The Ab Wheel Rollout: 2 Advanced Variations You’ve Never Even Heard Of

by Jordan Syatt March 23, 2015

The ab wheel rollout is one of my all-time favorite drills for improving anterior core strength and performance. 

I’ve written extensively about it before and even recorded the best ab wheel instructional video on the internet so you can learn how to do it with perfect form.

The major problem most lifters and coaches tend to have with the ab wheel rollout is progressing to more advanced variations. 

Once they’ve mastered the ab wheel rollout from the knees, lifters and coaches often think the next logical progression is to do it from their feet.

A video posted by Jordan Syatt (@syattfitness) on

And while the standing ab wheel rollout is a phenomenal variation, the strength requirements are far greater compared to kneeling and most lifters need several progressions before they can do the ab wheel rollout from their feet.

That being the case, in the short video below I’ve outlined two of my personal favorite ab wheel rollout progressions that you can use to build the requisite strength necessary to eventually do a standing ab wheel rollout.

2 Advanced Ab Wheel Rollout Progressions 

Just in case you chose to skim or skip the video entirely, below I’ve outlined a summary of both advanced ab wheel rollout progressions. 

Progression #1: Knee Elevated Ab Wheel Rollout

Screenshot (119)Just as an incline bench press increases the range of motion (ROM) relative to a flat bench press, slightly elevating your knees onto a raised surface will increase the ROM of the ab wheel rollout making it significantly more challenging to stabilize and resist lumbar hyperextension.

I’m huge fan of using this progression first as it doesn’t require much equipment and you aren’t adding external load; rather, you’re simply increasing the difficulty through a progressive increase in ROM. 

Progression #2: Band Resisted Ab Wheel Rollout

Screenshot (120)Another phenomenal variation, the band resisted ab wheel rollout adds an interesting component as you’re both required to resist the bands pull on the way down (eccentric) and overcome the tension on the way up (concentric). 

Much harder than it looks, I encourage you to start with very light bands and progressively increase your distance from the anchor until you’re ready for a stronger band.

Continue to increase the difficulty until you can do 10 perfect reps and are ready to give the standing ab wheel rollout a shot.

How to Try the Standing Ab Wheel Rollout

Screenshot (121)The first time you attempt the standing ab wheel rollout don’t try to complete the entire movement.

Instead, first master the eccentric (lowering) portion by controlling yourself to the bottom position while maintaining a neutral spine. Once you reach the bottom position, lower yourself to the floor with your knees first, stand up, and do it again.

Once you can do 3 x 5 perfect eccentric-only repetitions, then you can begin to add the concentric portion as well.

Ab Wheel Rollout Programming Considerations

deadbug ab exerciseFrequency: 2-4x/week

Intensity: On a scale of 1-10, difficulty should fluctuate between 5-9 on a regular basis. Never go to failure.

Sets & Reps: 2-4 sets of 8-20 repetitions per training session

Workout Placement: Near the tail end of your training session after your main strength movements. Do Not tire yourself out using the ab wheel at the beginning of your workout.

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Never Minimal. Never Maximal. Always Optimal.

-J






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