If you're tired of seeing bikini-clad models boasting rippled six-pack abs on TV while you sit with a bowl of chips in your lap, toss the junk food aside and change into your exercise clothing. You don't need to buy a gym membership to get in shape -- a home-based workout can help you see results. Using an ab roller isn't a quick way to burn fat, but when you pair it with other exercises and cardio workouts, you'll be itching to break out your bikini before long.
Develop a realistic weight-loss goal by understanding the relationship between calories and fat. Because a pound of fat is approximately equal to 3,500 calories, you must create a deficit of 3,500 calories by exercising and cutting dietary calories to lose a pound of fat. MayoClinic.com recommends trying to lose 500 calories per day, seven days a week, to lose a pound per week.
Consider how many calories you will burn during a workout with the ab roller. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) notes that using an ab roller activates the rectus abdominis almost the same amount as traditional crunches, which burn calories at a much slower rate than aerobic exercise. If you weigh 160 pounds and perform crunches at a moderate rate for 10 minutes, you'll burn just 54 calories; therefore, using the ab roller for this length of time will burn roughly the same number of calories.
Grip the ab roller by its handles and kneel on the floor with the ab wheel in front of your knees. Position yourself so your upper body is over the ab roller and then push it away from you as far as you can before rolling it back to the starting position to complete one rep. The ACE recommends performing up to three sets of 10 to 25 reps. To give your muscles time to heal, take one or two days off between workouts.
Boost your workout by performing some aerobic exercises that will help you burn calories much faster than using an ab roller. If you want to stay at home for your workout, consider purchasing a treadmill or stationary bike, jumping rope in your basement or even dancing around your living room. A 160-pound person who jumps rope for 30 minutes, for example, will burn 364 calories.
- MayoClinic.com: Exercise for Weight Loss: Calories Burned in 1 Hour
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
- American Council on Exercise: New Study Puts the Crunch on Ineffective Ab Exercises
- HealthStatus: Calorie Burn Calculator
- American Council on Exercise: Should I Train My Abdominals Every Day? Also, What Ab Exercises Are Best?
- ExRx.net: Wheel Rollout
- Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion: Balancing Calories to Manage Weight
- Using an ab roller will help build your abdominal and oblique muscles, but unless you burn enough calories to lose the fat over your stomach, these muscles won't become visible.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that healthy adults get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week.
- Pay attention to the number of calories you consume each day if you want to lose weight. The Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion recommends that women, on average, consume between 1,800 and 2,400 calories per day, depending on their age and level of activity.
- Avoid using the ab roller or performing any other type of exercise if you have a sore or injured muscle.
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.