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An ab wheel is a piece of fitness equipment intended to tone and strengthen the abdominal muscles. With its simple design, compact size, and low price, it is an attractive option for those who wish to tone their abs at home without complicated, bulky, or expensive equipment. While most users agree that an ab wheel workout is extremely challenging, many report being rewarded for their labor with a taut, defined midsection. In order to prevent injury to the upper body, exercisers must take care to maintain proper form while using the ab wheel.
Most ab wheel models are incredibly simple in design. They consist of a hard plastic wheel that is approximately seven inches (17.78 cm) in diameter and two inches (5.08 cm) in width. A steel rod runs through the center of the wheel, projecting approximately five inches (12.7 cm) from either side of the wheel to form handles. For user comfort, these handles are usually covered in rubber, plastic, or foam grips.
Due to the simplicity of its design, the ab wheel is generally very affordable. It is also quite compact, and can thus be easily stored out of sight between workouts. The wheel can even be tucked into a suitcase for use while traveling.
To use the ab wheel, begin by kneeling on the floor. Grasp the wheel’s handles and position it on the floor just in front of the knees. Slowly roll the wheel forward until the arms are almost fully extended, pause, and then roll back to the starting position. The abdominal muscles should be tensed throughout, and the lower back should not be allowed to dip. While users should aim to perform three sets of ten to 15 repetitions, many will find that they are capable of only a few repetitions at first.
Good form is imperative to ab wheel use, as improperly performed repetitions can lead to injury of the abdomen, shoulders, and back. Therefore, exercisers must ensure that they continue to engage their abdominal muscles throughout each repetition, and avoid pushing or pulling with their arms or back. While the exercise should produce a slight burning sensation in the abs and back, it should not cause pain. Any exerciser who experiences severe pain during ab wheel use should stop their workout, as they may have suffered an injury. Finally, users should take care to stretch the upper body muscles fully after each workout.