The Ab Rollout and its many variations are arguably some of the best core-strengthening exercises because they teach the abs to prevent extension of the spine, which is their true function. And like any exercise, at a certain point the basic move becomes too easy.
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I’ve had great success with this type of exercise, and have made it a priority to develop new variations that challenge myself and my athletes. My latest variation might be one of the most challenging yet. It’s called the Tripod Ab Rollout, and it’s brutal!
When creating this move, I was inspired by the Bird Dog exercise, which is one of the best exercises to improve spinal stability and prevent injuries to the back.
The Tripod AB Rollout calls for a traditional Rollout, but as you roll out you drive one leg into the air, similar to a Bird Dog. I call it a tripod because two hands and one leg support you. This makes the move significantly more difficult on your abs, but it also throws off your center of gravity, forcing your core to prevent rotation to maintain control and keep you from tipping over. It’s truly a test of total core strength. If you can do it correctly, you know you are in the upper echelon of core strength.
As an additional benefit, it works your upper body and back to keep you stable. Teaching all these muscles to fire together creates the solid foundation you need to become an elite athlete.
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But let me reiterate this is an advanced exercise. You should be able to perform the exercises listed in this article before attempting this variation.
How to perform the Tripod Ab Wheel Rollout
- Kneel on both knees and hold an ab wheel with both hands.
- Take a deep breath in and tighten your core.
- Roll the wheel forward over two seconds. As you roll forward, lift one leg into the air and drive your heel to the ceiling. Keep your torso square to the ground and your core tight.
- Briefly hold the extended position with your core tight and shoulders back. Your hips should be slightly flexed to prevent stress from hitting your lower back.
- Lower your leg and roll the wheel backward over two seconds to the starting position.
Sets/Reps: 3-4×5 each side
To advance this drill, attach a resistance band to the ab wheel from a fixed position behind you. This further increases the difficulty because the band wants to pull your body out of position.
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