Do Ab Rollers Really Work? A Complete Review of the Best Ab Wheels in 2016
The Ab Roller, or Ab Wheel, is one of those familiar exercise devices that seems to have been around for ages. Way back in the ‘70’s, they could be found lying around in the corners of basements or tossed onto the kid’s play bin. Most people didn’t take them seriously as a training device.
Today, the ab roller has had a face-lift. It is flashier, more hi-tech and more durable. It also comes with it’s own marketing department, promising all sorts of amazing results. Most of it is hype. Look beyond that, though, and you’ll find a few gems that can help to transform your waistline.
Like every product range, there are good and bad ab rollers proliferating the marketplace. We scoured the online Ab Roller space and came up with 5 devices that we believe are among the best that you’ll find anywhere. Our favorite is the Ab Carver Pro by Perfect Fitness, which adds kinetic energy to the training mix by way of a carbon fiber spring.
We also really liked the Ab Roller Wow because if its varied angle of resistance, the VIM Ab Roller Wheel and the Maximisa Ab Wheel. The Ab Roller Pro, while not strictly an Ab Roller in the sense of the other devices, will also be reviewed.
Best Ab Wheel Reviews:
The Perfect Fitness Ab Carver Pro was designed by a Navy Seal in his quest to find a better core training solution for the soldiers that he was whipping into shape. He hit upon the idea of adding kinetic energy into the training mix in the form of a carbon steel spring which provides resistance when you roll the wheel out and assistance when you roll it back in.
Many ab wheels are really hard to use and put a lot of strain on the lower back. The Ab Carver was designed to allow for the new user to attain the benefits of the stretch and contraction while still being successful in performing the move.
They did this with the following four innovations:
- The track is much wider than a traditional Ab Roller. This dramatically increases the balance.
- The track is slightly angled to allow for the carving motion which fully engages the internal and external obliques at the sides of the waist.
- The handles are angled down. This allows you to more engage the triceps muscles and not put so much effort on the shoulder. This gives you more engagement and control. It also turns the Ab Carver from an Ab device into an Ab and Arm device.
- The kinetic engine in the form of a heavy duty spring that allows you to get resistance on the way out as the spring coils up and as well as assistance on the way back.
- Extra Resistance -
The carbon steel spring adds an extra element of resistance to the movement to really challenge you on the roll out. This makes the exercise more effective, giving you stronger abs faster.
- Extra Wide Tread -
The wider than normal tread on the Ab Carver allows for greater stability when rolling out the wheel, especially when doing so on an angle to target the sides of the waist.
- Digital Workout -
When you purchase the Ab Carver you get access to a digital download which provides a range of workouts, from beginner to advanced.
- Knee Pads -
The unit comes with high quality, thick styrofoam knee pads to protect your knees on hardwood surfaces.
- The handles may buckle a little for people who are more than 200 pounds.
- Some people view the assistance on the way back that you get from the spring as cheating.
- The Perfect Ab Carver Pro has a lock to prevent you from rolling out too far. Some people have complained that this doesn’t allow them to achieve a full range of motion.
- The Spring cannot be removed
The Ab Carver Pro has some stand-out features which set it apart from the rest of the pack. This will allow new users to enjoy the benefits of this movement safely without compromising their form or the health of their lower back. The angled design on both the track and the handles are examples of attention to detail that make the Perfect Ab Carver ab effective ab roller. The stylish, professional design and extra wide tread make this a quality offering.
The Ab Wow Abdominal Roller is a new generation abdominal roller (aka wheel of pain) that has some cool extras that you don’t find with most other rollers out there. The package comes with a knee pad, a glossy instruction and workout poster, straps, handle-bars and wheels.
The knee pads are great, meaning that you don’t have to put down towels on the floor any more. The straps allow you to diversify your workout to work from a full range of angles. It comes with super deluxe comfort handles to keep your hands from callusing.
The Ab Wow is not one but two ab wheels, which fit together to provide you with better balance and increased resistance. They are extremely high quality. The unit fits together in 30 seconds.
- Full Range of Motion -
The Ab Wow provides for a full range of motion to allow you to fully contract and stretch out on every rep.
- Double Wheel Design -
Unlike many models, the Ab Wow features a double wheel, making it far more versatile and sturdy.
