The Ab Roller Review – Why it Doesn’t Rock!

The Ab Roller is a product that started out early in the fitness infomercial phenomenon.

I can’t tell you how many of these things I've seen at people’s garage sales or tossed to the curb on garbage day!

Sure, it Rolls but it does not Rock (as in not a great gadget).

I’ll bet most of you didn't know that The Ab Roller’s been around for almost 20 years and was the first infomercial fitness product to reach one billion in sales!

That might be impressive from a sales & marketing perspective, but…

Does The Ab Roller Work?

I’m guessing since you’re reading this, you've seen the commercial where you simply lie down on the floor, place your head in the support and your arms in the cradle, and crunch away.

The big selling point for using the Ab Roller is that the stress is taken off your neck and you’re better able to focus on crunching your ab muscles.

In most cases, the real reason why you experience neck and/or back pain while doing crunches is because of poor technique.

What the Ab Roller is doing is guiding your technique and supporting your head. 

However, you can avoid neck strains with proper technique which does not require the Ab Roller.​

To execute pain-free crunches, you must keep your head and neck in a neutral position throughout the exercise.

Now if you can't resist the urge to tug at your neck, place both hands beside your ears with just your fingertips touching them instead of behind your head. This way you won't pull on your neck.

The Ab Roller Evolution vs. The Ab Roller

Ab Roller Evolution is what has replaced the original Ab Roller.

Both essentially look the same.

However, the Evolution his constructed to flip upside down so that you can use it as push-up handles or dipping bars.

Also, the Evolution has small, vertical bars on either side of the headrest for weight plates. You can place your own free weight plates on there to increase resistance, thereby cranking up your workout intensity.​

Results of Professional Product Testing

The American Council on Exercise completed a 2001 study that evaluated the Ab Roller and compared its effectiveness against conventional floor crunches.

The results indicated that the Ab Roller does not trigger significantly more activity in the rectus abdominus and oblique’s than do conventional floor crunches.

Something else to note is that although the Ab Roller Evolution offers an effective workout for your chest, arms, shoulders and core – it neglects your back.

The ability to add extra weight is a useful feature, but you could do this just as easily, without purchasing any extra equipment.

Add resistance by simply holding a weight plate against your chest as you do crunches.

Another Consideration

The other thing you need to understand is this: your six pack abs can be built and remain hidden under fat!

You might be doing a superb job of exercising your abdominals, and training them religiously, but you can still end up having a chubby looking belly.

Ultimately, you’ll need to lose the belly fat before, during or after you’ve built those phenomenal muscles. It’s a two pronged approach of losing the pudge and toning the muscles.

It will require a combination of both diet and exercise.

So while you are figuring out how it is you are going to train to get the midsection you want, you’ll need to look into what dietary changes to make to support your goal.

Final Conclusion

Although this product had a good concept, it really doesn’t translate into a worthwhile product. 

Just, not enough value.​

Yes, many of you may feel a strain in your neck while performing crunches, but with the right training and progressions, you can easily overcome this.

Furthermore, neck strain usually occurs at the beginning of a new fitness training program and is due to the muscles of your neck being weak and likely deconditioned from poor habits in your daily life.

In fact, using the Ab Roller Evolution might actually weaken your neck muscles further because it provides too much support.

It’s like having someone hold your head up while you crunch.

Also... beware of cheap knock-offs!

There are a bunch of copy-cat products out there like the:

  • Ab Shaper
  • Ab Trainer Club Pro
  • Ab roller Plus
  • Kettler Ab Roller
  • Tunturi Power Ab Roller
  • PowerTech GTI Deluxe Ab Roller (that name really makes me laugh)
  • and I could go on…

Regardless of how slick the name is, they all look pretty similar because they just copied the original Ab Roller or the Evolution – and

NONE of them are any better!

If you want to use specialized ab apparatus to focus on flattening your belly, there are far better pieces of equipment out there than the Ab Roller Evolution.

Look into Investing into a quality piece of machinery or just stick with doing unassisted ab exercises.

To read about which ab machines are worth the money and which to avoid, check out our articles:

Best Ab Machines for Your Home Gym

and also

5 Ab Machines that Don't Work - Avoid the Junk

If you still really do want one of the ab rollers, you can find good deals here: