The Ab Rollout and its many variations are arguably among the best core-strengthening exercises, because they teach the abs to prevent extension of the spine, which is their true function. But like any exercise, at a certain point the basic Ab Rollout becomes too easy.
The ultimate variation is the Standing Ab Rollout. However, this is a brutally difficult variation and most people epically fail on their first attempt.
Luckily, there’s a simple fix might be the best stopgap before progressing to the Standing Ab Wheel Rollout.
The Elevated Kneeling Rollout has been widely overlooked as an important second progression before moving on to the Standing Ab Wheel Rollout.
Elevated Kneeling Rollouts confer the same benefits as, if not more than, the standing variation. The goal is to start from an elevated surface, which safely increases the range of motion of the exercise. Yet the Elevated Kneeling Rollout effectively challenges you to stabilize and resist lumbar hyperextension while removing pressure from unwanted extension, flexion and minimal rotation of the spine when you return to the starting position of the movement.
The normal targeted muscles of the core are worked during these progressions. However, the Elevated Kneeling variation produces a more in-depth recruitment of sometimes neglected core musculature—the rhomboids, latissimus dorsi, spinal erectors, multifidus and quadrates lumborum.
- Use a step-up platform and add two to three mats. As you perfect this variation, you can add more mats but no more than five.
- Kneel on both knees on the mat and hold an ab wheel with both hands.
- Take a deep breath in and tighten your core.
- Roll the wheel forward and bring it back.
- Keep the body tight and stable throughout the movement.