Gear Review: An Epic Update to the Old School Ab Wheel
The ab wheel may not be the most popular piece of exercise equipment, but in many gyms it's just as easy to come by as something like a dumbbell or a treadmill.
For many fitness enthusiasts, it has long been a simple and classic exercise tool.
For those who don't know what it is, the ab wheel is, well, a wheel, but with small handle attachments on each side.
Essentially, it serves as an alternative way to exercise the abdominal muscles without having to do crunches.
While the ab wheel (sometimes called the "ab roller") has been proven as a an effective way to strengthen and build your core muscles, this updated version, which features handles that allow for a neutral grip (see photo below), has helped to eliminate the original concept's most common issues.
"My motivation for developing a neutral-grip ab wheel resulted from a rotator cuff injury that prevented me from performing virtually all pronated-grip exercises, including ab wheel roll-outs," says Ken Frederick, creator of the Extreme Arm and Ab Wheel.
"I realized that neutral grip exercises did not aggravate my shoulder injury, so I experimented with developing an ab wheel with neutral-grip options. To my delight, I was able to perform roll-outs using the neutral grips of my first prototype, without shoulder pain."
Shoulder safety might not seem like a big deal, but this particular feature is actually important, given that shoulder injuries are the most common type of strength training injury.
Frederick says the other benefit of his updated design is that the improved grip contributes to the ability to gain more arm strength as a result of exercising with the ab wheel. Hence why it was named the Arm and Ab Wheel.
What's more, in addition to the classic "roll out" exercise, Frederick's new design has created the ability to perform a wider range of "ab wheel" exercises, and because the neutral-grip handles can rotate, an additional level of instability provides the opportunity to engage more muscles and at a level of higher intensity.
"The Extreme Ab and Arm Wheel requires the stabilizer muscles to engage more to keep the wheel stable, especially when using the neutral grip options," Fredrick explained.
He added that this also means your abs are isometrically engaged during virtually any exercise performed with the wheel.
"It presents more of a challenge and yields better results," Frederick added.
But don't just take his word for it. We took the Extreme Arm and Ab Wheel for a spin (no pun intended) and found that compared to the classic version, Frederick's new design definitely presents a more difficult and intense challenge.
Below are a few photo depictions of the different exercises that can be performed with the Extreme Arm and Ab Wheel.