagine that there is a wall that is going straight up from your knees and it is there to block your rear end from crossing that plane. This will make the exercise more difficult, but it is the proper way to perform it. Just because there is an easier way to perform the exercise, doesn’t mean you are getting the full benefits from it!
Next, we have the issue of the pelvis dropping into anterior pelvic tilt throughout the exercise (especially when we roll all the way out). The problem with this is the amount of strain on the lumbar spine. The way to fix this mistake when using the ab roller wheel is to keep in mind that the pelvis should be at least neutral to a posterior pelvic tilt. By making sure to keep the pelvis out of anterior tilt throughout the repetition, you are also making sure that the abs are taking the brunt of the work performed in the exercise. You will also notice that any low back pain that you were having when doing this exercise, will disappear.
Lastly, the 5th ab rollout mistake is always rolling straight forward. While we know the abdominals work in the sagittal plane, we mustn’t forget that another function of the core is to counter rotation of the trunk. In order to train this movement pattern, rolling the ab wheel straight out is not going to cut it; you will have to roll out at angles outside of center. Now, this doesn’t mean taking a drastic angle to each side, because that will shorten the distance that needs to be traveled by a significant amount – this makes the exercise easier and less effective. So make sure to add in some slight outward angles the next time you perform the ab wheel rollout.
By keeping these 5 ab rollout mistakes in mind, you will be able to get the most out of the exercise. As I have said previously, the ab rollout wheel is one of my favorite pieces of equipment when it comes to training my abs and I believe that everyone should utilize it. However, it’s not just what exercises we choose, but HOW we do them. By putting the science back in strength, I am looking to make sure you get the most out of every exercise because the choice is not the only thing that matters.
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