Building Bulletproof* Abs

ab wheel

*Unlike this guy, don’t think your abs are actually bullet/ stab proof. They’re not. It’s just a phrase.

The Ab Wheel is the most unassuming piece of training equipment in the gym. One or 2 small plastic wheels with a solid little handle through the middle.

ab wheel
simple, but wickedly effective

This little monster has an awesome ability to build a rock-solid core capable of tying your ribs and hips together under a dynamic load. This, in turn, helps you move more weight by allowing greater forces to be transferred between your upper and lower body more safely and efficiently, not to mention carving out a great looking midsection.


Plank walkout

This is a great way to start building the strength you need to have for the rollout. It’s dynamic, your load and lever length is varying all the time, and you have to control the end position.

Make sure your hips stay solid at the end, plank, position. Don’t let them sag or stay too high.

Swiss ball rollout

The first rollout variation to try. The higher start/ finish position makes the load lower on your abs while teaching you how to engage your lats more in order to initiate the roll back.

Maintain a slight hip tuck, think about pulling your pelvis slightly up towards your belly button and squeezing your glutes throughout.

Remember that your pivot point is your knees, not your hips. And, once again, control the end point. If your hips sag, or “break” in order to come back, you’ve lost control and gone too far. Make it a shorter rollout and control the end position.

Stir the pot

Basically, you are taking the endpoint of the rollout and owning it. The dynamic nature of the small arm movements constantly challenges your core strength by changing the lever, not only forwards and backwards, but side to side too.

Aim to build up to 6-8 circles each way, whilst maintaining a solid plank position throughout.

Rollout from your knees

Moving to the ab wheel, you can start with short rolls, going only so far as you can control your hip position throughout. You should be able to maintain a slight posterior tilt throughout and not need to “break” your hips to aid your move back to the start point.

Once again, your pivot is your knees, not your hips.

Rollout from your toes

I can’t do these. Yet. But this is an incredible display of full body strength…I mean, I could show you a video, but it would just be me shakily rolling out from standing until I collapse under my own weight onto the floor.

Instead, here’s an awesome demo from Meghan Callaway.

The progression here is pretty much as it is for the knee version, start with shorter ranges of movement, and as you build the necessary strength, start to expand your range, always maintaining your strong hip position.

Build up your rollouts.

Pick the starting point that’s right for you, then work through the progressions over the next few weeks/ months to build up your strength.

Plank walkouts – Start with 2-3 sets of 6 and build to 4 sets of 10.

Swiss ball rollouts – Start with 2-3 sets of 6 and build to 4 sets of 8.

Stir the Pot – Start with 2-3 sets of 4 or 5 per side and build to 4 sets of 8 per side.

Rollout – start with 4 sets of 5 shorter rollouts, gradually increasing the distance. Then build that to 4 sets of 5 or more.

Rollout from your toes – As the knee variation.

Stay strong,


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