Ring Ab Rollouts and Extreme Stability Work

January 21, 2016 by VAHVA Fitness

Ring ab rollouts are an extremely effective way to strengthen the abs. They are similar to ab wheel rollouts but with many special benefits. 

The most known variation of the rollout is the one with an ab wheel - and we love it too. However, rollouts can be done with many other tools: barbells, gymballs and gymnastic rings

Ring rollouts offer many benefits over other rollout tools, these include:

  • Difficulty is very easy to adjust either by 1. adjusting the height of the rings or 2. adjusting your feet position (further away you are, the harder it will be).
  • Freedom in the movement of your arms, which allows you to work on stability, shoulder mobility and so on. 

A full rollout whether it is done with rings or an ab wheel is a serious feat of strength, which will really develop the strength and size in the abdominal muscles like nothing else. Only the dragon flags can compete. 

Moreover, the transfer to almost any lift, exercise or sport is tremendous, because almost no exercise will put the abs on such a big stress as rollouts do.

Handstand work will also benefit tremendously thanks to the hollowbody position of the lower back, abs strength and open shoulders.

Check our video for the correct progressions and a bit of commentary. More info below as well.

How to Do the Ab Rollout

ab rollouts
ab wheel rollout

Start from standing up and just lean forward while holding your body straight.

Select the difficulty by adjusting the height of the rings and your feet position. The exercise should be hard, but not impossible. 

Although the most brutal version of the ab rollout is to do them with straight arms and open shoulders (like above), many people don't have the mobility in their shoulders or elbows to do it safely.

As a result, you can bend your arms to make it easier for your tendons. A few other points to pay attention to:

  • Keep your abs tight and lower back straight! If you feel the exercise in your lower back, your lower back is probably arching and the stress from your abs has transferred to your lower back. It's an ABS exercise, not a lower back exercise!
  • Keep your body straight. If it isn't, then adjust the difficulty of the exercise. Straight legs should be the goal although you can bend them a little if it's too difficult otherwise. 

The exercise looks brutal, but it's perfectly safe if you do it correctly with the right difficulty for you.

Ring Ab Rollout Progressions

The most difficult height

ring ab rollouts

The bigger the angle and higher your legs are, the harder the ab rollout will be. The hardest variation would be to do the exercise with elevated legs.

One of the benefits of rings over other ab rollout tools is that you can really increase the difficulty without any restrictions and make it decline so your legs are above your shoulders. 

Shoulder Stability Work

shoulders rollout
shoulders ab rollout

With rings you can move your arms backwards and forward.

Flexing and extending your arms will work on the shoulder and upper back strength and mobility, while your abs need to work hard to keep the core straight.

In addition to moving your two arms at the time, you can also place more stress on one side by using only one arm.

Stability and Rotational Strength

ring ab rollout for stability

Rings already add an unstable element to the exercise, but when you do the ring ab rollout with just one leg and one arm at the time, it significantly increases the instability. 

Your body also needs to maintain an even and straight body position, which requires rotational strength in the core. This will further strengthen the abs and obliques.

Explore The Ab Rollout

There really are no rules regarding how you should do the ab rollout exercise. There are many different ways to work on the ab rollout, such as: 

  • Repetitions, where one rep is one short extension and then pulling back. 
  • Isometric holds, where you just maintain the position for as long as you can. 
  • Playing around with your arms, legs and mixing up repetitions, isometric holds and stability work. 

Take 1-3 minutes of rest between sets. Do the sets until you start to feel tired and your form starts to suffer. Also, when the exercise starts to feel in the lower back - stop. 

Explore and play around with the movement.

Train hard, stay safe.


samuli jyrkinen

About the author 

Samuli Jyrkinen

Samuli is the ninja behind the scenes (photography, videography, websites, program platforms and more). He has been training religiously for over a decade and has a firm grasp of physical and mental fitness. You will find our story here.

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