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Beginner – Advanced


To master the Ab Wheel

About this Progression

Steven Low is a former gymnast, coach and renowned fitness specialist. He’s also an author of Overcoming Gravity. Based on his excellent book we’ve visualised a progression built around an ab wheel. The ab wheel workout is adding resistance to a crunch where your bodyweight (and gravity) works against your core.

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Ab Wheel Progression Exercises List

Step 1: Plank (25s)

The plank position is a great way to quickly build core stability. Balance on your forearms and toes while keeping your torso parallel to the ground. You also have to protract your scapula while keeping a solid straight body line. Squeeze not only your core, but your whole body. If you’re doing it right, your whole body should experience tension. Hold the first step for 25 seconds. Breathe normally. Don’t hold your breath!

Step 2: Plank (60s)

You may have to re-do the first step a number of times to be able to hold this – for step 2, hold the plank for 60 seconds. This will allow you to build strength and stability.

Step 3: 1 Arm 1 Leg Plank

In this more challenging exercise, your core will be working to hold the plank and also to hold balance. Do the plank with your left arm and left leg on the floor. Maintain your form after lifting your limbs.

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Step 4: Kneeling Ab Wheel

This is the first exercise in the progression involving a wheel. Go on to your knees and grip the handles of the wheel with both hands. Allow it to roll forward until your torso is parallel to the ground and then roll back to the starting position. When rolling, maintain a posterior pelvic tilt and straight back.

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Step 5: Ramp Ab Wheel

The extra resistance here is given by gravity putting further strain on your core. Find some kind of ramp of sloped surface and kneel at the top of it. Allow the wheel to roll down the hill until your torso is parallel to the slope and roll back up.

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Step 6: Standing Negative Wheel

Here begins the truly difficult core stuff. Begin in the bottom position of step 4 with your torso parallel to the ground holding the wheel but with the balls of your feet on the floor. Roll backwards with the wheel until you are standing on your feet and bending over while still holding the wheel. Control this movement back to the starting position and repeat.

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Step 7: 1 Arm 1 Leg Wheel

Back to the balancing of step 3. This time hold the wheel with your right hand and have your left foot on the floor. Slowly control the motion down until your torso is parallel to the ground in the previous 1 arm plank position and roll back up. This one will really test your core strength and coordination. After learning the skills, you will no longer look back to the easier core exercises that only waste your time.

There are many other exercises that can be done with an ab wheel. Here are some more examples and variations:


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