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Use The Ab Wheel For Core Strength

An ab wheel is one of those pieces of home workout equipment that everyone should have. It’s small, cheap, and very effective in giving you the core workout you’ve always wanted.

What Is An Ab Wheel?

An ab wheel is basically a wheel with a stick through it. There are several variations of it on the market, but the principle is still the same.

The basic one has a small wheel with a stick through it. Another one has two wheels on each end of the stick (like a dumbbell) where each hand has its own ‘dumbbell’.

My favorite type is the one with pedals attached to the stick, on either side of the wheel, so you can lock your feet into it. The pedal version allows more exercises than others.

Benefits Of Using An Ab Wheel

The ab wheel trains your whole core, strengthening and solidify your abs like nothing else. Your upper and lower abs as well as your obliques will all feel the wheel’s intensity.

In addition, your lower back will get a workout as it will be holding your body up during the rollout exercises. Your lats may benefit too.

I noticed in a few training sessions with the wheel that my core strengthened considerably.

Using The Ab Wheel

The most basic exercise for the ab wheel is the Rollout. Your hands grip the handle bar, your knees are close together on the floor, and you roll the wheel out in front of you.

In the beginning, you may only go part of the way, but you’ll quickly adapt and be able to roll out all the way until your back is parallel with the floor. Then, just pull back, focusing more on the abs, then just sitting back with your butt and cheating the exercise.

When using the ab wheel for the first time, limit yourself to just one set of 10 or fewer rollouts. This is to prevent soreness and putting you out of action for a few days.

In my personal case, I overdid it the first time. I could do sit ups and crunches well, but I was not prepared for what the ab wheel had in store for me. Not only did I do a set of rollouts, but I strapped my feet on to the pedals and did alligator walks and piking. I stopped when my abs were shaking…

I was out of commission for a few days, needless to say, but that didn’t stop me from using this powerful tool to strengthen my core to unknown levels.

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Ab Wheel Exercises

Doing ab wheel exercises is an effective way to flatten your stomach and tighten your core. Using a regular ab wheel that is just a wheel with a rod through it will limit the number of exercises you can do. I prefer to use an ab wheel that I can optionally strap my feet into. The one I like the most is the Power Wheel by LifelineUSA.

If you’d like to get a better background on the ab wheel and its benefits, read more about it here.

I tried to list the exercises in order of difficulty, starting from beginner and going to advanced. I put in parentheses whether the exercise requires you to hold the ab wheel with your (hands) or have it strapped to your (feet).

Since I have not seen any other products that enable you to strap your feet to an ab wheel, the feet related exercises are unique to the Power Wheel and I credit LifelineUSA and the makers for them.

Ab Wheel Exercises

Isometric Pushup (feet)

With your feet strapped to the wheel, hold a pushup position. Make sure your back and legs are straight. Focus on your form, keeping everything straight and rigid.

Roll Out (hands)

With your hands on the wheel handles, and your knees on the floor, close together, roll out with the wheel as far as you can. Ideally, you’ll want to roll all the way out so that your chest almost touches the floor and your back and legs are in a straight alignment.

Then, pull the wheel back in to the start position, with the wheel right in front of you. Never pull back in with your butt and cheat the exercise. If your knees and hips create an arrow, with the head at the hips, this arrow should never point backward, always pointing straight up in the starting position and then pointing forward when you perform the exercise.

When you roll out, try not to arch your back as you may put way too much emphasis on the back and then your core is not doing as much of the work. Round the back a little, but always keep your arms straight.

Pike (feet)

With your feet strapped to the wheel, assume a pushup position. Keeping your arms and legs straight, pull your feet towards your hands; your butt will naturally pike up.

After you have pulled in as much as you can, hold for a second, then reverse the movement, pushing your feet back out to the push up position, without bending your legs or arms.

Of all the ab wheel exercises done with the wheel attached to the feet, the pike is my favorite. Your arms are getting a workout holding you body up, your core is doing a full body crunch, and your legs might get a decent stretch to boot.

Walking (feet)

With your feet strapped to the wheel, assume a pushup position. Now, starting walking with your hands. Walk forwards, backwards, and in circles. Keep your legs straight at all times. Only your hands and the wheel are touching the ground.

This simple exercise looks deceivingly easy, but you’ll soon realize just how much it works the core and especially the side areas as you lift each hand to take a step, shifting your weight to one side.

Moving forward and backward should be plenty in the beginning. When you’re ready, start circling objects like trees or chairs or snaking your way through the house.

Hip Ups (feet)

With your feet strapped to the wheel, lay on your back with your arms straight and flat at the side.

Now, pull the wheel in towards your back while pushing your hip up. Try to keep the motion smooth and in control.

This exercise is not easy at first. It can feel a bit awkward, it just takes practice.

Alligator Walk (feet)

This is just like the walking exercise except with each step, you do a push up. Your hands are offset from each other each time and are not on lined up equally like in a regular pushup.

