A review of the Ab-Roller

The Ab-Roller in action, results not typicalThe Ab-Roller, a popular piece of light exercise equipment, promises sexy abs and a slim waistline on its official website. In a previous post I stated that we should, respectfully, toss this item in the trash. With sales over a billion dollars, maybe recycling it would be a better idea.
According to Stuart McGill a leading spine researcher, excessive spinal flexion (which is what the Ab-Roller accomplishes), will eventually cause spinal injury, including herniated disks. McGill calls this exercise a “disk-herniater.” This is just the first reason to not make a habit out of the Ab-Roller. Other than repeated spinal flexion or “crunches,” the Ab-Rroller supports your head and neck with a cushion as you perform your reps. Allegedly this cushion helps to eliminate neck and back strain a person suffers when doing regular crunches. I need you to think about that—wouldn’t resting your head and neck create an even weaker neck, leading to more pain and strain while performing activities of daily living? If the physics of doing a “crunch” causes neck pain, shouldn’t you find a way to strengthen your neck so you could relieve some of the stress of a crunch. On second thought (or in more extreme cases), maybe a crunch isn’t the most appropriate exercise for a person experiencing neck strain.
On the top of the Ab-Roller is a soft-foam grip to prevent you from slipping and to help you maintain your grip. I’m not a big fan of repetitive crunching but this forces you to actually push up on the Ab-Roller. This in turn causes you to complete the crunch with your upper body rather than your abdominals, thereby rendering the Ab-Roller useless.
I commend the marketing team for the Ab-Roller and their website testimonials, featuring before and after pictures of people who have used the Ab-Roller. I was shocked by the great results of such a silly device until I read the fine print which admits that the results were a result of eating low calorie diets and aerobic exercise. They even mention, "the results are not typical." Hey, at least they’re honest!

There are over one hundred core exercises and other modalities to help target your body’s core. I rank the Ab-Roller and other such crunch combinations dead last in that group of exercises I just mentioned.