Ab Rollers & Mats + Tips On Using An Ab Roller

ab roller exercises

Everyone knows what a crunch or sit-up looks like but not everyone can do a crunch or sit-up properly. In fact most people who think they’re doing crunches or sit-ups are probably working their thigh and shoulder muscles more than they’re working their actual abs? Why does this happen? Simply because most people have never trained with a qualified trainer so have no idea that their actual positioning and form is actually causing them harm and not helping their abdominal development efforts at all. Lots of people wind up with neck and shoulder strain injuries from trying to pull their neck into a crunch position – this happens all the time in gyms.

Ab rollers are designed to help you correct your form and keep your back, neck and shoulders injury-free while you’re working out and you also get proper neck, arm and back support thrown into the deal too. But which abs roller is going to best suit your ab workout needs? We’ve included reviews of our top 3 ab rollers to help you make the best possible buying decision for you.

Ab Roller Reviews

Weider Crunch Trainer Review

When you think exercise you’re going to think Weider – they’ve been in the body development game for a long time now. The Weider Crunch Trainer ab roller is a very smooth looking roller with an integrated exercise mat and of course comes in the typical Weider colour scheme of black pads with red text – no surprises there. This abroller allows you to perform up to 12-separate ab exercises all in the comfort of your own home and all safely too – this roller has an extra thick padded headrest to make sure you’re comfortable when you’re working out and the integrated exercise mat helps protect your back. The Weider Crunch Trainer folds flat for easy storage when not in use and also comes with an instructional DVD to help you get the most from your workout.

Davina Ab Roller with Mat Review

Nobody every really expected Davina McCall of all people to ever come out with her own line of exercise equipment but the former Big Brother presenting star has done exactly that. And the Davina Ab roller is one of the latest additions to her growing range of exercise products. The roller itself is a traditionally styled ab roller with a full rolling bar integrated into it so it’s not just a set of arm rests on either side – this style of roller actually works better because it gives you a better range of exercises to work with.

The padded headrest and padded foam arm/elbow rests also help protect you from strain and injury. The roller is a bright blue colour which is a little strange considering that Davina seems to release a lot of her products in a kind of lime green colour but the blue is more unisex so it makes more marketing sense. The Davina Ab Roller comes with its own mat to provide you with support and comfort if you’re exercising on a hard floor.

Ultrafit AB Trainer Review

This ab roller has pink foam support pads on it so it’s probably designed for the female market more so than the male – although the headrest is still black for some odd reason. The Ultrafit AB Trainer is the only one in the reviews here that doesn’t include its own mat so you’ll need to take that into consideration when making your buying decision. This ab roller system is adjustable and also has wrist and palm rest areas so you’re not putting any strain on those parts of your body. Using this ab roller means you’re getting to work out the entire abdominal area and this means more lean muscle mass which means you’re burning more calories each day as a result.

Which Is The Best Ab Roller?

Almost any abs roller than you buy is going to provide you with a decent workout for your abs. The fact that you’re using an ab roller means that you’re being at least 50% more effective in doing your crunches than you were before. If we had to choose an ab roller from the 3 above the Davina Ab roller would be at the top of our list, then the Weider and last, but not least, the Ultrafit Ab trainer.

Which Is The Best Ab Roller Mat?

Once the mat provides you with enough back support then you can either choose one of the mats that comes with an ab roller or you can buy a separate exercise mat or thick yoga mat and use that instead. You’re better off using a mat than not with an ab roller because although you’re getting more support doing crunches on a rock hard floor will hurt your back in the long run.

How To Use An Ab Roller

Actually using an ab roller is one of the most natural exercises in the world because it’s basically taking the crunch exercise you’re already doing and making it smoother and safer for you. It literally gives you an exercise “template” to repeat the same set of ab roller exercises as often as you want and the padded head and arm rests take the strain off your neck, shoulders and back.

One of the main things to avoid when using an ab roller to work out is tensing your body up – this won’t help your workouts. A lot of people also make the mistake of using strength from their arms to push the ab roller forward. This means you’re engaging your lats, your triceps and your biceps in raising your body but your core will get no workout at all. You should only ever be gently pushing the rolling frame forward with your hands – not forcing it and let your abs/core do most of the work here.

It’s also a good idea to do each ab roller crunch slowly – don’t rush them. You’ll get better results from a set of 10, focused and slow ab crunches than 100 crappy, fast ones. Rushing through an ab workout means you’ll probably have bad form and your abs just won’t see the results you’re wanting so badly.

Ab Roller Exercises

There are 3 main ab roller exercises that you can do.

1. The Crunch

Lie flat on your back with your feet flat on the floor and your heels about 8 inches from your bum – so that your knees are raised slightly. Now breathing out slowly roll the ab roller forward until you feel a strong contraction of your muscles and inhale as you’re returning to your start position. Repeat this in sets of 8 to start off with.

2. Oblique Crunch

Lie on your side with your knees curled almost up to your stomach – leave about a 10-inch gap there. Now grabbing the roller gently with the flats of your hands raise your body slightly off the floor and you should feel your oblique muscles starting to hurt – these are your “love handle” muscles and this exercise really works to melt those away. Once you feel you feel a small amount of pain from the muscle contraction then relax and breathe out as you roll back to your starting position. Repeat this in sets of 6 to start off with.

3. Reverse Crunch

This is basically the opposite to a normal crunch so lie with your back flat on your exercise mat and grip your ab roller firmly. Now cross your legs at the feet or shins and instead of pulling yourself forward in a crunch this time pull your knees towards your chest. As you’re pulling your knees upwards you need to breathe out and you should feel your abs tighten almost instantly. Once you’ve pulled your knees upwards as far as you can, without causing injury, you can inhale and lower them back down to the floor again. Repeat this in sets of 6 to start off with.