Depending on how well you can do pushups, you may find your arms and chest working harder than your core, but it is a good exercise nonetheless.

Extended Roll Out (feet)

With your feet strapped to the wheel, assume a pushup position. Make sure your arms are straight. Push the the wheel further out behind you while keeping your hands fixed on the ground.

Your arms should start to be extended in front of you as the rest of your body is moving behind you. Go as far as you can and pull yourself back to the starting position. Keep your legs and back straight.

Standing Roll Out (hands)

Do a roll out, with your hands, but do it from a standing position instead of having your knees on the ground. Try to keep your arms straight throughout the motion.

This is intense and should not be tried unless you feel you are fairly adept at all the other exercises, and can do regular roll outs with ease.

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Push Up Exercise List

Everyone knows about pushups, but which push up exercise should you do? There are surprisingly many variations of the standard push up that will allow you to spice things up a bit in your routines and also help you achieve your specific fitness goals.

All push ups help improve strength, endurance, and even flexibility, but each push up exercise improves those differently.

Also, by doing different types of push ups, you can work your body at different angles and at different intensities. This will help improve push up and overall athletic ability.

Atlas Pushup

  1. Place two chairs just wider than shoulder width apart. Place your hands on the chairs and feet on the floor, assuming the push up position.
  2. Drop down, having your chest go just below the chairs. Inhale on the way down.
  3. Push back up, exhaling on the way up.
  4. Repeat.

Explosive Atlas Pushup

Perform the Atlas push up as described above, except, when you push up, you push up hard and fast enough to touch your hands to your chest or to do a clap, before bringing your hands back to the chairs. Then, repeat.

Fingertip Pushup

    1. Place your hands on the floor, shoulder width apart. Your feet are together.
    2. Adjust your hands so that only the fingers are holding you up and not just the whole hand.
    3. Drop down, touching your chest the floor, and then push back up.

Repeat.

Diamond Pushup

  1. Place your hands on the floor with your feet together.
  2. Make a diamond shape with your hands, using the thumbs and index fingers
  3. Touch your chest to the floor and push back up.
  4. Repeat

A variation is to stick your butt up in the air, similar to the hindu pushup (see below), and touch your nose to diamond area your hands make, then push back up.

Hindu Pushup

Dive Bombers

These are just like Hindu Pushups except you bend the arms on the way back.

  1. Place your hands on the floor, shoulder width apart, same with your feet.
  2. Point your butt up in the air, and your head down, looking towards your feet.
  3. Your arms are straight. Your arms and back should form a straight line.
  4. Bend your arms, bringing your chest to the ground to where your hands are and then continue forward, pushing up towards the sky. This motion is a circular arc.
  5. Reverse the motion, pushing back to the starting position following the same path.

Clap Pushup

  1. Assume the push up position.
  2. Bend your arms and touch your chest to the floor.
  3. Push up hard enough so that you can clap your hands, and then come down, hands back to the same spot they were in.
  4. Repeat

Handshake Pushup

  1. Get into a push up position with a friend doing the same in front of you.
  2. Each of you touch your chests to the floor.
  3. When you both come up, shake hands, still holding the starting position.
  4. Repeat, alternating the hand you shake with.

If you don’t have someone to do this with, just use any stationary object to touch like a chair or a wall.

Handstand Pushup

One down, Two Up

  1. Place one hand on the ground, right under your chest, and your feet a little wider than shoulder width apart.
  2. With control, lower yourself and touch the floor with your chest, like you would for a one arm push up.
  3. At the bottom, place the second hand on the floor near the first one and push back up. You may have to shift your body to adjust for both hands.
  4. Repeat, alternating which hand you’re going down with. Always push up with two.

This exercise is good for working towards doing a one-arm push up.

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Welcome To Health And Home Fitness!

Welcome! I had originally created this site several years ago under a different host. The site looked dated and I felt I didn’t have complete control over it’s look and feel and future enhancements of the site.

I am re-launching the site with a new host and using WordPress. It will allow me to show the site in a modern style and make it easier for readers to read and navigate the content.

I’ve kept most of the original content and plan on re-publishing it as blog posts. I’m not sure on what my posting schedule will be as I want to make sure I find relevant images and that will take time. My original site really lacked photos and that will change this time.

Of course, after I get my original content posted, I won’t stop there. I plan to continue where I left off and add more great posts on health and fitness. I’m especially going to focus on the mind as well (stress management, meditation), and energy healing, to cover more areas of our health and well-being.

I have learned and practiced a lot on mental exercises such as mindfulness and meditation. I believe a person’s overall well-being wouldn’t be complete without healthy mind, so stay tuned for posts on this subject. And of course, I will tune it to your feedback.

Another big change will be adding a newsletter so I can keep everyone up to date with what’s going on with the blog. I also want to use it allow people to provide feedback on things they want to see on the site. I know I had many readers over the years and the only way they could reach out to me was through the contact form. I received many great questions and feedback and I want to continue that process.

I’ll talk with you again soon.