The ab wheel roll out can be one of the most brutal bodyweight anti-extension core exercises out there. There's a huge lever arm, and the dynamic aspect of the instability of the wheel adds further demand as well as an additional component of core control. But for all the benefits you might gain from doing this phenomenal exercise, it is often butchered, adding unwanted injury. In this video, I highlight the top 3 movement faults for this exercise. Pay close attention!
DUMPING LUMBAR EXTENSION. Most are already aware of this movement fault into lumbar hyperextension, but it’s a good refresher because I STILL see it in the gym everyday. This exercise is meant to be an ANTI-EXTENSION exercise, meaning you need to use your core to NOT GO INTO EXTENSION. If you're going into lumbar extension, it means you either haven't properly braced, you're going further than you have the necessary strength to control, or you’re doing movement fault #3 which I highlight below.
USING THE LATS INSTEAD OF THE CORE TO FACILITATE THE MOVEMENT. I‘ll admit this is extremely hard to see in the video. It's one of those things you have to FEEL. But there is a HUGE DIFFERENCE in INITIATING THE ROLL BACK with the LATS (wrong) vs the CORE (correct). Are you using your upper extremity to roll the wheel back or are you using your hips? OR are you using your CORE TO BRING YOUR HIPS TO THE WHEEL? It's subtle, but it's by far the number 1 reason why people DON'T feel this exercise in their core. Notice on the bottom video (lat - wrong), the first thing to move is my shoulders, and subsequently the wheel moves extremely fast. In the top video (lower abs - correct), my HIPS move first and the wheel stays out in front of me. I generate power to move the wheel back with my lower abdominals, not my lats.
LACK OF HIP FLEXOR (quadriceps) MUSCLE LENGTH. On this video, I shorten up the lever arm, which decreases the demand. And yet at a certain point, my lumbar spine STILL dumps into extension. This happens because I have quadriceps muscle length deficits! When limited, they pull my pelvis into anterior pelvic tilt which moves the lumbar spine into extension. So if your core is extremely strong, and you STILL dump into extension, check your quadriceps muscle length!!