The ab roller wheel might be the oldest late night fitness infomercial product in the book, and the well lit fitness models who you see using it on TV might look pretty darn good, but can rolling crunches get you that same look? Or is it all just more BS? We’re going to answer that in this edition of the straightforward fat loss straight dope.
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Real Talk – Abs Are Made in the Kitchen, Not the Gym
You could have, in theory, a chiseled and rippling world class set of abs, but no one will be able to actually see them if they’re buried under a thick layer of subcutaneous body fat.
Simply put, you need to get pretty lean to have visible abs:
Losing fat, and subsequently revealing abs, is ultimately a matter of calories out being greater than calories in, one way or another. If you’re diet isn’t on point enough to make that happen, no exercises you do will matter.
So Ab Roller Wheels Don’t Work Then?
Not necessarily, they can “work,” but it’s important to specify what that contextual word specifically means.
If you diligently use it for a year, there’s no question that your core will get stronger. In that sense, the wheel worked perfectly. But if you’re a guy sporting 20%+ body fat, well, you won’t be able to see the fruits of your labor, and in that sense it might not have “worked” as intended.
Believe it or Not, You Can Get Abs with Zero Ab Work
Your’s truly, at the end of my last strict (ish) cut:
In the year leading up to that photo, I did zero crunches. Zero ab work period, actually.
But I’m still sporting decent abdominals. Or, they at least *look* decent, the key there being that I got lean enough to actually see them.
I do basic resistance training, and that in and of itself will indirectly hit the abs if the exercise in question requires any sort of core stabilization, and just about any exercise will to a certain degree.
That Does Not Mean That Ab Work is Useless
My abs might honestly look better if I did extensive core work. But, truth is, I’m not a physique competitor and I’m not walking around with my shirt off in public. I don’t care all that much. What I’ve got is close enough. Though maybe I should throw in some core work. If anything, it would likely improve my functional stability.
Is an Ab Roller Wheel Effective?
Honestly? Yes. Have you ever used one before? It’s hard, and you were probably sore after. Anything that requires you to hold tension to stabilize your core will strengthen your abdominal muscles.
My opinion is that there is no “best” ab roller. It’s a simple device. Just get the cheapest one you can find.
But don’t assume this equipment is necessary. Good old fashioned hold exercises like planks may be plenty enough.
Also, be smart. The fact is most people are not strong enough to do even one proper rep with an Ab wheel roller. Use Google, find YouTube Videos, and learn how to do it right.
- *Visible* six pack abs are a product of getting lean via diet, not exercise.
- If you’re too fat, you wont see your abs. It doesn’t matter if they’re world class.
- It’s possible to get decent looking abs without doing any direct core work.
- But that doesn’t mean core work is a waste of time. An ab wheel is but one of many effective ways to work the core.
- Rolling crunches are hard. Be smart and build up slowly. Most people aren’t strong enough to do even one proper ab wheel rep.
- You cannot spot burn fat with exercise. Fat loss is determined by a calorie deficit and hormones, neither of which you can “use” to target specific areas on your body.