Full-body strength tool: ab wheel

Add it to almost any exercise to up the intensity.

Full-body moves like mountain climbers, walk-outs, and planks are challenging as-is, but you can ramp up the intensity by doing them with an ab wheel.

The beauty of the tool—or the beast of it, depending on your outlook—is its instability factor. “When you work out on the ground you have a solid base, whereas using the wheel, you have to fight tipping over to either side,” says Steph Vehrle-Smith, a Tier 3 trainer at Greenwich Avenue in New York City. “It’s also incredibly narrow, which makes it more difficult to use.”

Despite its name, the ab wheel activates the whole body, including the lats, glutes, delts, quads, and more. “That’s why this tiny piece of equipment is so effective,” he says. In the slideshow below, Vehrle-Smith, a field hockey player who represented Brazil in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, demonstrates a series of moves ranging from beginner to advanced.

To start, perform 3 sets of 12 reps of the beginner exercises 3 times per week on days you’re doing cardio. Once you can complete all sets and reps with proper form, progress to the more difficult moves. Ease into the intermediate and advanced ones by shortening your range of motion to familiarize your body with the movements. Increase how far you reach or extend accordingly.

Photography by Coty Tarr. Styling by Jamie Frankel. Art direction by Kathryn Marx.
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