- High Quality Manufacture -
Most rollers are made of cheap plastic. The wheels on the Ab Wow are manufactured of PVC to provide a quality revolution on every rep. The 7.9 inch wheels are larger than standard to provide for a more reliable turn.
- Handles -
The handles are where the focus of your body weight rests. You need them to provide comfort. The handles on Ab Wow are thick, squishy and ultra comfortable. Your hands won’t hurt as you go through the workout and there is no danger of these handles failing on you.
- Multi Surface -
Unlike other models, the Ab Wow works on any surface.
- Multi Angle -
With the Ab Wow you can vary the angle of resistance to work not only every muscle in your abdominal wall, but also your lower and mid back muscles. That means more bang for your exercise buck.
- Can’t target intercostals
The Ab Wow is great for working the frontal ab wall, but targeting the sides of the waist is a little more tricky.
The Ab Wow is an impressive ab roller. The double wheel design and sturdy manufacture put it a cut above the competition. Great for the frontal abs, but limited stimulation of the sides of the waist.
The VIM Ab Roller Wheel is the first Ab Roller to feature 3 wheels. The patented 3-wheel triangular design allows for far greater balance and stability during the roller out motion. That makes this device a great choice for beginners, who often give up on this terrific exercise because they cannot get the rollout sorted out.
Another innovative feature is the stand alone floor stopper wedge which allows you to stop the roll out in precisely the right place to effect the right extension and contraction for you. Also included is a foam knee pad for comfort when exercising.
- Patented 3-wheel triangular design for enhanced balance and stability
- Floor stop wedge
- Super comfy soft grip handles
- Premium materials and construction
- Knee pad is not designed for large people
The Maximiza Ab Wheel is another double wheel unit that is very popular with users. It’s design is not as robust as the the previous two units. The overall size of the machine is smaller and it doesn’t have angled handles or wheels. However, the Maximiza is an abwheel that will do the job that you need it to do effectively and reliably.
Featuring a wobble free design and coming with a premium knee pad, the Maximiza is suitable for all user levels. Newcomers to ab roller exercise will appreciate the balance and stability that you get with this ab roller.
- Dual wheels for increased balance and stability
- Quality knee pad provided
- Easy to assemble
- Ultra durable lightweight design for easy portability
- Soft high grip foam handles
- Lifetime guarantee
- Not as sturdy and durable as the Ab Wow and Ab Carver Pro
Despite the name, the Ab Roller Pro is not an ab wheel. However, we’ve included it here because it does provide an effective ab workout to the muscles of your abdominal wall and obliques and because many people get confused that it is actually an Ab Roller and come to Roller review sites to find out about it. And, as you know, we are here to please!
The Ab Roller Pro is a frame-like device that supports your head upper body and arms as you perform ab-centric moves like crunches, reverse crunches and sit ups. It, thus, allows you to perform these pivotal ab exercises while maintaining perfect form. The unit sets up easily and is constructed of quality equipment.
- Ergonomically designed to allow you to maintain perfect form while doing ab exercises
- Isolates the abdominals when training
- Durable yet light weight
- Easy to assemble
- Cannot be folded away for easy storage
- Name can be confused with an ab roller
Do Ab Rollers Really Work?
As with most abdominal exercise devices, the marketing departments responsible for the promotional material that accompanies Ab Rollers cannot help promising rapid fat loss and six pack abs. So, if that is the criteria, then they do not work. Only cardio exercise and diet will reduce body fat.
However, if your effectiveness criteria is to strengthen and tighten the abs and and core, then yes, they certainly do work. But they only work if you use them properly. A lot of people push too much with their arms, rather than using their core to force the wheel out and in.
To establish just how effective the Ab Roller was, the American Council on Exercise sponsored a study which was conducted by San Diego State University. The study involved testing 13 ab exercises and determining how strongly they activated the abs. The Ab Roller came in ninth, ranking about the same as crunches. In another study, the Ab Roller ranked fourth out of nine exercises.
Assuming, then, that your eating pattern is on track and that you are doing cardiovascular exercise to burn off calories, the Ab Roller can be an effective aid to getting your abs on track.
Our favorite Ab Roller by far was the Ab Carver Pro by Perfect Fitness. The Ab Carver Pro stands alongside the Perfect Push Up and the Perfect Multi Gym as elite in its product category. It has more grunt, more kinetic energy, a wider track and better angles than the other players in the market. It will get you to rock hard, strong abs faster than anything else.