The Core Wheel.
At first glance, you might think the core wheel looks pretty innocent. I mean, if you are doing V-ups, dragon flags, and weighted crunches and your core is solid, you may think you have your ab workout locked down. So the questions
Does it work
Spoiler alert: core wheels work. Wowzas, do they work.
In fact, one study at California State University discovered that muscle activity was notably higher in participants that were performing exercises with a core wheel when compared to traditional ab exercises.
Core wheels are a great combination of isometric and dynamic exercise making it the real deal when it comes to functional fitness. It’s not only a perfect tool for abdominal training but an extremely effective tool in the overall development of your midsection and upper body.
How does it work?
The true power of the core wheel lies in its simplicity. The basic premise is that you start on your knees or standing, grab the handles with your hands, and set the wheel on the ground. Next, you roll forward until your body is fully extended, then roll back to the starting position. Additionally, because our core wheel also comes with foot straps, there are a whole host of exercises that you can do with your hands on the floor, feet strapped to the pedals, and use the wheel to roll your feet back and forth.
You may not think that this tool will give you a tough workout from a distance, but don’t dismiss it just yet. You will see from the first roll that it is working.
The core wheel rollout exercises engage your entire mid-section, and when working altogether, these muscles act like a corset pulling everything in. The core wheel actively recruits your stabilizer muscles to keep you from falling over –internal obliques, external obliques, and transverse abdominis. Rolling the wheel fires up your rectus abdominis. Your upper body even gets in on the action by engaging the erector spinae (muscles along your spine) and latissimus dorsi (broad muscles on both sides of your back), as well as your deltoids (shoulders), chest, biceps, and triceps.
But the real key here is all about synchronized control. The whole chain of muscles from your hip flexors and up toward your shoulders has to work together to stay in form with no breaks in the chain.
The Importance of Core Strength
It could be argued that your core muscles are the most important muscle group in the body. These muscles stabilize and support all your movements, and normal, everyday life requires almost constant use.
Your core muscles wrap around your spine making it easier to maintain posture. Weak core muscles encourage slumping, which tips your body forward and throws you off balance. Proper posture is essential to balance: stand up straight, and you center your weight over your feet.
Your core includes more than just your abdominals; it’s a category of muscle groups in your trunk and pelvis, including lower back, hips, and glutes.
Remember, it takes a lot of control and strength, from both your core and your entire body, to use the tool correctly. Proper form will help you from straining your lower back or putting too much stress on your joints. It’s always better to do one good move in proper form than ten moves in poor form.
Be sure to keep your spine neutral, chin tucked, and brace your abs. Your goal should be to avoid arching your lower back as you roll out. If you feel this happening, reduce your range of motion (shorten the roll).
But it’s SO hard! Where do I start?
You’ll find out pretty quick that the core wheel will offer you some amazing challenges to your core strength, even if you are pretty fit. The key to start is to have your bases covered when it comes to core strength. First, practice building core strength with your body weight.
- Plank Holds
- Alternating arm/leg plank holds
- Plank walks
- Low plank mountain climbers
Next, you can add a core wheel segment to your ab training regimen. Set yourself up for success by working this tool into your workout in a progressive format. Start with the beginner moves, and don’t be discouraged if you can only do a handful. Remember, form counts!
Soon, your muscles will become stronger and learn to work together, and you’ll be able to add rep counts. When you’re ready, move to the intermediate and advanced moves.
Watch for us to roll out (pun intended!) video segments for our #WORKOUTWEDNESDAYS on how to build a progressive core wheel workout!